Anyone running a Reverse Osmosis unit on their well water?

69hurstolds

Geezer
Supporting Member
Jan 2, 2006
6,613
113
Anyone running an under-sink low-pressure Reverse Osmosis (RO) unit on their well water system? I've run RO units at a pharmaceutical plant before, but those things were monsters. Although, the principle of operation remains the same.

We normally get the local DHEC office to run the annual coliform/e-coli and pH/TDS test periodically on our well water. I know everyone says do it annually, but our TDS, and pH and bacteria (none detected) is always within spec for the last 17 years we've lived here and had the well dug (200 foot). pH has run about 6.7 and mostly PVC piping, and TDS runs around 25-30 ppm. Water is whole-house double filtered and clear with no odors/weird taste, but then again, that's what we're used to. We have NEVER shocked the well. Never saw a need to, really.

A few weeks ago I saw this well-maintenance video on blew-tube and the well expert on there was talking about every couple of years, just shock the well with bleach just to keep things in check. Then I ran into an ad about Simple Lab Tap Score certified water sample labs. A slew of minerals and heavy metal checks and everything for your well for like 169 bucks. I figured why not? If I wanted the heavy metals checked, DHEC would charge me out the wazoo for the same tests. It was already $75 for what they were currently doing.

So I do the Simple Lab test, and the ONLY thing that came back truly out of spec from EPA guidelines was the pH was a bit low at 5.71. Not horrible, but 6.5 is the low spec limit. Won't kill you, but acidic water can start eating on the piping and leeching out copper and other metals from the pipes and junk. Now, Simple Lab also pointed out that while there was no arsenic, or anything super bad, they had "recommended" limits on things like lead (measured level of 0.009 ppm, they recommend it should be zero), copper(0.830 ppm, they recommend 0.30), beryllium, uranium, and other heavy metals which our water went over slightly for their recommendations, but still within EPA limits. I was surprised to see iron, manganese, mercury, selinium, molybdenum, nitrates, and other junk was non-detectable, but I'll take it. TDS was 22.

Now, the problem really lies in when the wife actually saw the results of the tests. She went on and on about the pH needing to be fixed (no matter how I tried to tell her it wasn't that huge of a deal) and about the lead and other metals. So I got out my own pH strips, and checked the water and sure enough, it was deemed in the "below 6/above 5" range on the stick with the gold-ish color. She was certified as a wastewater operator years ago by DHEC so I couldn't fake her on the pH strips and metal contents. She was ok with DHEC's previous water tests because everything was "normal" so she didn't worry about it. But they didn't do a bunch of other tests and didn't have any recommended levels, they went by the state's standards. Since I don't have an actual pH meter, so the strips will have to do.

They did recommend an RO unit for the metals, but nothing for the pH.

So I started to research ways to bump the pH. A million different ways until I saw this Artesian RO unit from Home Master. It has a neutralizing filter in it that actually bumps the pH of the water up a tad. AND- the RO unit should clean up any concerns with the lead and other metals. TDS shouldn't be an issue at 22. Cripes, most RO units take out way more than that. The wife likes the idea of fixing the pH and filtering out metals, regardless of how miniscule. So I see this as a win-win. And since I get a 10% discount at Lowes, the price gets even better. Beats bottled water and gets her off my back. The better option would be to get a whole-house neutralizing filter for raising pH, but I can't find any that isn't less than $1000. And I'm not spending a grand just to bump up the water 1/2 of a pH point. Also, this RO unit doesn't have the UV sanitizer on it, although it's available. We've never had bacterial infestation, so I don't see the need for it as long as we're periodically testing for it and don't have any issues.

Here's the one that has been approved by my "manager". Has a permeate pump to reduce waste water, and a refrigerator kit to run to the ice-maker and water dispenser system on the fridge. My price to the door including tax and free shipping is $450 after my military discount.


Comments/suggestions welcome.
 

