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Looking for a cheap Reverse Osmosis system...any suggestions?

Icemud

Member of the Month: July 2012, July 2014 - Nug of the Month: July 2012
Hey all...

I am on my first grow and I first never imagined how much water I would be using to keep 6 plants alive thru a full cycle. I am feeding them about 3-4 gallons of water every 3-4 days and this adds up pretty quickly even with gallons being only 99 cents. I also started drinking bottled spring water instead of my tap water which hosts a 8.5ph and 300+ ppm so in addition to buying water for my plants, I now too am drinking it (not cheep when your spending 10$ plus a week for water. Now I am looking for a reverse osmosis system that is effective, cheap, and can be installed on my kitchen sink in my apartment. I am looking to spend between 100 and 300$ and my main concerns would be it reduces the ph of the water, removes any chorines, choramines or other anti-bacterial additives, and also is small so it could fit next to or below my sink. Any suggestions or recommendations?

I would prefer a unit that has a sink/faucet adapter so that I do not have to get into plumbing which I do not know how do do, as well as being a apartment renter, I do not want something that is not easily removed when I decide to leave. I would love to hear about any suggestions of what you growers are using....thanks!!!
 

HiTech-Hate

New Member
I'm doing the $0.99/gal deal buying it right now myself.

To make it last longer I add 1 gal of tap water to every 2 gal bottled demin water, which only produces about 0.1EC.

It also provides, so far enough Ca/Mg, which as soon as I turned from tap to RO my plants suffered immediately from Mg def :(

Found this thread looking for a cheap RO unit myself, unfortunately my budget is much lower so I think i'm back to tap.
 

TorturedSoul

Member of the Month: May 2009, Oct 2010, Sept 2017
I'm interested in reading about people's experiences with home RO/Di setups myself.

I think a whole-house filter that can be found at one of the department-type "hardware" stores would make for an excellent pre-filter regardless of the type of setup a person goes with and that it would extend the time between required maintenance (and possibly, extend its lifetime) - and such filters are relatively cheap and have other benefits (such as removing chlorine from the water that we use for showers, baths, et cetera).
 

budlydoright

New Member
The whole house filters that I have seen at the hardware stores are just paper, wound fiber, or a combo of a few things. the one I have has no effect on the PPM which surprized me so I can't imagine that it is removing the chlorine.

I have stopped using my RO system. My nutes work better with tap. The PH drops right into the zone and I don't need to add as much calmag. I would have to move the PH up at least 2-3 points with RO depending on my strength. Just felt like I was adding a bunch of crap back in!
 

TorturedSoul

Member of the Month: May 2009, Oct 2010, Sept 2017
The whole house filters that I have seen at the hardware stores are just paper, wound fiber, or a combo of a few things. the one I have has no effect on the PPM which surprized me so I can't imagine that it is removing the chlorine.
A simple carbon-impregnated filter would (I think) remove chlorine. And chlorine is a halogen (gas), so it might not show up on an EC/TDS meter like a metallic salt would (and therefore, the water wouldn't read any differently if the chlorine was removed).

Err... I think.

I have stopped using my RO system. My nutes work better with tap. The PH drops right into the zone and I don't need to add as much calmag. I would have to move the PH up at least 2-3 points with RO depending on my strength. Just felt like I was adding a bunch of crap back in!
My (non- filtered/RO/DI) water's pH is higher than 7.00 as well.

When you were using RO water, were you adjusting the pH before mixing the nutrients or afterward?

I seem to have so much Ca in mine that adding Epsom salt is sometimes helpful to maintain the CA:Mg balance (depending on the nutrient type/strength/ratio, of course).
 

budlydoright

New Member
I think your correct about the chlorine not measuring.

I ph after adding. I'm using GH maxi series dry nutes. They drop the ph from 7.8 to 5.8 with 2 tsp per gallon. I would imagine that there's lots of calcium in mine as well. Perhaps i should try the epsom salts.
 

TorturedSoul

Member of the Month: May 2009, Oct 2010, Sept 2017
I think your correct about the chlorine not measuring.
Not positive. But it makes sense to me. Wouldn't mind if a brain stopped by and either explained why I was right or why I was wrong, though.

I ph after adding.
I assumed as much but wanted to make sure.

I'm using GH maxi series dry nutes. They drop the ph from 7.8 to 5.8 with 2 tsp per gallon.
Never used their dry series but have gone through a lot of their three-part Flora stuff. Liked where the pH ended up (depending on source water, of course) and the fact that I could generally drop again it after it gradually raised (due to the plants feeding) by adding a little bit to my add-back water without having to touch the pH Down. I liked to think I was adding back an approximation of the nutrients that the plants had consumed - and who knows, I might have been right, lol. When I wasn't chasing yield it was so easy to play around with the nutrients without harming the plants.

