Reverse Osmosis Water Remineralization Advice

Water analysis, treatment, and mineral recipes for optimum taste and equipment health.
pm-

#1: Post by pm- » Oct 25, 2019, 3:20 pm

Hi -

I've started looking at espresso machines as I've graduated for the most part from coffee to lattes. But before I make a decision and spend the $, I have to square away my water situation first. Let me start out by stating, having recently had a baby, my wife DEMANDS reverse osmosis water, as she wants to make sure things like VOCs and pharmaceuticals are not present. From reading up a bit, I know the system will also have to remineralize the water. Our municipal water source comes from the city of Chicago....but that won't be of significant importance since I am required to go the RO route, correct?

Are there consensus best manufacturers I should be looking at? The ones that are on my radar are OptiPure, BWT, Aquasana, and Apec. Is there anyone else I should consider? Of those, it looks like Apec only does calcium carbonate remineralization (I'm not sure what Aquasana uses yet). Should I rule calcium carbonate remineralization and look specifically for magnesium?

Thanks.
Paul

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Balthazar_B

#2: Post by Balthazar_B » Oct 26, 2019, 9:49 am

What's your budget? Are you doing whole home RO, or installing a kitchen unit?
- John

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greenbeans

#3: Post by greenbeans » Oct 26, 2019, 10:54 am

Here's what we use: Home Master TMAFC-ERP Artesian Full Contact Undersink Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System. Got it from Amazon. Had it installed by a plumber whom was doing other work for us. You may be able to install it yourself if you're handy or have a handyman do it ( which is what Home Master suggests ) Have had it for over a year and it works well. We replaced the cartridges ourselves after a year.

pm-

#4: Post by pm- » Oct 26, 2019, 3:23 pm

Balthazar_B wrote:What's your budget? Are you doing whole home RO, or installing a kitchen unit?
We want to do an under the sink installation. Budget is flexible.
greenbeans wrote:Here's what we use: Home Master TMAFC-ERP Artesian Full Contact Undersink Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System. Got it from Amazon. Had it installed by a plumber whom was doing other work for us. You may be able to install it yourself if you're handy or have a handyman do it ( which is what Home Master suggests ) Have had it for over a year and it works well. We replaced the cartridges ourselves after a year.
Looks like a good option so far (I need to read more about it). Did you happen to look at any of the companies I mentioned; why did you go with the Home Master? Also, do you recall how long the install took? I got one quote for an install so far, and the plumber just through out $500. That seems expensive for what, at least at this point, am thinking is a few hours of work...even if he happens to be union in Chicago.

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Balthazar_B

#5: Post by Balthazar_B » Oct 26, 2019, 5:19 pm

pm- wrote: Looks like a good option so far (I need to read more about it). Did you happen to look at any of the companies I mentioned; why did you go with the Home Master? Also, do you recall how long the install took? I got one quote for an install so far, and the plumber just through out $500. That seems expensive for what, at least at this point, am thinking is a few hours of work...even if he happens to be union in Chicago.
$500 is just plain robbery for installation, even in Chicago. If you use an all-in-one kit like the Home Master -- which looks like a good option, by the way -- depending on the space under your sink, installing it shouldn't take more than about an hour for a competent plumber. If you're reasonably handy and have the right tools, you can probably do it yourself.
- John

LMWDP # 577

greenbeans

#6: Post by greenbeans » Oct 27, 2019, 10:22 am

I couldn't give you a fair guess about costs as it was part of a whole house remodel. It took about an hour for the plumber to install it. I contacted the company about something else and they suggested using a handyman rather than a plumber. The unit is designed supposedly for DIY. As I mentioned we were able to replace all the main cartridges ourselves as regular maintenance. I didn't review the options you mentioned. I found it on Amazon after seeing the reviews. I like to deal with Amazon because if you have problems they will try to make it right. We have been very satisfied with the unit so far.

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EvergreenBuzzBuzz

#7: Post by EvergreenBuzzBuzz » Oct 31, 2019, 9:16 am

The Home Master is what we almost bought. Then went with the Ultima Alkalizer. Very happy with it. $430 installed. Great tasting water. Consistent. Some had said the TDS with the Home Master was inconsistent.


https://www.ultimah2o.com/alkalizer-series

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CarefreeBuzzBuzz
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homeburrero
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#8: Post by homeburrero » Oct 31, 2019, 1:39 pm

EvergreenBuzzBuzz wrote:The Home Master is what we almost bought. Then went with the Ultima Alkalizer. Very happy with it. $430 installed. Great tasting water. Consistent. Some had said the TDS with the Home Master was inconsistent.
That is interesting. Do you have numbers for the total hardness and alkalinity bump from this system?

In theory I would expect better consistency from a simple calcite or a crushed marble filter than any of these filters designed to appeal to the high pH álkaline water market. You could expect more mineral and more alkalinity from filters like this that I believe use magnesium oxide, but it can go overboard especially right after the water has been sitting overnight in the filter. I think most vendors of this type of filter for coffee equipment recommend a morning flush before using water from an idle system. Also, although magnesium is not normally as scale-prone as calcium, once you get into the pH range (up to 9.5 and higher) that they advertise in these alkaline filters I believe that may no longer be the case due to potential for Mg(OH)₂ scale.


FWIW, I think I'd prefer a system where it's easy to switch out to different last stage options, and start with a plain calcite (or a crushed marble like the Home Master). Then if I was unhappy with the results from that, try one of the commonly available calcite plus Corosex filters, or maybe even a BWT bestmin.
Pat
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EvergreenBuzzBuzz

#9: Post by EvergreenBuzzBuzz » Oct 31, 2019, 9:03 pm

Pat, I never have tested the pH. I didn't understand it to be focused on a super high pH. NOTE we don't use this water for our coffee. We make our own. This is in our kitchen. I was offering an alternative to the home master. I do get a consistent 50-55 TDS reading and the final cartridge has some magnesium but not all as I recall. You are the master so your suggestion seems great too. I don't have any strips but I do have my pool pH test kit. Any reason that won't work to try it out.

Hope this adds some clarity.

Michael
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nuketopia

#10: Post by nuketopia » Nov 11, 2019, 5:15 pm

I use RO water because my city water is not only very hard, it is full of chlorides. Not good for the Lamarzocco.

I formulate my own mineralization blend:

Calcium carbonate, magnesium sulfate and a bit of baking soda.

It all goes in a Soda Stream bottle and gets carbonated. Then let it sit overnight in the fridge. It goes from milky to clear, as the carbonic acid from the fizz react with the calcium carbonate powder and turns it into aqueous calcium bicarbonate.

Then I blend this concentrate 10:1 with RO water to reach my desired TDS.

Simple, easy, fairly inexpensive.

Makes nice tasting drinking water with a little splash of the concentrate blended with RO water too.

If you're going to use a pourover, that's the easiest, cheapest and bestest means I've found.

Plumbing in is more difficult, as calcium carbonate is not water soluble. It has to be reacted with carbonic acid in water (as it is in nature) to form temporary hardness as calcium bicarbonate. There's not a really great way to re-mineralize. The commercial system used in the large coffee chain shops injects calcium chloride solution and some other dissolved minerals into the RO water to achieve desired hardness levels so all their shops are pulling the same everywhere. I don't think there's a home-scale way to do this for plumbed-in.

But - all that being said, start by contacting your municipal water supplier and ask for their latest analysis for your neighborhood. :) They'll provide an extensive and accurate lab report - for free. It might be good enough out of the tap.