Major Water Snob Wants Good Water
Amanda asked this question:
We have very hard water where I live and have had many issues with mineral build-up in our toilets, showers, sinks, etc. I am also a major water snob and strongly prefer to only drink & cook with RO filtered water because our city water is loaded with chlorine (and who knows what else). I have an under the sink Watts 5 step RO system currently that runs to my sink & I also ran a line to my fridge/icemaker, but we are moving to a new home & the fridge will no longer be able to connect to the RO system because of placement.
We have thought about getting a water softener or conditioner, but I still want my drinking water & ice, etc. to be RO filtered (those little filters they sell that attach to the water line or install in the fridge SUCK) so I was thinking of doing a whole house RO system to solve both the build-up & water quality problems. My concern is that we will be wasting A LOT of water with a whole house RO system (I’m thinking this because our water reject line currently drains almost non-stop even with brand new filters & membrane). Are there any solutions out there that won’t waste so much water without skimping on water quality? If we do go with a whole house RO, a softener/conditioner isn’t needed, right?
Would you recommend a softener or a conditioner for really hard water instead of whole house RO and if so, do you have a preferred model of each type to recommend? I think I would rather not deal with salt pellets, etc, but if softening is much better than conditioning, I can deal with it I guess. Thanks for your guidance. I am so worried about making the wrong decision because none of these options are inexpensive–I want to get it right the first time.
The Water Doctor replied:
First of all, I would not generally recommend a whole-house RO system unless there is some other major reason why you would want it. If the water is hard, you would still need to soften it with a water softener or a good salt-free water conditioner anyway. If you are really a major water snob, then I would recommend a hybrid water softener like this:
It not only softens the water for the whole house, but also reduces or removes the chlorine and other chemicals. I suspect that you drink RO water because you don't want the chlorine and chemicals in your drinking water, but did you know that you absorb more chemicals and chlorine through your skin and through inhalation (vaporization) in a 20 minute shower than you could ever drink?
Additionally, modern RO technology has produced residential RO systems for drinking water which waste 80% less water than a regular reverse osmosis system. It is called a "permeate pump" RO and it also makes water faster, makes higher quality water and delivers the water at the same pressure as your incoming line pressure (most RO system lose 35% pressure). Here's a link to one: