Inexpensive (but good) reverse osmosis system?

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dragonbreath11

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Just a quick heads up about RO. RO is great... I have one.. but I also sell them at work... and they use a TON of water. Most systems are about 5 or 6 to 1 for input vs output. Meaning to make 1 gallon of RO water, it goes through about 4-5 gallons of tap water. So, just be prepared to hear that residula going down the drain when its filling the tank. You cant go too much wrong with a Watts system, but other great ones out there are Cuno/Aquapure as well as Everpure. These are mostly higher end, showroom grade RO systems but they perform well. My work is not the place to buy "inexpensive (but good)" RO systems. jd3's suggestions about collecting the waste water is an excellent idea though to comabt what I said above.
5-6 gallons wasted for 1 gallon of RO is certainly nothing to scoff at. So basically for a 5 gallon brew session using pure RO water (no tapwater mix) You're looking at about 50-60 gallons for 9-10 gallons. Wow, it certainly something to keep in mind.
 
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5-6 gallons wasted for 1 gallon of RO is certainly nothing to scoff at. So basically for a 5 gallon brew session using pure RO water (no tapwater mix) You're looking at about 50-60 gallons for 9-10 gallons. Wow, it certainly something to keep in mind.
My brewdays have been using tap water and RO in a mix, usually 30-40% RO depending on what I"m making.

My system won't be here until Monday, but my plan is still the same. I plan on using the waste water to fill my washing machine and/or for watering plants or cleaning. Most of my brewdays start with 15 gallons of water total. That means up to 7 gallons of RO water, which I realize will produce more waste water than I'd like.
 

johnlvs2run

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5-6 gallons wasted for 1 gallon of RO is certainly nothing to scoff at.
The ratio should be 3:1, no higher than that. This is easy to test.
If you're losing more than 3:1, the flow restrictor needs adjustment or replacement.
In addition to this, a permeate pump is a must have item for an RO system.

My brewdays have been using tap water and RO in a mix, usually 30-40% RO depending on what I"m making.
There's no good reason to add tap water back to pure RO water.
 

bja

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The ratio should be 3:1, no higher than that. This is easy to test.
If you're losing more than 3:1, the flow restrictor needs adjustment or replacement.
When using a pressurized storage tank, the ratio will change depending on the pressure differential between the input and storage tank. If the tank pressure is relatively high, the waste water to RO water ratio will be higher. Saying that the ratio should never exceed 3:1 is a bit naive.

There's no good reason to add tap water back to pure RO water.
So you're saying that we should use straight RO water to brew with?
 

johnlvs2run

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When using a pressurized storage tank, the ratio will change depending on the pressure differential between the input and storage tank. If the tank pressure is relatively high, the waste water to RO water ratio will be higher. Saying that the ratio should never exceed 3:1 is a bit naive.
The ratio does not change when you're using a permeate pump.

So you're saying that we should use straight RO water to brew with?
Yes, that's right, IF you want the water to be pure.

If the water is already pure coming from a good well then you don't need an RO system.

That is very unlikely though. Certainly I would not run it through RO and then add the wastewater back in.
 

bja

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The ratio does not change when you're using a permeate pump.
We're not talking about using a permeate pump.

Yes, that's right, IF you want the water to be pure.

If the water is already pure coming from a good well then you don't need an RO system.

That is very unlikely though. Certainly I would not run it through RO and then add the wastewater back in.
You don't want to brew with "pure" water. Water containing minerals in the right concentration are beneficial. This is why you mix the RO water with tap water.

You will never find a well that produces pure water. It aint gonna happen.
 

Budzu

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The purpose of brewing with RO water is not to mash with absolutely pure water, its to have the opportunity to put in exactly the minerals you want, without having to deal with the minerals you don't want. Salts should be added into the mash as you dough in. Use a good water calculator. I recommend EZ water calculator.
 

johnlvs2run

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We're not talking about using a permeate pump.
Okay then. :mug:

You don't want to brew with "pure" water. Water containing minerals in the right concentration are beneficial. This is why you mix the RO water with tap water.
Tap Water Contaminants - partial list

Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, from sewage treatment plants,
septic systems, agricultural livestock operations and wildlife;

Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, naturally occurring or resulting from urban storm water runoff,
industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining, or farming;

Pesticides and herbicides, from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban storm water runoff, and residential uses;

Organic chemical contaminants, synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, byproducts of industrial processes,
runoff from gas stations, urban storm water runoff, and septic systems;

Radioactive contaminants, naturally occurring or be the result of oil and gas production and mining activities;

I can see adding a balance of minerals to RO permeate if desired.
 

bja

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I can see adding a balance of minerals to RO permeate if desired, but not the contaminants contained in water from the tap. A lot of people do though and that's a personal choice.
Most people have potable tap water and brew with it. I take it that you think that's a bad idea.