I would imagine that there's lots of calcium in mine as well. Perhaps i should try the epsom salts.
Guess you run your cold tap for a couple minutes, take a sample, and have it analyzed. But I haven't checked on doing so in years - it could be expensive. Or call your local water department if it's municipal supply and ask them if they could recommend a place that has reasonable prices or even if they've got one of those pamphlets that they send out periodically that basically tell you that your water quality isn't great, but it's within standards and, hey, if it isn't they'll probably be lowering them soon anyway (lol... I guess).

Epsom salt is certainly an option. Magnesium sulfate (MgSO4) is highly soluble in water. I think epsom salt is MgSO4·7H2O, but can't swear to it. In any event, there shouldn't be any Ca in it, and I always figured that if my water had a (relatively) high amount of Ca, that adding a Ca-Mg type product would be an imperfect solution.
 

HiTech-Hate

New Member
A simple carbon-impregnated filter would (I think) remove chlorine. And chlorine is a halogen (gas), so it might not show up on an EC/TDS meter like a metallic salt would (and therefore, the water wouldn't read any differently if the chlorine was removed).

Err... I think.
The electrical conductivity that 'EC/TDS/PPM' meters measure is a function of the dissolved IONSin solution.

PPM is just a derived unit from EC and actually has no 'practical' analytical value, and TDS, from an analytical standpoint is impossible to measure with just an instrument, so it too is an approximation based on EC (this is because TDS is the total number of small particulate, molecular, and ionic particles, and the only way to quantify non-charged particles, eg. small particles/molecules is to boil off the solvent, in this case water and measure the mass of the remaining residue).

This is of course not practical, so we resort to instruments that simply measure the conductivity of the solvent (water) and consequently only get a measure of the dissolved IONS, which is actually a rather poor analytical approximation of the real, total number of particles in your water, but the growers adjust !

Anyways, point of all this is that not only metals form salts. That is, when I say salt I mean a molecule whose bond is IONic (not covalent, metallic). Ionic bonds are formed between atoms who are ... 'craving' electrons to fill their valence orbital (elements on the left, eg. Na, K, which both need 1 e-) and atoms who are ... 'begging electrons to leave' to fill their valence orbital (elements on the right, eg. Cl, S, O, etc.).

Chlorine is one such NASTY ass mother fucker for wanting another electron, and forms MANY salts, such as table salt: NaCl, potassium chloride (KCl), NH4Cl, even HCl. It's added to your water for this very property, it kills organisms by ripping electrons out of their proteins/dna.

Even the cheapest 'EC/TDS/PPM/FLYING_MONKEYS' meter would measure conductivity from the various salts the chlorine in the water would form (and then dissociate into ions in solution), so budlydoright is probably right that whatever filter he has isn't getting rid of chlorine.

Its funny, they sell us cheap salt water (for a lot of money), and then give us cheap probes to quantify with .. wait, that's not funny
 

TorturedSoul

Member of the Month: May 2009, Oct 2010, Sept 2017
Chlorine is one such NASTY ass mother fucker for wanting another electron, and forms MANY salts, such as table salt: NaCl, potassium chloride (KCl), NH4Cl, even HCl. It's added to your water for this very property, it kills organisms by ripping electrons out of their proteins/dna.

Even the cheapest 'EC/TDS/PPM/FLYING_MONKEYS' meter would measure conductivity from the various salts the chlorine in the water would form (and then dissociate into ions in solution), so budlydoright is probably right that whatever filter he has isn't getting rid of chlorine.
I get that it's highly reactive. Just wasn't sure that the chlorine in chlorine water would... have already done so (and bound with other elements to form different compounds) by the time we turn the tap and pour the crap into a glass prior to attempting to choke it down.

I had assumed that it was just - at that point - more or less a gas dissolved into the water, and that therefore it might not bump an EC meter. After all, I sure can smell it - and after all, leaving it out for 12 hours uncovered causes the smell to go away and - again, I assumed - the gas to have evaporated(?) out and possibly formed into some other compounds.

I don't like chlorine. It's hard on the lungs, the eyes, and the sense of smell. Strangely, I like O3 - but in small doses, of course.


So... Am I way off in that?
 

HiTech-Hate

New Member
I get that it's highly reactive. Just wasn't sure that the chlorine in chlorine water would... have already done so (and bound with other elements to form different compounds) by the time we turn the tap and pour the crap into a glass prior to attempting to choke it down.

