Why You Should Learn How to Remove Fluoride from Water Cheaply?
While drinking water with fluoride is known to aid in the growth of healthy teeth and prevent tooth decay, not everyone would prefer to have fluoride in their drinking water. This is because there are some health complications associated with consuming fluoridated water, which we will take a look at in this guide.
Besides that, we will also provide an explanation of why fluoride is present in our water and after that, we’ll share with you how to remove fluoride from water cheaply. Other than learning how to remove fluoride from water cheaply, this guide will also include the cheapest filters on the market to help remove fluoride from water at home.
Why Fluoride Exists in Our Water
Many years ago, a dentist named Frederick McKay found fluoride in the water supply of Colorado Springs. He also discovered that people who live nearby have minimal or no tooth decay. As a result, he and other professionals theorized people who drink water high in fluoride concentration tend to have a lower chance to develop cavities.
His discovery also started the movement of fluoridated water and communities began to agree to water fluoridation in their water source. More studies were conducted later on and have proven that the fluoridation of water improved the oral health in children, and more municipal authorities were integrating this natural mineral into their public water supply.
Health Problems Associated with Fluoride
While drinking water with fluoride can improve the oral health of young kids, there are also some harmful effects on human health, which include:
- Thyroid Problems. When high amounts of fluoride are consumed, there is a risk of damage to the parathyroid glands. Such damage can cause a continuous expulsion of parathyroid hormones and as a result, bones will start to lose calcium as the blood develops an abnormally high calcium concentration. With lower levels of this mineral, there will be an increased chance of fractures and breaks.
- Neurological Issues. Based on a study that was done in 2017, it was found that pregnant women who consume high concentrations of fluoride are associated with an increased risk of giving birth to babies with below-average cognitive functions. Additionally, the excessive consumption of this mineral is also linked with lower IQ levels.
- Tooth and Bone Damage. While fluoride helps to improve oral health, excessive fluoride consumption, especially in drinking water, can actually lead to dental fluorosis of teeth and bones. Skeletal fluorosis is a serious condition where the bones and teeth become brittle and inelastic, causing bone fracture, joint damage, tooth injury, and infection.
- Other Health Concerns. Other health concerns that are related to excessive fluoride exposure includes, skin problems, cardiovascular issues, bone cancer such as osteosarcoma, and reproductive issues.
Effective Methods To Remove Fluoride From Water Cheaply
Now that you’re aware of the issues related to drinking water with excess fluoride, let’s take a look at some of the best methods to remove fluoride from water. The four effective methods for fluoride removal are namely, bone charcoal carbon, activated alumina, reverse osmosis, and distillation.
We’ve also included some other methods for anyone that would like to discover more methods regarding how to remove fluoride from water cheaply.
Bone Charcoal Carbon
Bone charcoal carbon, sometimes known as bone char or brimac char, is a type of carbon filter media. This type of media is made from cleaning and sun-drying cows’ bones, and the entire process will take about 90 days. The bone is then heated within a deoxygenated kiln at extremely high temperatures of up to 800° C, producing an amorphous form of carbon.
With the uncrystallized nature of the brimac char, it consists of 80% phosphate, 10% carbon, and 10% calcium carbonate. Its characteristics make it perfect for adsorption, where the unwanted contaminants in passing water adhere to the filter media. Besides removing fluoride from water, bone charcoal carbon filters are also great for removing heavy metals such as lead.
One downside about the bone charcoal carbon media is that it has the tendency to work well with acidic water, and is not so effective when it’s with hard, alkaline water.
To know if a method is working or not, you can pay attention to whether it is being used on a large scale or not. The method that is commonly used in water treatment plants to remove fluoride and arsenic from groundwater sources is activated alumina. This is an effective method to consider especially if your water contains dangerous levels of these impurities.
Similar to the previous filter media, activated is also a filtration media that has a high adsorption rate, making it ideal for water fluoride removal. The best activated alumina filters are even capable of lowering fluoride levels down to 1 ppm.
