Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Purifying our Water

Water is something many of us take for granted. Although we try to conserve and minimize our impact with efficient fixtures and rain barrels, it's not always easy. Partly because we live 10 miles from one of the greatest resources of freshwater in the world.

However, there are increasing reports of contamination in Lake Michigan. Since our tap water comes from the lake, hearing about the rising levels of Fluoride and Chromium-6 (the villain in Erin Brockovich's story) concerned me. What effects would this and other contaminants have on our family's health? Why isn't testing for a probable carcinogen (i.e. cancer-causing substance) mandatory for our water? Well not being one to wait for the wheels of bureaucracy to resolve this public health issue, I began looking for a water purification system.

After a bit of research, it seems a Reverse Osmosis (RO) water treatment system is really the best assurance for having pure water. So for the holidays, we bought one for Humphrey House. It took awhile for things to settle down so I could install it - and even longer to write a post about this.

The RO system involves an extra faucet near your kitchen sink, and a lot of room in the cabinet underneath it. We went with a Watts reverse osmosis system.

Installing it into our Zodiaq counters could have been quite difficult, but we had four holes already drilled - one for the main kitchen sink faucet, one for the handle, one for a pullout sprayer, and one for a soap dispenser. We decided we could ditch the soap dispenser and put the special RO faucet in its place, so that saved a lot of work.

Otherwise, installation was pretty straightforward. One of the more challenging aspects was to try and find room under the sink for everything since we have two bowls (which means two drains), a dishwasher line, and a garbage disposal under there already. The RO system consists of a filter unit and a large storage tank. The tank is needed because it takes some time to filter the water properly, so you need to store the treated water so when you turn on the faucet there is enough ready to come out.

It took some playing around to see what configuration would leave us with at least some storage room under the sink. I finally decided that centering the tank behind the center column would work best. The filter system nicely attached to the wall of the cabinet, so we can slide sponges or towels underneath if we need to. But as you can see from the photos, it's pretty tight down there!


This actually gave us a good opportunity to purge many of our toxic cleaning products that had been stored down there and keep them out of way from little hands. We recently got a Activeion ionator HOM Portable Cleaner and Sanitizer which permanently replaces the need for most chemical cleaners anyway, so the timing was perfect.

Anyway, now if we want some clean fresh water, we simply have to lift the handle on the special RO faucet (on the left in the photo below) and out it comes!

There were some gurgling drain noises made by the system as it filled up the first time and was used for the first week or two, but now it has quieted down and is unnoticeable when its refilling the storage tank.

The best part about this is the lack of any odor from the treated water, and the simply pure taste. I swear once you try this and then try tap water you will notice the taste and smell and appreciate your reverse osmosis system when you come home. I know we do!

2 comments:

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