Reverse Osmosis (RO) frequently asked questions

Q. What is Reverse Osmosis?

A.Reverse osmosis water treatment is the action of a membrane in rejecting impurities while accepting only pure water.

Q. Is your purified water better than bottled water?

A.Yes, and here is why: There are no Federal standards for bottled water. Of course, no one that produces bottled water wants you to get sick either, but there are no Federal standards. However, for city water there are strict Federal standards, and each municipality is required to publish them annually to their customers. Our systems take that tested water, and remove 90% of the impurities from it. That’s why we feel our water is better than bottled water.

Q. What is the difference in taste between RO and filtered water?

A.RO water tastes better to most people since bad tasting minerals are removed, and it is almost pure water.

Q. Is RO considered the “green” way to go?

A.Yes--on the “green” scale, RO is not the greenest--using your tap water would be the greenest way to go—but—that being said, compared to bottled water, which has waste disposal issues, uses petroleum, and has transportation costs, RO and filtration at home are much greener than any bottled water solution.

Q. I have well water that is untreated. Which system is the best option?

A. The best treatment option would be our 4 or 5 stage Reverse Osmosis system. Most well water has more sediment than city water, so having the separate sediment filter on a 4 or 5 stage system will do the trick.

Q. Can you hook up my ice maker in my refrigerator to my purified water?

A. Yes, usually we can if we can run the water lines through the back of your cabinets, or if a water line is already hooked up to the ice maker from under the sink, we can connect it to your purified water. There is an extra charge for running the lines to the ice maker. There is no extra fee to hook up an ice maker that is connected to the water under the sink. There is also a charge for the fittings and tubing used to hook up the ice maker (if needed).

Q. Is drinking water without minerals healthy? Don’t our bodies need minerals?

A.The jury is still out on this one. There are some who believe that the minerals shouldn’t be taken out of the water—regardless of how it tastes. If this is how you feel, then you should choose to use one of our filtration options which only remove harmful minerals and sediment from the water. Most people (including scientists like myself) believe that we get our minerals from the foods we eat, not from the water. Water quality varies greatly from place to place. Water tends to taste better if it is pure.

Q. Please explain what you mean by “limited lifetime warranty” on your products

A.This means that the housings, brackets, shut of valves, and tanks are warranted as long as you have your annual service done. These components will be replaced at no charge for parts or labor. Filters, membranes and faucets are covered for the first 90 days of service. Water quality varies greatly, and can cause premature failure of filters and membranes

Q. What does the water usage cost for one of your RO units?

A.The water cost would be about 36 cents per month for 30 gallons of purified water per month (using the City of Arroyo Grande 
water costs).

Q.How long does it take to fill the RO pressure tank after it is emptied?

A.This depends on the water pressure of your city pipes, and the output of the membrane, but the tank should be full in less than 5 hours with our standard 25 gallons per day system.

Q. How often do these units need to be serviced?

A. Service is recommended annually. We put a sticker on your tank or filter housing that tells you when service is due.

Q. What does the service include?

A. Service includes changing the filters, recharging the tank, checking for proper operation, and measuring membrane efficiency (for RO units). For the coolers, we also clean the tank each time we come since it vents to household air.

Q. How long does the RO membrane usually last?

A. About 3 to5 years—depending on how much water you use, if the unit has been regularly serviced, and the quality of your tap water. Households with soft water can expect to double the life of the membranes.

Q. How do you know when it is time to change the membrane on a RO unit?

A. We recommend changing when it gets down to 70% efficiency. When the membrane is new, the efficiency is around 90 to 95%. Our service personnel measure the efficiency of the membrane as part of the annual service. You can do a cursory test on your membrane yourself by making two trays of ice cubes—one from tap water, and the other from RO water. If the ice cubes in both trays are equally cloudy, then you should have your membrane tested.

Q. How much does it cost to change the membrane?

A. See the price lists. There is an additional labor charge for replacing the membrane

Q. Can I perform the annual service myself?

A.Yes. You can purchase the filters and a filter wrench from us, and we will show you how to service your unit when we do the installation. Basic service can be done by a beginner, however, you will need to purchase a water purity meter to check the efficiency of the membrane, and you will need to have a way to add air to the storage tank to re-pressurize it.

Q. Can I install the RO unit or Filtration unit myself?

A.Yes, however it takes an intermediate skill level in plumbing to be successful. We have installation instructions available upon request.

Q. Does your RO unit send some water down the drain?

A.Yes, and here is why: the reverse osmosis membrane rejects dissolved minerals in tap water. In order to prevent the buildup of minerals on the membrane surface, the surface is constantly “washed” by a small stream of water. If this “washing” did not occur, the membrane would plug up and fail in only a few days or weeks instead of about 3 to 5 years under normal conditions.

Q. Do the units continue to send water down the drain after the tank is full?

A.No, none of the units with drain connections send any water down the drain when the tank is full. All of our units with drain connections have shut off valves built in that shut off the water flow when the tank is full.

Q.What is a permeate pump?

A. Please click here to see the article that describes the pumps.