I see you edited you post sometime after I quoted it.
 

johnlvs2run

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Most people have potable tap water and brew with it. I take it that you think that's a bad idea.
Yes I definitely feel that's a bad idea.

I see you edited you post sometime after I quoted it.
I can see adding a balance of minerals to RO permeate if desired,
but not the contaminants contained in water from the tap. A lot of people do though and that's a personal choice.


Happy now. :)

I reserve the right to edit my posts. ;)
 

rico567

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This has been a good thread, but even though I've learned more, I'll continue to buy my RO water at the grocery store. Until I can find an RO system that is no more than 1:1 waste factor, not going there. We have a dependable well, but I don't push it.
 

hipa

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I am leaning toward the Air Water Ice system, but I cannot find anywhere on their website about the certifications (NSF or WQA) for their system? Kind of in double minds! Can someone please repy - if it is worth buying this system for below the kitched sink drinking water application.

Thanks.

[
 

rico567

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I looked at the Air Water Ice systems back when I was considering putting in an RO unit. The more I read into RO and the water it wastes to make product, the more discouraged I became. I have since learned that there are units (they may even be discussed in this thread) that incorporate a device to increase the pressure to the RO filter, thus decreasing the amount of waste water. I'm not there yet, but if I were to purchase one of these systems, that's what I would go with. We need resin filtration and the whole bit, because our well water is full of dissolved iron and calcium- definitely a no-go for brewing as is.
 

nate456789

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Do any of you RO system users have issues with scale or stuff floating in your RO water?
I just installed a new system and I have flushed the system 11 times and counting and the first gallon of water has stuff floating in it. Looks almost white or translucent. small pieces and then they settle out.
It is a 6 stage system with UV and the works. There should be nothing in my water. Here is the system:
http://www.reverseosmosis.com/products/Pro-Series-6%2dStage-Reverse-Osmosis-UV-System.html

Has anyone experienced this? Could it be my tank or bad filters?
Thanks
 

rico567

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Do any of you RO system users have issues with scale or stuff floating in your RO water?
I just installed a new system and I have flushed the system 11 times and counting and the first gallon of water has stuff floating in it. Looks almost white or translucent. small pieces and then they settle out.
It is a 6 stage system with UV and the works. There should be nothing in my water. Here is the system:
http://www.reverseosmosis.com/products/Pro-Series-6%2dStage-Reverse-Osmosis-UV-System.html

Has anyone experienced this? Could it be my tank or bad filters?
Thanks
Could just be some debris from manufacturing; could be a bad filter (I would guess the last one in line). I'd contact the manufacturer. The only filters I have experience with are the whole-house variety (spun poly, activated charcoal), and have never had any issues.
 

peter78

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I know this thread quiet down some time ago, but hopefully I'll catch somebody's attention.

I've been looking for a RO system for some time, and with Christmas coming I might get one from Santa. The two systems posted below have a decent money difference. Do I really need the brand name RO membrane from Bulk reef supply? Or do the pure water club is enough? If I buy the pure water club system (since it's $45 less + free shipping + higher GPD @65psi) and the membrane turns out to be not that great, can I buy a brand name membrane to replace it? Would it fit? Is there any other reason the BRS system cost more that I'm missing out?

http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/brs-4-stage-ro-only-system-75gpd.html

http://www.purewaterclub.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=95&products_id=445
 

nate456789

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I know this thread quiet down some time ago, but hopefully I'll catch somebody's attention.

I've been looking for a RO system for some time, and with Christmas coming I might get one from Santa. The two systems posted below have a decent money difference. Do I really need the brand name RO membrane from Bulk reef supply? Or do the pure water club is enough? If I buy the pure water club system (since it's $45 less + free shipping + higher GPD @65psi) and the membrane turns out to be not that great, can I buy a brand name membrane to replace it? Would it fit? Is there any other reason the BRS system cost more that I'm missing out?

http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/brs-4-stage-ro-only-system-75gpd.html

http://www.purewaterclub.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=95&products_id=445
I would stick with the filmtec DOW membrane. I have had no issues with mine since I hooked it up correctly. I use mine pretty heavily. Not only for brewing but cooking and that is all our 1 year old drinks. And our water is pretty hard 350 TDS. Gets it down to 16~20 on average. If the tanks haven't been emptied for awhile I get up to 26ish due to TDS creep. But using all the water and letting it fill back up and it is back to low values again.
That is better price than what I paid for mine and it looks like the same product minus a couple filters.
 

johnlvs2run

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Do I really need the brand name RO membrane from Bulk reef supply? Or do the pure water club is enough?
Either of those should be fine.

