Water analysis is in and I have more questions than ever!

tl1969February 20, 2013

I just took my water to be tested at a local plumbing store, Ferguson's, as I prepare to install a point of use faucet in my kitchen. The tests came back and they are recommending a $1283.25 Lancaster Pump, 1 CF Water Softener! I had thought I could just put a simple filtration system below the kitchen sink, to improve the taste of the water, and not spend $1000+, so they told me to go with the Reverse Osmosis Everpure ROM 3, which they sell for $559. I am feeling a bit out of my depth here, so I thought I would post the analysis numbers and see what you would do if you were me. (Background info: I am on city water in suburban Maryland, and called WSSC to see if they could inform me if they put chloromines in the water. The communications department told me the water is treated with chlorine, orthophosphate, lyme and fluoride, but not chloromines.)

Here is the water analysis:



L7LXDCS100B 1 CF CBN WTR SOFT *CITYSO 1 1283.250 EA 1283.25

EEV927386 ROM III DLX SYS 1 559.993 EA 559.99

So, what would you install if you were me? Thanks so much.

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Forgot to mention that this is for:
single family home
3900 SF
4.5 Bathrooms
3-4 people
Hot tub
2-3 loads of laundry a week

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 5:03PM
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If you are not concerned about the hardness of your water (build-up on water fixtures and in your water heater) then don't install a softener. Your water has hardness, but not a huge amount. I, personally, prefer soft water, but that is up to you. If all you are concerned with is taste, the small amount of hardness you have is not a problem.

What is it that you find objectionable about your water? Does it have a specific taste or odor that is bothering you?

Since you are on city water, your water should be safe to drink. A simple carbon filter may improve the taste for you - taste is very subjective so it's difficult to say for certain. A carbon filter will not remove nitrates, if they are a concern for you. A reverse osmosis will remove 90 - 99% of everything that is in your water and may be a good fit for you, but will be more expensive than a carbon filter. Certainly, there are other RO options out there besides the one you have been quoted, some more expensive, some less. Whatever, you decide, I would suggest avoiding any brand that touts "proprietary" filters. That typically means they will be more expensive and difficult to find, not that they will perform any better.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 5:15PM
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I have been using a Brita filter for the past 5 years for a pitcher that we drink out of as I find the tap water to taste a bit stale. Don't know how to describe it exactly, but I think the Brita water tastes better.

As I embark on a kitchen remodel I had thought it would be more convenient and efficient to toss the Brita pitcher, and instead have a point of use drinking faucet, but I would like to remove any impurities in my city water. However, I also will have an ice maker in my freezer and wonder how to make those ice cubes taste decent (will my Sub-Zero filter the water for my icemaker?) Also, will a Miele dishwasher care how hard my water is?

The water does not have any objectionable odors. I just want the freshest tasting water available. Is there a brand you recommend that takes generic filters?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 6:48PM
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If you want to "remove any impurities" then reverse osmosis is the only convenient way to go. You can place a T in the line and plumb RO water over to your ice maker as well as your drinking water faucet. Watts has several systems, all using standard filters.

To determine whether a Sub-Zero has a water filter or how much hardness a Miele dishwasher prefers you will need to consult those manufacturers.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 7:07PM
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My Miele dishwasher has a built in water softener. You need to add salt periodically (a light comes on) and one of the installation steps is tell the machine what the hardness reading is for the water supply. It works well.

I'm at the other end of the scale from alice, I HATE soft water, I can't stand the slippery "can't rinse off the soap" feeling.

Also, I've read enough negative stories about improperly designed or maintained home water treatment systems that I'd never have one of those either. But, to each his/her own. If you don't like how your water tastes, that's what bottled water is for.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 7:34PM
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I found a system called LA Pure PRO Reverse Osmosis 5 stage system, and it is $159, about $400 less than the Everpure system that Ferguson's quoted me. I have to do some more research to see if it only takes the LA Pure proprietary filters.

My Nitrates at 8 PPM is just a bit under the EPA recommendations, so I am thinking that may be a cause for concern, is that correct? Will the RO take care of that problem?

Would it make sense to have the RO system at the prep sink where I will be filling pots of water for cooking and have it T to the other sink, where the drinking faucet is, as well as T to the fridge for the icemaker? Or am I just making a big to-do out of nothing? The Sub-Zero does have a filter for the ice already.

Thanks again for all your help.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 5:23PM
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People on internet forums confound me... tl1969 has a Sub Zero fridge and a Miele dishwasher and is looking for the cheapest water treatment hardware he/she can find.

Cheap ROs are worth what you pay for them. They are usually assembled from low quality components from anonymous overseas manufacturers and are water leaks waiting to happen.

