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new(ish) to RO/DI, update


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#1
godfathernikki

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I've been using Catalina water from the lfs, and I'm thinking of starting to mix my own.

I've had one of these ge ro units for the last year or so, originally for cooking and drinkng, but for the last 6 months i've been using it as topoff water as well.

TDS levels:
Tap = 525ppm
RO faucet = 21ppm

Is this suitable for mixing my own water?

I was also debating if it would be better to get a new system, or just a di add-on to reduce the ppm further.
I am considering the new system because the ge one that I have isn't really a 'true' 3 stage filter, as far as I can tell it works a differently than most. The first stage is a sediment/carbon combo in the same canister, then it goes to the membrane for the second stage, after which it goes to the storage tank. On the way out of the tank, it goes through a second sediment/carbon filter(same type as the first)

Edited by godfathernikki, 09 June 2012 - 09:40 AM.


#2
C.I._Reefer

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I've been using Catalina water from the lfs, and I'm thinking of starting to mix my own.

I've had one of these ge ro units for the last year or so, originally for cooking and drinkng, but for the last 6 months i've been using it as topoff water as well.

TDS levels:
Tap = 525ppm
RO faucet = 21ppm

Is this suitable for mixing my own water?

I was also debating if it would be better to get a new system, or just a di add-on to reduce the ppm further.
I am considering the new system because the ge one that I have isn't really a 'true' 3 stage filter, as far as I can tell it works a differently than most. The first stage is a sediment/carbon combo in the same canister, then it goes to the membrane for the second stage, after which it goes to the storage tank. On the way out of the tank, it goes through a second sediment/carbon filter(same type as the first)


Your rejection rate is good, I would just get the BRS DI add-on if it were me. It is a full size DI canister, and is only like $35

#3
AZDesertRat

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The rejection rate is marginal at 96%. Given our high TDS water in AZ you will go through DI resin very quickly. I started out with a Watts Premier RO system from Costco years ago and converted it to a RO/DI over time. I was fortunate enough to get the 650 or so TDS down to 13 from the RO only but even then my full size 20 oz DI only lasted 150 gallons tops no matter what resin I used or how fresh it was, didn't matter and I tried them all.

DI replacements will soon exceed the cost of a true reef quality system designed and built in Tempe AZ specifically for our water conditions. I would keep the GE you have for your drinking water or it is very easy to buy a new reef quality RO/DI system for $120 and use the existing parts you have to convert it so you can use the RO only portion for drinking water and seperate the RO/DI for reef use. At most you may need to buy a small 1 psi check valve and I'll bet you have everything else already with your existing system.

My Spectrapure RO membrane takes it from 650 down to between 2 and 3 TDS with RO only so DI lasts about a year per 20 oz refill even in Phoenix.

Second item down the center of the page here:
http://www.spectrapure.com/

I can walk you through the conversion or they have all the diagrams on their website under "Hook up diagrams", here:
http://www.spectrapu...WK-RODI-NAG.pdf

or here depending on if you have an air gap faucet or not:
http://www.spectrapu...DWK-RODI-AG.pdf

Notice how the righthand 1 psi check valve seperates the DI from the drinking water bladder tank.

A couple important points, for every 2% you can increase the rejection rate you will double the life of your DI resin and don't buy your resin from anyone but Spectrapure. They custom blend every ounce of their DI resins based on thousands of hours testing in our exact water conditions, no prepackged stuff and no old resin tha thas been sitting on a shelf somewhere, its usually blended and packed in vacuum sealed mylar foil bags the day it is shipped.


http://www.spectrapure.com/faq_p0.htm

Edited by AZDesertRat, 26 March 2012 - 01:12 PM.

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#4
godfathernikki

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Your rejection rate is good, I would just get the BRS DI add-on if it were me. It is a full size DI canister, and is only like $35


That was the original idea. But now I am considering a new system due to the limitations this one has.

First of all it has no real sediment filter, just a single sediment/carbon combo. secondly the canisters aren't clear, so i have no idea when to change them, other than the electronic timer. last time they went bad and ruined the membrane before the 'time to replace filters' light came on (its really just a 6 month timer). And lastly, this thing only makes 11gpd, which isn't an issue for topoff water, but I think it will be if I need to pull more than a couple gallons at once. I see most other systems sold online are in the 75gpd range.