If I buy the pure water club system (since it's $45 less + free shipping + higher GPD @65psi) and the membrane turns out to be not that great, can I buy a brand name membrane to replace it? Would it fit? Is there any other reason the BRS system cost more that I'm missing out?
Yes, I got a replacement membrane from Ebay for $28 that is excellent with a 98 percent reduction (360 to 7 tds), much better than the one that came with the system.

The PW system in your link is a countertop model, and the BR system goes under the counter, and therefore is bigger. Personally I prefer an under the counter system with a tank, a 2-way valve instead of splicing into the line, and a permeate pump that equalizes the pressure and saves water.
 

mcl

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I was browsing the Bulk Reef Supply website and the have RO systems and RO/Chloramine systems. I was under the impression regular RO systems removed Chloramine. Is this not the case?
 

johnlvs2run

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The following is from the spectrapure site.
http://www.spectrapure.com/SYSTEM_BREAKDOWN.htm

A Carbon Filter also has specific ratings that range from 5, 1 and 0.5. Each rating determines how much chlorine is removed in gallons of water. The 5 micron can remove chlorine for up to 6,000 gal, the 1 micron for up to 9,000 and the 0.5 micron 20,000. This filter is in the 2nd stage. It removes chlorine, organics, heavy metals, trihalomethanes, pesticides and many other chemical pollutants. It will also break-up chloramines, which is chlorine bonded with ammonia (removes the chlorine and leaves the ammonia).

(Only the 0.5 micron carbon block filter removes trihalomethanes, pesticides, volatile organic chemicals and 99.95% of giardia and cryptosporidium cysts.)

A Carbon Filter will usually lasts approx. 4-6 months ,depending on micron rating for the filters, usage and the quality of your tap water. The best way to determine when your Carbon Block Pre-Filter needs replacement is to use a chlorine test kit. Any chlorine level above 0.1 ppm will cause damage to the membrane and indicates that the carbon block filter must be changed.
 
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Incoming water is pressurized by the pressure in your city lines, the permeate pump pushes MORE water through the membrane than would normally be possible with normal water pressure.
Well, sort of. The permeate pump doesn't "push" water through the membrane. It isolates the membrane from the back pressure exerted by the pressure tank.

Membranes are affected significantly by water pressure. More specifically, what's called Net Driving Pressure. Two of the major components used to calculate NDP are the feedwater pressure, and any back pressure.

Most auto shut off valves close (turn off flow to the membrane) when the back pressure from the tank reaches 2/3rd's of the feedwater pressure.

So if your feed is at 60 psi, and your tank is almost full and is exerting 40 psi of back pressure, your membrane is operating at a NDP of only 20 psi. The permeate pump doesn't allow this back pressure to reach the membrane.

Russ
 
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I too was a bit skeptical yet even when I had really low pressure in the low 50psi range I never got worse than 2:1. My house currently runs 60psi and I'm hitting right about 1.5:1 which again I consider acceptable since they say they recommend at least 65psi or a booster pump.

So at my worse I was cutting my waste water in half from a 4:1 spec system assuming it didn't go over 4:1 atsub 65psi

To get downtown 1.25:1 you need to be running a booster pump and hitting 90+psi
You have complete control over this ratio. The ratio is controlled by a small part called a flow restrictor. The type we prefer are called capillary flow restrictors. The look like this:


RO system manufacturers typically include flow restrictors in systems
based upon some assumptions about "typical" water pressure and water temperature, with the aim being to produce a waste water to purified water ratio of about 4 to 1. If your pressure and or temp are different, your ratio will be different too. No worries. Change, or trim your flow restrctor to get the ratio you want, but...

Realize the "waste water" serves an important purpose. Reducing your ratio may shorten the life of your RO membrane. Just worked with a commercial customer who was only getting 3 to 5 weeks out of his membranes - after a little detective work we found the cause was insufficient concentrate (waste water) flow.

Russ
 

ajdelange

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Well, sort of. The permeate pump doesn't "push" water through the membrane.
That's exactly what it does.

It isolates the membrane from the back pressure exerted by the pressure tank.
It overcomes the sum of the back pressure from the storage tank (if any) and the osmotic pressure caused by the difference in solvent (water) chemical potential across the membrane (higher in permeate because of fewer ions than in concentrate).