WanaBa442

Master Mechanic
Aug 5, 2017
494
93
New England
While I don't have one, my son does in the house he rents.
I'd have to look at the brand as I never really paid attention to it.
His place is really just a small cottage with only one bathroom and the kitchen.
Don't know the specs on his water quality but I do know they replace the filters every couple of months.
With your perceived "light loading" (not alot of crud you're trying to get rid of) you may not be in for that much maintenance.
At $70 a pop for filters, that could get spendy if you were to have to do it every month.
Kinda like buy a cheap color printer but having to spend a pile on ink after printing just a few pages.
 
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69hurstolds

Geezer
Supporting Member
Thread starter
Jan 2, 2006
6,613
113
While I don't have one, my son does in the house he rents.
I'd have to look at the brand as I never really paid attention to it.
His place is really just a small cottage with only one bathroom and the kitchen.
Don't know the specs on his water quality but I do know they replace the filters every couple of months.
With your perceived "light loading" (not alot of crud you're trying to get rid of) you may not be in for that much maintenance.
At $70 a pop for filters, that could get spendy if you were to have to do it every month.
Kinda like buy a cheap color printer but having to spend a pile on ink after printing just a few pages.
Yeah, good point about the filters. Looking at the price of the filters, though, it really isn't that horrible in price actually. I think the refrigerator filters are about the same price if you bought them each. I change the whole house filters about every 3 or 4 months whether it needs it or not. When we first started up the well, I was changing them about 3 times per month until the well got "established". Over time the well settled out and pretty much got sediment only.

The recommended filter change out for this RO unit is once per year/2000 gallons on the filters. That's about 5-1/2 gallons per day use for a year. Doubt if just the two of us would use that much on average. So it'd probably be an annual changeout. Probably run an annual well water test to check efficiency and adjust to that. Right now they're $79.99 per full set changeout. Might get a couple sets and stash them like "Forever Stamps". (Inflation eventually will get to those too).

With the water quality we've had over the years, there's not going to be any chlorine in it to speak of which will degrade the carbon filters quicker, and the TDS is super low already, along with no iron detected, I got a feeling the "pre-filters" (whole house filters) will negate a lot of the loading issues.

And probably a big selling point for me, besides a lot of other things I like about it, it's manufactured and assembled in the U.S.A.
 

motorheadmike

Geezer
Nov 18, 2009
8,993
113
Saskatchewan, Truckistan
We had one at our old house for drinking water. It was a twin pre-filter system plus the RO membrane jobby. Pretty certain it was a Culligan 3.8L. Kinda looked like this:

1659708393811.png

In the 12 years at that house we never tested the water, drinking or otherwise.

We are on city water now and you can taste the difference. We are looking into another system to add to this place.
 

86LK

G-Body Guru
Jul 23, 2018
935
93
The recommended filter change out for this RO unit is once per year/2000 gallons on the filters. That's about 5-1/2 gallons per day use for a year. Doubt if just the two of us would use that much on average. So it'd probably be an annual changeout. Probably run an annual well water test to check efficiency and adjust to that. Right now they're $79.99 per full set changeout. Might get a couple sets and stash them like "Forever Stamps". (Inflation eventually will get to those too).
really? there's only two of you and you think you only use 2000-gals/year? you might want to think about putting a measuring meter on your line just to see how much you're really going thru. my house consistently uses 4500-5800/month, and has for the last 20 years. our water supply utility tells us we use less than the average household in our city. we've got washer, dishwasher, toilets, showers, icemaker, kitchen sink, cooking, drinking water. no swimming pool, don't really water the lawn. I know the elderly live-in MiL doesn't take a bath every day and I don't either (every other day).

I'd install a water meter on the house to see what you think you are using. You might be surprised.
 

doood

Amateur Mechanic
Sep 24, 2020
257
93
We had one at our old house for drinking water. It was a twin pre-filter system plus the RO membrane jobby. Pretty certain it was a Culligan 3.8L. Kinda looked like this:

View attachment 204084

In the 12 years at that house we never tested the water, drinking or otherwise.