That said, does anyone have any suggestions for a system that would hold up well to water as hard as mine?

I'm thinking maybe this:
http://www.spectrapu...RODI-REFURB.htm

Or a build-your-own system:
http://www.bulkreefs...-ro-system.html
But on the BYO, I have no idea what membrane, filters, etc to choose, any help would be appreciated

Edit: Just saw your post AZDesertRat, I still need to read those links, but thanks in advance. Glad to have someone experienced in AZ water helping out, and a water consultant, no less!

Edited by godfathernikki, 26 March 2012 - 01:14 PM.


#5
AZDesertRat

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PM me with any questions you may have. I don't work for any RO company but I have owned at least 6 different systems personally and have been exposed to all of them in the last 37 years in the water industry in AZ.

What part of AZ are you in? I'm off of I-17 and Union Hills myself.
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#6
godfathernikki

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PM me with any questions you may have. I don't work for any RO company but I have owned at least 6 different systems personally and have been exposed to all of them in the last 37 years in the water industry in AZ.

What part of AZ are you in? I'm off of I-17 and Union Hills myself.

Awesome, thanks. We bought a house a couple years ago on dunlap, between 7thst and central. I have the canal in my front yard :) The tank has gone through 2 moves with me too, 24thst&highland, to 12thst&osborn, to where I am now, and I somehow managed to NOT break or kill anything :)

Second item down the center of the page here:
http://www.spectrapure.com/

I think that is the same system I mentioned in my above post; in fact, I probably found that site from one of your posts here on NR lol. I think it's the one i'm going to get.

Having di just for tank water sounds like a great solution. How do you handle the output from di? Do I need another storage tank or can I put a valve/faucet on it? Also, what is that check valve for? Pretty sure I don't have one on my current system.

And one more question... is the inline carbon filter just for taste or something? I found it odd that my current system also goes from tank to carbon to faucet.

#7
AZDesertRat

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The additional seperates the pressure tank and DI. Pressure tanks cause TDS creep and actually store TDS due to frequent cycling on and off to satisfy the loss of volume or pressure in the bladder tank. Short cycling is bad since it does not sufficiently flush the membrane like a nice long filter run does.

By seperating the two you use RO water straight from the RO membrane to make DI and the pressure tank is only used for drinking water, ice maker etc.

The final inline carbon is for taste and odor in the drinking water and should never be used for RO/DI since carbon braks down to dust with use and adds TDS and TSS back to the treated water.

You store the DI water in a covered bucket, Rubbermaid trash can, unused aquarium etc. Many people install a float valve in the side of a Rubbermaid so it shuts itself off when full.
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#8
godfathernikki

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Any idea if this spectapure place has a storefront or allows walk-ins? $25 for shipping across town plus the $11 tax is excessive :/

#9
godfathernikki

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I just emailed them to find out. $25 is crazy unless they are going to overnight it to me... I guess I'll have to wait and see what they say.

#10
AZDesertRat

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Yes they actually have a brick and mortar building, not really set up as a retail store but they do take walk ins. If Bruce is around maybe he would give you a tour of the facility and possibly show you some of the neat stuff they are just bringing to market. Unlike others they actually hold patents, trademarks and copyrights on many many products, the RO/DI and reef stuff is just a portion of their business. For a small place they do a heck of a business.

If you have ever been to Reef Culture on Price Rd. they are literally right around the corner not 100 yards away at 2167 E. 5th St in Tempe.
I always visit both when I am over there.
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#11
godfathernikki

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Yes they actually have a brick and mortar building, not really set up as a retail store but they do take walk ins. If Bruce is around maybe he would give you a tour of the facility and possibly show you some of the neat stuff they are just bringing to market. Unlike others they actually hold patents, trademarks and copyrights on many many products, the RO/DI and reef stuff is just a portion of their business. For a small place they do a heck of a business.

If you have ever been to Reef Culture on Price Rd. they are literally right around the corner not 100 yards away at 2167 E. 5th St in Tempe.
I always visit both when I am over there.


