Making Water Taste Good

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2014 • all rights reserved

We needed a way to quickly have good tasting water without having to go buy it. The PUR dispenser doesn't just make good water, it's great!

The water here in the boatyard reeks of sulphur and isn’t potable. There’s one faucet behind the shower building with “potable water” and while it’s better, and may not hurt you to drink it and doesn’t smell in the shower, it also doesn’t taste very good. [NOTE: I wrote this in 2014, when we had just bought our boat and were prepping it in the boat yard. Now it’s 2016, and this “temporary” solution has worked so well that we’re still using it!]

We needed a way to quickly have good tasting water without having to go buy it. The PUR dispenser doesn't just make good water, it's great!

Some people here in the yard buy bottled water, but the nearest place to get it is 12 miles away. You can also buy refills for your own containers in town. A couple of people just refill their jugs from the faucet at a park in town.

We didn’t like the sound of any of those options. Lots of work, schlepping jugs and making trips to town just for water. And the cost starts adding up, too – not just the water but the gas for the car.

Instead, we bought a PUR water dispenser for just under $30 (purchase link below). We’re using it now and we’ll continue to use it to make our tank water taste great. I mean, it’s seriously great . . . not just “it’ll do.”

We needed a way to quickly have good tasting water without having to go buy it. The PUR dispenser doesn't just make good water, it's great!

“Tap” water goes in the top level, passes through the filter and into the lower chamber where it can go out the spigot. Filters last for about 40 gallons and you definitely tell by the taste when it’s time to change it. Filters vary considerably in price but you can get them in multi-packs for about $5 each (see purchase links below). The dispenser holds 18 cups, or a little over a gallon.

Company literature says it removes 95% of mercury in the water, plus chlorine. I can also attest that it removes sulphur and whatever else is in the water here to make it taste nasty. I’ve talked to a couple of long-term “residents” here at the boatyard who previously tried using a Brita pitcher; they said that the Brita didn’t improve the water nearly as much as my PUR did (in the course of talking about other things we’d given them a glass of water and they asked where it came from because it tasted so good).

Even if the bottom portion of the dispenser is full, you can add water to the top and it will filter down as water is used. It does take a few minutes for the water to filter through, so we try to keep it reasonably full all the time (We fill a 2 gallon jug from that “potable water” spigot to bring back to the boat, then pour it in as needed).

One note about the dispenser – the plastic base can scratch a counter if you pull the dispenser forward to get water and back to be out of the way (guess how I discovered this?). I solved the problem easily by placing a folded up dish towel under it – it still slides easily but no marks on the counter. And of course, be sure to secure the dispenser when underway (if your sink is large enough, that’s a great place to put it).

We needed a way to quickly have good tasting water without having to go buy it. The PUR dispenser doesn't just make good water, it's great!

I’ll admit, it’s still not a truly economical solution – the filter cost is about 13 cents a gallon, plus the cost of the dispenser. [NOTE: Now that we’re out of the boat yard, a filter lasts much longer with most of the water we use and ends up costing less than 5 cents a gallon.]

Installing a 10” filter housing on the line to the galley sink and using a 0.5 micron carbon block filter is cheaper in the long run. And I loved my Seagull filter on our previous boat, Que Tal. But we can’t do every project on the boat simultaneously and getting good-tasting drinking water without the hassle of having to go somewhere was a top priority.

I ordered the PUR filter/dispenser from Amazon when we left the house and it was here in the yard office when we arrived. A few minutes later, it was up and working. Exactly what we needed.

Links to buy on Amazon:

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  1. So true! I did not buy one before we left and was very sorry about three days later when our jugs of home well water ran out. As soon as we could get to a store we got one and have been thankful ever since! Most popular item on the boat haha!

  2. Penny Kingsbury says:

    we prefer the Zero water system as it provided the most filtered water. Using this water to drink and for use with the Sodastream system for all soda drinks made great tasting water/soda. Taking all the filters you need for a long trip was a bit of a pain though I think for all the small systems.

    • Absolutely. That’s why I like the 10″ filters or Seagull for longer trips, but for a quick fix or times when you’ll be able to get more filters easily (cruising in the US and weekenders) they’re a great simple solution.

  3. Love my Pur, it’s far superior to the Brita.

  4. Barbara K says:

    I got one of these – when I didn’t use it for a while it got mould on the inside and I had no way to get to it. How do you clean these?

  5. I bought a Mavea water filter pitcher earlier this year and absolutely love it! No more bottled water on the boat!

  6. I managed to put 11 gallons of diesel into (fortunately) nearly full water tanks. I removed the bladders, cleaned them assiduously with Simple Green until there was no residue or taint left, reinstalled and then installed the Culligan inline filter I’d bought a few months previously. The water was many times better tasting than before.
    I don’t know how it would compare with the Pur, but having yet another jug or item on my galley counter really isn’t an option. The under the sink unit takes very little room, is easy to install, and lasts for quite a long time, with inexpensive cartridge refills.

  7. Hey Carolyn,
    We filter all the water that we put into our tanks with one of these–in-line-kdf-water-filter–13915129. This one is from West Marine but I’ve seen them sold in RV stores too. I wonder how it compares to the one you are using? It certainly has been an easy solution for us and seems to work really well. We replace it once a year but as a live aboard you’d need to do it more.

  8. Donna Chiappini says:

    Carolyn, as coastal cruisers my husband and and I buy a lot of bottled water. The water from the tanks taste terrible. In an effort to save space and money, I purchased a portable water filter called EVERYDROP. It’s made by Whirlpool. Takes up no space and you filter what you need as you need. It has a plastic carrying case and can’t be any bigger then a large orange. Also has a nonslip bottom. We use it for cooking, coffee and tea. We still enjoy our bottled water too but now we don’t have to store as much. It claims to filter 1 gallon in 2 minutes and 1 filter equals 450 water bottles. Highly recommend and can be purchased on Amazon.

  9. pur or zero water are the best,..have been using them for years,…on sea and land.

  10. We use the same filter. Works great.

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