If you want to come home and find your kitchen flooded because a filter canister cracked and water has been flowing onto the kitchen floor at house pressure all day then buy the cheapest RO you can find and the odds that will happen increase dramatically.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 5:55PM
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Ok, justalurker, be nice. I bought a display model SubZero fridge, which cost no more than a KitchenAid I had budgeted for, and the Miele is the base (cheapest) unit and something I saved up for, since my current dishwasher is a POS and I knew this was a splurge that would make my life much easier.

So, before you go casting judgment, please get your facts straight. I also purchased my appliances at the beginning of this long journey, before I had some additional expenses come up in my remodel. And now, I need to figure out how to finish things within a reasonable amount.

Bottom line, I want to have safe and tasty drinking water. I am not averse to spending money, I just don't want to feel like I got ripped off. The water area is one in which I know nothing, so I am looking to the wisdom of the collective community. If you cannot say anything nice, and constructive, then just keep quiet, please.

My latest research shows the Watts Premier RO-Pure 531411 4-Stage Reverse Osmosis System may be a viable option. On Amazon it is $185. There were a few complaints about the tank giving off a plastic taste, so I am thinking of swapping it out with a metal bladder tank, 4.0 Gallon (3.2 Draw-down) Reverse Osmosis RO Water Storage Tank by PA-E for $25.

I hope that will take care of the 8 PPM nitrates issue, and give me a great tasting glass of water. If Watts is cheaply made and not going to last, please let me know. The last thing I need is a flood!

Thank you for your continuing support.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 7:49PM
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Watts is a decent brand and should remove about 95% of the nitrates. One caution - don't install any RO with the saddle valve most of them come with - those tend to leak. Have a plumber install an actual T in your cold water line.

You can't plumb RO water to a standard faucet - you need low-lead drinking water faucets because RO water is, by nature, aggressive because it is so clean.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 8:08PM
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I've got my facts exactly straight. You recognize the quality that a Sub Zero offers so you're guilty of knowing the difference.

Check the Watts Premier stuff carefully... made in China the last time I looked. They're a good company and they stand behind their products but for me I have to have quality and quality control especially with an appliance that sits at house water pressure.

That means ROs that use Amtek or Pentek cartridge housings, John Guest (American manufacture) fittings, Dow membranes, and name brand industry standard cartridges.

Some Watts Premiers use proprietary cartridges and some have a manifold style design that precludes EZ repair and part substitution when necessary or desired..

BTW, the "taste" from any bladder tank is from the BLADDER as the water never touches the tank wall... whether a metal or plastic tank and pure water has no taste. The impurities in the water are what tastes. It often can take a while for the "taste" of a newly installed RO to go away.

Another thing, newer model fridges often don't work and play well with the low output pressure from ROs feeding their ice makers. If an RO will work with your Sub Zero you want to bypass or remove the Sub Zero's filter.

The best deal there is, is a dollar's worth for a dollar. Those who seek to get a dollar's worth for 75 cents usually end up getting 50 cents worth and paying 75 cents for it.

You might consider hitting the Yellow Pages and finding a local independent water treatment professional to come in and quote you what they recommend that you need to resolve your concerns. Plumbing stores are not the place to buy water treatment hardware.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 8:19PM
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Thanks for your informative response, lurker.

I guess a water treatment professional should be called. I had hoped to avoid that step as I don't wish to be upsold. I agree plumbing stores have a vested interest in getting me to buy the most expensive system out there.

Is there a system you have in your home that you would recommend? One with the Pentek or Amtek or John Guest parts? I have gone out of my way in this remodel to buy items not made in China, and would prefer to find a RO system that is NOT manufactured in China.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 8:47PM
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An independent water treatment pro would come to your house, evaluate your needs, make recommendations and charge you NOTHING... ZIP, NADA and you'd have more substantive info that you started with. Your prejudging that an independent water treatment pro wouldn't be ethical and up-sell you from what you need sustains what I wrote previously. Independent businesses survive because they treat their customers right and service what they sell at a fair price.

The plumbing store is where you'd get marginal quality and whatever offers the highest profit margin to the store regardless if it is what you need, and from people who usually don't know what they don't know about water treatment.

I have no doubt that you will get what you deserve... good luck to you.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 9:12PM
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Wow! Justalurker, you are really a piece of work. Internet forums can bring out the best and worst in people, due to the anonymity factor. I have had nothing but pleasant experiences on GardenWeb until today. Not sure if you are always mean or if I just push your buttons, but I find you to be really unfriendly. I am sure I will get what I deserve, as will you. Karma is a bitâ¬H.

I hope you can find some happiness, so you don't feel compelled to whale on strangers seeking advice online with their plumbing.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 9:21PM
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This post was edited by justalurker on Sat, Feb 23, 13 at 1:50

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 1:00AM
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Lurker gave some very informative advise, as how it was delivered well that's another thread.

