So, I have 18 months left in the army, in Texas, 15 of which I will be able to brew (I get back from Iraq in like three months). After that, I will be moving back to Oregon where the water is soft and awesome. My water here is pretty hard (although not as bad as some of the reports i've seen on here) and I dont really want to rely on boiling or lime softening.
I have not been able to send a sample off to Ward labs for testing, because I'm deployed, but when I go home in three weeks I will be getting it tested.
Here is the city's water report:
Total Alkalinity as CaCO3: 149
Total Hardness as Ca/Mg: 174
I plan to brew a lot, about a 10G batch every week, so buying RO/DI water is pretty much out I think, which brings me to a RO/DI filter. My kitchen came with one, but when I remodeled I didnt think I would need it, so I just got rid of it (kicking myself).
From what I can tell, its really only high in Bicarbonates, Ca, and CaCO3 ... so Would lime softening work? Is it really just better to dilute with RO/DI water?
I have found this filter on ebay for $74 after shipping: http://cgi.ebay.com/Portable-Mini-Reverse-Osmosis-50GPD-Water-System-4stage-/280500949107?pt=Small_Kitchen_Appliances_US&hash=i tem414f28d073
If that is the only investment I need to make in my water, I am down and will do it in a heartbeat, but if there is a way around this ... I would rather take that because 15 months down the road I'll be back in water heaven.
Could I build a filter like that from lowes for cheaper? Also, that one does not have a DI stage, is it better to spring the extra $20 for the DI stage one, or add one once I get it home?
It comes down to this: If you were in my shoes what would you do? (other than send the water off to get tested for actual numbers, because thats being done in three weeks.)