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Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

Posted by snappleg (My Page) on
Tue, Sep 13, 11 at 2:21

I've been looking at different reverse osmosis systems and it is difficult to say which one is better.

I'm thinking about going with Crystal Quest Thunder 3000CP or 3000C (with or without pressure pump - I don't know yet if we need one).
http://www.crystalquest.com/reverse-osmosis.htm

I chose this system mainly because I wanted to have Ultraviolet Water Sterilization and it looks like everything is bundled nicely in one package here.
Has anyone heard about this company? How reliable is it? What would be a comparable or better system? (Please no Kinetico ROs - we have only 1 dealer on our area with negative reviews - I don't want to deal with this)

Our water will not be softened before it will enter RO because our house plumbing has a loop to avoid a kitchen faucet. Our water hardness is around 15 grains per gallon or ~257ppm

Also, does anyone know what you do with a reverse osmosis storage tank if you don't use the system for an extended period of time (from 1 to 3 weeks)? Is it safe to keep water there without any movement for so long?

Thank you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Crystal Quest RO


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

That looks like a pretty comprehensive system. Two membranes assures treated water. The UV bulb needs to be changed yearly, without fail.

I would opt for the pump model because there are more than typical filter elements to push the water through.

Water left in tanks for extended periods of time may develop some odor and taste issues but these can be flushed out when service resumes. Post filters normally handle it before it reaches the faucet anyway. Occasional sanitation of the unit is recommended.

Filter changes will be costly but if you want high quality water, that is worth the cost.


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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

Be aware soft water supply will increase life of the RO membrane many-fold compared with 15 grains hard water.

If you're going to have RO water available at the sink anyway, what would be the remaining reason to maintain the hard-water loop?


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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

Seems that some models of the Crystal Quest RO include ion exchange resin in stage 5 to treat hard water supply although I'm not sure how, ot if, the resin is regenerated when its hardness removal capacity is depleted.


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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

Andy,
Do you mean that I need to change that UV bulb yearly, before it fails or that the average life of the UV bulb is one year?

Aloso,
Currently, we have a carbon filtration for the whole house, no softener (we just bought this house). I'm thinking of adding a softener after the carbon.
The only reason I know that kitchen is excluded because I tested our water for chlorine. We didn't have it anywhere inside of the house except kitchen faucet. I'm not a plumber, so I have no idea how easy it would be to put our kitchen back in a whole house filtration (+softener) loop.

Justalurker,
I saw also that the company wrote
In stage 5, Water flows through the ion exchange resin, reducing heavy metals such as lead, copper, aluminum, and water hardness.

I also don't see how ion exchange resin will reduce water hardness. I think maybe it is a bad choice of words or marketing gimmick.


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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

Not the end of the world, regardless. Just hard water is kinda rough on RO membranes. You'll probably need to change them much sooner than if supply was soft. Easy enough to keep track, though. You'll want to get a TDS meter for that. Cheap and easy. Link below.

With 15 grains hard water, I would expect 3-4 years tops membrane service life, likely less. Could be wrong. In any event, via checking with the meter once in a while you'll be able to tell easily. You'll be looking for 90% or better exclusion ration. After some years, you'll see this beginning to taper off into the 80's and you'll know it's time.

Here is a link that might be useful: The TDS meter I use.


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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

Important info you should have provided in your first post... are you on a well or a municipal water system?

Ion exchange (resin) is how hardness is removed but the hardness removal capacity is based on the volume of resin. Once the resin's hardness removal capacity is depleted it must be regenerated with NaCl or KCl.

If the ion exchange resin in the Crystal Quest is not regenerated, and it seems that it is not, then your 15 gpg hardness will shorten the RO membrane's life dramatically.

I'm curious, you want to have Ultraviolet Water Sterilization. Do you think the UV light will do more or better than the chlorine in your water now that you are filtering out with the carbon filter?

Is the carbon filter a simple cartridge type or a back-washing tank style?


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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

Asolo,
Thank you for the tips. I already have TDS meter, so one less thing to buy.

Justalurker,
I'm on municipal water system - should be safe to drink, just don't like the taste and smell of it.

I wanted to have UV light because I assumed that it will kill any bacteria (if present by any chance) since with this RO I will be getting rid of chlorine. Is it an overkill? Do you think I should drop UV light?

Our carbon filter(s) doesn't go to a kitchen faucet, so right now I have chlorine present there. It will stay the same way unless I ask plumbers to reroute our piping (I don't even know how complicated or expensive it will be)

We have an interesting set up in our garage: 2 tanks with some media, one has Autotrol 263/440i valve, and another is in and out only. I tried to identify the system on one of the forums before, and I got some helpful answers, but it is not possible to say what inside of the tanks by looking at the photos. People also commented that in and out media, which cannot be even removed without cutting a pipe, was strange.

