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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For those that are living at their Bug Out location... I'm surprised I've never seen anybody suggest RO systems for filtering water.

I currently have a very expensive RO system installed at my kitchen sink, for drinking/cooking. 1 filter will get me 500 gallons, then I just change the filter, for another 500 gallons. My system has a 3 gallon holding tank, and it takes about an hour to make 3 gallons. I have a TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) meter to determine when the membrane needs changing. So far, so good, with the membrane.

It doesn't use electricity. It uses Kinetic energy. I'm not sure if that's the case with all RO systems. The brand I have is Kinetico. (I have several hundred hours research involved before deciding on this particular brand)

My thoughts are... in a worse case situation... I could hook the thing up to a rainwater collection system, and filter the harvested rainwater. If you had to Bug Out... just unhook the thing from under the sink, and take it with you.

The entire RO system would fit in a laundry basket. The 3 changeable filters would fit in another laundry basket, and 3 filters would be equal to 1,500 gallons of water.

I do realize there has to be a certain amount of water pressure to make the thing work, but I don't understand plumbing issues, so maybe somebody else can explain that part.

*** Just to note, with my system, for example... my city treated tap water will test TDS at 600ppm, but the RO water will test at 4!!!! It really does make quite the difference.

Pro's and Con's to having a RO System as part of the prepping equipment?
 

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The system is somehow rigged to shut off at 500 gallons, for safety reasons. Then you just change the multiple carbon filtration system. 500 gallons for JUST drinking/cooking, lasts longer than you think. (it's not a whole house filtration system) The system has it's own faucet, at the kitchen sink.

The filters cost about $50. So it averages to $.10/gallon. What's nice, is the convenience. Don't have to haul those 5 gallon blue jugs of water, back and forth from the grocery store (or wherever)

I've been a fish aquarium hobbyist for 20+ years. I've used various fish aquarium kits to monitor the city treated tap water, and compared it to the RO water. WOW!!! Quite Amazing differences. It is *much* cleaner/safer water. Lot less contaminants.
 

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RO's a pretty fancy system for a house; if you were a professional aquarium, fish/pet shop I'd understand why you installed it. RO filters down to a molecular level so only very simple compounds will get through it.

RO will give you the best quality water but you pay a premium for it and 25% of the water you put through it is wasted to the drain, to carry off the salts/chemicals you filter out.

In the army we use RO to purify water contaminated with chemical weapons (and unofficially sea water), so if your municipal suppy in your area was poisoned for any reason, your household would probably be the only one standing.

I'm not too convinced about no electricity. Most of these things work at a pressure of 45 bar (~650psi) so it needs a pump to force the water through the osmotic membrane (the filter).

If you're going to up sticks and take this with you make sure you hook it up to a municipal supply or pre filter the raw water when you settle at the other end. The RO membrane will clog 2x double quick otherwise, also sterilise with chlorine after the RO filtering. If you do it before the chlorine will get filtered out and it damages the membranes. At the end of the RO filtering the water is effectively sterile, the chlorine added is just to stop the water getting recontaminated with bugs.
 

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RO's a pretty fancy system for a house; if you were a professional aquarium, fish/pet shop I'd understand why you installed it. RO filters down to a molecular level so only very simple compounds will get through it.

RO will give you the best quality water but you pay a premium for it and 25% of the water you put through it is wasted to the drain, to carry off the salts/chemicals you filter out.

In the army we use RO to purify water contaminated with chemical weapons (and unofficially sea water), so if your municipal suppy in your area was poisoned for any reason, your household would probably be the only one standing.

I'm not too convinced about no electricity. Most of these things work at a pressure of 45 bar (~650psi) so it needs a pump to force the water through the osmotic membrane (the filter).

If you're going to up sticks and take this with you make sure you hook it up to a municipal supply or pre filter the raw water when you settle at the other end. The RO membrane will clog 2x double quick otherwise, also sterilise with chlorine after the RO filtering. If you do it before the chlorine will get filtered out and it damages the membranes. At the end of the RO filtering the water is effectively sterile, the chlorine added is just to stop the water getting recontaminated with bugs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
RO's a pretty fancy system for a house; if you were a professional aquarium, fish/pet shop I'd understand why you installed it. RO filters down to a molecular level so only very simple compounds will get through it.

RO will give you the best quality water but you pay a premium for it and 25% of the water you put through it is wasted to the drain, to carry off the salts/chemicals you filter out.

In the army we use RO to purify water contaminated with chemical weapons (and unofficially sea water), so if your municipal suppy in your area was poisoned for any reason, your household would probably be the only one standing.

I'm not too convinced about no electricity. Most of these things work at a pressure of 45 bar (~650psi) so it needs a pump to force the water through the osmotic membrane (the filter).

If you're going to up sticks and take this with you make sure you hook it up to a municipal supply or pre filter the raw water when you settle at the other end. The RO membrane will clog 2x double quick otherwise, also sterilise with chlorine after the RO filtering. If you do it before the chlorine will get filtered out and it damages the membranes. At the end of the RO filtering the water is effectively sterile, the chlorine added is just to stop the water getting recontaminated with bugs.
I installed it because I refuse to *trust* city treated tap water. Most people are ignorant that Municipals are NOT required to REMOVE contaminants. It is common for city treated water to be contaminated with, up to 400 Chemicals. The purpose of Chlorine/Chloramide is too limit BACTERIA/Parasites.... not Chemical agents. I have since learned that our smalltown system has had repeated problems with Arsenic levels, and I suspect that has something to do with the local antique cemetary. Also, since I'm in the middle of Cornfield country, we got some serious Chemical issues happening.

I'm very familiar with the 'waste water' that is created with RO systems. For every 1 gallon of drinking water you get, 3 gallons of water is wasted, back into the sewer system. However.... I solved *that* issue as well. I have the wasted water sent to a Rubbermaid Trash barrel in the basement. THAT waste water is used for my laundry.:thumb:

I assure you... MY Kinetico system is not plugged into any wall. It is truly Kinetic energy... although I'm not sure what plumbing pressure would be required for it to function properly. BTW.... my system did cost $1600.

I also realize, that if my city treated water plant would get shut down... I need a different source of water.... I'm thinking harvested rainwater.... and hopefully I could make this RO system work with that?

I'm just curious why RO systems don't get talked about much, on this forum?

EDIT: I have seen a few youtube video's where somebody did convert a RO system to a rainwater barrel.
 

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I assure you... MY Kinetico system is not plugged into any wall. It is truly Kinetic energy... although I'm not sure what plumbing pressure would be required for it to function properly. BTW.... my system did cost $1600.

I also realize, that if my city treated water plant would get shut down... I need a different source of water.... I'm thinking harvested rainwater.... and hopefully I could make this RO system work with that?

I'm just curious why RO systems don't get talked about much, on this forum?
They don't get talked about much because of the need to have pressurized water. Large scale systems can require water pressures in the 600psi range. Of course most of the home installed units require 40psi.

I think they are a great idea. But they will be useless unless you can produce 40psi of pressure in your feed tubing. If you have a pump on a well for example chances are you can. If you have an elevated water tower chances are you can. If you are feeding the system from a bucket chances are you can't.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_osmosis#Drinking_water_purification

You should also know that RO systems require significant pretreatment if you want your membrane to last for any duration.
 

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A Whiter Shade Of Pale
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I think there are better systems out there than RO.

RO systems are very wasteful. If you live where there is plenty of water than it's fine. But they have to backflush the membrane and that water just goes down the drain! And it is a lot of water.

http://www.aquatechnology.net/frame4 26316.html
 

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My parents won an RO system a few years back in a contest a local radio station was putting on. I'm sure it is far past time when they need to change the filter, but they still haven't, and it still spits out plenty of water.
 

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For those worried about the water waste associated with RO systems you should look at ultrafiltration systems. Not quite as good as RO but pretty darn close. They don't require water storage, significant pretreatment, nor significant water waste. They also allow basic minerals like calcium through. Lastly, the filters usually last much longer than RO membranes and are not hurt by chlorine so don't need carbon prefiltering.

These kinds of systems are more suited to household water systems as they require water pressures in the 1-3 bar (14-43psi) range.

http://www.danamarkhome.com/product.../Ultrafiltration as a Whole House Machine.pdf
http://www.techneau.org/fileadmin/files/Publications/Publications/Deliverables/D5.3.4a.pdf
 

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Some Clarification

First of all, great thread. OP, you are right on the money that RO's are not discussed and considered near enough. I have assembled and repaired RO's and softeners for a few years so I thought I would jump in with a few tips.

First, an RO works optimally with the incoming pressure at 70 PSI and the water temp at 70 degrees. This is fairly easy to duplicate, as I have, with a small 12VDC pump from Tractor supply. It is a replacement pump for a 4wheeler mounted sprayer. It has a built in pressure switch that kicks on when your 3 gallon tank pressure drops below 35PSI and it kicks off at 65psi. The way I have mine set up is as follows:

A 55Gal. rain barrel is set up under the downspout. At the bottom of the barrel is a spigot with a garden hose running through my basement wall to a matching barrel in the basement boiler room. When the barrel in the basement is empty or low, I drain the rain barell, through the RO between the barrels, into the basement barrel. The 12vdc pump provides all of the pressure required to force water through the membrane and purify the water.

As far as the drain or discharge water, I send this out to the garden during the growing season, and to drain in the winter.

The RO removes 99.9% of pollutants from the water, including radionuclides, bacterials, flourides. Now you may trust your muni water supply, but I don't. Did you know that a muni water supplier can fail a cholera test, indicative of a fecal cholera presence, "poo in the water" and they are not required to tell you until the second test is failed, a one month gap? Here in Nebraska, I can recall several "Boil Alerts" because of failed water quality tests. Some where cleared on the second testing, some not. The ones that were not were because a stock yard run-off had contaminated the local supply.

