Review: three years with our reverse osmosis filter

Published by Supertortuga on 2017-02-19
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Compared to Sweden, the quality of the water in Spain is generally of lower quality, although I believe it has improved during the last 15 years, mainly to higher awareness of the environment. And on the Azahar coast the water is particularly hard (high content of lime) and treated with chlorine, the former creating problems with the household appliances (like the dishwasher and the laundry machine) and the latter provoking a bad taste, making it unsuitable to drink.

Water is essential for most turtles. Supertortuga occasionally also enjoys a cold beer, though.

Supertortuga lives in an area with a relatively acceptable quality of the water, and we have limited problem with high lime content. However, while it is good enough to make coffee, wash our teeth and cook, we do not use it as drinking water. That is, until we installed our reverse osmosis filter.

What is reverse osmosis?

From wikipedia we read that "Reverse osmosis is a water purification technology that uses a semipermeable membrane to remove ions, molecules, and larger particles from drinking water. In reverse osmosis, an applied pressure is used to overcome osmotic pressure, a colligative property, that is driven by chemical potential differences of the solvent, a thermodynamic parameter."

A typical reverse osmosis filter for a normal household [Image from Everclean Water Treatment Systems (www.evercleanwatertreatmentsystems.com/water-treatment)]

A typical reverse osmosis filter for a normal household [Image from Everclean Water Treatment Systems (www.evercleanwatertreatmentsystems.com/water-treatment)]

To maker things clear, this filter does not filter all the water for all purposes in a house hold - it has a limited filtering capacity, in our case some 10 litres/hour (it is equipped with a small accumulator for the filtered water) which is more than enough for our consumption. Like in most households we have installed our filter below the kitchen sink, and the filtered water is supplied through a small independent tap just next to the normal tap. The cost for the equipment and installation was around 250€ three years ago, but the prices range from €100 - €1.000 (depending on the quality and the filtering steps - some filters include IR filters to kill bacteria and even remineralization steps to improve the taste and characteristics of the water).

The quality of the filtered water is excellent, comparable to bottled water. Once in a while, the filters should be changed, and it is a good idea to have an equipment to measure the ppm of solids in the water.

So, what are the main benefits?

Well, most obviously, we do not have to purchase bottle water any longer. I make a pay-off calculation that the time to recover the investment would be around three years, considering the price of the bottled water back then. But this calculation does not take into account the side effects such as having to transport the water from the stores back to home and then throw away the empty plastic bottles - we have saved thousands of bottles.

Another side effect is that we drink more water, due to that it is so easily accessible in the kitchen.

Are there any downsides?

A small, but existing downside is that around 10-15% of the filtered water is lost in the filtering process. However, this waste water can be collected, and used to water your plants (after leaving it for some time so that the chlorine evaporates). I have also heard that some people don't like the idea of having a small additional tap in the kitchen, but I think this is not an issue consider all the benefits.

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