Is It the Water or the Installation?

djdoggoneJune 8, 2011

About six months ago we had a whole house water softening system installed by Kinetico and opted for a reverse osmosis system for our kitchen drinking water. We disliked the taste of the RO water so we had it removed and ran a separate, non-softened line to the drinking faucet, leaving in the Kinetico faucet, by-passing the softening unit, and installing a separate water filter to remove the iron from the well water. Basically, we wanted to put our drinking water back to the way it was pre-Kinetico but it isn't behaving like the ol' water we've had for the last 30 years.

When the plumber was installing the separate line for drinking he said that the Kinetico installer had plumbed something against code. Can't quote me on this but I think it had something to do with how the RO system drained. He said that he fixed it so we were kosher.

What is different is that there are millions of tiny bubbles in the drinking water now, and less in the softened water but more than ever existed pre-Kinetico. For example, I used to change the dog's water twice a day when feeding. When I go to dump the old water, the entire bottom of his dish is nothing but very small bubbles. If I leave a glass of water for an hour-and-a-half or two, just sitting, it will develop thousands of these tiny bubbles along the sides and bottom of the glass. If I compare it to the softened water, the treated water has perhaps one-tenth of the bubbles. If I compare it to bottled water, say Poland Springs, there are no bubbles. I even notice bubbled water clinging to the inside door and bottom surface of the dishwashing machine.

The Kinetico faucet for the drinking water doesn't have an aerator but it is a very slender gooseneck. The kitchen faucet is the same one we've had for the last 16 years.

Any clues why the bubbly? And is it OK to drink? It tastes the same as the old water but I'm nervous and have taken to buying bottled water -- insane after spending all that money to get this elaborate plumbing system.

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As I see it you really can't criticize Kinetico as they installed what you expected and it is doing exactly what it should. The fact that you don't like the taste of RO water happens and the upscale Kinetico allows for the installation of a mineral filter to get back the normal(?) taste but you opted to have the RO removed and that was your right to do that. BTW, that big water machine at the supermarket is RO water... do you like how that water tastes?

As far as Kinetico installing in violation of code... many plumbers are not as knowledgeable as they proclaim regarding water treatment installations so I would get that question cleared up by bringing that to Kinetico's attention in case the plumber screwed something up.

Is the untreated water coming out of the conventional kitchen sink faucet or the Kinetico RO faucet? If it is then that may be your problem. RO faucets are not intended to handle the higher pressures the house plumbing has and with no aerator you could be getting odd results.

Does the untreated water smell at all funny?

Can you remove the inline filter that treats iron and actually return to how your water was? If you have more than a trace of iron that filter may be the problem. Who recommended the iron filter? Is is a cartridge filter? What kind of filter is it?

Assuming you have a conventional well installation do you have a storage (pressure) tank? Is the Kinetico softener and the new line for untreated water to the kitchen sink installed at the output of the pressure tank?

To intelligently diagnose anything you have to go back to square one... hook up the untreated water to the kitchen faucet and remove the iron filter and see if it bubbles.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 5:03PM
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I'm confused about a couple of points....maybe I'm just not reading correctly.....

1) Kinetico RO and Kinetico softener installed or just Kinetico softener and someone else's RO unit?

2) Removed RO unit entirely? Non-softened non-RO water now coming from the "drinking water" outlet? RO unit not being used anymore?

3) Iron filter installed where in this line?

Basically, I'm not sure what your present arrangement is. Certainly softened water will taste different from your straight well-water. RO water will taste different from either. That part I get.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 5:38PM
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My apologies. I didn't realize anyone had responded -- thought I'd get e-mails but must have neglected to check off the box.

Justalurker: Didn't mean to give the impression that I was criticizing Kinetico for the RO water. Agreed, they put in what we'd asked for. We just didn't care for the taste and opted to remove it. I only mentioned it because it helped explain the in's and out's of the set up.

The non-softened water is coming out of the RO faucet. That is the very bubbly water. I've spoken with Kinetico and two plumbers about the faucet/bubbly problem. They all suggested that it couldn't be the faucet because it has no aerator. You are the first to suggest that it might be the faucet because it is not designed to handle the household pressure. I'm encouraged. Thanks. We will switch out the faucet and see if that is the issue. Can't thank you enough for your feedback.

asolo & justalurker, I really appreciate your participation and don't want to seem ungrateful but I'd like to try the new faucet out before I respond to your questions and other suggestions. I don't want to waste your time/brain power if we have found the solution.

Will let you know what we find.

Thanks. Deb

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 3:11PM
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