Water filtration question

tamarahlFebruary 21, 2013

I use a Brita water pitcher for our drinking water, but plan to install a point of use faucet in my remodel. I got my water tested, and it does not have any red flags, nor does it have bad odors; but I am not sure what will give me the best tasting water, ie. carbon filter only, reverse osmosis, something else?

I have noticed that some systems have replacement filters that cost as much as the original system, so I want to avoid that.

What brand and model do you use? Do you love it or hate it? Does it tell you when to replace the filters with a light? How expensive are your filters, and does it take generic filters? Does your water taste bottled and pure like all the marketing promises?

Finally, should I plan to use my SZ freezer's filter to create ice or t off the line where the under cabinet filtration system will be, to put that water into the ice maker?

Thanks in advance.

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breezygirl

Have you tried running a search for this topic? It's a fairly frequent one.

I bought a GE system at HD that attaches to the cold water line under my cleanup sink. It cost about $50 for the system and first filter. The filters, at a replacement cost of about $25 each at my local HD, supposedly last about 6 months but I've only replaced mine once in 15 months. The water tastes great, and I'm happy not to have a filter pitcher in the fridge anymore.

I didn't notice a dip in the cold water pressure for months until I had both my cleanup and prep sink faucets, which are identical, running cold simultaneously. The cleanup sink flow was just slightly diminished, but not appreciable when working at the sink.

I'm very happy with this setup. It is cheap, low-tech, and I don't need a separate faucet. I'm not sure why more people don't go this route.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 1:25AM
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weissman

If you water passes local standards and doesn't have an odor, what do you need a filter for? Drink tap water!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 1:32AM
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breezygirl

My water passes local standards and has no discoloration or odor. I plain just don't like the taste. Most of my family and friends find nothing wrong with it, but a few feel as I do.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 3:04AM
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davidahn

There are two kinds of people: the kind who divide people into two groups and those who don't. Wait, I mean, the kind who prefer spring water and those who prefer purified water. If you like Evian or Arrowhead, you're a spring water person; if you like Dasani or Aquafina, you're a purified water person. There's no right answer, just what you prefer. (Deionized/distilled water taste similar to RO because RO water is nearly deionized.)

If you're a spring water person, I recommend a carbon filter to remove chlorine before you drink your tap water, or a Watts Premier RO system if you're a purified water person. I'm personally a huge RO fan; I refuse to drink spring water, and I sure as hell won't drink tap water with its chlorine and acceptable levels of microbes. We love our Watts Premier RO water, tastes just like Aquafina/Dasani and better than lesser purified drinking waters like Nestle.

As for replacement costs, you can use a TDS meter to tell you when you need to change your membrane, which should be 2-5 years depending on the quality of your municipal water supply. I would change the carbon filters every 6-12 months, but they're cheap.

I recommend you at least consider a whole house carbon filter to remove the chlorine from your cooking water at the tap and your pot filler.

You didn't ask this, but spring water and mineral water fans insist the lack of electrolytes and minerals in deionized and RO water will leave you deficient. Don't worry, you will get plenty of electrolytes and minerals from a healthy diet rich in vegetables and legumes. (Yes, I am a physician.)

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 3:25AM
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PRO
Rachiele, LLC

Before you invest in something, check with your municipal water treatment to see if they use Chlorine or Chloramine. Chloramine will remain in the water using almost all systems. Chloramine is being used more and more because it is less expensive to use than Chlorine. Chloramine is a mixture of chlorine and ammonia. The reason it is used, is that this mixture does not loose its potency as fast and less can be used. It is quite toxic and best to be removed if you have it. If you have chloramine, do a Google search for systems that remove it. Best of luck.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 9:21AM
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dilly_ny

I'm a fan of RO. Our old system ran thru plastic containers and was run to the kitchen with plastic tubing. This was not sufficient with my high water pressure and we had many problems with it. When I get a new system, I will be looking for a better designed system preferably without plastic casings.

My system was run to kitchen sink (designated spicket) and reddish ice maker. I filled pots from spicket. I guess a whole house system would be best, but getting just for the kitchen is good too.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 9:36AM
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tamarahl

I checked with a WSSC municipal water lab technician who confirmed there is no chloromines in our water.