I also hired a local company which sells and installs water softener/whole house systems. I asked them to check my system and identify it. I described over the phone the set up we have, gave the model # of the valve and asked to send a technician who will be able to tell me what we have inside of the tank.
The technician came with an order where the company wrote:
a) 24 point system check -$75
b) Carbon replacement (don't remember how much, have to check the copy)

This technician said without touching tanks that both were carbon tanks. I even asked if he was 100% sure and he said yes. After that reply I told that without opening and looking inside (or testing our water) he can only assume, and even if there is a very big chance one tank has carbon, the second can contain any kind of media. He turned red and agreed. He called some senior technician who confirmed it can be anything, even a mix of different media.

I also couldn't understand why he intended to replace carbon without knowing if the one we had was already bad. He didn't have any meters or test strips. Actually, he asked me if we had a pool and then if I had any pool strips.

Then he tried to sell me a new softener and he sized it without asking me a single question or ever leaving our garage. One of the systems he tried to sell was Vortech (which I read about before and knew it contained carbon + softener). He priced it at $3000 with installation. The second was just a simple softener; he priced it at $1500. He couldn't even tell me the max flow rate for the system he was selling. It was a disappointing experience. At the end he said that I knew more than he did. It was one of the big, reputable companies in the area.

Problem is whole house filtration systems or combos are not popular in our area. We usually see only softeners.
I had to run through the whole house with a Tyler 2006 drop test myself to realize that we don't have any chlorine in our water anywhere except our kitchen faucet.
I'm attaching a photo of our current set up below.

When we know what kind of softener we want, I will ask plumbers to disassemble the whole set up, remove magnets, put copper piping, and put a pressure meter after each tank. Also, if we decide to keep both tanks, I will ask them to attach our in/out tank in a different manner, so we can replace media without cutting the pipes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Our current set-up - Autotrol 263/440i


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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

Don't like the taste... that's subjective and perfectly acceptable.

Don't like the smell... that should be investigated.

If it were me...

Remove the carbon filter. Antibacterials that are added to municipal water being in the house plumbing and fixtures is a good thing.

Install a correctly sized softener that is programmed for efficiency..

Install a conventional (made in US) RO under the kitchen sink (on a softened water line) for cooking, drinking, and ice making. All ROs remove chlorine.chlorine and if you don't filter the chlorine out at POE then your water is safe right up to the RO..

Have a less complicated system that tech info and parts are readily available for most everywhere for a sensible price and move on to another project.

BTW, that 10" canister filter is more than likely restricting your water flow and pressure.


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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

Justalurker,

I thought about replacing this set up with the softener only and for now I decided against it. I hear the arguments that the city water is perfectly safe and they will never let anything bad get into your water. I believe that it is true to some extent. Mistakes happen, sometimes water gets contaminated and if the contamination is not at a dangerous level, most likely, you will never even know when it happened. I don't know if it is a good example, but FDA approves tons of drugs and then, in several years you hear that apparently, there are some serious side effects, a drug is being discontinued and if you ever took that drug, you can file a claim. Well, several years ago it was approved by FDA and they were under the impression that it was safe, but later discovered it was not.

There are just too many articles telling that chlorine (or chloramine) in our water may not be as harmless as we used to think. If there is a chance this is true, I prefer to have chlorine free water.
For example, quoted from here http://www.pure-earth.com/chlorine.html

"Until recently, concerns about drinking water focused on eliminating pathogens. The chlorine used to reduce the risk of infectious disease may account for a substantial portion of the cancer risk associated with drinking water. Chlorination of drinking water was a major factor in the reduction in the mortality rates associated with waterborne pathogen. The use of chlorine was believed to be safe. This view is evident in an article, which appeared on the back page of the New York Times. The report stated that with the use of chlorine, "Any municipal water supply can be made as pure as mountain spring water. Chlorination destroys all animal and microbial life, leaving no trace of itself afterwards". This statement reflected opinion accepted until recent years when halogenated organic compounds, such as chloroform, were identified in chlorinated drinking water supplies. Recent surveys show that these compounds are common in water supplies throughout the United States.
These concerns about cancer risks associated with chemical contamination from chlorination by-products have resulted in numerous epidemiological studies. These studies generally support the notion that by-products of chlorination are associated with increased cancer risks.

Chlorine is used to combat microbial contamination, but it can react with organic matter in the water and form dangerous, carcinogenic Trihalomethanes. According to Dr. Joseph M. Price, MD, in Moseby's Medical Dictionary, "Chlorine is the greatest crippler and killer of modern times. It is an insidious poison".