+1 on the RO as the absolute best filtration system out there. Here's an inteesting factoid that I have seen with my own eyes- An RO was set up with a pump to provide system pressure, the incoming "water" was a 5 gallon bucket of "blood gutter run-off" from a packing house, the results from the RO were 99.9% pure water!
 

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A RO system will also remove minerals from the water which your body needs.

And yes I had an RO system for about 10 years until it recently broke down. I started to do a lot of research on getting a new one when I ran across a lot of information on the potential effects it can have on your body by not leaving minerals in the water. Water in its natural state contains trace amounts of minerals like calcium and magnesium (among others). When these minerals are removed from water, the pH value of water changes and it becomes slightly acidic. When this water is consumed, the human body responds by extracting calcium and other minerals from the bones so that the acidic water can be neutralized by producing bicarbonates. Repeated over the long term, this can result in serious mineral deficiencies and a weakening of the body's skeletal system.

I decided to keep using our backup Berkey system instead. Thankfully our water department doesn't fluoridate or I would have to get the fluoridation remover for the Berkey.
 

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Other consideration

One other consideration when dealing with a Kinetico unit, price and style of the filter/membrane. Stock up now because they are an exclusive product to Kinetico. Most other ROs accept sediment and activated carbon filters and membranes that can be purchased anywhere, but Kinetico can only be found at authorized dealers, and for 10 times as much $. kinetico is a great product, just not as versitile as others. My .02.
 

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A Whiter Shade Of Pale
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Hi Chops-

I have to agree with you. I too think this is a very important topic!
I know the down side to the RO system is the waste of water per pure water.
It sounds that it is a good trade off!

In a survival situation, how much drinking water does a person need per day?

Thanks for jumpin' in here with this information!....kenny
 

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All of the suggestions that i have seen is 1 gallon per person/day, however, this includes sanitary needs. The rejected water from the system can be run into a bucket for this use as well. I think that your location, work levels, humidity and temp will play the biggest part in consumption needs. I would rather have the ability to make safe drinking water from whatever source is available, that ration. My .02
 

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A RO system will also remove minerals from the water which your body needs.

And yes I had an RO system for about 10 years until it recently broke down. I started to do a lot of research on getting a new one when I ran across a lot of information on the potential effects it can have on your body by not leaving minerals in the water. Water in its natural state contains trace amounts of minerals like calcium and magnesium (among others). When these minerals are removed from water, the pH value of water changes and it becomes slightly acidic. When this water is consumed, the human body responds by extracting calcium and other minerals from the bones so that the acidic water can be neutralized by producing bicarbonates. Repeated over the long term, this can result in serious mineral deficiencies and a weakening of the body's skeletal system.

I decided to keep using our backup Berkey system instead. Thankfully our water department doesn't fluoridate or I would have to get the fluoridation remover for the Berkey.


I agree, RO water is almost like distilled water. Distilled water is healthy to drink. Our body needs minerals. Even city water has some minerals in it. We also don't need water softeners. RO and distilled water is OK temporarily, but for daily use, just use a good water filter. (I like Berkey)

Well said Hammer
 

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For those that are living at their Bug Out location... I'm surprised I've never seen anybody suggest RO systems for filtering water.

I currently have a very expensive RO system installed at my kitchen sink, for drinking/cooking. 1 filter will get me 500 gallons, then I just change the filter, for another 500 gallons. My system has a 3 gallon holding tank, and it takes about an hour to make 3 gallons. I have a TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) meter to determine when the membrane needs changing. So far, so good, with the membrane.

It doesn't use electricity. It uses Kinetic energy. I'm not sure if that's the case with all RO systems. The brand I have is Kinetico. (I have several hundred hours research involved before deciding on this particular brand)

My thoughts are... in a worse case situation... I could hook the thing up to a rainwater collection system, and filter the harvested rainwater. If you had to Bug Out... just unhook the thing from under the sink, and take it with you.

The entire RO system would fit in a laundry basket. The 3 changeable filters would fit in another laundry basket, and 3 filters would be equal to 1,500 gallons of water.

I do realize there has to be a certain amount of water pressure to make the thing work, but I don't understand plumbing issues, so maybe somebody else can explain that part.

*** Just to note, with my system, for example... my city treated tap water will test TDS at 600ppm, but the RO water will test at 4!!!! It really does make quite the difference.

Pro's and Con's to having a RO System as part of the prepping equipment?
I use RO for my marine aquarium and also for 1 drinking water tap and my ice maker. I did not go with kenetico only because of the cost for the filters.
I can get my carbon filters at home depot for $7 and my sediment filter for $3.
I did have to add a pressure pump that runs on 120V ac to boost water pressure up to 70 psi to get it running efficiently. I also ran a waste water ling to my gray water tank and I use it to water flowers so there really is no wasted water from my system.

If you are worried about NBC contaminates I would recommend you use RO water it is allot cleaner then what you will get out of your Berky.
 

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The minerals that are removed are easily replaced from a normal diet. The nasties that are removed will kill you.
"a normal diet" I am not sure what normal is anymore. I am sure we all get plenty of minerals from fast food and processed foods.

Unless we all have a garden in the back yard, we are all deficient in minerals.
 
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