I reviewed filtration posts a few months ago and was overwhelmed by all the different responses. Since I have to tell my KD what I want re. The kitchen remodel filtration, I thought I would just post my specifics to see what people advise in my scenario.

Guess it is time to taste test Evian vs.. Dasani vs. Aquafina, to learn what taste I prefer. Thanks for all the great advice. Keep it coming!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 9:46AM
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breezygirl

I'm no expert, but it sounds to me like you simply need/want to improve the taste of your cold tap water for drinking. If I'm right, then all you need is a simple inline filter on your sink's cold water line like I did. You don't NEED to get fancy or expensive with your solution if you don't want to do so.

I, too, was confused about how I would get my cold water filtered at the tap when I already had good quality water until a knowledgable person at the orange box store pointed me to this simple and inexpensive filter. That was one of the best hardware store visits I've ever had! :) I wish I would run into her again so I could thank her for saving me from my panic.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 12:22PM
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tamarahl

I want my water to be safe and tasty. I am not sure if a whole house carbon filtration system is necessary, but will be filling pots at a different sink than where the point of use faucet is located.

I am attaching the water analysis below to see if there is anything that is red flag-worthy. They also recommend two filtration systems, one is whole house ($1200+) and the other is under the sink ($559) and was recommended when I balked at spending over $1,000.

FEI ANNAPOLIS #239
11 HUDSON STREET
HUB = F2020

AGR
WATER TREATMENT CUSTOMER
TEST RESULTS

Job Name.:

CASH ON DEMAND
WATER TREATMENT CUSTOMER
TEST RESULTS
ANNAPOLIS, MD 21401

Item
Description
Quantity
Net Price
UM
Total
EEV927386 ROM III DLX SYS 1 559.993 EA 559.99
WATER TESTED AS FOLLOWS

PH TESTED AT 7.6
HARDNESS TESTED AT 4 GPG
IRON TESTED AT 0.2 PPM
SULFIDES TESTED AT 0.6
NITRATES TESTED AT 8 PPM
TDS TESTED AT 214 PPM

WE RECOMMEND THE FOLLOWING

L7LXDCS100B 1 CF CBN WTR SOFT *CITYSO 1 1283.250 EA 1283.25
STOCKED IN 2020
Subtotal: $1843.24
Inbound Freight: $0.00
Tax: $110.60
Order Total: $1953.84

Do any of these analysis numbers make you think I am better off with one system over another?

BreezyGirl, is your system a carbon filter?

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 12:49PM
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breezygirl

Yes, my filter is carbon. I'll link to the product page below. I only filter the cold water at my cleanup sink, but most of my water for cooking comes from my prep sink. Since my water is otherwise not unhealthy, I didn't feel the need to filter the prep sink. I've thought about adding it on now as the cost is so minimal, but I'm not sure I could fit yet another plumbing fixture under in my tiny base. I've never noticed a bad taste in anything I've cooked in my unfiltered water in the 13 years we've lived here. I just don't like the taste for drinking. DH, DM, and my late DF think I'm nuts as the unfiltered tap water tastes fine to them.

Here is a link that might be useful: My GE filter

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 1:01PM
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drybean

Thanks for this informative thread. I'm also planning on using the system like Breezy posted. I don't want yet another thing on my counter-I already have to get the dreaded air gap.

I did check my town water report and they just switched to chloramine. No good; I will have to research what to do now.m

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 2:13PM
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weedmeister

I purchased a separate filtration for the kitchen sink some time ago. It used two filter cartridges of carbon and spun somethingOrOther. There is a separate spigot at the sink for this. I put one of those GE thingies behind the fridge for ice.

Both seem to help with removing the chlorine taste from the water.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 3:00PM
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karin_mt

Red flag! Red flag!

Nitrates are very high at 8 ppm. The EPA limit is 10 ppm, so you are below the limit but not by much. I would look into that. Possible sources are agricultural runoff, golf courses, excessive fertilizer use, livestock, or septic tanks that are not working properly.

Here is a CDC website about nitrates in drinking water
http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/private/wells/disease/nitrate.html

I also linked the EPA drinking water standards below. If I were you I would certainly make some calls about this. The primary health risk for nitrates in water is if babies drink the water. For adults, there is no need to panic, but it's certainly worth looking into.