In a 1992 study that made front-page headlines, and was reported on in the July issue of the American Journal of Public Health researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee found that people who regularly drink tap water containing high levels of chlorine by-products have a greater risk of developing bladder and rectal cancers than people who drink unchlorinated water. The study estimates that about 9 percent of all bladder cancer and 18 percent of all rectal cancer cases are associated with long-term consumption of these by-products. This amounts to over 20,000 new cases each year."

Most likely, people will say that how can you believe any of this - the web site is selling filters. It is true! Their credibility drops, but they are not the only people writing articles on this subject - it was just one of the first google links I got.

You can read another article here: (fresh, January of 2011)
http://www.npr.org/2011/01/07/132743638/disinfectant-to-clean-water-has-problems-of-its-own

I think until our water agencies will find a way to disinfect our drinking water without chlorine or chloramine, you will never know the whole truth about all the side effects from these agents. Obviously, having chlorine is way better than having bacteria in your water, so it is a fair trade off for now.

What are the negatives of having carbon filtration + softener? I thought that since our city carried this water all the way to my house with chlorine, there should not be any bacteria in it = it is safe for me to remove chlorine. Am I wrong? Do you think water can get contaminated inside of our house plumbing?

Also, what do you mean by "Install a conventional (made in US) RO" Any examples?
What about this Crystal Quest RO? I thought it was made in US.

Thanks.


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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

I'm no scientist but I do have a nose and mouth. Chlorine and chloramine at the levels my city supplies them in my water smell bad and taste bad in the house. Showers and baths smell. Pasta-water smells. Tea, coffee, and juice mixes are compromised. Anything and everything having to do with that water either tastes bad or smells bad. They say "...it meets all standards..." and "...is safe to drink...". I have no argument for them science-wise or regulation-wise but I won't drink it.

Don't know if your situation is better or worse than that. I can tell you I have a whole-house softener with activated charcoal modules upstream, then RO under the sink. My water tastes great and my showers don't smell.

In previous posts, justalurker has expressed concern about removing chlorine upstream of the household pipes. I understand the logic of it. All I can say is I've had this particular system up and running at a location I utilize about once per week (the rest of the time that water just sits in the pipes) with zero ill effects.


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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

All ROs remove chlorine so there will be no chlorine in your drinking, cooking, and ice cube water.

"Most likely, people will say that how can you believe any of this - the web site is selling filters. It is true! Their credibility drops, but they are not the only people writing articles on this subject - it was just one of the first google links I got"

Based on the article you read a good percentage of people my friends and I should be dead by now. 200+ million people in the US drinking municipal water and not dying is proof enough for me.

Antibacterials (chlorine, chloramine, etc) in the water in your plumbing and appliances is a good idea. IMO there is a greater risk of bacterial problems from DIY plumbers and handymen (women) cross-contaminating than from municipal water supplies... not to mention people who live on wells and rarely, if ever, get their wells tested for bacteria and nitrates after they move in and get the one mandatory test..

I prefer industry standard ROs built with industry standard quality components over proprietary designs. Industry standard parts are not proprietary and available from a variety of sources so you buy one good RO once and you're done. In today's economy companies and products I never thought I'd see disappear are do so every day. The world's greatest RO is useless if there are no parts available.

You might look here to learn about ROs... click here Nice people and they know their stuff.


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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

"In previous posts, justalurker has expressed concern about removing chlorine upstream of the household pipes. I understand the logic of it. All I can say is I've had this particular system up and running at a location I utilize about once per week (the rest of the time that water just sits in the pipes) with zero ill effects"

So far... how long? And I hope never because a bacterial infection is a very unpleasant experience.


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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

Didn't proof-read....sorry. Thought it but didn't write it. Units installed this location June of 2010. That would be 14-15 months.


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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

I was being rhetorical. I knew your new carbon/softener Kinetico combos are fairly new.

My position is that anyone is free to experiment in their own home on themselves and their family but to advocate that others do it is responsible.

I realize that there is great debate on this subject and that some softener companies recommend carbon filters to remove chorine/chloramines ahead of their softeners. I believe that position is taken to get longer resin life in their softeners so they don't have to replace resin under their 10 year warranty... but that's just what I believe.

If we look back far enough we know exactly why municipal water is treated and it continues to be treated for the same reasons which are still valid.

We wash our hands before we eat... well, some of us, and those who don't and touch the aerator on the faucet can easily transmit whatever bugs they got off the dirtiest thing they touched that day... the money in their pocket. That's right, more germs and bugs on money than anything you have on you or wear. Water with antibacterials would kill those bugs on the aerator but dechlorinated water wouldn't and those bugs go right into that glass of water or the coffee you're making or... ?