For activated alumina filters to work effectively, it will need to be with water that has a pH level of 6.5 or lower. While these types of filters are one of the cheapest solutions to remove fluoride, you do need to replace them frequently, as they can quickly become clogged with contaminants.
If you are looking for the most thorough method to filter your tap water, reverse osmosis will be your best bet. Not only does a reverse osmosis system remove fluoride effectively, but it is also capable of removing other contaminants as well. Reverse osmosis is undoubtedly the best choice for removing almost every drinking water contaminant.
The reverse osmosis treatment process works in a way where water is forced through a semipermeable membrane, which has extremely small pores that almost any impurity will not be able to pass through. The dissolved solids will be left behind while pure water particles will go through the membrane.
One of the biggest advantages of reverse osmosis is that it utilizes multiple filtration processes as well as the semipermeable membrane. In general, most RO systems come with a pre-filter, a carbon filter, and a post-filter. Reverse osmosis systems can also be used with other filters, such as UV purifiers and remineralization filters.
The service life of an RO system typically ranges between 10 and 15 years, though the reverse osmosis filters and membranes do need to be replaced from time to time. The recommended timeframe for replacing the RO filters is once a year for the water filters, and once every two years for the membrane.
While reverse osmosis water filters are inexpensive to run, an RO system isn’t the most cost-effective filtration system up-front due to its high price. So if you did not allocate a big budget for fluoride removal, then RO water filtration systems might not be the best choice for you.
Can I Get Fluoride Out of Water Through Distillation?
Last but not least, distillation is another one of the most effective ways to remove fluoride from water. Water distillation is considered one of the oldest methods of water purification, but it is still widely used to this day.
Distilled water is obtained by boiling water until it evaporates, then the evaporated water will be condensed into a separate container. Contaminants that are unable to evaporate and condense will be left behind in the boiling chamber. Then, they will be washed away as you clean out the system.
Water distillers have a big advantage when it comes to affordability because distilling water is a low-cost operation. Many systems on the market use a water filter in some ways and this means the filter has to be changed on a regular basis. On the other hand, distillers operate in a way that doesn’t require a filter, but there are some distillers that come with a small carbon filter.
The downside of using a distiller is that getting distilled water is an extremely time-consuming process. It will normally take up to 6 hours for a standard distiller to produce one gallon of purified water, making this a viable option for couples or people who live on their own.
You should bear in mind that distillation not only removes fluoride, but healthy minerals from water too, leaving the water a “plain” taste.
Other Ways of Removing Fluoride from Drinking Water
Some other methods that you might be interested in include using holy basil or a water bottle that comes with a built-in fluoride filter.
Holy basil, otherwise known as sacred basil, is a natural method of removing fluoride from water and this is a “must know” for anyone who wants to know how to remove fluoride from water cheaply.
First of all, this is a simple process and only requires you to soak the leaves and stems of the holy basil, dried or fresh, in a container of water. Secondly, holy basil is cheap to acquire and is fairly effective, reducing fluoride levels by approximately 80%.
However, this method takes up to 8 hours which is very time-consuming and it is not guaranteed to remove fluoride completely. This is why many people are not a fan of this method, but it is still good to know.
Besides using holy basil, you can also consider using water bottles that are equipped with their own built-in fluoride filters. This will come in handy especially for outdoor enthusiasts because it is a portable solution, allowing them to remove fluoride from drinking water with ease.
Filtered water bottles are also great choices if you want instant access to filtered water. Simply fill it with any tap water source, and you can enjoy clean water whenever you want to. Some bottles also come with UV treatment, which is a great advantage especially if you drink from an untreated water supply and you want to be protected from microorganisms like bacteria.
This type of water bottle works similarly to gravity-fed filters where the bottle is separated into two chambers with a mesh filtration material in between the two compartments. As water passes through the mesh, toxins, chemicals, and most importantly, fluoride, will be removed from your drinking water.