The filter used on our water server on our Kitchen Aid has served us well. As did the Brita before that. What I can tell you is that a large amount of water is dumped to sewer for the reverse osmosis systems I have been shown and as we have our water trucked in this can be very costly. Ask about the yield of any water treatment system.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 10:12AM
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De-ionized water (as produced by a reverse osmosis system) does not occur naturally in nature, and its real use is for industrial processes. The attached link is a WHO paper reviewing the science and discussing the health risks of drinking such water.

If a home's water supply is contaminated in one way or another, bottled drinking water is a sensible approach. I question why anyone would want to use a home-based reverse osmosis system to produce water that can have adverse health consequences. And that tastes lousy (it's the minerals in water that give it taste)

Here is a link that might be useful: See this

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 1:58PM
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Southern Canuck, will be sure to check on the yield of any system. Thanks for the heads up.

Snidely, the link you attached is very interesting and makes this decision that much more complex.

I have calls in to 2 water specialists I found on Angie's List who get high marks. I will see what their analysis of my water shows. My yellow pages showed no independent water treatment listings, they all sold different brands of softeners.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 11:09PM
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All water treatment companies sell something. An independent dealer is one owned locally. Any dealer is going to recommend what they sell, which is why you want to get several quotes.

If you read snidely's link carefully, the message is that there MAY be a link between low-hardness water and certain health risks. However, the studies populations were undernourished anyway and a link is not the same thing as a causal factor. Failure to drink enough water because you dislike the taste is MUCH more dangerous to your health.

If you have been drinking Brita water for years, you have already been drinking low-hardness water. The Brita filter is a mixture of carbon and cation resin. The resin removes hardness.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 2:24PM
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Alice, I think it's you who needs to re-read that WHO paper carefully.

-I find no mention that the studies related to undernourished people, and in fact many of the findings are said to have been replicated with animal models.

-The title of the paper is "Health Risks from Drinking Demineralized Water". The numerous studies and sources have detected many certain adverse effects, not just one. These are findings, not loose suggestions.

I don't know if you read carefully enough, or it was more of your pretending to not see what you didn't like, but there was an express mention of the danger of home systems. Of particular interest was how widespread health problems arose "within weeks or months" after home systems became available in two European countries.

I think the evidence is clear enough that demineralized water is not safe to drink. Everyone can make their own choices.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 12:49PM
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"or it was more of your pretending to not see what you didn't like"

Not sure where that came from. Nice.

The paper is a position paper, not study findings, and full of "may contribute" so I see no reason to behave as if the sky is falling. Frankly, I don't care one way or the other how people decide to treat their water - I answer questions that are asked. If nitrates are a concern, a homeowner with a well has two choices. Bottled water or RO (distillation is an option as well, but not very practical). Many bottle waters are treated with RO and not remineralized so you've no guarantee there either.

Given the choice, I would use RO as I trust my ability to maintain a system more than I trust the barely-living-wage workers bottling water. If there is a problem with your water, you can fix it - if that includes re-mineralizing for your health or peace of mind, it's not difficult.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 1:56PM
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4 grains of hardness is nothing - our last home had water that was above 20 grains! That place needed a softener. But with 4 grains you are fine, a regular RO for drinking water will remove just about everything and give you good tasting water. RO does NOT remove significant amounts of minerals, neither does a Brita (charcoal) only distilled water has removed most of the minerals.

The amount of minerals in even the hardest drinking water is negligible as part of the diet compared to the amount in your diet, so trying to justify hard water as a health benefit for drinking is a stretch.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 11:45AM
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tinan - You are incorrect about RO.

A household RO system will remove 95 - 98% of the total dissolved solids. It will remove lower amounts of smaller molecules and ions with low charge and higher amounts of larger molecules and ions with higher charge. If you start with 4 gpg (68.4 ppm) hardness, after the RO you will have about 0.68 ppm after the RO. I would call that a significant reduction.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 2:00PM
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I am hoping the water specialist who will be on-site tomorrow to test my water can shed some light. I am particularly interested to see how my Nitrates measure up, as I am unhappy with the 8 PPM the last test showed.

I appreciate all of your responses.

Is this water softener a good product and from a reputable brand? My friend put it in her home:

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 2:43PM
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The valve pictured is timer-controlled, which is not what you want. If you decide to purchase a softener, you want a valve that regenerates your softener based on water usage, such as the Fleck 5600sxt.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 3:00PM
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Ah, thank you. That's some news I can use!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 4:17PM
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Ok, Atlantic Blue was here today to test my water, and here are the results:

Hardness: 10 gpg
Iron: 0 ppm
pH: 7
Nitrates: 10 ppm
Chlorine: 0 ppm
TDS: 160 ppm

The recommendation by Atlantic Blue was the Atlantic Blue Kwik Change RO for $995 installed;

or the Point of Use Nitrate for $695 installed.

