What Kind of Whole House RO Do I Need?

What Kind of Whole House RO Do I Need?
By Mark Timmons
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Question for the Water Doctor:

"I am purchasing a house with well water.  As a city dweller and the owner of some large aquariums I would like to do whole house RO. Could someone please reach out to me about a good whole house system/setup? I found this link via Google:  https://www.uswatersystems.com/systems/reverse-osmosis/whole-house-reverse-osmosis-systems"

Answer from the Water Doctor:

Since Reverse Osmosis removes the largest spectrum of contaminants of any water treatment process (see Filtration Spectrum below), more and more people are turning to whole house reverse osmosis systems.   Many people who opt for whole house reverse osmosis mistakenly believe that it will take EVERYTHING out of the water... and while it will, it won't do it for long without proper pretreatment.  One thing you need to remember is that reverse osmosis requires proper pre-treatment.  A reverse osmosis system with proper pre-treatment will last 10-20 years, while one without proper pre-treatment may be junk in a few months.   You may need one or more the following depending upon your specific water chemistry:
  • Backwashing Carbon Filter to remove organics and chlorine (Chlorine destroys RO membranes)
  • Iron and/or Sulfur Removal System (Iron and Sulfur foul membranes)
  • Water Softener or Anti-Scalant System (Prevents hard water plugging of membranes)
  • Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection if the water has a high bacteria count.  If bacteria is high it will foul and plug the membrane.
So, maybe you are starting to figure out that it would be a good idea to know EXACTLY what is in your water, and you would be completely right.  A good carpenter measures twice and cuts once, but if you don't measure properly and cut off too much, you are in big trouble. The same is true with reverse osmosis.  The better the water analysis, the better the water can be treated.  So, a comprehensive water analysis is essential.  We recommend one of these: This test is for city water and other applications where the water doesn't seem so bad: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-lab-water-test.html If you have nasty well water with iron and sulfur, you might want to opt for this one: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-watercheck-with-pesticides-lab-water-test.html And then, there is this one for cases of brackish water or higher usage and more critical issues (especially critical commercial applications): https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-watercheck-with-pesticides-lab-water-test.html It's always a matter of money, but knowledge is power and if it were possible, I would always recommend getting the biggest test. We do give you 50% of the cost of the test back, if you buy what we recommend, so that may be something you want to consider. So, here's how it works, you order a water test from out website, then we send it to you.  When you get it, follow the instructions carefully, draw the sample and send it directly to the laboratory (address is included in the box).  It takes a week or two to get the results and then, we can make an informed recommendation as to what you will need and guarantee the results.   Remember, if you purchase our recommendations, we will apply 50% to the purchase of your new reverse osmosis system. Measure twice - Cut Once!
March 30, 2014
Katherine Honer
August 7, 2017 at 9:45 PM
We are on city water and it is very hard. I use the Enagic Kangen water(anyone interested contact me , I am a registered Pharmacist Pharm D) DrKate.yourbodyiswater.com. The water from the source is so bad it is 678++ ORP (oxidizing.. rusting.. causing free radicals) my machine struggles to get to ORP of-300 (antioxidant.. free radical scavanger) without any filtering system at all. We tried RO under sink (with re-mineralization before entering the machine which is needed for the machine to make the water antioxidant and to cause hydrogenated water).. I got my ORP to -600 .. awesome.. but it could not supply enough water. Then we got a really good charcoal filter and attached it right before entrance into the machine.. got ORP -500+ but got that egg smell (hydrogen sulfide gas). The company could not explain why but said the water is high in chlorine sulfate. I deduced that when the water paced through the machine it used all the hydration which attached to the sulfur (the filter took out the chlorine) and formed hydrogen sulfide gas. So Question is ... I need a system that will increase my ORP (-) without creating this H2S ?(need to have calcium, magnesium (+ ion) to charge the water ... this can also be accomplished by re-mineralization prior to entrance into the machine). I do want to filter out as much of the junk in the water (nitrates, pharmaceuticals, hopefully fluorine and the other crap they treat our public water with) Also would like to decrease the hard water throughout whole house. Help please ?
Mark Timmons
August 8, 2017 at 7:29 AM
Katherine, We can fix your water but I need to know what competing contaminants there are and a detailed water analysis is what that requires. This test is for 95 contaminants and accomplishes that: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-comprehensive-lab-water-test-for-well-water.html Does the water from your tap have any odor?
Katherine Honer
August 8, 2017 at 11:29 PM
No the tap does not have an odor.
Katherine Honer
August 8, 2017 at 11:31 PM
No the tap does not have an odor. I clicked on link... do I just need the main one or any of the additional ones below?