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What you need to know about the water in your home

What you need to know about the water in your home

How to stop the water you use harming your pets, plants and environment

How often do you think about the water you use? Experts warn that our cavalier attitude toward water may be harming our pets, our plants and the environment. Our tap water can contain all kinds of nasties, including chlorine, cysts and Cryptosporidium—a parasite which gets into our lakes and rivers through sewage and animal waste. This particular pest can be ingested through our water and can cause gastroenteritis; a condition which induces cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Getting to know your H20

Most of us are fortunate enough to be able to take water for granted and, while we may invest in filtered or bottled water for our consumption, we give little thought to our other water use. Even when using tap water, harmful germs and bacteria are rare and are usually fairly harmless to us humans. Unfortunately, this is not always the case for our pets and our plants and, In this section, we’ll take you through what you need to know when using H20:

Our pets

Young owner pours tap water into a bowl for a thirsty dogHard water can cause health problems for dogs. Photo credit: alexei_tm

Us Brits are a nation of pet lovers but, according to Gene Fitzgerald, water treatment expert at BOS, the water we use may actually be poisoning our furry friends. In the UK, we are blessed with pretty clean tap water but that doesn’t mean that it's always 100% safe for our pets. 

If you live in a hard water area, for example, this can cause a number of health problems in dogs. Hard water contains high levels of calcium and / or magnesium and prolonged and / or excessive consumption of hard water can result in canine conditions such as cystitis, bladder infections, urinary obstructions and infections, stone formation and crystalluria—the presence of crystals in a dog’s urine which can lead to severe kidney illnesses including nephrolithiasis, nephrocalcinosis and renal failure. 

Similarly, water which has been treated by a water softener can be harmful and even deadly for dogs on a low sodium diet as these softeners use sodium in quite large amounts. 

"It's a good idea to check it for harmful levels of chlorine and, where necessary, use a water filter before feeding it to pets"

If fish are your pet of choice, things are a little simpler. While they may generally prefer softer water, goldfish are perfectly able to thrive in hard water. Similarly, tropical fish can survive in hard water, however, if you want to keep your tropical fish in peak health, it's best to use soft water in your tank or aquarium. When it comes to looking after your fish, it's always best to check with the pet shop you bought them from to ensure that you know all there is to know about their care. 

Finally, while most tap water is safe for pets, it's a good idea to check it for harmful levels of chlorine and, where necessary, use a water filter before feeding it to pets. You can check your tap water by picking up a chlorine test. These are usually inexpensive and easy to use and can be bought from homeware stores and online at sites such as Amazon. 

Our plants

water plants in a sunny window of the home using a watering canFiltered water is the best for your house plants. Photo credit: ronstik

For those with green fingers, water is the key to keeping your plants healthy. Hard water can damage your plants as excessive calcium and magnesium deposits make it difficult for your plants to consume other nutrients needed to survive. 

"Hard water can damage your plants due to excessive calcium and magnesium deposits"

As with your pets, softened water isn’t great for your plants either as it uses sodium which is extremely harmful to plants and vegetation. To keep your plants in tip top condition, consider using filtered water (no need to go mad and use expensive bottled water). 

Our environment

woman working on a laptop and holding a metal water bottleMetal water bottles are better for the environment than plastic. Photo credit: AnSyvanych

Since the early 1970s, bottled water has been increasingly popular and, in 2022, around 7.7 billion plastic bottles of water are sold every year. While many people choose bottled water as they believe that it is purer and, therefore, more healthy, it's not so great for our planet as it results in huge amounts of single-use plastic waste. As the world speeds toward the 2030 environmental goals, people are urged to seek alternatives to plastic bottles such as metal bottles that can be used multiple times as this is much more helpful in conserving our planet’s resources. 

Softly does it for keeping plants and pets healthy

a glass of filtered water in front of various different water filtersFiltered water is the best way to keep your pets, plants and environment safe. Photo credit: Serhii Moiseiev

Most people will, thankfully, not experience any issues with their tap water but it's always better to be safe than sorry. In order to protect your pets and plants, the following will help: 

●    Use a carbon filter to effectively remove chlorine and chloramine
●    Have your tap water tested for harmful chemicals
●    Read your annual water quality report
●    Use reverse osmosis and distillation to remove hardness without adding sodium to your water

We all rely on clean water to stay healthy—humans, pets and plants—and by following the tips in this article, you can help to make sure that your water is as safe as possible for everybody. 

Banner photo credit: alex_ugalek

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