Both systems use proprietary filters.

They told me the filters must be replaced annually and they will come out and replace them for $250. The RO Membrane filter gets replaced every 3-5 years.

The Atlantic Blue Reverse Osmosis 5 stage purification process is manufactured by Watts. The marketing sheet says 50 GPD TFC membrane and 3.2 gallon storage tank. 5 year warranty on AB Reverse Osmosis and 2 year warranty on Storage Tank.

They said the water softener would be $1900 installed, but I don't have problems with cloudy glassware or sediment in my faucets, so I prefer not to install that. Am I harming my dishwasher, etc. if I don't soften my water?

Thoughts? Should I just order a RO system online that uses generic filters and have the plumber who is working on my kitchen remodel do it? Or should I go with this proprietary system that Atlantic Blue is selling?

If I choose the online route is there a brand and model number you can steer me towards that is reputable and reliable?

Thanks in advance.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 1:07PM
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Found two reverse osmosis systems, that I can buy at a wholesale dealer, one is by Pura for $154:

4-Vessel Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System
Model: 1240202-P50
⢠4 vessels
⢠50 GPD output
⢠Separate sediment/carbon pre-filters allow for longer run time between cartridge changes
⢠Carbon post-filter
It does not seem to have a tank, or faucet, so I would need to buy that separately.

The other is by GE for $296:
Profile⢠Reverse Osmosis Filtration System with Brushed Nickel Faucet
Model: PNRQ21RBN

Features: ⢠Premium filtration process reduces up to 99% of many common contaminants ⢠Twist and lock filter design ⢠Filter and membrane reminder lights ⢠Super 15-gallon capacity per day ⢠Profile⢠designer high arc ⢠Advanced electronic monitor ⢠Automatic shut-off ⢠LED filter change indicator ⢠Faucet, filters, membrane, storage tank and full installation kit ⢠Horizontal or vertical system mounting orientation

Do either of these seem like a good system? Is GE known for their RO systems?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 1:26PM
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And then I found this Watts Premier RO system on Amazon for $177:
Watts Premier RO-Pure 531411 4-Stage Reverse Osmosis System

Product Description
From the Manufacturer
If quality and convenience are what you're in the market for, then this is the water filtration system for you. These filters change out at the push of a button. You don't need to turn off the water supply to the system and there's no waiting for the system to depressurize. Each individually contained filter just snaps into place, including the membrane. This four stage reverse osmosis system consists of a stage 1 five micron sediment filter that traps particulate matter like dirt, rust and silt that will affect the taste and appearance of your water. Stage 2 is a five micron carbon block filter that reduces chloramines, chlorine as well as other materials that cause bad taste and odors, these are called PRE-filters because they filter in front of the reverse osmosis membrane. Stage 3 is the heart of the reverse osmosis system, the RO Membrane. This 50-Gallon per day semi permeable membrane will effectively reduce TDS, total dissolved solids, Sodium and a wide range of contaminants such as Lead, Arsenic, Perchlorate, Chromium, Copper and Radium. It will also remove over 99.95-Percent cysts such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium. The larger production membrane of this state of the art system also means this system has been designed to reduce Nitrates and Nitrites from your drinking water. It is important that this system is properly installed and maintained with a minimum incoming water pressure of 40 psi for it to operate as designed. Stage 4 is a high quality carbon filter, this is called a POST-filter because it filters after the membrane. The filtered water passes through the membrane and enters the 3-Gallon storage tank. When you're ready for a taste, it will leave the storage tank and pass through this fourth stage on its way up to the faucet. Crystal clear, high quality and great tasting water! It is system tested and certified by the WQA by the WQA against NSF/ANSI Standard 58.

The Watts RO Pure Annual Filter Pack is $55.

Seems like it could be the same model as the Atlantic Blue system, but with different color filters. Seems like this might be the best way to go. Please steer me in the right direction, if you have any thoughts. TIA.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 1:35PM
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I'm reviving this thread to look for an answer to tl1969's last question. I'm in exactly the same place, facing the same question. I have the Watts Premier RO Pure 4 stage system in my current house, and am trying to decide whether to install it in my new house. I have had some problems with leaking and clogs with my Watts system, but no problems with taste. The water still tastes great after two years. But some Amazon reviewers complained that their water tastes like plastic with their Watts Premier system, which has given me pause. Is there a better system? Any suggestions? tl1969, what did you decide?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 2:50PM
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