Anybody have a reverse osmosis system?

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blazeman45

Steve
Senior User
Anybody have any recommendation on a water filtration system for under the sink? Installed new kitchen and wife wants a filtered water source!! Thanks
 

Phil S

Board of Directors, President
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
Yes, I have a GE 18 gal ROS. It feeds a separate tap at the sink and also the ice maker. This system is installed under the house where it is easy to service which I do twice a year. It would not have fit under the sink and still been serviceable. I am told ROS is the way to go
 

mdawson2

New User
Mike
Take a look at the systems from Bulk Reef Supply (fish tank stuff). Their systems are highly regarded and seem to cost much less than those you find at typical hardware stores.
 

PeteM

Pete
Corporate Member
FWIW: I did some research a while ago and found some issues with using RO for drinking water.
This is from: http://www.historyofwaterfilters.com

"[FONT=Geneva, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]The reverse osmosis process contains several downsides which make it an inefficient and ineffective means of purifying drinking water. The small pores in the membrane block particles of large molecular structure like salt, but more dangerous chemicals like pesticides, herbicides, and chlorine are molecularly smaller than water (Binnie et al, 2002). These chemicals can freely pass through the porous membrane. For this reason, a carbon filter must be used as a complimentary measure to provide safe drinking water from the reverse osmosis process. Such chemicals are the major contaminants of drinking water after municipal treatment.

Another downside to reverse osmosis as a method of purifying drinking water is the removal of healthy, naturally occurring minerals in water. The membrane of a reverse osmosis system is impermeable to natural trace minerals. These minerals not only provide a good taste to water, but they also serve a vital function in the body’s system. Water, when stripped of these trace minerals, can actually be unhealthy for the body.

Reverse osmosis also wastes a large portion of the water that runs through its system. It generally wastes two to three gallons of water for every gallon of purified water it produces. Reverse osmosis is also an incredibly slow process when compared to other water treatment alternatives.[SIZE=-1]"

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Phil S

Board of Directors, President
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
Thanks Pete for the very informative info on RO. What the RO system will not catch is handled by the carbon pre filter and the RO system does remove some good minerals in the water. In my case, the use of a RO system is mandatory as we are on a community well that is naturally high in radionuclides, specifically (gross) alpha emitters. Reverse osmosis is the only reasonable way for a home owner to filter these out.
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
Not to downplay the health concerns being voiced here, but as a pharmaceutical organic chemist I've often worked with toxicologists and other disciplines that provide a helpful perspective. The ideal world has a "Minimum Concentration Level Goal" (MCLG) of zero, but that's rarely attainable.

So we're exposed to a variety of environmental contaminants that are harmful at high levels, but the reality is that those levels are usually extremely low (regulated by the EPA) and we'd have to consume a bucket load every day over the course of a lifetime to see adverse health effects.

Yikes, push the panic button; "chemicals" are bad for us! Cider vinegar is good for us because it contains "natural" acetic acid from the fermentation of ethanol so it is not a chemical. But the acetic acid in white vinegar is produced synthetically in a petroleum refinery, therefore it's a "chemical" so it's bad for us?

Acetic acid is acetic acid whatever the source.

http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/index.cfm#List

Did John Doe get cancer from his drinking water while 10,000 others who drank from the same water source have no adverse effects over 70 years?
Each human body is different and reacts unpredictably so whose to say?

This isn't a rant, just a "keep it in perspective" viewpoint.
 

Phil S

Board of Directors, President
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
Is the source water above the MCL? This is a rare occurrence in North Carolina.




The last numbers I saw were 2x the MCL, and then the next test showed less. The numbers vary so much one starts to question the results. I was told the high numbers were naturally due to large amount of granite in the aquifer - ok now I am getting way beyond my expertise in this area. I put the RO system in because I demoed it out of a commercial site and felt it would be better at my house than in a landfill. Consumables to maintain the system run about $75 per year, seems like a good filter
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
The last numbers I saw were 2x the MCL, and then the next test showed less. The numbers vary so much one starts to question the results. I was told the high numbers were naturally due to large amount of granite in the aquifer - ok now I am getting way beyond my expertise in this area. I put the RO system in because I demoed it out of a commercial site and felt it would be better at my house than in a landfill. Consumables to maintain the system run about $75 per year, seems like a good filter
Phil,

I think that you're referring to the radionuclide argon which is a decay product from naturally occurring uranium which is found in geologic rock like granite and others. This info may be helpful to you.

http://www.co.orange.nc.us/ercd/h2orange/documents/Radon report.pdf
 

Henry W

HenryW
Senior User
some basic chemistry

...[SIZE=-1]The small pores in the membrane block particles of large molecular structure like salt, but more dangerous chemicals like pesticides, herbicides, and chlorine are molecularly smaller than water (Binnie et al, 2002). These chemicals can freely pass through the porous membrane. For this reason, a carbon filter must be used as a complimentary measure to provide safe drinking water from the reverse osmosis process. Such chemicals are the major contaminants of drinking water after municipal treatment.
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As a chemist - but with no specific expertise in drinking water - this reasoning in this quote is pure bunk. A brief explanation as I see or understand it.
NOTE - I am not commenting on the effectiveness of RO or carbon filtration systems, only on the 'bogus' chemistry written on the website Pete quoted (nothing personal Pete!). This is really basic high school level chemistry.

