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Betta With A Brita
Brita Aluna Water Filter
Member Name: savvyshopper6476
Brita Aluna Water Filter
Date: 22/05/12, updated on 22/05/12 (247 review reads)
Advantages: Removes impurities, dishwasher safe (excl lid), compact design, fully recyclable, durable plastic
Disadvantages: Replacement cartridges can be expensive if you don't shop around
After just two years, despite religiously descaling my kettle on a monthly basis it finally succumbed to the detrimental effects of lime scale and hard water deposits. When I brought my Morphy Richards Accent kettle as a replacement I was determined not to let it suffer the same misery as its predecessor and decided to invest in a water filter, not just to prolong my kettles life but provide purer tasting water.
~~~ Price And Availability ~~~
There are dozens of filter systems available, Brita, being a brand I am most familiar with. I opted for the Brita Aluna 2.4 litre which requires Maxtra filter cartridges, one of which is supplied with the system when purchased.
The Aluna currently retails at Tesco for £12.80, apparently a saving of £3.20 from its usual selling price of £16.00 although I'm certain I only paid around the £13.00 mark some five months ago.
It's widely available in most stores (high street and online). Prices I have seen vary greatly from £17.00 at my local Lloyds chemist to a more reasonable £9.99 at Argos. Even at the higher retail, I think it would still be a sound investment however, I see no reason why anyone need pay more, so I would advise to shop around and obtain at the best possible price.
~~~ The Aluna Filter System ~~~~
The Aluna is available in two sizes. The 2.4 litre or a slightly larger Aluna XL. It's worth noting the total litre capacity is for the main jug and only without the inclusion of the filter chamber. Once the filter chamber is positioned the actual volume of filtered water is reduced to just 1.4 litres which, in honesty is too small to cope with the demands of my family of five as the filtered water is used in cooking as well as drinking. When I brought the Aluna, I didn't take this loss of volume into consideration, in hindsight a larger model would be more appropriate. To save spending every spare moment filling the jug, I transfer the filtered water into a 2 litre empty cola bottle which I then store in the fridge.
Three main components make the Aluna system. The main jug, a water chamber that slots into the jug, housing the filter cartridge and the lid. Each of the three parts are made from durable plastic and with the exception of the lid are dishwasher safe. Our Aluna is at the mercy of my small children who happily help themselves to water directly from the jug before bashing down onto a work top. In five months it has endured the usual abuse associated with a heavily used appliance, including once being dropped on the floor. To date it shows no sign of wear and tear and never even cracked after it's fall onto the floor tiles.
The Aluna is very compact with a slim design measuring approximately 27cm high x 26cm wide and 11cm deep. The jug can fit snugly on a fridge shelf, the large, chunky handle making it easier to remove from deeper shelves as well as offering a sturdy grip when pouring although the jug only weighs around 1.5kg when full, so isn't awkward in any way to lift.
Setting up to use was an absolute doddle. Only a couple of minutes of my life were wasted slotting the water chamber into the jug, unwrapping the filter cartridge and fully immersing it into cold water to remove any air bubbles before placing it into the filter chamber where it simply clicks into place. The memo indictor (should you bother to use) needs to be pressed for a couple of seconds to set the counter to 100% and away you go. Just remove the lid, fill the water chamber with cold water and in under two minutes, fresh, filtered water is ready to be used.
~~~ The Filtered Water ~~~
Obviously the filter will make a difference to any tap water. How noticeably different an individual will find the filtered water will vary greatly region to region. I've noticed a dramatic difference because our water is heavily tainted. Aside from the taste, smell and appearance it's reassuring the water I now drink has a multitude of otherwise undetectable toxins and byproducts collected from the water pipes removed. It's my understanding any minerals found in tap water remain when the water is filtered and so therefor is a healthier option too.
So what does the filtered water taste like? Not much, pretty plain but then that's the idea. I certainly didn't expect to notice such a difference and the little Aluna has even managed to convert my cynical hubby who was convinced my purchase would prove a waste of money!
Firstly, the water isn't cloudy. At times our tap water is pretty hazy and unappetising, often accompanied by a chalky sediment that either sinks to the bottom of a glass or just floats around. The filtered water is crystal clear with no visible signs of residue or deposits. The chlorine smell that can often be detected in our water is gone, therefor so is the slight aftertaste I associate with it.
Because the water tastes of absolutely nothing it has made a noticeable difference in the taste of the tea and coffee I drink. I drink my Earl Grey tea, very weak without milk. Previously it would have a dense scum that would cling to the mug. Obviously the natural tannins in the tea still create this but since using the filter the scum has been dramatically reduced. Because Earl Grey has quite a distinctive flavour, I immediately noticed a taste change when I first tried with the filtered water. The change is subtle yet enough to make a positive impact on the flavour of drinks. It's much the same story with other drinks as the filtered water allows you to really appreciate the taste the actual drink. It's really not until I made the comparison between tap and filtered that I really accepted just how bad tasting our water is and what a difference the filter has made to the taste and quality of our water.
~~~ Filter Cartridge Longevity ~~~
The longevity of an individual cartridge seems to be determined by how often the filter system is used and (I assume) the quantity of impurities removed. With regular use, it becomes apparent when a cartridge needs replacing, which is usually as soon as the water no longer tastes clean, crisp and fresh and before the first signs of limescale develop in my kettle. I estimate my Aluna is refilled approximately six to eight times each day and I replace the cartridge every three weeks, four at a stretch.
Brita do advise a cartridge be replaced every four weeks or 100 litres of water. The Aluna offers an electronic memo, located on the lid, Starting at 100%, the indicator will drop 25% each week regardless of whether the system has been used or not. Personally I find it pretty useless as it's not a true indication of the remaining life expectancy of a cartridge and mine usually need replacing a week before the indicator reaches zero. It only seems to be useful if your water quality isn't seriously impaired and your likely to receive a full four weeks of filtered water or you just can't remember when your cartridge was installed.
~~~ Replacement Filter Cartridges ~~~
Replacing the cartridge for the Aluna is an ongoing expense. Cartridges can be purchased individually or in multi packs which are obviously more cost effective. I've found the cheapest cartridges online at Amazon where I paid £47.00 including delivery for a pack of twelve. That makes each cartridge just £3.92, far better value than other stores although prices at my local Tesco are pretty competitive as well, working out to a pound or so dearer. It's definitely prudent to window shop before you purchase. If you can buy in bulk as boxes of multiple cartridges don't consume a great deal of space at all and offer the greatest savings.
Apart from the jug, water chamber and lid all being recyclable the cartridges are too. Our council won't dispose of them but plenty of nearby shops do free of charge. A list of stores that recycle the cartridges can be found on Brita's website. I would award them an extra star just for being environmentally responsible when it would be so easy to just throw them away. The only downside is if you don't or can't visit a store each month and save them to recycle less frequently, they do get very mouldy and smelly quite quickly.
~~~ Overall ~~~
I can't really fault the Aluna in any way at all. The jug and filter system are competitively priced and do exactly what Brita promises. It's easy and convenient to set up and use. Quick to filter water which provides a noticeable cleaner, clearer, fresher taste. Despite the price of the cartridges, I find them more economical than buying bottled water, saving time and money at the checkout and contributing less wastage into the environment.
Would I go back to drinking unfiltered tap water? In one word, nope! The level of filtration provides s far superior water than anything I can hope to receive through a tap and the quality of the water easily rivals anything I can get in a bottle . Although there is an ongoing cost with regards to the filter cartridges, it's still considerably lower than what I was spending on bottled water. The little Aluna gets a big five stars from me.
Summary: A simple solution to achieve pure, clean water
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