I'm not familiar with that shop, but thanks for the info. I looked up the address and it's going to be about an hour round trip from where I live. With the cost of gas, the shipping price might actually be worth it lol. I also kind of got the impression that 'ground freight' - the only shipping option - doesn't mean usps or ups. Might explain the higher cost if they are using a local freight company.

I'm still waiting to hear back on if they have any other shipping options, though.

#12
AZDesertRat

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I have had replacement filters and other things shipped before when I didn't have time to get over there as its a pretty good distance from Bell and I-17 and I think they used UPS.
I know I was shocked the last couple times I shipped something UPS or FedEx, it was outrageous even for a little lightweight box. The shipper doesn't make any money on the shipping but UPS sure does!

It would be worth the trip for you just to check out Reef Culture, its by far the nicest saltwater shop in town, even better than AquaTouch which is a very close second and head and shoulders above anything else in the state. Stop in an talk to Skip or Carlos, I think the LED lighting and cleanliness of the shop will impress you. Also check out their 3000 GPD Spectrapure RO/DI systems, they have a couple of them and some huge storage tanks.
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#13
Fluffeh

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definitely get the spectrapure. i have mine and it's been working flawlessly now. always 0 tds water. awesome customer service from them too if u have any problems.

#14
C.I._Reefer

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I have had replacement filters and other things shipped before when I didn't have time to get over there as its a pretty good distance from Bell and I-17 and I think they used UPS.
I know I was shocked the last couple times I shipped something UPS or FedEx, it was outrageous even for a little lightweight box. The shipper doesn't make any money on the shipping but UPS sure does!


IDK, $25 is pretty excessive, especially when they usually get a volume discount as a vendor( usually around 40%). It only cost me $11 shipping for my RO/DI. Not saying they make much, but i guarantee they aren't any losing money, and they are on the high side, comparatively, for sure.

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godfathernikki

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I have had replacement filters and other things shipped before when I didn't have time to get over there as its a pretty good distance from Bell and I-17 and I think they used UPS.
I know I was shocked the last couple times I shipped something UPS or FedEx, it was outrageous even for a little lightweight box. The shipper doesn't make any money on the shipping but UPS sure does!

It would be worth the trip for you just to check out Reef Culture, its by far the nicest saltwater shop in town, even better than AquaTouch which is a very close second and head and shoulders above anything else in the state. Stop in an talk to Skip or Carlos, I think the LED lighting and cleanliness of the shop will impress you. Also check out their 3000 GPD Spectrapure RO/DI systems, they have a couple of them and some huge storage tanks.


Aquatouch is a great store. I've been going there regularly for years. Its where i'm getting my water at now.

Still waiting to hear back from spectrapure, although at this point I am tempted to just drive down there tomorrow on my day off.

#16
godfathernikki

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Just got a reply from them, turns out the quote I got was their only shipping option. So now I need to decide if I'd rather drive an hour or two, or have a heavier wallet

#17
AZDesertRat

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Take the trip and check out the LFS in the area.
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#18
godfathernikki

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Well I took the trip down there, very helpful people. I got almost everything I needed, more on that in a second. I also hit up reef culter, which had probably the coolest tank setup I've ever seen! Just the whole presentation of the place was cool. Tons of both livestock and supplies.

Anyway, I've got the ro/di hooked up like one of the diagrams azdesertrat linked to. Ive got the extra faucet on the kitchen sink hooked up to just ro, and a tap under the sink for ro/di. I did hit one speedbump though, the pressure gage is reading just over 100, and according to the manual, 80 is the highest it should go.

I also saw that on spectrapures website they sell pressure reducers that knock it down 25%, which would put me just about at 80. Would one of these give me enough room? And if not can I run 2 of them in sequence?

Edit: I forgot to add that for now, I just have the wall tap partially closed to compensate. However it makes my regular faucet reeeallly slow so I still need a permanent fix

Edited by godfathernikki, 28 March 2012 - 05:10 PM.


#19
AZDesertRat

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100 psi is fine, I run a booster pump to increase my pressure to 100 and have had it there for 4 years now.
Increased pressure actually makes the membrane work better.

Like anything else, the 80 psi is put there as a liability statement. Where do you live that you have 100 psi, thats not very common?