The simple point is that very very few molecules are smaller than water.
- Most of these small molecules are gases - like hydrogen (H2). Even molecular oxygen and nitrogen (the O2 and N2 in the air we breath) are likely larger than water (note that I have not specifically looked up these sizes, my argument is based on my general understanding of chemistry not very specific data).
- ANY organic molecule (and the vast majority of pesticides and herbicides are organic) will be larger than water. Virtually all inorganic molecules will definitely be larger than water.
- Salt - dissolves in water. Salt (sodium chloride - NaCl) is a crystalline material, but dissolved in water the crystal breaks apart and forms individual sodium and chloride ions. Salt in water is NOT a large molecule.
A side note (more technical that required here): ions in water are hydrated - forming a loose shell or cage of water associated with each ion. This hydrated ion is larger than water (because it contains several water molecules), but this hydrated ion is still NOT considered a large molecule.

Hope that helps.

Henry
 
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sawduster2

New User
Don
Re: some basic chemistry

FYI - my late wife was very picky on drinking water and for years she would only drink bottled water. During our kitchen renovation 7 years ago I installed the GE RO system (3 filter) and she said the taste was better than bottled water. We never purchased bottled water again. I change the charcoal filters (2) every six months and the membrane filter every 12 months. I have the filters in the lower cabinet and the water tank mounted in the basement directly below the kitchen. Never have run out of drinking water to date. I have been told that my water makes the best coffee many have ever tasted.
 

Phil S

Board of Directors, President
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
Re: some basic chemistry

FYI - my late wife was very picky on drinking water and for years she would only drink bottled water. During our kitchen renovation 7 years ago I installed the GE RO system (3 filter) and she said the taste was better than bottled water. We never purchased bottled water again. I change the charcoal filters (2) every six months and the membrane filter every 12 months. I have the filters in the lower cabinet and the water tank mounted in the basement directly below the kitchen. Never have run out of drinking water to date. I have been told that my water makes the best coffee many have ever tasted.
Same system I have. Works great, even the dogs like it
 

mdawson2

New User
Mike
Re: some basic chemistry

FYI - my late wife was very picky on drinking water and for years she would only drink bottled water. During our kitchen renovation 7 years ago I installed the GE RO system (3 filter) and she said the taste was better than bottled water. We never purchased bottled water again. I change the charcoal filters (2) every six months and the membrane filter every 12 months. I have the filters in the lower cabinet and the water tank mounted in the basement directly below the kitchen. Never have run out of drinking water to date. I have been told that my water makes the best coffee many have ever tasted.

This is the reason I want an RO system at the sink as well. Our water tastes terrible! And it makes tea, coffee, and anything else made with water taste bad as well. I started looking into them when I was researching fish tanks. Then I thought "Wait a minute, the fish get RO water, but I'm going to drink tap water?" :rotflm: Time to change the priorities a little!
 

Henry W

HenryW
Senior User
Re: some basic chemistry

Agreed - we use filtered water for coffee, tea, drinking.
Every March two thngs happen:
1. Raleigh does some sort of "extra chlorination" (or similar change to their treatment protocol) of the drinking water, and
2. We have guests that are on their way to Myrtle Beach.

Each year our guests commented on the taste of out water, and finally we figured it out - the extra chlorination! One year it was so noticeable in our coffee that we thought we had some sort of 'plasticizer' taste leaching from our (plastic) coffee maker. Taste was awful. We bought a new coffee maker - only it had the same issue. Then we used filtered water and tada! our coffee tasted a lot better.

Now we use filtered water for all consumption - pretty easy to do with a Brita (manual) water pitcher. The taste says it all.

Henry
 

AdamM

New User
Adam
Re: some basic chemistry

I have an RO system from Aquasafe Systems which is a 6 stage system that includes a DI stage to ensure the water output is alkaline, whereas most systems provide slightly acidic water. Their system was also the best value I could find on the market and has cheap filter replacements. And it also provides 100 GPD, and as far as I know, I believe the DI stage is best as removing radioactive particles. Their website is http://www.aquasafecanada.com and I have their Maximus II system, and is worth a look in my opinion.
 
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