mr_bill_m

Question on Water

Bill M.
14 days ago

Typically I use collected rain water to water my plants. Unfortunately, with the cold spell and snow, everything outside is frozen and all containers brought inside have been used up, so I am using tap water which I let sit overnight, or longer.


My question is, does anyone use the Zerowater or Brita type water filter systems. One is supposed to have zero TDS while the other removes most solids, chlorine etc. Have any of you any experience with these pitcher type filters or is it just tap water when rain water isn't available? Gotta keep the kiddies happy.

Comments (36)

  • stupidlazydog CT zone 5b/6a
    14 days ago

    I'm lazy, and just use tap water (well water, no city water here). The only rain water mine get are when they're outside for the summer.

  • popmama
    14 days ago

    I filter my water through a Brita pitcher then let it sit over night. I'm a crazy plant lady. It's probably not necessary but well...I do it anyway.

    I also shovel snow into buckets and let it melt, then funnel it through a coffee filter for plants. But it's not nearly enough to actually water my plants regularly. When I have it, it's like a "treat".

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  • Bill M.
    Original Author
    13 days ago

    Popmama - it takes a lot of snow to gather up a bucket of water! You certainly are dedicated. I'm too lazy to do that, so I guess I'll have to wait till some of it starts to thaw out. Ii was also seriously thinking of purchasing a Zerowater pitcher. It won't do all the plants but will certainly make enough to do my hoyas since their aren't so many of them yet. Now come spring and the warmer weather begins, that's going to be another story altogether!


  • Dave
    13 days ago

    I only use tap water.

    Bill M. thanked Dave
  • tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
    13 days ago

    According to their specs Brita does not do as well a job as Zerowater of removing dissolved solids. So if you are concerned then ZW is a better choice. How bad or hard is your water? Our tap water has relatively low TDS - about 100ppm but does have chlorine/chloramine as is most tap water in US. But toxic metals is low although lead content does not always meet the EPA guidelines.

    Bill M. thanked tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
  • popmama
    13 days ago

    Agree. When I did my research, the ZeroWater had consistently better statistics. I only went with the Brita because it was a great deal at Costco.

    Bill, I filter the water and pour it into gallon jugs then let that sit for a day or more. The filter pitcher just makes water for other storage containers. I never use the jug to water my plants. And in fact, the storage jugs get fertilizer, then I pour small amounts of those jugs into my watering can (which holds less than a half-gallon). It's all a silly process really. But it gives me a purpose.

    I do also use the Brita pitcher to fill my humidifiers.

    And you are right that snow doesn' t make much water. When I do get snow water I use it for propagations or some plants get a bit of snow water because they are just lucky that time. :-)

  • hibiscus909
    12 days ago

    What plants are you trying to keep happy and what is the quality of your tap water. Also , my tap water pH is different from rainwater and would not be affected by filtration.

  • popmama
    12 days ago

    My 5-gallon snow bucket produced 2 gallons of actual water. :)

  • Bill M.
    Original Author
    11 days ago

    Tropic - thanks for the update. I didn't know that. I may just use the zerowater pitcher until everything outside finally thaws out.

    Stay well and keep participating.


  • popmama
    11 days ago

    I'm back to wanting the Zerowater pitcher now! Maybe I will treat myself to one soon. I also have a Boogie filter that I have never used. I should figure out where I put that thing! I was going to use it for my outdoor plants one year and never got around to hooking it up. I should figure out a way to hook it up to my indoor faucet when I want to fill up a jug for houseplants.

  • Bill M.
    Original Author
    10 days ago

    It's supposed to climb above freezing for a few days here, so hopefully my outside barrels will thaw enough that I can refill some of my water jugs.


    An interesting side note. As you know, I tried starting some cuttings in leca. The ones where I filled the container with rain water have no white (salt) marks on them. The ones that I used tap water on already, maybe two days or so, have white salt marks on them. I'm amazed at the difference.

  • tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
    10 days ago

    Rainwater has zero TDS (Total dissolved solids) and is perfect for plants. Have you noticed how all plants look vibrant after a good rain shower. Being zero TDS it is easiest for roots to absorb and they just suck it up with no effort. Adding anything including fertilizer shifts the TDS up and makes it increasingly harder for roots to absorb the water.

