True or False? It's okay to keep a carafe water filter on the counter

Consumer Reports News: November 09, 2010 12:49 PM

False, though we hear plenty of people argue otherwise, usually out of a preference for tepid drinking water. Trouble is, a water-filled carafe can become a breeding ground for microorganisms when left at room temperature. The bacterial growth may or may not be visible, for example occurring in the spout of the carafe, or hidden away in the filter. While not all waterborne microorganisms pose a health risk, without knowing which ones are breeding, drinking left-out water is not a good idea. If you prefer warm water, you’re better off pouring a glass and letting it sit at room temperature for a few minutes. 
Most manufacturers do recommend refrigeration, though not always with an emphasis on health and safety. “We recommend that you store your Brita system in the refrigerator to get cold, great-tasting water,” reads the manual for the Brita Smart Pitcher OB39/42632, a top performer in our latest water filter review. The manual goes on to say that if you do store the pitcher outside of the refrigerator, “keep it in a cool area that is not in direct sunlight and replace any filtered water that has been left sitting for several days or more.” In the Consumer Reports labs, we don’t take any chances, keeping carafes at room temperature for no more than thirty minutes at a time during testing. 
We also stress the importance of changing your filter regularly, regardless of what type of system you have. Besides potentially harboring microorganism, an overloaded filter may fail to remove contaminants from the filtered water.      
—Daniel DiClerico


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