How To Filter Hose Water And Why You Should Do It


Many people use a hose filter for watering their garden or lawn, to provide clean drinking water for their pets, or for washing cars or boats. Unfiltered hose water can contain many chemical compounds, heavy metals and minerals, all of which can be detrimental to garden plants and animals and will even damage the paintwork on cars or boats.

Hose water can be filtered using an inline water filter or a garden hose filter. You can connect a hose filter directly to the tap or you can screw an inline water filter to the end of a hose.

In this post I’ll cover what you should consider when filtering your hose water, the types of hose water filters to use, differences between hose water and tap water, and the risks of using unfiltered hose water around your home. 

How to filter hose water

How you filter your hose water depends on the attachments you are using such as garden sprayers, misters and drip hoses. It’s also important to consider where you will be attaching the filter – at the tap end or at the hose end.

Hose water filters will usually contain a carbon cartridge containing granulated carbon. Carbon is effective in removing mold, bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms.

Carbon filters can also remove chemical compounds such as chlorine and fluoride as well as heavy metals including lead. They are also able to remove minerals from hard water.

Some hose filters have a poly screen which also helps remove larger sediments. These look like a cup under the male and female hose threads.

An inline water filter (Link to Amazon) has a male hose thread on one end and a female hose thread on the other. This allows you to screw the filter to the water source, such as tap water, and the other end to the hose.

Since chemical compounds in the PVC hose may leach into the water when left in the sun, it’s best to let the water run for a minute or so before use. This clears the standing water in the hose making it safe for use in your lawn, home garden and pets.

You may also connect the inline water filter to the end of the hose ensuring that the water passing through is filtered and safe for use.

Simply connect the garden hose filter (Links to Amazon) to the water source, such as tap water, and the other end to the hose. Let any standing water run out first before using the water on the garden or lawn.

Hose filters can be incredibly versatile. If you are using a garden sprayer when watering your garden, you can connect this to one end of the garden hose filter.

You can also use the garden hose filter with a drip hose or misting irrigation system to stop them getting blocked by sediment or mineral deposits. After connecting one end to the water source, simply run your connecting hose through the hose filter and then attach it to the mainline of your drip or misting system.

You may also want to replace your PVC hose altogether for a hose that is drinking safe (Amazon example). These don’t contain chemical compounds and plastics and is, therefore, safer for use around your home.

Why you should filter hose water

Lawns and gardens

Most hose water is generally used on the garden. But unfiltered hose water may be harming your plants.

Plants can be super sensitive to tap water. Once plants have absorbed water through their roots, the water is then passed through the vascular system and is distributed throughout the plant.

Eventually, water reaches the stems, branches, leaves, and fruits.

If there are harmful contaminants in the water, many of these will also be distributed throughout the plant.

Fluoride, for example, can accumulate in plants over time resulting in impaired photosynthesis.

Lead can cause stunted growth, discoloration, inhibit transpiration, and can ultimately result in the death of the plant.

On top of that, when we consume plants from our garden that have been watered with a PVC hose or if we drink from the hose directly, many of these chemicals and contaminants can be passed onto us and can cause a whole host of health complications.

Bisphenol A (BPA) exposure from a garden hose increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, infertility, breast, and prostate cancer.

Bacteria and other soil microorganisms thrive in dead organic matter. They are responsible for breaking down the organic matter and facilitate the process of decomposition.

Plants then use the decomposed matter as food.

Hose water contains harmful chemicals that will kill off many of these microorganisms in our gardens.

Chlorine, for instance, can quickly kill the beneficial microorganisms in our gardens.

For garden lovers and organic gardeners it’s best to chose a hose water filter that is certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF).

A garden hose water filter like AQUACREST (Amazon link) is ideal as it’s NSF certified, and is one of the best inline hose water filter for organic gardeners.

NSF certification isn’t compulsory, so if a garden filter has this certification it means the company has taken this extra step to prove that they believe in their product and so should their customers.

Washing cars and boats

Hose water may also be high in minerals.

Hard water (121-180mg/L) or Very Hard water (> 180mg/L) causes stains to appear on paintwork after washing your car or boat.

These minerals can eat away at the paint causing damage.

If you first remove hard-water minerals with a hose filter, essentially making it soft water, you are less likely to experience mineral stains and streaks when washing your car or boat.

A cheap solution to a potentially expensive problem!

Iron is can also be a big problem and, even in tiny amounts, can cause long-term damage to your car or boat.