  • Bill M.
    Original Author
    8 days ago

    Well I managed to eke out a couple gallons of rainwater from my collection barrel. Since it's black, it adsorbs the heat and melts some of the ice. The center is still a large chunk of solid ice, but I manages to siphon off a few gallons of the melted water. If the temps continue to rise, and we get some rain these next few days as they are predicting (when I grow up I want to be a weather man. They can be wrong 80% of the time and still get paid! If I ever did that on my job, people would have been killed, so a weather man it is for me - much less pressure), the interior ice will melt and the barrel should again fill up. I agree, rainwater is the absolute best for our plants.


  • popmama
    8 days ago

    Haha...I was laughing at myself today because I filled up several large mixing bowls with snow once my 5-gallon bucket was full. I've been letting them thaw in the kitchen then pouring the snow-water into a jug. I go back outside and fill them up again. But today the snow is melting fast!

  • tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
    8 days ago

    I have a rainwater collection system with a capacity of 150 gallons. In Summer, sometimes it is not enough to water all the plants during prolonged rainless periods (in our area that can be around 2-3 weeks at most). In fall, before shutting it down, I collect about 230 gallons in big barrels in my basement. Usually lasts through April by alternating with tap water - (I have several 100 plants). In May I may have to collect a bit more again to last for the month. Plants start going out a few at a time through the month of May.

  • popmama
    8 days ago

    Wow, I admire your dedication!

  • tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
    8 days ago

    Bill: I have a question for you. Your water freezes outdoors in a barrel and it does not break apart once it freezes completely? Is it a metal barrel? I get worried that anything plastic with frozen water will develop cracks sooner or later.

    popmama: Thanks. I built my system incrementally over many years. Started about 20 years back and added/modified the system many times, many mistakes. And I keep wanting to increase my rainwater capacity.

    This is the last version from early 2012 that is still operational. Those barrels contained olives shipped from Greece. Has greek info permanently embossed on those barrels. For the first year the water smelled of olives - lol. I have similar ones in basement that contained pickled banana pepper. That smell took a while to get rid of. My wife swears she can still smell it. Better that than some offensive toxic chemical.

  • Bill M.
    Original Author
    8 days ago

    I use the rubbermaid black trash barrels. I've used them for years and never had a problem. I took the top off the barrel, drilled holes in it and placed it back on upside down. It catches more water that way (at least I hope so). When the ice expands, it seems to do so in a verticle direction. Since the barrels are slight plyable, any horizontal expansion is midigated by the softer walls. I've never had a problem other than when I tried installing a faucet in one and I could never stop the leaking. Now I just scoop from the top. Tomorrow if it isn't raining, I'll take and post a picture.


  • Patti ~ Chicago Zone 5b/6a
    7 days ago

    I keep collected rain water for my plants too. I also have a zero water filter because my city water tested high for lead after we received new pipes in the street a couple years back. They gave me the set up for free with six new replacement filters also. I use that water if I don’t have rain. We just had our share of the snow here and I have been bringing in buckets and placing them near the furnace to thaw. I have been using the water to dampen my seedling mix for my seed starting and winter sowing. I keep filling up my five gallon bucket with clean snow. We are getting rain tonight and there are a few buckets out in my yard. I feel it is the best for my plants too. Sometimes I think I am nuts to do all this but it keeps my plants looking nice.

  • Bill M.
    Original Author
    7 days ago

    Patti - no, your not nuts - you're one of us crazies! The plants enjoy rainwater, and we enjoy our plants - what's not to like. I know for me they give me a feeling of peace and tranquility, I just love working with them and looking at them so it stands to reason we'd do whatever we can to ensure their health. Plants give me at least, a break from all the political propaganda on both sides of the aisle.

    So rest assured, you're not nuts.


  • popmama
    7 days ago

    Yes, rest assured if you are nuts, then at least you are not alone!

    Rain barrels were illegal here until only two years ago. Not that any enforcement officers were driving around looking for them. But if you had one, you were a scofflaw!


