Several years ago I bought a $2000 counter-top alkalizer/ionizer that was supposed to give me amazingly pure, non-toxic alkaline water. After years of use, I was told that said machine did NOT remove fluoride, but the new affordable unit available does. After a year of use, I discovered that it is useless for fluoride removal. Infuriated, and a bit panicked that I have been unwillingly poisoning my children, I went on an emergency quest, involving massive amounts of research, to get clean, non-toxic water into our home. This series will share all that I learned on that journey and why I made the final decision I did on what is actually the best water for my home (and maybe yours!).
I want to back up for just a second to mention that the day after I found out our expensive counter-top unit did not remove fluoride, a Culligan man informed us that the purified bottled water at Costco was actually RO water. The next morning I went to Costco and bought a case of water, plus a case of locally sourced very special water from Carlsbad Mineral Springs. Upon testing their pH, they were both acidic – about 6.5. The Carlsbad water has a pH of 8-9 at the source, but apparently it loses is charge and pH after bottling. It was very expensive. Obviously, the RO water wasn’t using a remineralization filter and if it did, it lost it’s high pH as well. So we added PuripHy drops and/or baking soda to each bottle to boost the pH while we waited for our new water and sorted through the decision. After barreling through about 3 gallons daily I couldn’t wait to get our eventual water system in!
Continuing where I left off, on my emergency search for an alumina tank, I called the manufacturer of the tank initially offered by company 3 (I only knew who to call because of a tip from a salesman who gave me the name of the company so I could further my research). When I got in touch with the manufacturer, who again explained to me that they do not sell to the public nor give the public advice, he was cool enough to confirm what the tanks are used for and give the numbers of other local retailers.
Meanwhile, I found an online company that sells these tanks. But their tanks are even a bit more special than the one that company 3 was offering because it doesn’t just have Activated Alumina, the tanks also have KDF-55 and Jacobi Catalytic Carbon and you have the choice between the alumina or bone char for fluoride removal. This actually would take care of all of the whole house filtration. Come to find out they also sell water softeners and RO systems.
What could they offer for my needs?
A 3-part system:
1. whole house purification tank with catalytic carbon, KDF-55 and fluoride
media(activated alumina or bone char)
2. Water softener (huge capacity 64,000 grains or 2 cubic feet, smaller ones are available)
3. Reverse Osmosis
What I did and did not like about their system?
The only thing I didn’t like right out of the gate was the RO system because it only has 4 parts and uses activated carbon rather than catalytic. I was very interested in the filter and softener and learned that it is best to keep your filter and softener separate because the softener media only needs to be changed every 15 years and the toxin filters should be changed yearly.
Initial cost of the filter and softener: $1525 (You could add the RO for $300)
Maintenance over 5 years: $1980
I needed to investigate their quality, sources, and materials which opened a whole process of to uncover even more information than I had found before.
Here are the questions that came up as we learned about everything the online/install it yourself company offered:
Q: What is KDF-55?
A: A high-quality alloy of copper and zinc. It is awesome! It kills algae and fungi, control bacteria growth, and remove chlorine, pesticides, organic matter, rust, unpleasant taste and odor, hydrogen sulfide, iron, lead, nickel, chromium, cadmium, calcium, aluminum, mercury, arsenic, and other organic compounds.
Q: It produces ozone and we don’t like ozone. Is there ozone in the finished product?
A: There should not be ozone in the final product because the charcoal removes it.
Q: Difference between Activated Alumina and Bone Char for removal of fluoride?
A: They seems to be equals in fluoride removal but bone char can’t seem to handle a high pH coming in. I actually got various answers on this but when I sought to confirm, it seemed the bone char had that flaw. Also, bone char is not vegan, it is made from cow bones – lot’s of them. Don’t get me wrong, as much as I promote veganism, if the only choice I had to give my children fluoride-free water was by using cow bones I’d do it.
Q: Does and RO system remove ozone in the event there is any remaining in our water?
A: Yes, because it has charcoal.
Q: If my system can handle 6 gallons per minute and my water pressure is much higher, will it ruin my tank?
A: No, it can clean that much per use. Showers often run around 2.5 gallons per minute, so if the whole house was running 6 gallons per minute it could clean it just fine.
Q: I see it is designed for water free of iron and sulfur. How do I know if I have those and what if I do?
A: Iron and sulfur are found in wells, they have different systems for wells.
Q: Installation instructions?
A: Very good. (from our personal experience)
Q: Do I want the optional Vortech tank?
A: Yes, it will save water and electricity (included in the price above)
Q: How long do the media replacement supplies last?
A: If kept in packaging and not exposed to moisture, many years.
My final decision:
Get my filter and Softener from the online company (pure-earth.com) and my Reverse Osmosis system from San Diego Pure Water (Company 1).
This was my final decision and what we purchased. After a few months of using this multi-part system, we had our water tested. We bought test equipment and had it professionally tested to confirm our findings. We found out that one of the systems was NOT working as it should. The alumina tank is not removing fluoride, in fact it looks as though it is combining with the fluoride and together adding a toxic fluoride to our water! I’m SO glad we have our awesome RO system because that is removing ALL THE FLUORIDE per our testing! We needed to go back to the drawing board and research different types of bone char, the amount needed, and the best place to get the right tank and char. As of right now, we have decided to remove all of the media from our whole house filter and replace it with fresh KDF-55 and catalytic carbon to continue removing the other impurities from our house water. I have been told that bone char works great, but I have also been told that bone char is useless and it is impossible to find NSF certified and medical-grade bone char, which we would require if we were putting it in our home.
For an awesome 6-stage, alkalizing reverse osmosis system purchase from San Diego Pure Water, call and tell them you were referred by Courtney at Alkaline Mom for a great deal! I worked with the owner, Bob, on getting a system set up with a self-install kit. You can reach them at 760-298-7041.
There are 3 options:
Perfect Water 506 – High capacity 6 stage RO with Hi Alkalinity Re-mineralization. Regular $1,099, with discount code Alkaline Mom $699
Perfect Water 507 – High Capacity 6 stage RO with Hi Alkalinity Re-mineralization filter & Permeate Pump to save 85% of waste-water and makes water 3x faster.
Regular $1,299, with discount code Alkaline Mom $899
Perfect Water 508 – High Capacity 6 stage RO with Hi Alkalinity Re-mineralization filter & Permeate Pump & Deionization Filter for zero TDS water prior to remineralization.
Regular $1,499, with discount code Alkaline Mom $999
Comment or send me a message to let me know if this research has been helpful to you and how you are loving your new pure water!
I also just set up a wholesale account with pure-earth.com so that I can take orders directly for them and pass on savings to you by offering a discount on their affordable whole house catalytic carbon/KDF-55 filters and media refills. Click on my store tab (under “MORE”) at the top of the page to learn more.