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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

Hey, justalurker....got a proposal for you....and me.

We two and a few others have been tossing this idea around for quite a while, now. I personally own and maintain a situation that exhibits the "at-risk" characteristics we've discussed. That is, chlorine removal before entering the house and RO reservoir water sitting around for a week or more. The concern has been possible bacterial or other growth making ingestion of the sat-around-too-long water dangerous. How about if I test the stuff and report back?

Unless I find it's prohibitively expensive, I'm interested. Propose that on a single occasion after the property has been idle for a week or so, that I draw three samples and submit them for testing. #1 untreated street supply. #2 sample from furtherest-from-supply tap before lines are flushed -- to find out what's in those unused pipes #3 Sample from week-old RO tank supply.

What I would be interested in from you would be WHAT I should specify be tested. I'm not going to go crazy on this and I suspect the lab itself may have recommendations. However, in addition to my own curiosity, I'm interested in satisfying you and others here that a reasonable test was done. Could be interesting for all of us.

Can you suggest what I should specify be tested in the samples?


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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

Thing is, a test that zeros out at 6am won't show bacteria at 9pm. Without antibacterials in the water there is always the risk and that is exactly why municipal water is treated.

The risk is ongoing. That's why it is recommended that people living on wells get their water tested for nitrated and bacteria annually. Some do and some don't. I know one guy that I brow beat into having his well water tested after 15 years of not testing it cause "my water is great". When the test came back he actually puked when he read the results. He should have been puking for 15 years on that water. After correcting the problems in his water he told me that he actually felt better a few months later.

So, you do what you want and as long as you have no problems you're lucky, not right. I hope your luck transfers to those who read what you post and take the same risk.


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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

"...a test that zeros out at 6am won't show bacteria at 9pm."

Don't know what this means. Can you explain?

I'm suggesting testing my one-week-standing water. I'm suggesting using methods and parameters that you think may be most indicative and/or useful. I think you've just told me you aren't interested. Please advise if incorrect.


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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

Testing your one week standing water once will only result that sample at the time sampled. Not the next day or next week or next month or six months later.

For you, who has to know, you won't know there is no bacteria unless you routinely test. There may be no bacteria at 6AM but there may be at 9PM. So a test at 6AM only results the 6AM sample not a 9PM sample because you didn't test at 9PM. There may be no bacteria today but there may be bacteria next month. Are you going to test next month?

You should do, or not do, whatever you decide to satisfy your curiosity. Don't lose too much sleep wondering. If you have bacteria at some point you'll know soon enough.


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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

Yes, UV bulbs should be changed once a year. Life expectancy is around 9000 hours, or one year. It doesn't matter if the bulb is still emitting light. It's not the glow but the frequency (wavelength) must be exact to be able to disinfect, and the wavelength will change over time.

This bulb is definitely a NSF Class-B system which is designed to be use in conjunction with another disinfection system such as chlorination. Class-A system can stand on their own.

This unit will serve you well. I am not a big fan of the resin part which may or may not last the year depending on how much volume used on your 15 grains.


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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

@justalurker....

Thanks for clarification. I must have taken a dense-pill last night. Get it, now.

May go further on my own. Understand the risks you've described. Still not convinced of the magnitude of risk in closed systems -- which my household is. Bottled drinking water, for example, is pretty much RO water with trace minerals added back and sealed up in bottles. It's not pasteurized or autoclaved or boiled or anything like that yet has an indefinite shelf-life, its use-by date more-or-less mandated by FDA regulations but having little to do with actual "spoilage" as with food products. The "warnings" I've read have entirely to do with off-flavors being engendered by contact with the packaging, not "spoilage" per se -- as long as it remains sealed. Even unsealed, recommendations for use runs into weeks.

That condition would be pretty much what I have in my pipes and in my RO storage tank when left unused for a week or more. Having passed through the activated charcoal, that product is essentially a sterile (or not) medium. I have the impression it is not particularly at risk as long as the system remains closed. Thinking it might be worth a test of the product after a week or two of non-use to satisfy my curiosity, if nothing else. May serve to answer one of OP's questions, too. We'll see. Could be incubating another obsession, here.


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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

Well, I also understand the idea that from point A, where your whole house carbon filter removes chlorine from your water, to point B, (any faucet in your house), you have chlorine free water sitting in your pipes.