I had assumed that it was just - at that point - more or less a gas dissolved into the water, and that therefore it might not bump an EC meter. After all, I sure can smell it - and after all, leaving it out for 12 hours uncovered causes the smell to go away and - again, I assumed - the gas to have evaporated(?) out and possibly formed into some other compounds.

I don't like chlorine. It's hard on the lungs, the eyes, and the sense of smell. Strangely, I like O3 - but in small doses, of course.


So... Am I way off in that?
I hadn't wanted to get this detailed, lest I come across TOO arrogant lol, but you asked, so :).

Well it may be a gas when added to the water, but the act of DISSOLVING chlorine into water is a reaction with water molecules. It is no longer elemental gaseous chlorine Cl2, but when dissolved forms HCL (hydrochloric acid) and HOCL (hypochlorous acid).

Since the water you're working with is nearly neutral (slightly acidic) the HOCL will exist primarily as the OCL- hypochlorite anion. In effect, the contribution of the anion charge from chlorine is conveyed through the hypochlorite anion it forms with water ....

The smell is so potent because humans are very sensitive to chlorine, we can sense its presence in the air at only 3 ppm.

Every liquid or mixture of liquids will always be spewing out molecules at a rate related to the vapor pressure of the liquid(s), the number of molecules coming out though are very low (for most liquids, obviously not for those with a low vapor pressure), and we can't sense them (but dogs might). Chlorine is just one compound for which humans have an exceptional olfactory (smell) sensitivity.

When we can smell it we call it an odor, but it (it being the ... 'cloud' of vaporized molecules spewing off the liquid) is still present for any liquid whether we smell it or not.

Many odorless gases in fact are deadly, like CO or natural gas (it will explode you :) ), that's why they add a compound that humans have very high sensitivity to (mercaptan for natural gas).

Point, smell doesn't mean its bad necessarily (though I wouldn't want to take lungful's of concentrated chlorine gas either :) ).

The amount of chlorine in water is exceptionally low when you consider what a PPM actually is (a million is a lot), and its our exceptional olfactory response that makes it seem like there's a lot more then there actually is.

I hope that ... answered something for you, in this stoned scientific explanation I am typing :roorrip:
 

TorturedSoul

Member of the Month: May 2009, Oct 2010, Sept 2017
I hadn't wanted to get this detailed, lest I come across TOO arrogant lol, but you asked, so :).
Nah, it doesn't work like that (at least where I'm concerned). First, I've stumbled upon some of my own posts at a later time and thought, "Wow, that reads like it was written by an arrogant ___," when I was definitely NOT trying to come across that way. Secondly, the members of this site who I'd consider to be "TOO arrogant" (using your words) I could count on one hand and still have enough digits available to hitchhike, insult you, and ask you to come over here. I figure they probably feel the same way about me;). I mostly just try not to have any... "high-friction encounters" with them, because it would be unlikely to do either of us any good, because why get that frustrated with someone when you cannot physically get your hands around their neck, and because it would do nothing to help this site.

I've been schooled here (et cetera) before. I've also had spirited debates. Seems to be as good a way as any to learn something.

I read through your post and about halfway through I thought, "Hey, I know this!" But then I realized, "No... I knew this:11:." That's a big difference. It's been a long time (too long) since I was in a science-class environment.

Thanks for taking the time. Believe it or not, I did all right in chemistry. It was (at the time) easy. And more than that, it made sense. Used to be, once in a while someone would ask me to explain something and I'd have trouble; it was difficult for me to get past "how can you not see it?" Like way back when, when one of the various maths instructors would expect you to "show your work" and I'd have to stop and think about how I was supposed to write down a process for something when I just looked at the problem and wrote down the answer. Now, once in a while someone asks me to explain something and I'll have trouble - because I've got to stop and work it out for myself. I guess that's from getting old(er)? Possibly a few other things along the way might be factors too...

BtW, before you spelled all this out in simple terms for me, I took a minute and hit Google. I came across an abstract of an article titled "Removal of Residual Chlorine from Drinking-WaterBy Solar Radiation (UV)and Activated Carbon Filtration." I glanced at it and saw that it stated the EC of a sample which was exposed to sunlight for two days increased slightly by the photosynthesis of chlorine with sunlight (UV) exposure. Hmm... Wonder if I can find the actual article.
 

HiTech-Hate

New Member
Ok, then whose up for a spirited round of high energy particle physics discussion?

I got quarks, I got gluons, I even have leptons! But no mass vector boson yet (10 points if u get it :p)

Nah i'm kidding lol (though I would love to find someone to talk on the subject about).

I'm just glad (surprised) to hear you actually understood some of what I said, I was trying to put everything in as simple terms as I could think of.

At the atomic level the world is a really messed up looking place.
At the quantum level the world is an unbelievable odyssey of strangeness.
 
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