Dockside Chat - Anyone an expert on reverse osmosis water treatment?

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Tuna Colada
03-22-2012, 07:21 AM
It's looking like we are going to need to upgrade our water treatment system at home. We have a well and the current system is standard conditioner/softener type. Our water treatment company is recommending either replacing 2 of the three tanks we have at a cost of $3K and/or adding a reverse osmosis system just for the kitchen sink and ice maker. First, WFT is in those tanks that make them worth $1500 ea? If we decide to go with the reverse osmosis system would it make more sense to go with a whole house system vs. just the kitchen sink/ice maker one? We were told the latter would be about $700.


ThreeLittleFish
03-22-2012, 07:26 AM
Is it an RO/DI system? Or just RO? In the RO tanks are the reverse osmosis filters. It doesn't make sens to use RO water anywhere your not going to drink it. The filters eventually need replacing showering with the water will just reduce the life of the filters. Look into just a DI (de-ionization unit they alone produce 98% pure water. You certainly don't want to wash dishes with it either. Make sure you talk about a different dispenser at the sank rather than the faucet.

reeln2it
03-22-2012, 07:43 AM
What are they not doing that they are telling you to replace? That is the biggest question. If its a problem with the control heads that can be repaired. If its the media in the tanks it can be replaced as well. It depends on what you are trying to do with the water. If you have hard water or large amounts of trace minerals in your well water (almost all well water does) and you go to an RO it is usually 2-3 times more cost than softener type system for a whole house system sized properly and you have to replace the membranes often which is not cheap either. To do just the kitchen sink and ice maker you will be replacing often and mineral deposits will destroy the unprotected plumbing fixtures in a couple years with scale buildup. Deionization will kill some bacteria but will not "soften" or remove the nuisance trace minerals.

Hope this helps. PM or post any questions you have.


Tuna Colada
03-22-2012, 07:43 AM
I think it is just RO and they were recommending just putting it at the sink and icemaker. I have read also that RO removes all the healthy minerals also and that there can even be health risks associated with it. Same with DI.

Tuna Colada
03-22-2012, 07:49 AM
What are they not doing that they are telling you to replace? That is the biggest question. If its a problem with the control heads that can be repaired. If its the media in the tanks it can be replaced as well. It depends on what you are trying to do with the water. If you have hard water or large amounts of trace minerals in your well water (almost all well water does) and you go to an RO it is usually 2-3 times more cost than softener type system for a whole house system sized properly and you have to replace the membranes often which is not cheap either. To do just the kitchen sink and ice maker you will be replacing often and mineral deposits will destroy the unprotected plumbing fixtures in a couple years with scale buildup. Deionization will kill some bacteria but will not "soften" or remove the nuisance trace minerals.

Hope this helps. PM or post any questions you have.

As I understand it, we have 3 tanks in our softener system. I am told that 2 of the three tanks are bad and we need to replace. We could "re-seat" but that would be a temporary fix. Right now our water quality has been on and off. Lately we are getting a sulfur smell. They recommended as the cheapest option to just add an RO system just for the drinking water if we didn't mide the occasional sulfur smell in bathroom, etc. I don't really want to do a band aid fix and would rather fix it properly in the most cost effective way possible.

reeln2it
03-22-2012, 07:50 AM
I think it is just RO and they were recommending just putting it at the sink and icemaker. I have read also that RO removes all the healthy minerals also and that there can even be health risks associated with it. Same with DI.

Correct. RO removes ALL of the minerals which makes the water become acidic. Some systems have injectors to put back some of the nutrients but that is more expensive and just asinine.

reeln2it
03-22-2012, 07:54 AM
As I understand it, we have 3 tanks in our softener system. I am told that 2 of the three tanks are bad and we need to replace. We could "re-seat" but that would be a temporary fix. Right now our water quality has been on and off. Lately we are getting a sulfur smell. They recommended as the cheapest option to just add an RO system just for the drinking water if we didn't mide the occasional sulfur smell in bathroom, etc. I don't really want to do a band aid fix and would rather fix it properly in the most cost effective way possible.

That sounds kinda vague. What exactly on the system is not working? Most all systems can be repaired. In some cases it makes more sense to replace than repair. Depends what is wrong with it.

Tuna Colada
03-22-2012, 08:00 AM
That sounds kinda vague. What exactly on the system is not working? Most all systems can be repaired. In some cases it makes more sense to replace than repair. Depends what is wrong with it.