How high is the risk of that water getting contaminated? Do you have to touch one of the faucets with dirty hands to create a breeding ground for bacteria or since it is present everywhere, it will start multiplying in your pipes without any direct contact? How long will it take to contaminate your water? What are the chances: 1 out of 1000 or let's say 1 out of 100,000? Even if I'm ok gambling with the latter, I'm not willing to take 1 out of 1000.

Also, what would be the dangerous level of contamination for drinking? What if we use water, which is being stripped of chlorine at our garage, just for showers and brushing our teeth, never for drinking? In our case, when we put RO under our kitchen faucet, we will have chlorine water till it hits RO = perfect scenario - we will be removing chlorine right before we consume this water; it won't be sitting in pipes (I mentioned earlier that our whole house carbon set-up goes everywhere except the kitchen faucet) How about making it a habit to flush chlorine free water before drinking?

Asolo offered to test his/her water. Unfortunately, the results will be inconclusive unless water will be tested every week for the duration of several months. This kind of experiment can be done by some lab which can perfom tests immediately and do it as often as they want.

We are putting ourselves at risk of getting sick on daily basis by touching door knobs at work, shopping carts at stores, and even shaking hands with friends. Several years ago medical professionals used to think that common cold or flu virus would survive on these surfaces no longer than a few minutes, relatively recently they found out that it can be hours. You pick up that virus sitting there for hours, rub your eyes or pick your nose - there is a very big chance you will get sick. I would say it is 50/50, depends on how strong your immune system is.

Again, are we talking about real danger when we have chlorine free water sitting in our house pipes for a few days?

Some people are very sensitive to chlorine while others don't see a big deal. I wish I would not care and see no difference between chlorinated and chlorine free water, but like Asolo, I do. On the top of it, as I mentioned already, all these reports telling you about dangers of chlorine by-products are not giving me more incentive to have it in my water.

So, before making my decision, I have to weigh the danger of chlorine free water being contaminated from point A to point B vs the danger of chlorine by products and just my personal preference of liking chlorine free water.

I don't know what to do at this point.


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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

The report you cited was old and had a conspicuous word both you overlook... "In a 1992 study that made front-page headlines, and was reported on in the July issue of the American Journal of Public Health researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee found that people who regularly drink tap water containing high levels of chlorine "

There are specific guidelines regarding the correct amount of chlorine/chloramine.that should be added to municipal water supplies. Some water authorities comply and some don't.

and Asolo, how do you know that bottled water isn't run through a UV light?


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water

I just noticed Asolo's last post. I think we both would like to know the same thing at this point )
The only difference is that Asolo already bought and installed whole house filtration system while I'm still thinking if it is better to remove carbon and install just a softener or add it after the carbon.

Andy_c, thank you for the explanation. Basically, this bulb adds extra $150 to a yearly maintenance of this RO. If the bulb was installed after the tank, I think it would be more useful, but since it is placed right after the filters and before the storage tank, I don't see what bacteria it would help to kill considering I'm not on well water (I guess even with city water there is a risk, but is it high enough to justify UV light addition?)

There is so little ion exchange resin in their filter that I'm afraid with 15 grain hardness I will have to buy a new one every 6 months.

Safe but very expensive system: whole house carbon + softener (for people w hard water) + UV light at every faucet to kill bacteria which can breed in chlorine free water


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High chlorine level

Justalurker
I din't overlook "high" in this article. Often, city changes the amount of chlorine they add depending on water source they use at the moment. You may have normal or low level one month and high another - city doesn't notify you about these changes.


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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

"Asolo offered to test his/her water. Unfortunately, the results will be inconclusive unless water will be tested every week for the duration of several months. This kind of experiment can be done by some lab which can perfom tests immediately and do it as often as they want."

Aye, there's the rub alright. A one-off sample wouldn't tell the tale to anyone's satisfaction. (Well if contamination was found in the first sample, I guess it certainly would, but otherwise, no.) And regular, repeated testing of suitable duration is beyond my ability and inclination. May dwell on the idea but with all my other duties presently I don't see it happening unless I discover a neighbor who's in the business.


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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

IIRC, the EPA sets maximum and minimum allowable concentrations in municipal water.


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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

Justalurker,

I decided to go with guys from TX for my RO needs. Thanks for the link! I like that they tell you the truth on their website - such a rare thing nowadays.

I'm still debating on the whole house filtration though. To be, or not to be: that is the question :)


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RE: Crystal Quest Reverse Osmosis - comparable or better system

Yea, the RO guys in TX give a dollar's worth for a dollar.

The question is not... to be, or not to be, but rather to risk or not to risk... THAT is the question.

If you ever have definitive PROOF that YOUR municipal water exceeds the recommend chlorine content then it's EZ enough to add a back washing carbon filter at that time.


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