Partially closing a valve restricts volume not pressure. You see that when yoy try to use the faucet as you pointed out. They may see like the same thing but they are different.

Edited by AZDesertRat, 28 March 2012 - 07:42 PM.

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#20
godfathernikki

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100 psi is fine, I run a booster pump to increase my pressure to 100 and have had it there for 4 years now.
Increased pressure actually makes the membrane work better.

Like anything else, the 80 psi is put there as a liability statement. Where do you live that you have 100 psi, thats not very common?

Partially closing a valve restricts volume not pressure. You see that when yoy try to use the faucet as you pointed out. They may see like the same thing but they are different.



Well, the gage showed a drop in psi when I closed the valve, but it had to be almost all the way shut to have an effect.

Anyway, I guess I'll open it back up and keep an eye on it, I just don't want the thing to leak and flood my kitchen is all.

#21
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Yes, it will show a drop as you have less volume filling the pipe or tubing so it is not compressed as tightly. The minute flow out stops, the pressure goes back to static or 100 psi in your case.

Where do you live and how old is your home? Most local plumbing codes and the national plumbing code require a pressure regulator on new homes if the pressure is over 80 psi, many regulate it down to 50 psi which to me is too low but they are adjustable. For my home plumbing I like to see around 65-70 psi as everything seems to function well at that pressure. At 100 psi you are bumping up against the pop off valve settings on your hot water heater which is not a good thing.

Edited by AZDesertRat, 29 March 2012 - 07:24 AM.

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#22
godfathernikki

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Yes, it will show a drop as you have less volume filling the pipe or tubing so it is not compressed as tightly. The minute flow out stops, the pressure goes back to static or 100 psi in your case.

Ah, that makes sense.

Where do you live and how old is your home? Most local plumbing codes and the national plumbing code require a pressure regulator on new homes if the pressure is over 80 psi, many regulate it down to 50 psi which to me is too low but they are adjustable. For my home plumbing I like to see around 65-70 psi as everything seems to function well at that pressure. At 100 psi you are bumping up against the pop off valve settings on your hot water heater which is not a good thing.


7th street and Dunlap. House was built in the 1950s but it was rewired and plumed a few years ago by the city as some sort of restoration program or something; I don't really have any details on that though, it happened a couple years before we bought the house.

Odd thing is that on one of our faucets on the other side of the house almost seems to have the opposite problem. If I don't open the faucet enough the flow slows down, starts sputtering, and I can hear the pipes shake until I either turn it off or turn it up.

#23
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Just for giggles, you might get a hose bib pressure gauge at Lowes or Home Depot and double check the pressure. The reservoir that serves your area is probably on the hill to the north east of you and not really that high elevation wise so that pressure seems high to me. I am familiar with all of Phoenix's pressure zones as I have worked on most of them in engineering projects and they usually run 50-70 psi with a few higher or lower but not that extreme. You are actually at the upper end of that zone so would be on the lower end of the pressure range.
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#24
godfathernikki

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Just for giggles, you might get a hose bib pressure gauge at Lowes or Home Depot and double check the pressure. The reservoir that serves your area is probably on the hill to the north east of you and not really that high elevation wise so that pressure seems high to me. I am familiar with all of Phoenix's pressure zones as I have worked on most of them in engineering projects and they usually run 50-70 psi with a few higher or lower but not that extreme. You are actually at the upper end of that zone so would be on the lower end of the pressure range.


Yea trying a different gauge was something I was considering as well, the only one I have is attached to the rodi system. This way I can get a better overall picture from the other faucets/hoses. It doesn't seem like its an immediate problem though.

#25
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Sometimes they have problems with the gauges that are screwed into the RO housings and they get screwed in too far. Try backing it out 1/2 turn or remove it completely, add a wrap or two of teflon tape and screw it back in not quite as far to compare readings. I have ssen reports of gauges reading incorrectly when in too far because the measuring tube botttoms out against the membrane or something inside the housing.
I have two gauges on both of my systems. one inline on the incoming tap water line and the one in the membrane housing. This way I can see at a glance if my sediment and carbon filters are plugging or fouling and causing a pressure drop. Just another cheap tool to have in your arsenal.

Edited by AZDesertRat, 29 March 2012 - 08:34 AM.

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