This is especially true for people who use well water – read more on this in our post about washing your car with well water here.

Pets and farm animals

Hose water may also contain parasites and bacteria that are dangerous for pets and farm animals.

Giardia, for instance, is a parasite transmitted through fecal matter that finds its way into the water – even public water systems. It can cause diarrhea, vomiting in animals, and can even lead to death.

Lead poisoning in cattle can cause blindness, ataxia, and convulsions.

The contaminants in hose water will not discriminate between humans and animals.

Just as we need fresh clean water, so do our pets and animals.

Hot Tubs

Hot tub shells can get scratched from sediments and mineral deposits can build up in the pump.

Chemicals in the water will also be heated, which puts you at more risk when you take a soak and breath them all in.

Filtering the water with a hose filter every time you do a water change removes any sediment and impurities, and makes your hot tub soak even more enjoyable.

RVs

You never know where or when you’ll have to fill up your water supply in your RV. Using a hose filter will help keep the water clean and not introduce any nasties into your water tank.

For an RV, I would always consider a hose filter that comes with a flexible hose connector (link to Amazon). That way you won’t run the risk of accidentally breaking off the hose filter by connecting it directly to a tap.

Is hose water the same as tap water?

Generally speaking, hose water is the same as tap water. The water which you access through your tap or your hose reaches your home through the same underground pipes.

This means that if get your water from a public water supply, the water is treated and will contain chlorine and fluoride to make it safe for drinking and to help improve the health of our teeth and bones.

That said, both tap and hose water may still contain a high mineral content and when flowing through rusty pipes or lead fitting may also have copper or lead residue and other heavy metals.

However, almost half of all U.S. households filter their drinking water, which means the water inside their homes, even if it’s just the kitchen, will be somewhat free of impurities.

It’s much less common for people to filter the water that is on the outside of their home (i.e. hose water).

Additionally, garden hose water, may also contain chemical compounds from the PVC pipe that leach into the water especially when they get old or are in the sunlight.

Is there chlorine in hose water

Hose water, just like your homes internal tap water, will contain chlorine.

Chlorine and chloramines are used to kill off harmful pathogens that may be present in water thus making it safe for drinking.

The safe chlorine levels for drinking water is 4 parts per million (4 mg/L).

High chlorine levels cause rusting in copper pipes adding heavy metals including lead, copper, and iron to the water. These can combine with chemical compounds in the hose and form all sorts of chemical nasties.

Chlorinated water is not safe for garden use. Coupled with the fact that chlorine kills beneficial microorganisms, it also changes to chloride in the soil which is then absorbed by the plants.

Chloride intake in plants can result in scorched leaves and impaired plant development.

Can you get sick from drinking from a water hose?

Hose water is not safe for human consumption. Most PVC water hoses contain chemicals such as:

  • Bromine
  • Lead
  • Organotin
  • Antimony
  • Bisphenol A (BPA)
  • Phthalates.

Phthalates, BPA, and lead, in particular, are used to provide stability to plastic garden hoses.

Very often hoses are left sitting in the sun. This warms up the plastics and chemicals which then leach into the standing water in the hose.

When we use this water for our drinking, we transfer harmful chemicals and microorganisms into our systems.

Bromine

Bromine can result in:

  • Lacrimation and eye redness
  • Cough
  • Nose and throat irritations
  • Abdominal pain
  • Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis.

Lead 

Lead can get into hose water through corroded metal pipes in the tap water or through the brass in garden hose fittings.

This can leach into the water.

Lead is stored in the teeth and bones as well as in the liver and kidneys. Consuming hose water can cause lead to accumulate in your body resulting in lead poisoning.

Symptoms include:

  • Memory loss
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Tingling in hands and feet.

Organotin

Organotin (compounds found in tin) toxicity can result in:

  • Neurotoxicity
  • Dermal toxicity
  • Renal toxicity.

Bisphenol A

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used for making resins and plastics that make up the hose.

The risks of bisphenol A toxicity range from obesity and diabetes to brain cancer and heart complications.

Phthalates

There is evidence that exposure to some types of phthalates can cause cancer. Phthalate toxicity can even impair the reproductive system.

Final Word

A hose water filter is a great way to protect you, your home, and garden. A carbon filter that also features a mesh poly screen will be effective in removing not just sediments but also chemicals, minerals, heavy metals, and pathogens from hose water. Make sure your hose filter is NSF certified.

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