Here is a link that might be useful: EPA drinking water standards

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 4:22PM
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kgolby

Breezygirl,

Can you let us know which brand you purchased? Tap water tastes horrible in Jax, FL, where I live & have been researching filter systems for new faucet. I'd like to stop buying bottled water if I can once our remodel is complete & new appliances are installed.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 4:55PM
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tamarahl

Thanks Karin for the red flag. The plumbing company, who reviewed my water analysis with me, mentioned my nitrates in passing and simply said they are 8 parts per million which is below the EPA average and left it at that. Although I am past the point of getting pregnant and we have no infants in the home, it seems like I should perhaps look into the Reverse Osmosis system as it would nip this problem in the bud, and hopefully help make the water taste good.

Is it better to do a whole home sytem with the nitrates, or just where the drinking water faucet will be?

Does anyone have experience with either the EVERPURE brand or LA PURE? I can get one for $559 and the other for $159. The price difference has me curious and a bit suspicious.

I find this whole water filtration question ponderous. There are so many variables, and so many options, and nothing is black and white.

I am ready for decisions regarding this kitchen remodel to be OVER!!!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 5:14PM
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karin_mt

For nitrates I think just treating the water you drink would be fine. That said, I would want to know why there are high nitrates there. The sources that bring you high nitrates can also bring you other related nasties, like herbicides from agriculture or bacteria from livestock or septic tanks. You could also consider getting your water tested for these things.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 5:29PM
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breezygirl

Kgoldby--I linked my filter above in one of my earlier posts.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 8:50PM
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breezygirl

I sometimes feel like water filter companies can be a bit scam-ish. They're all trying to sell you on very expensive filters, RO filters, whole house filters, etc when I think some people don't necessarily need them. Why not push you to buy an $1100 system when all you need is a $150 unit?

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 8:53PM
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gwlolo

The plumbing forum has a lot of people experienced in RO system. I am doing a Kinetico K5 system. Based on my research that seems to be the best fit for me. If you have well water or if some of your municipal water source is well water, then RO is worth it. Our numbers has high levels of phosphates from fertilizer usage and the hardness varied pretty dramatically as well. So we are doing whole house water softener except for the RO water at the prep sink for drinking and cooking. If you like the taste of spring water, RO systems like Kinetico offer cartridges to add back in some minerals for flavor. Purely a personal choice. Note that with RO water, you need special faucets certified for RO. RO water is considered aggressive as it is very pure and can eat metals. So all the tubing and the pipes need to be lined with PE.

Lalitha

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 9:56PM
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davidahn

drachiele, thanks for pointing out chloramines; I was not aware of that variant of chlorine. I have to check to see if my municipal water contains chloramine, as I am installing a whole house carbon filter system and I may have to switch filter types.

I did some cursory google research on it and though there is a lot of second- and third-hand reports of RO and carbon filters not removing chloramines, I do see some reputable sites that state that carbon filters, particularly catalytic carbon filters, do a good job of removing them as long as the flow rates are reasonable. RO systems do in fact remove chloramines well due to often dual carbon filter stages and the slow flow rates of about 0.05 gallons per minute.

@breezy, I agree that if you like your tap water (you're likely a spring water person), a point-of-use carbon filter is fine (as I stated in my first post), or a whole house carbon filter if you want to remove chlorine from all your faucets (especially those you cook with: main sink, prep sink, pot filler). I agree too that water purification is yet another field full of scam artists preying on health-conscious but uninformed people.

TO ALL: it is not recommended to use copper pipe with RO purified water as it will corrode copper pipe over time. Use plastic (PVC, polyethylene, polypropylene, etc.).

@GWlolo, I believe "aggressive" is a loaded word used by anti-RO people to imply that RO water is harmful. Chemically, diffusion (the spread of particles) is a passive process that happens everywhere, not just in RO water. Water with few dissolved particles will attract more soluble particles than water saturated with solutes. Copper is highly concentrated in copper pipe (duh) while there is zero copper (or anything else) dissolved in RO water, so the copper will be attracted to the water, eventually thinning the pipe.

