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Reading an R/O water report

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burkian

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Just got my results from Ward Labs. I have softened water that then goes through an R/O filter. As I input values, is there an effective difference between a value of 0ppm and <1, <.1 or <.01?
 

Smiling Frog

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Are all these listed as ppm? My suspicion is that you are looking at their limits for detection. That is, for a particular constituent, they may not be able to accurately say that none of it is present in the sample submitted, but, they can state that it is less than the limit of detection for the particular assay they performed.
 
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burkian

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Are all these listed as ppm? My suspicion is that you are looking at their limits for detection. That is, for a particular constituent, they may not be able to accurately say that none of it is present in the sample submitted, but, they can state that it is less than the limit of detection for the particular assay they performed.
Yes, these are PPM as follows:

Sodium, Na 6
Potassium, K < 1
Calcium, Ca < 0.1
Magnesium, Mg < 1
Total Hardness, CaCO3 < 1
Nitrate, NO3-N < 0.1 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S < 1
Chloride, Cl 3
Carbonate, CO3 < 1.0
Bicarbonate, HCO3 12
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 10
Total Phosphorus, P < 0.01
Total Iron, Fe < 0.01

I guess my question is, are the values that are less than one functionally zero for the purposes of making water adjustments? Or should they just be entered verbatim?
 

Smiling Frog

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Yes, I would just enter zero for those listed as <1 or less. They are just letting you know what their detection limits are.
 

Vale71

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I guess my question is, are the values that are less than one functionally zero for the purposes of making water adjustments?
Unless you really expect to be able to predict PH to the third or fourth decimal digit then yes, they are functionally zero. ;)
 

mabrungard

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For the purposes of brewing, considering any of those reported values as zero will produce no appreciable difference in your brewing outcome. But I do suggest you enter the actual non-zero results.
 
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burkian

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For the purposes of brewing, considering any of those reported values as zero will produce no appreciable difference in your brewing outcome. But I do suggest you enter the actual non-zero results.
I am using your water spreadsheet so I appreciate your input on this. The converted SO4-S would have a value of 3ppm or leave it at 1ppm?
 

VikeMan

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I am using your water spreadsheet so I appreciate your input on this. The converted SO4-S would have a value of 3ppm or leave it at 1ppm?
1 ppm SO4-S (i.e. SO4 "as" S) is 3 ppm SO4. Your report says < 1. You can't multiply "< 1" by anything. The answer could be anything that's < 3. Enter 0,1, 2, or 3. Maybe enter something like 1.5 if you want to minimize the potential maximum error. But it really won't matter.
 

Silver_Is_Money

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In light of a myriad of actually serious variables to be fathomed and juggled in association with brewing, no ones software is going to be good enough (or more properly, accurate enough) for analytical values this low to make any difference in the mash, and no pH meter or pH meter end user will be good enough for it to matter as to "valid" mash pH variation either. And lastly, no one is honestly going to taste a difference between 0 ppm SO4 and 3 ppm SO4 in beer. No one even knows the analytical purity or analytically precise weight of the minerals they are adding, and this unknown variability alone will be larger than any variability associated with this water.
 
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