It would be great if we can always have convenience without any trade-offs. Unfortunately, convenience usually has a cost. Here is my latest example.
When I built my home and purchased a refrigerator, one of my requirements was to have water and ice in the door. I never had this growing up, but I wanted it for my house. I drink a lot of water, and I live in Arizona so I like my water cold. It's very convenient. Cold water anytime you want it and ice on demand without bothering with filling ice cube trays. Money for nothing and your chicks for free. But what is the cost?
As I wrote about in the Joys of Home Ownership, my home required several thousand dollars in repairs due to a water line leak. The water line happened to be the one supplying the refrigerator. Now, this was a fluke. But it never would have happened if I did not have a refrigerator with water and ice.
The second cost relates to health. A friend of mine recently drew my attention to water quality. She and her husband live in an apartment, and they get the big five gallon jugs of purified water. I have been happily drinking and using water from my refrigerator, which has a filter that I change regularly.
One way to measure water quality is to test the total dissolved solids (TDS). The standard for drinking water is to have a TDS measure of less than 500 mg/L. I decided to buy a tester and see what's going on with my water. By the way, Arizona water is considered to be some of the worst in the country in terms of hardness and contaminants. I did purchase a water softener years ago, but water softeners do nothing in terms of filtering the water.
Here are my results:
Tap water: 505 mg/L
Brita pitcher water: 455 mg/L
Fridge-filtered water: 404 mg/L
So much for clean city water! I guess we should have learned our lesson with Flint, Michigan. These values suck. And if this is the amount of dissolved solids, who knows what else is lurking in the water.
I am now looking into a reverse osmosis water filtration system that installs under the sink and provides very clean water. If I get this system installed, I will provide an update.
Convenience is a shortcut that usually has a cost. Good health costs money. That's just how it works. Pay now or pay later.