Membranes are affected significantly by water pressure. More specifically, what's called Net Driving Pressure. Two of the major components used to calculate NDP is the feedwater pressure, and any back pressure.
And the other is the osmotic pressure. The net pressure is the pump pressure minus the osmotic pressure minus the tank pressure on the permeate side. I think you mean membrane performance. If this is positive water flows from concentrate to permeate side. If negative, the other way.

Perhaps another way to look at it is that the osmotic pressure and the back pressure both try to force water from the permeate side into the feed stream on the other side in order to dilute it to the point where the chemical potentials of the ions and solvents on either side of the membrane are equal. The feed pressure (mains or pump) counters these two pressures and when exceeds their sum water can flow to the permeate side.
 

BrewMikeA

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HbrewO Systems designed a RO just for home brewers.
5 micron sediment -> 5 micron carbon -> RO -> DI
I got one of the first ones when they were doing a prototype test. Got an email today saying they would be available in a week.
HbrewO.com

I use BeerDust for my minerals as well.
BeerDust.com

Great combo. Makes the water treatment part easy.
 
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Hmm. In our experience most home brewers don't want of need a DI stage. We have those RODI systems but they are typically sold into other markets.

Russ
 

augiedoggy

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Hmm. In our experience most home brewers don't want of need a DI stage. We have those RODI systems but they are typically sold into other markets.

Russ
correct... I only use my DI filter for the reef tank... I have read that it actually can have negative health effects vs regular filtered water over time.

Maxwater (whom I bought my system from) included two ouputs and specifically stated the DI filtered output was for the reef tank and the other output was for drinking water.
 

BrewMikeA

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DI is simply charged particles that remove minerals from water. Obviously you don't brew with pure water... You rebuild the profile... It's just another stage of purification... What do you believe DI is that changes the taste of water?
 

k1ngl1ves

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DI is simply charged particles that remove minerals from water. Obviously you don't brew with pure water... You rebuild the profile... It's just another stage of purification... What do you believe DI is that changes the taste of water?
He said "practical reasons not to drink DI water". I think he's referring to the fact there's no minerals present. Mineral free water tastes different than water we are accustomed to drinking. It doesn't taste right to normal water drinkers. I don't drink it.


No mineral content is the #1 reason why DI water isn't very good for you. Minerals are an integral part, from a healthy viewpoint. Now if you build your water profile, that's a different story.


Doesn't really matter, healthwise. I'm sure all water types are known to cause cancer in the state of California... and everyone knows California government agencies mean serious business.

:ban:
 

BrewMikeA

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Yeah but we're talking about water for brewing purposes, right? You would add minerals back to the water even after going through an RO or DI or RODI they all leave you with virtually mineral free water. Still not sure where taste comes into play.
 

augiedoggy

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He said "practical reasons not to drink DI water". I think he's referring to the fact there's no minerals present. Mineral free water tastes different than water we are accustomed to drinking. It doesn't taste right to normal water drinkers. I don't drink it.


No mineral content is the #1 reason why DI water isn't very good for you. Minerals are an integral part, from a healthy viewpoint. Now if you build your water profile, that's a different story.


Doesn't really matter, healthwise. I'm sure all water types are known to cause cancer in the state of California... and everyone knows California government agencies mean serious business.

:ban:
Actually there are other aspects of it and its a commonly debated thing it seems. I google search shows a lot of concern over it... a quote from the link below where many seem to work in the field.

"++

Let me see - the opinions of the people that are actually water experts say no, and material scientist and the like say its fine.

I say flip the copper iridium coin and pick a side. Me, I'm going the way of safety. I mean, I only have about 200 signs in our inventory that say "Deionized Water - DO NOT DRINK" and by LAW in all 50 states, they have to be posted. Either this is a cruel joke on my clients or someone knows what some of others of us do. But hey, maybe life is different down under. I mean, your little whirlpools that occur when you flush the loo go in the wrong damned direction, so maybe your DI water is safe to consume.

p.s. Hey Bill, keep on drinking that DI water and we can watch Darwinian Theory in real time. Me, I know DI water can make for a really crummy beer, and tap water makes perfectly wonderful beer. Go figure...

Tom Baker
wastewater treatment specialist - Warminster, Pennsylvania"

And
"Ok... now that I'm done laughing at Thomas' reply (with ya.. not at ya, buddy) I have to put my 2 cents in...I wouldn't drink anything that will corrode stainless steel....nuff said."

http://www.finishing.com/156/65.shtml Its actually a very interesting read...
 
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