Home > Small investments with quick paybacks - under-sink reverse osmosis water treater

Small investments with quick paybacks - under-sink reverse osmosis water treater

December 30th, 2007 at 09:51 pm

I have been meaning to install a reverse osmosis under-sink water purifier for years now, ever since they became cheap and compact commodity items instead of the bulky expensive things that needed a plumber for installation back in 1986 when this house was built. We seem to have one of the world's worst public water systems, high in sodium and now I understand in arsenic!

I have been stalling due to not yet understanding what installation will require in the way of electrical and plumbing connections - I might still need a plumber, but at least the unit itself is small and inexpensive. Plus it is just one of those low priority niggling expenses, paying $3.69 or so every week or so for a jug of water versus laboring to install this bear and worrying about it afterwards. But now that my wife informed me that she is using bottled water for tea, coffee, and maybe even cooking since hearing about the arsenic, there is much more incentive. Sure it will have operating costs but it has to pay off pretty quickly.

So what low cost quick payback investments are on your hit list?

7 Responses to “Small investments with quick paybacks - under-sink reverse osmosis water treater”

  1. Ima saver Says:

    I have a water distiller and have used it almost everyday for 12 years. I love it and I am a big water drinker!

  2. Ralph Says:

    Thanks, Imasaver, I hadn't thought about distillation. Looks like it is cheaper with no installation required, but takes up counter space.

    OK, after a little more research it appears that the big drawback to reverse osmosis (RO) is that it wastes about 5-10 gallons per gallon purified AND it needs an air gap to prevent potential water contamination. Even so, it seems to have lower operating costs than a distiller, maybe $.02 /gal vs. $.09. A filter would probably remove the arsenic but not the sodium, which still leaves the water undrinkable. The filter advertising says it leaves the fluoride in, but distillation and RO would probably remove it. Dang, NOTHING is cut and dried!

  3. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Does your public water supply actually not pass standards for maximum arsenic concentration? I think you'd have info from your water department if this were so. Is this the talk of your community right now?

    If you truly have significant levels of arsenic in your water, you might want to get good info from your health department, a family doctor who understands the issue, or perhaps even a university biologist. As I understand it, there can actually be grim health issues associated with suddenly stopping intake of arsenic once it is established. It has to do with arsenic having replaced other metal ions in your body's proteins. Some of your body's enzymes can go haywire when the arsenic is suddenly stopped. Arsenic affects the very shape and therefor the functionality of the enzymes. Weird, huh? Anyway, something to look into.

  4. Broken Arrow Says:

    Oh interesting! I had to look up water distillers, but I remember my parents having that when we were young. I guess it was supposed to be healthier for us little children.

    Anyway, now we have these built-in water filters on our fridges, but I must admit, I am addicted! No more tap for me, especially seeing how much red sediment tends to seep out in our tap.

    I wonder if it's worth collecting my own rainwater and distilling it passively for my own use??? I'll have to give that a try some day....

  5. Ralph Says:

    Joan, thanks for asking that and causing me to go look up the details. Looking back through past water reports, they started monitoring for arsenic in 2005, where it was fine, 4 ppb out of an allowable 50. Then it 2006 it came back 38 ppb, and the NJ DEP lowered the limit to 5 ppb. They isolated it to one well and that well has been shutdown since, so we should be ok.

  6. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Ralph, I bet your water department would glad to know someone is actually reading their reports! I read ours, too. My neighbor was a lab tech for ours for many years. She gave me annual reports going back to the 1960's to look at.

  7. Ralph Says:

    Yeah, Joan, what's a little scary is how they only recently started monitoring for arsenic and the results were so variable. So that junk could have been in there off and on for years, especially since this whole area used to be orchards and some of it still is.

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