We are on city water now and you can taste the difference. We are looking into another system to add to this place.
I've been using a system like this in various residences since 2007. Initially got it to provide soft water to tropical fish aquariums when the house had a NaCl softener with PH ~9. Membrane seems to last a year and is about $50/ea. Need to replace the sediment filters at frequency depending on your supply. Water comes out of the RO unit with nearly nil conductivity and PH ~7. Our current municipal water has variable sediment content and is quite chlorinated at times; we cook with the city water but drink the RO water. Have never had a problem with 1/8 PE plastic quick connects leaking or coming apart so long as the hose is cut squarely. I upgraded to a peristaltic pump to waste less water about 2 years ago; shuts off at 50 psig. At any given time there is about 2.5 gallons in the storage tank. Minimal maintenance; takes up half the cabinet under the sink; I highly recommend using these, because, you know, "Loss of Essence*".


*Go see Dr. Strangelove
 
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69hurstolds

Geezer
Supporting Member
Thread starter
Jan 2, 2006
6,613
113
really? there's only two of you and you think you only use 2000-gals/year? you might want to think about putting a measuring meter on your line just to see how much you're really going thru. my house consistently uses 4500-5800/month, and has for the last 20 years. our water supply utility tells us we use less than the average household in our city. we've got washer, dishwasher, toilets, showers, icemaker, kitchen sink, cooking, drinking water. no swimming pool, don't really water the lawn. I know the elderly live-in MiL doesn't take a bath every day and I don't either (every other day).

I'd install a water meter on the house to see what you think you are using. You might be surprised.
I've never measured our water use, but I have lugged around 5 gallon water bottles before, which would be roughly the gallon limit average for the filters to last a year. If two people are drinking and cooking with more than that in one day on average, then yeah, they won't last a year. Just a preliminary guess. But no way in hell would we drink and cook with 4500 gallons per month unless there was a water leak somewhere. It's an average thing, kind of like gas mileage. Some days you use more than others.

I think you are conflating the two types of water use. All that other are uses outside the scope of the RO unit as the 2,000 gallon general limit is only for drinking/cooking and the icemaker. Not whole house. Washer, shower, toilets, outside hose bibbs, etc., will still get filtered water, but the RO water is only for human consumption. It will have its own separate tap on the kitchen sink. I can always get a whole-house RO unit with monster capacity, but for $7,000 or so, I'll pass. I'd hate to see how much those filter replacements would be. The gigantic bastages we had at work were $3,500 for EACH filter cartridge, they were about 4 feet long and 18" in diameter, roughly. And weighed a friggin' ton it seemed. And there were 3 per filter housing and having to deal with crappy river water.
 

86LK

G-Body Guru
Jul 23, 2018
935
93
I think you are conflating the two types of water use. All that other are uses outside the scope of the RO unit as the 2,000 gallon general limit is only for drinking/cooking and the icemaker. Not whole house. Washer, shower, toilets, outside hose bibbs, etc., will still get filtered water, but the RO water is only for human consumption. It will have its own separate tap on the kitchen sink. I can always get a whole-house RO unit with monster capacity, but for $7,000 or so, I'll pass. I'd hate to see how much those filter replacements would be. The gigantic bastages we had at work were $3,500 for EACH filter cartridge, they were about 4 feet long and 18" in diameter, roughly. And weighed a friggin' ton it seemed. And there were 3 per filter housing and having to deal with crappy river water.
I wasn't conflating, I just didn't know what you were doing with your water. with your description, you're only RO'ing the necessary water that needs to be RO'd (y), that is , human consumption. I would put RO wherever it MIGHT be consumed, which would be bathroom sinks, showers, kitchen sinks, and icemaker. all 4 of those sources could conceivably be consumed. put RO in the toilet only if you're worried about the dog drinking it :p
 

84cutlasssupreme

Apprentice
Nov 2, 2019
77
18
Anyone running an under-sink low-pressure Reverse Osmosis (RO) unit on their well water system? I've run RO units at a pharmaceutical plant before, but those things were monsters. Although, the principle of operation remains the same.

