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Thread: Are RO Units Worth The Money And Effort?

  1. #17
    BS Bulldozer SubRosa's Avatar
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    One consideration. All typical aquarium and home RO units use the same size membrane housing. The volume rating is a function of the interaction between the membrane and a flow restrictor located in the waste water line. When it's time to replace the membrane, you can easily upgrade a 10 gpd unit to a 200 gpd membrane and flow restrictor and convert a 10 gpd unit into a 200 gpd unit. The cost difference between the lower and higher output membrane isn't that much, a flow restrictor costs a buck or two.
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    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    Question 1:
    What water pressure do you have?

    If less than 45-50 RO units perform poorly and require booster pumps.

    Question 2:
    Do you want this unit to supply water for other uses besides CP's?

    e.g., personal consumption, humidifier, ice maker, etc

    If yes, than you will want a captive air tank (accumulator) equipped system

    Question 3:

    Budget?

    A "good" captive air tank and permeate pump equipped 100gpd system will run in the range of 200$.

    Like most things, you get what you pay for. My system is 9 years old, supplies many gallons per day, every day and just now on the third membrane. Prefilter life is six months easily with a 3:1 Brine ratio.

    Warren is correct about the non standard units. Some whirlpool and rebranded whirlpool units take unique prefilters and membranes. These result in a significant increase in routine maintenance expense.
    (can be found at big box stores)

    Here is a link to one, notice the prefilters are modular...

    Caveat emptor
    Last edited by Av8tor1; 08-08-2014 at 09:42 PM. Reason: Correct statement

  3. #19
    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    Just CP's. Thanks for the advice! I use ~2-3 gallons of water for the plants per week. Is it worth it?

  4. #20
    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    As a renter you need to find out if the landlord will allow you to make the necessary modifications to the plumbing for an under-the-counter installation. If not you need to look at faucet adapters for a "counter-top"/portable setup.
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  5. #21
    Whimgrinder's Avatar
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    For the various horticulture applications, I consume between 10 and 20 gallons of RO water each day. (Half of that is used by the Hydrofogger) I also use the RO water for drinking water and making coffee, so add a couple more gallons to that total. So - I chose a fairly costly setup that includes a high capacity filter with a booster pump and a 100 gallon reservoir tank. The whole deal cost about 2K, which I can justify because it produces our drinking water as well - not to mention superior coffee (one of the major food groups!).
    Last edited by Whimgrinder; 08-09-2014 at 06:58 AM.

  6. #22
    Axelrod12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimscott View Post
    Just CP's. Thanks for the advice! I use ~2-3 gallons of water for the plants per week. Is it worth it?
    Depends how you look at it. It will pay for itself over time. It may take a while at only 2-3 gallons per week but it will add up over time. It depends if the initial investment is worth it to wait 1-2 years for the cost to catch up for you.

  7. #23
    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    To me,

    My RO unit was one of the best purchases I've ever made... my tap water is now somewhat over 200ppm, but since I'm in a region that burns coal for power generation we have issues with mercury etc etc. (much of which is never included in your typical water company reports)

    All that aside, the convenience of having it on demand is just awesome when you are used to hauling jugs, collecting rainwater etc etc etc.

    I like to keep my cp water about 20-30ppm so I don't worry about my DI stage any more, so with a typical 95% rejection ratio membrane.... I got what I need with just the membrane.

    It makes the best sun tea you ever drank IMHO... Some people don't like the taste (or lack of..) of the water, I prefer it. If you have ever spent time at sea (Navy) you may recognize the taste.

    RO membranes "need" to be used. You are much better off getting a smaller unit and using it more frequently that a larger unit and running it once in a blue moon.
    Infrequent use can lead to bacterial issues inside the membrane, or damage to the membrane from drying out.

    Just don't buy one to fill up a 55 gallon drum and use a gallon per day

    If you rent, you will probably need a "portable" unit.... efficiency suffers, icemaker use is out, etc but for the renter with Cp's it's a decent option.
    These have a faucet adapter much like a portable dishwasher... snap it in place, open the cold water, run the permeate line (filtered water) into your collection bucket, and run the brine (waste water) to the sink drain.

    Typically you will have 3-4 gallons of brine for every one gallon of permeate

    systems like this, 100-150 and try to run it at least weekly to keep the membrane from getting funky

    caveat: you still need at least 45-50psig at the faucet or the system will never work well


    HTH's
    Av
    Last edited by Av8tor1; 08-09-2014 at 08:59 AM.

  8. #24
    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    just for ref:

    Permeate: The output from the reverse osmosis membrane (the cleaned water)

    Brine: The waste water output from the membrane

    Brine ratio: The amount of brine compared to the amount of permeate during operation. To enable a membrane to work properly and live a long life, most of the supply water is allowed to flow across the membrane and exit out through a restrictor. This restrictor keeps some back pressure on the membrane surface.
    Most membrane manufactures require a brine ratio of 3:1 to 4:1

    Rejection ratio: Ratio of the measured TDS of the membrane inlet water compared to the membrane permeate outlet. Most membranes will have a listed rejection ratio of 95-98%. However, this is highly dependent on inlet pressure, inlet water temperature and pressure differential across the membrane. This is what determines when a membrane should be replaced.

    If you have a brand new membrane that has a rejection ratio of 95% and your supply water has a TDS of 100ppm, the output from the membrane under ideal conditions will be 5ppm
    That same system with a supply water TDS of 1000ppm will have an output of 50ppm.

    To get rid of what the membrane cant, we use a "DI" (demineralization by ionization) stage, sometimes called "deionization". They are little beads that swap one ion for another, typically hydrogen for whatever the leftover bad ion is. (I'm not a chemist so I may be over simplifying it but you get the idea) These beads are typically a "consumable" product and must be replaced.

    for ref, my setup:



    HTH's
    Av
    Last edited by Av8tor1; 08-09-2014 at 11:50 AM.

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