Here is a link that might be useful: Chloramine Filtration

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 3:28AM
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MichaelsAd

It really depends on what you are looking for. If it is just taste your after, a carbon filter will suffice. If you are worried about what you are drinking that you aren't aware of that is in your water, you need RO. And to address a comment earlier, RO will remove chloramines, carbon filters will reduce these.

I have done many, many hours of research on the subject of water and what's in it, and you should be going to RO, so should everyone else. You may trust the results from your water test, but they are only testing for a limited amount of impurities, when there are thousands. The EPA came out with a statement not long ago, that there are over 80,000 chemicals and toxins, most of which have made it into the water, and they don't test for 5% of these. They also stated that there is too many chemicals for them to monitor them all, so no one really knows whats in the water. I also have a friend with a Geiger counter, and radiation is still falling, and is supposed to be falling for many years to come, and is over 200 times what it should be, meaning it's in your water, and RO is the most effective at removing this as well, especially with a deionization stage, which is what I have on my RO system.

And davidahn, I'm glad you cleared that myth up, most people are deterred because they think they are going to get insufficient minerals from RO water, and that it actually strips it from their body, lol.

After doing some reseaarch on different systems, the best I found was from Aquasafe Systems. They had the best system for the price, and comes with a DI stage, which also makes the water alkaline in addition to the radiation removal, instead of providing acidic water. I will include a link to the system I have below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Aquasafe Systems

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 4:18PM
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tamarahl

3 questions:
Don't you want fluoride in your drinking water? Especially with young children who may not be brushing their teeth as thoroughly as you want.

Does RO water taste sweet without the minerals? My friend says her family home's water went through RO filtration in AZ and had a sweeter taste than the water at her friend's homes which did not have RO.

Does it matter if it's 3, 4 or 5 stage RO?

I appreciate everyone who has taken time to let me know what you are doing and how you arrived at your decision.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 4:41PM
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davidahn

MichaelsAd, I agree that everyone should have RO, but some folks are used to tap/spring water. I haven't had any luck with just carbon filters in delivering adequate improvements in taste, so I'm pretty adamant about RO. :)

And as for minerals and electrolytes, removing them from water makes it even more important that people eat sufficient green leafy vegetables, legumes, and grains for adequate mineral intake. And spring and mineral water drinkers aren't off the hook; they should still be eating vegetables for their overwhelming health benefits.

@tl1969, although fluoride has been proven to be effective in reducing dental caries (cavities), you don't need it in water because it is abundantly available in fruits and vegetables as well. In fact, excessive quantities of fluoride have detrimental effects, including the cosmetic problem of fluorosis.

I believe "sweetness" in water is due to sodium content. A water softener would remove lime and iron and add sodium, creating sweetness. But RO water, being nearly deionized, is described as a slightly bitter taste, though millions of RO water ("purified drinking water") drinkers have adapted their palate to interpret the taste as sweet. It certainly tastes sweet to me, particularly due to the absence of calcium carbonate and chlorine.

Most stages are filtration rather than RO, and are often beneficial for removing substances that RO doesn't remove well, such as nitrates, chlorine and chloramine and organic compounds.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fluorosis

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 7:22PM
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davidahn

One other thing. RO systems produce a LOT of waste water (brine water): 3-8 gallons per gallon of purified water.

There are two ways to combat this waste water. One is to purchase (or retrofit) a zero-waste RO system, which will pump the brine water into the hot water or back into the cold feed water (coming into the RO system). The down side is the extra toxic water will be in your hot water, and you'll be doing the dishes and showering with this water. Yecch.

The other is to purchase a permeate pump, which increases the filtering speed and efficacy of the RO membrane, reduces water waste by up to 80%, prolongs the membrane's useful life, and increases the storage capacity and pressure of the tank. It does this by actively pumping the RO output water into the tank (using the pressure of the brine water, not electricity), reducing the pressure on the output side of the membrane. Since the feed water pressure has to "push" against the outflow/tank pressure to make your RO water, filtration dramatically slows as the tank gets fuller... unless you have a permeate pump.

We are putting permeate pumps into our 2 main RO systems (kitchen, wet bar), and will eventually be retrofitting permeate pumps on every RO system we own: our 3rd RO system in our main home (BBQ island), my 2 offices, my wife's office, our 2nd home.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 8:00PM
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