  • Bill M.
    Original Author
    6 days ago

    Popmama - are you serious?!?!?! Rain barrels were illegal? Were the rain barrel police going to show up in a horse drawn wagon loaded with confiscated wooden rain barrels and a bunch of unhappy hoya plant lovers tied up on a long rope walking behind the wagon? Heads held down in shame for they were caught catching sky water and not paying a utility instead?


    I don't want to get political here, and I try my best to not get started, but sometimes the "laws" in our country / community just amaze me. There are so many real and important things to address to improve the lives of our citizens, and our "legislators" weather it be an HOA, and town, state or federal government wastes so much time on feel good do nothing laws that are never enforced or impossible to enforce or if enforced, have zero impact on the citizens.


    Certain things I can understand, like getting a permit if one is going to put an addition on a house. Property lines need to be respected, neighbors concerns addressed, electrical, heating, plumbing etc all need to be to code. Yet my neighbor wanted to replace his existing post and rail fence with an identical post and rail fence. Literally remove one post and replace it with a new one on down the line. He had to apply for a permit, then go to a town zoning meeting, and bring his neighbors on either side so the town board could hear there were no objections. When it was my turn to speak I told them they were all fools for wasting everyone's time on a one for one identical replacement, and come the next election I would do my very best to ensure none of them were reelected. They immediately granted him the permit. I also made sure when the election rolled around, that I supported their opponents, two of which got in.


    Geez - now you got me started! Sorry. I promise not to turn you in. I'll keep quiet for now.

    Stay well....


  • Bill M.
    Original Author
    6 days ago

    For those that asked about my rain barrel, here's a picture of it with the ice inside. It's finally beginning to thaw a little. I guess it does expand in the horizontal direction too because the barrel is a little oblong, but so far these last three years, it hasn't sprung a leak.




  • tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
    6 days ago

    Must be flexing and works. Once I had a rubbermaid hard inflexible tub that collected snow that turned to ice. In spring it had neat little crack next to the bottom drain. I fixed the crack and now I turn it upside down for the winter.

    Our local conservancy society encourages residents to install rain barrels. They have their own version that they sell and install. Several houses in our block have it now. Water is expensive here and so there is an incentive.

  • tapla
    6 days ago

    If (the collective) you can afford to part with about $200, you can generate your own deionized water with a small reverse osmosis filtration system. Mine is a 5-stage and will produce about 75 gallons of water with 0 ppm dissolved solids. I use the water in my humidifiers (clean them only before I store them for the summer), vaporizer, for watering plants, and for all drinking/cooking water. It's very easy to install, and easy/inexpensive to maintain. Treated water has no taste or odor. It makers a notable difference for plants.




    Mine is installed in our basement mechanical room, and happens to be in operation at the moment.

    Al

  • tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
    5 days ago

    Al, I read that RO systems do not work well when water is very hard. Specifically, some filter needs replacement too often. Our water is not particularly very hard and TDS is around 100 ppm. How hard is your water and any general issues/advise related to its operation and performance?

  • Bill M.
    Original Author
    5 days ago

    Tapia - De-ionized water? Not distilled water? there's a big difference. I can understand RO water and zero TDS, but DI water isn't safe to drink is it? I thought it would remove all the electrolytes from the body thereby creating a large chemical imbalance. When we used DI water to clean some products in one of my companies, the stainless steel container which was used slowly had the surface layer etched away due to too long a contact with DI water. So it's truly DI water you're using and no issues, or did you mean distilled water?


    I do like the suggestion of using it for a humidifier, which I may look into. Make a very inexpensive way to generate all the water I need.


    Thanks....

    Stay well.

  • tapla
    5 days ago

    My water (municipal) supply at tap is in the 170-195ppm range and pH is around 8.0-8.1. Because I humidify the grow area and the rest of the house with ultrasonic humidifiers, I go through a LOT of R/O water. By a lot, I'd say I make about 10-12 gallons every other day, used for watering plants, humidifiers, drinking, cooking. Warm month use is limited almost entirely to making drinking water. I change the 1-micron sediment filter every year or so, and the 2 - 1 micron carbon block filters and DI resin about every other year. All the filters cost about $50 total. I don't know if the 2 year interval is considered frequent or not. I suspect I change more often than necessary, but better safe than sorry.