Cheapest Filters to Remove Fluoride from Water at Home
Now that you know how to remove fluoride from water cheaply using the methods that were mentioned, let’s take a look at the best fluoride water filters that are made with affordability in mind.
Water Filter Pitchers
A water filter pitcher is without question, the cheapest fluoride removal system available. You only need to spend no more than $25 on a pitcher and you can remove fluoride, heavy metals, chlorine, and many other tap water contaminants. It is also a norm for a water pitcher to use a type of activated carbon filter for removing fluoride, like bone char.
One downside of water filter pitchers is that you are unable to gain instant filtered water access because the pitcher needs about 10 to 20 minutes to filter a new batch of water. This is also dependent on the size of the jug, as well as the age of the filter. The older it is, the more clogged it will be, and the filtration process will naturally be longer.
Generally, most water pitchers have a filter lifespan of three months, but you can always purchase filters in multipacks for better value for money in the long term. On average, you are likely to spend less than $50 for a water filter pitcher annually.
Faucet Mount Filters
Faucet filters are designed to be mounted onto a kitchen tap to provide you with immediate access to clean and fluoride-free water. Similar to some of the filters mentioned earlier, a faucet filter utilizes a type of carbon filter to remove fluoride from water. In addition, it can also remove chlorine, lead, pesticides and herbicides, pharmaceuticals, and benzene.
The cost of a faucet filter ranges between $20 and $30, while the replacement filters cost about $10 to $20, depending on the quantity you’re buying at once. Besides that, this type of filter is also incredibly easy to install, making it the go-to choice for many homeowners.
There are many different brands on the market for countertop filters and while some are more premium, which is more costly, there are some affordable ones available too. One of the most popular and effective choices is the distiller, which was mentioned earlier. It is good for treating high levels of fluoride, doesn’t take up much space, and can be stored easily when not in use.
Other choices like the Big Berkey filter are also a good option because they can remove fluoride effectively. However, the Black Berkey elements do need to be bought separately, making it more expensive.
Last but not least, under-sink filters are also great for reducing fluoride levels in your drinking water. As the name suggests, an under-sink filter is typically installed under a kitchen sink, so you need to make sure that there is enough room for the filtration system. This is a great choice if you want to get clean, fluoride-free tap water within seconds.
Under-sink filters also have a more challenging installation process because they need to be connected to your water supply. But once they are installed, you will only need to change the filters from time to time, which is usually a simple task.
The initial cost of under-sink filters is on the higher end, with a price between $100 and $300. Thankfully, the average cost to run them is fairly reasonable at about $50 to $130 per year only.
Now that you’ve come to the end of this article we believe you now have the knowledge of how to remove fluoride from water cheaply and can proceed to pick the best method for you. If you would like to know more about this topic, be sure to check out our frequently asked questions section, where we answer some of the relevant questions.
What else can I do to reduce fluoride exposure?
If you wish to reduce fluoride intake or exposure from elsewhere, you can consider switching your current toothpaste to non-fluoride toothpaste. While using toothpaste with fluoride is helpful for preventing tooth decay and improving oral health, using fluoride-free toothpaste can reduce the risk of accidental swallowing of fluoride.
In addition, you can also consider avoiding supplements that contain high fluoride concentration, or stop using activated charcoal for reducing fluoride levels. Many people misunderstand that activated charcoal is useful for removing fluoride, but it really isn’t. As we’ve mentioned above, you should consider using activated alumina instead.
Will boiling tap water remove fluoride?
No. Unfortunately, boiling water doesn’t help to remove fluoride, unless it is in the process of distillation. Otherwise, the fluoride content in the water will only increase because fluoride doesn’t evaporate easily from drinking water when boiled. Be sure to not boil fluoridated water if you wish to lower your exposure to fluoride.
Do water softeners remove fluoride?
No. Water softeners are only useful for filtering water, but not so much for providing pure, fluoride-free water. Water softeners utilize an ion exchange process that removes hardness minerals from drinking water, but fluoride content will still be maintained.