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Tell me about your home water filtration/softener/purification system, please

We have lousy tap water at our home. It is so hard that if I put a pot of water on to boil, large mineral crystals will form in the pot after a short while. I refuse to drink it, even just to help swallow a pill. We currently have a water cooler with home delivery of five-gallon jugs for drinking and cooking, but we want to do away with this. I'm doing research online, but I strongly believe that personal references are best. So can you tell me if you or anyone you know currently has a home water filtration / softening / purification system, what kind you have, and how well it works? Thanks!

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  1. I have a Kinetico two-tank water softner. It flushes 1 tank while the other supplies the water making softened water available at all times. It was expensive and we replaced it after 20 years use with the same model. My wife thinks there is a slight salty taste to our water (I don't), so we have a reverse osmosis water filter for drinking, coffee, ice, etc. These are readily available at Costco, etc. All this stuff works and our water tastes good plus our showers, faucets, toilets, sinks and so forth are free of mineral deposits.

    1 Reply
    1. re: BN1

      We have the same system - 12 years, no problems with one annual maintenance visit. Two nice features: it is not electric (powered by water flow) and there is no timer to schedule flushes (based on consumption so it flushes as needed). Our water tastes fine - the unfiltered water will turn anything orange in a matter of minutes!

    2. We also have a Kinetico water softener, after our Sears-brand softener died. We also have a built-in filter for the ice/water in the fridge. Otherwise, all the filtering is done at the kidney level.

      1. After years of sclepping 5-8 gallon jugs a week from our local health-food store's filtration machine (refills) we had a drinking water filtration system installed by Culligan along with a softener on the rest of the water supply. It's nice because they maintain it, add salt to the softener and change the filter on the drinking water system.

        1. We have an Everpure under cabinet filter system. Excellent flow rate. Water taste like bottled spring water because most of that is filtered tap.

          1. We have this http://www.purewateressentials.com/ct...
            It is fantastic, the water tastes great and it lasts longer. When we used PUR faucet filters they would stop flowing within 3 weeks. Even though this costs a little more, you only have to change the filters every year or two, or when the flow gets weaker, which hasn't happened in 1.5 years.

            1. You need to differentiate between softening and filtering. If you have very hard water then it causes problems for many pieces of equipment. Don't ever use it as a car coolant. It wrecks hot water heaters, humidifiers and other evaporators, espresso machines, electric kettles etc. You need a sofener that can support the whole house, both hot and cold. The next part describes a filtration system for drinking water. I heartily recommend one of these if you have a salt-based water softener - or if your water is suspect, heavily chlorinated, have lead pipes anywhere in the feed including the street, has a taste you do not like, from a well or lake, or suffers from discolouration or an off taste.

              I use a filtration system and have installed many of them - it's a bit of a sideline for me. I recommend them when I remodel a kitchen for someone. The cost to run for a proper 'under the sink' household one is about 1 to 2c per lite when the filters are included. Incidentally, under the sink is about the worst place to put it, especially if it has a tank. Put it in the basement or a corner cupboard and run a longer line. And don't forget to feed the icemaker with it. And if you have an aquarium they are essential. They are also valuable if you are into fermentation (wine, sausages, tempeh, whatever). Most of these environments are not keen on having chlorine or fluorine in the water.

              The model you want want will have between 5 and 7 filters depending on what you are trying to achieve. The main component is a reverse osmosis filter. (RO) This eliminates the vast majority of contaminants. The problem is that they are expensive to replace and there are easier ways to remove the majority of unwanted stuff. So the normal process is to put three filters before the RO filter. These are to remove sediments. So you may have 2 sediment filters (a coarse and fine) and an activated carbon one. The output of these goes into the RO filter. After that you may have a 'taste filter' , an ultra violet antibacterial filter and/or a de-ionisation filter (DI). The antibacterial filters are not usually needed for North American mains tap water, but is for well or lake water or your source is prone to flooding.

              You can get them on the internet. Look for one with three vertical cylinders, and two or more horizontal ones. The RO filters will last two years if you replace the sediment filters regularly.

              Flow rate is another issue. It is 'better' if you have one with a storage tank, and even better if it is a pumped system. Installation can be a major issue of you want your water to also feed an aquarium or bathroom sink.

              If you want to use a filtration system for largish quantities (eg pasta water) then go for a pumped system. If it is just for tea, coffee, drinking water then a pump is probably not necessary. But do get a system with a tank.

              Sorry to take issue with michelley, but do not wait for the flow rate to slow down. With a tank system it is hard to tell. You can give you RO filter an early death. Do it on a schedule. If you can get a system where the primary sediment filter is in a see-through container that will give you a better visual indication.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Paulustrious

                I ran a line from the RO filter to the refrigerator specifically to get pure tasting ice. The process involved a hassle with the building inspector as they only allow copper lines. That neutral water is aggressive and eats copper, so we ran a new line after our inspection. Unfortunately, this didn’t produce the pure tasting ice I sought. I think the components in the refrigerator ice machine add flavors, so I still buy pure ice.

                1. re: Paulustrious


                  Wow, what a fabulous response. You have certainly given me a lot to think about and a lot to research. Yes, our water is hard. Sounds like I would do well to get both a softener and a filtration system. Thank you for your time and experience. It will certainly help to steer me in the right direction.

                2. I've been told, many times, that a typical home RO system uses 2 to 4 gallons of water to produce ONE gallon of RO water. With water shortages getting critical in many areas of the US, is this a valid concern in today's water ruification systems? Are their types of systems that don't waste so much water?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Midlife

                    You are right - except it uses more than that. Usually 80% is lost. But this is not really a concern in most areas of the world. It is only your drinking water that is being filtered. If you drink 3 pints a day then the amount of waste is the same as flushing the toilet, and a fraction of a bath, shower, dishwasher, washing machine, dripping tap, using a hose or even washing the dishes in the sink. If it really is a concern you can use the 'waste' water (usually known as brine even though it isn't salty) rather than directing it straight into the foul stack.

                    The 'footprint' of an RO system is tiny compared to bottled water, although considerably higher than drinking tap water.