    Bill - I realize there is some room for debate about whether or not R/O water is deionized, but the manufacturer refers to the end product as being such, and the 0 ppm DS reading on the in-line meter makes me feel comfortable using the 'deionized' term interchangeably with R/O water. I can't imagine why deionized water would stain/alter the surface of stainless steel, unless and because there is much room for dissolution of any electrically charged particles from which the SS is comprised. As far as the medical concerns, my current and former internists were both aware of the fact I use DI water for drinking. Both said as long as my blood work comes back normal (it consistently does) and I get enough fruits/ vegetables/ nuts in my diet - no problem. For others - I would encourage you to ask your Dr about drinking R/O. OTOH, so many have R/O systems it 's hard to imagine it being a big deal except in the odd case here & there. I have trouble even with the smell/taste of my tapwater ...... with all that chlorine/chloramine in it.

    Winter's back and the birds are waiting at an empty feeder. Time to set the table for them.


    Al

  • Bill M.
    Original Author
    5 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    Tapia - thanks for the explanation. I will look into RO water, but I think I'll be leaving the DI resin out of the system. We used to use DI water to clean certain military application items because they removed all organic solids. I was always under the impression of do not drink, but hey, if it's working for you then that's all you need to know.

    Al the best to you now go feed those birds (they do tend to get pushy when they have to wait for food don't they?).

    Stay well....

  • Dave in NoVA • N. Virginia • zone 7A
    5 days ago

    I have this foldout 'chute' that diverts rain water into a very large pot whenever it rains. I can collect a huge amount really fast this way. When it's full. I just fold it up. It's in the front of the house, so I can't have rain collection barrels in view.


  • Rebecca/N. IN/z6A
    5 days ago

    Our tap has chloramine, no plant in my house gets THAT!! They are outside for +/- 7 mos of the year, so they mostly get rained on or supplemented w/ water from our dehumidifier. In the winter, when they’re all inside & dehumidifier is basically dormant, they either get creek water (local) or snow, if we have any. Most of Jan., we had snow, then got 12 inches 2 wks ago & it has been a godsend!! I walk out my front door, fill up my buckets, boil a gallon or 2 & then pour it back into a bucket of snow. I’m going to seriously look into rain barrels this year (as our rain is seemingly less frequent each passing year) and would love an RO/DI setup, even if for nothing other than my saltwater tank hobby.

  • Rebecca/N. IN/z6A
    5 days ago

    PS Bill I agree w/ you about stupid laws, rain collection being one of my tops. No one owns the rain, therefore it cannot be regulated. Grrrr....

  • Bill M.
    Original Author
    4 days ago

    Ahhh Rebecca, one truly after me own heart! I fully understand you. Sometimes (well, most of the times) these feel good laws do nothing other than hurt law abiding citizens - now don't get me started!


    Today all my rainwater is frozen solid. Hopefully when it thaws later in the week, I'll be able to fill up some gallons to bring inside. The plants really seem to thrive on rainwater. Now are the days are beginning to get longer and the plants are waking up, I also mix with each gallon of rainwater a little less than a 1/4 teaspoon of miracle grow orchid food, which they are now fed twice a month. They really appreciate it. Really - they told me so! ;-)



  • Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.)
    4 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    Bill, I hear you on the rain water, especially my orchids! I too will get that white crust all over everything including my fish tank hood is I use tap. I actually see roots on my orchids burn away or go from green to black or rotted from it. Not for my plants unless I really have to like in summer when I get hardly any rain. I have to use the hose and boy over time my plants look like crap unless it rains again.

    I collect all my rain from my gutter into a 30 gallon barrel and then siphon it out into more in my basement. I currently have 6 full, lol, because I can't rely solely on the one outside that is now frozen solid like yours. Ugh!!

    Don't you just LOVE the sound of rain outside and seeing that barrel fill up? Love it)

  • tapla
    4 days ago

    .... as if we need to be constantly reminded that every governmental bureaucrat has to do something to make our lives miserable in order to justify their existence.

    Al