Second hand info from my wife who called with the news. I will get more specifics and post. Thanks for the help! :thumbsup:

Frank007
03-22-2012, 08:02 AM
In RO, water is forced through a membrane and roughly 95-98% of the impurities (good and bad) are removed. This will be good quality water for drinking, ice, etc. You will need to replace the membrane periodically as it loses effectiveness. I don't know about for household use on a well, but a membrane may last only a couple thousand gallons on city water if you are producing aquarium water.

If you want purer water, you then run it through a deionization resin, which extracts pretty much all of the rest of the impurities and leaves you with laboratory quality pure water. It would be too costly to use only Di.

I suggest you look at spectrapure.com for more information and to see some products that are available. You might even call them.

BACKTOTHESEA
03-22-2012, 08:15 AM
if you have sulfide reducing bacteria, you need to determine the source. Does your unfiltered water smell? Is it only the hot water? Is the smell after the water softener only?

What is the PH of the water out of the well? Did they just simply put in a multi tank softener?

The reason I ended up designing my own system is because not one person I spoke to (mostly sales reps) knew what they were talking about. My neaghbor spent 2X what I did and his water still sux.

If it were me, I would send a sample out to an independent testing lab to see what I actually need for a system. $3,000 is more than I paid for 2 tanks, media, auto valves, all piping and a new wellXtrol. About $1,000 more.

And activated carbon can remove low levels of Hydrogen Sulfide, Greensand higher levels, and oxidation followde by oxidation filters the highest (i.e. generally chlorine as oxidizer). For $600 you can have an automatic backwashing activated carbon filter including media. figure a few hundred fro a plumber to tie in, you are looking at a grand.

kerno
03-22-2012, 08:22 AM
I have several RO systems and a couple DI systems. Both are comparatively expensive ways to clean up water. I have RO systems at the kitchen sinks, but only for drinking and cooking water, not for compete sink usage, which would require the RO to feed both the water heater and the cold side. RO makes great drinking water, but also looses quite a bit of water which has to be dumped down the drain or into an area where the increased salinity of the discharge water won't hurt anything. I use DI for making non conductive water to run wire edm machines and washing cars. It is too bland for drinking. RO should leave about 25 ppm for taste. Buy a container of distilled water at the store and taste it. I also have found that RO water can be mildly corrosive, and believe a system that would feed the entire house would be very expensive and problematic in the long run. Look at upgrading the basic filter system for whole house usage and confine the RO to drinking, cooking and watering house plants.

FWIW, Costo sells a under counter system that works very well and costs about $150. They are easy to install and service. One under the kitchen sink and one under the bar sink and you should be happy.

ThreeLittleFish
03-22-2012, 08:57 AM
What are they not doing that they are telling you to replace? That is the biggest question. If its a problem with the control heads that can be repaired. If its the media in the tanks it can be replaced as well. It depends on what you are trying to do with the water. If you have hard water or large amounts of trace minerals in your well water (almost all well water does) and you go to an RO it is usually 2-3 times more cost than softener type system for a whole house system sized properly and you have to replace the membranes often which is not cheap either. To do just the kitchen sink and ice maker you will be replacing often and mineral deposits will destroy the unprotected plumbing fixtures in a couple years with scale buildup. Deionization will kill some bacteria but will not "soften" or remove the nuisance trace minerals.

Hope this helps. PM or post any questions you have.

You're confusing DI with something else. DI resin removes minerals. Once water passes a DI filter it's pure. My DI filter produces water with 0 PPM.

I also would suggest an under sink RO unit.

edale99
03-22-2012, 10:28 AM
http://www.freshwatersystems.com/images/Product/icon/970.jpg (http://www.freshwatersystems.com/p-970-pura-uvbb-3-15830131-15-gpm-ultraviolet-uv-water-system.aspx)http://www.freshwatersystems.com/p-970-pura-uvbb-3-15830131-15-gpm-ultraviolet-uv-water-system.aspx
Check out this website. All systems available including RO. The above system I installed recently for whole house filtration.

reeln2it
03-22-2012, 10:35 AM
You're confusing DI with something else. DI resin removes minerals. Once water passes a DI filter it's pure. My DI filter produces water with 0 PPM.

I also would suggest an under sink RO unit.

You are correct. I was thinking of the in-line laser light attachments. :banghead:

Tuna Colada
03-23-2012, 07:23 AM
The current system is an air induction water softener. Apparently the iron in our well water has clogged up 2 of the tanks. They can try to unclog but I guess there is no guarantee it will work. If they can't do it I guess we don't have much choice other than replacing the tanks.
We plan to have the water tested to see exactly what we are dealing with.

bigdeal
03-23-2012, 08:24 AM
Tuna, PM sent. I am an engineer with vast experience in municipal RO and can probably answer you questions.



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