Saturday, January 9, 2010

Can a water filtration system save the planet?

Eh, maybe not, but it will certainly help. Did you know that there is a giant garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean, floating somewhere between Hawaii and San Francisco? This floating island of garbage is twice the size of Texas, is 80% plastic and weighs 3.5 million tons. I first saw a photo of it on a documentary I was watching with Ariana.
From that day on, we have sworn off plastic water bottles and replaced them with stainless steel. We previously filled out bottles from a filtered pitcher in the fridge. And then I was contacted by a gentleman from Cuisinart. He asked if I would be interested in reviewing a new countertop water filtration system. Um, not really. I am not a review blog and I generally do not even like to read review blogs. But I thought it over and decided it really follows my philosophy of trying to live sustainably. Well, lets be honest, the greenest thing we can do is drink water from the faucet like Americans have done for a couple hundred of years. But, not everyone has access to drinkable water. Growing up, we lived in a home where our well fed us the most hideous, iron infused, brown water. We certainly could have used a countertop water filtration system.

Anyhoo- I told the gentleman that I would take the system but I would only give it an honest review with no holds barred. He simple said, "I would expect no less." Score one for Cuisinart. And so this arrived at my front door: When I first put it together, I thought, "What the hell am I thinking?" Another appliance? I just gave up all my extraneous, unused appliances on Freecycle. But, we'll give it a whirl. It actually does not take up a lot of counter space: And now I have had it 3 months. I think that is adequate time to give it a fair review. And here you go:

It supplies hot, cold and room temperature water. I have seen how ultra convenient it is to have hot water instantly available. Ariana can make her own instant hot chocolate the minute she walks in from snow play. It does have a child lock on the hot button so Annika can not access it and burn herself. Nice thinking, Cuisinart. My favorite use for the hot water- making my oatmeal in a jiffy- I LOVE that! There is a video here about when to drink hot versus cold water.)

It fills easily from the sink hose.

We have found that guests use it a lot. I usually have to refill it when we have guests over. Maybe it's the novelty, maybe it seems less intrusive to pour water from a bubbler than to open someones fridge, maybe it's just looks so damn inviting sitting there... who knows, but it's gotten a lot of use.

The filter seems to last a long time. For all the use, we have yet to have to replace the filter. The filter should last for 48 gallons, which is more than I thought, I guess.

Has an energy saver mode for when you won't be actively using the hot water.

So, if you are curious about cost effectiveness- it is a huge savings. A filter every 3 months (or 48 gallons) is $20. If you buy that much water in bottles, you are going to pay anywhere from $100-$400 (depending on whether you buy by the case or singly.) With those savings you can buy the system and some steel bottles no problem.

But that leads to some cons:

Up front cost. It cost between $130-$150 for the WCH-1500, 2 gallon version that I have. (They offer a 1.5 gallon for around $100.) While I am cheap, I might not have wanted to pay this cost up front. However, if you can have a little more foresight than me, you can clearly see that it makes up for itself shortly if you are a water bottle user.

It is stainless steel! Yuck. When will manufacturers realize that, if you are marketing to families, stainless steel sucks. It constantly has fingerprints on it.

If you do not have a sink hose, I am not sure it would be feasible to fill this thing. I mean you could, with gallon jugs and stuff, but it seems as though it would be a pain in the tush. Thankfully, I think most Americans have a sink hose these days.

The water flow is slower than I'd like (although I am known to stand at the microwave, "Come on, I don't have all minute!") My husband said that he has a water dispenser at work and it is similarly slow. It has something to do with being a gravity system, I'm sure.
So there you have it. My first real, solicited review. Over all I like the water dispenser and we will be keeping it. I can't live without my quick access to tea, oatmeal and hot chocolate now. And we like not contributing to this:


  1. Damn! I don't have a sink hose ;) Thanks for the info!

  2. I was already against buying plastic bottles but now I will be more strict about it. I'm sure my husband will thank you, haha, I am already a pain in the butt. I am going to find that picutre, blow it up and frame it for the world to see. I will be looking into the filtration system, thanks for the info!

  3. We went off plastic bottles last year but I'm ALWAYS refilling my little pur pitcher. I hadn't seen this product before (so WTG Cuisinart marketing!) and I think I love it.

  4. Oooo---this sounds divine--but I don't have a water hose either from my sink. We all do have metal water bottles now, and we re-fill from the tap---which is really great here, but this filtration system sounds cool!

  5. Garbage island? That is just awful...
    I've been wanting to stop using bottled water - you have convinced me to look into this. Sounds great - especially the fact that it dispenses room temp water. That's awesome!

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