We normally get the local DHEC office to run the annual coliform/e-coli and pH/TDS test periodically on our well water. I know everyone says do it annually, but our TDS, and pH and bacteria (none detected) is always within spec for the last 17 years we've lived here and had the well dug (200 foot). pH has run about 6.7 and mostly PVC piping, and TDS runs around 25-30 ppm. Water is whole-house double filtered and clear with no odors/weird taste, but then again, that's what we're used to. We have NEVER shocked the well. Never saw a need to, really.

A few weeks ago I saw this well-maintenance video on blew-tube and the well expert on there was talking about every couple of years, just shock the well with bleach just to keep things in check. Then I ran into an ad about Simple Lab Tap Score certified water sample labs. A slew of minerals and heavy metal checks and everything for your well for like 169 bucks. I figured why not? If I wanted the heavy metals checked, DHEC would charge me out the wazoo for the same tests. It was already $75 for what they were currently doing.

So I do the Simple Lab test, and the ONLY thing that came back truly out of spec from EPA guidelines was the pH was a bit low at 5.71. Not horrible, but 6.5 is the low spec limit. Won't kill you, but acidic water can start eating on the piping and leeching out copper and other metals from the pipes and junk. Now, Simple Lab also pointed out that while there was no arsenic, or anything super bad, they had "recommended" limits on things like lead (measured level of 0.009 ppm, they recommend it should be zero), copper(0.830 ppm, they recommend 0.30), beryllium, uranium, and other heavy metals which our water went over slightly for their recommendations, but still within EPA limits. I was surprised to see iron, manganese, mercury, selinium, molybdenum, nitrates, and other junk was non-detectable, but I'll take it. TDS was 22.

Now, the problem really lies in when the wife actually saw the results of the tests. She went on and on about the pH needing to be fixed (no matter how I tried to tell her it wasn't that huge of a deal) and about the lead and other metals. So I got out my own pH strips, and checked the water and sure enough, it was deemed in the "below 6/above 5" range on the stick with the gold-ish color. She was certified as a wastewater operator years ago by DHEC so I couldn't fake her on the pH strips and metal contents. She was ok with DHEC's previous water tests because everything was "normal" so she didn't worry about it. But they didn't do a bunch of other tests and didn't have any recommended levels, they went by the state's standards. Since I don't have an actual pH meter, so the strips will have to do.

They did recommend an RO unit for the metals, but nothing for the pH.

So I started to research ways to bump the pH. A million different ways until I saw this Artesian RO unit from Home Master. It has a neutralizing filter in it that actually bumps the pH of the water up a tad. AND- the RO unit should clean up any concerns with the lead and other metals. TDS shouldn't be an issue at 22. Cripes, most RO units take out way more than that. The wife likes the idea of fixing the pH and filtering out metals, regardless of how miniscule. So I see this as a win-win. And since I get a 10% discount at Lowes, the price gets even better. Beats bottled water and gets her off my back. The better option would be to get a whole-house neutralizing filter for raising pH, but I can't find any that isn't less than $1000. And I'm not spending a grand just to bump up the water 1/2 of a pH point. Also, this RO unit doesn't have the UV sanitizer on it, although it's available. We've never had bacterial infestation, so I don't see the need for it as long as we're periodically testing for it and don't have any issues.

Here's the one that has been approved by my "manager". Has a permeate pump to reduce waste water, and a refrigerator kit to run to the ice-maker and water dispenser system on the fridge. My price to the door including tax and free shipping is $450 after my military discount.


Comments/suggestions welcome.
"now the problem really lies in when the wife actually saw the results.....she went on & on..." you have correctly identified the source of your anguish, my friend. At my house, when I run into similar issues, I usually refer to my wife as "the other person at home known as my wife" LMAO!
 
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403Olds

Master Mechanic
May 31, 2014
415
63
South Central Ohio
We've got well water and had a Culligan unit for 20 years. replaced the filters once a year. The tank bladder went out in that one, and replaced it with this one, been working well for a couple of years. Honestly, it's peace of mind with the chemicals put on the fields and what not that people are dumping in the ground.

 
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