1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

November 25, 2008

:330 Testing Purifiers

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:330 EcoTip: Reverse osmosis water purifiers can be checked to see if the R/O membrane is working properly. This is done by testing the conductivity of the water. Special meters are designed for this purpose, but any electrical conductivity tester can be used. You can also send a sample of your purified water to a laboratory for testing.

tester

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review:

To use an electrical multi-meter for testing the water to see if the R/O membrane working – set the meter on the conductivity test setting. The probes need to be kept the same distance apart every time you test. Since tap water contains salts and minerals it will conduct electricity. Use a sample of tap water to check your meter reading. The closer the R/O water’s conductivity reading is to that of tap water, the less the purifier is removing.

If you check your R/O water with the meter when the purifier is new – you will have a baseline to compare. You may also want to test the meter with distilled water – which should have no conductivity.

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July 19, 2008

:201 Shower Filters

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:201 EcoTip: Shower filters with KDF (kinetic degradation fluxation) are good for chlorine removal since they work better with hot water. Activated carbon works better for cold water.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :190, :191, :192, :195,

KDF is a zinc and copper alloy that reacts with chlorine transforming it into a chloride salt. The zinc and copper alloy metal helps control bacteria growth and can remove some heavy metals. Since KDF works well at higher temperatures, it outperforms other purification measures for shower and bath water, but the range of contaminants removed is somewhat limited.

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July 16, 2008

:198 Ozone Water Purification

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:198 EcoTip: Ozone has some uses for killing bacteria as a part of water purification. This method has become popular for spas and swimming pools permitting a reduced amount of chlorine to be used. When used for drinking water purification, it should be combined with other types of filtration and purification to address contaminants that ozone doesn’t reduce.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :190, :191, :192, :193, :194, :195, :196, :197

Ozone has been used for helping to achieve low bacteria levels in spas, hot tubs, wells, pools and water purification units. One way of generating ozone uses UV light which was discussed yesterday in :197.

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July 15, 2008

:197 UV Water Purification

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:197 EcoTip: Ultra Violet Light (UV) has some uses for killing bacteria as a part of water purification. Think of it as an alternative to chlorination. Unlike chlorine it has no residual effect.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :190, :191, :192, :193, :194, :195, :196

UV has been used for helping to achieve low bacteria levels in spas, hot tubs, wells and water purification units. The UV light needs to be shielded so it is concentrated on the water and avoids causing damage to people’s eyes and skin. UV is rendered useless when “shadowing” occurs. In order for it to be effective the bacteria must be exposed to the UV light. Sediment, hardness, minerals, iron, manganese or turbidity will also make the UV system ineffective because the bacteria is shielded from the UV.

This information was paraphrased from the third edition (released in May 2008 ) of Prescriptions for a Healthy House: A Practical Guide for Architects, Builders & Homeowners which I wrote with architect Paula Baker-LaPorte and physician Erica Elliott.

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July 14, 2008

:196 Bacteria Contamination

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:196 EcoTip: Bacteria can contaminate and grow in water purification systems. They need to be properly cleaned when they are serviced to keep them in good working order.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :190, :191, :192, :193, :194

The following information is quoted from the third edition (released in May 2008 ) of Prescriptions for a Healthy House: A Practical Guide for Architects, Builders & Homeowners:

Reverse Osmosis units should be tested and serviced on a regular basis. Annual testing of water quality is a good indicator of how well the unit is functioning and when the reverse osmosis membrane needs to be replaced. Poor water quality in some parts of the country means that membranes and filters need to be replaced more frequently there.

Servicing includes not only replacing filters as necessary but also cleaning and disinfecting the unit. The procedure involves disassembling the reverse osmosis system, cleaning the unit, flushing it with hydrogen peroxide, replacing the filters, and checking the unit’s performance.

– quoted from Warren Clough – a chemist with 50 years experience analyzing water quality and making water purification system recommendations. www.ozarkwaterandair.org

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July 12, 2008

:194 RO Waste Water

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:194 EcoTip: Reverse osmosis units use several gallons of water to process each gallon of drinking water. The process water is frequently routed down the drain – but it could easily be used to drip water plants, or for other non-drinking uses.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :172, :190, :191, :192, :193

The following information is quoted from the third edition (released in May 2008 ) of Prescriptions for a Healthy House: A Practical Guide for Architects, Builders & Homeowners:

The most valid criticism of RO is that anywhere from 3.5 to 5 gallons of water are rejected for every gallon of purified water produced. Many inexpensive, non certified RO systems have much higher rejection rates, are extremely wasteful, and still do not deliver verifiable contaminant reduction, the primary reason for using reverse osmosis.  

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July 11, 2008

:193 Reverse Osmosis

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:193 EcoTip: Reverse osmosis is a method for reducing the amount of dissolved solids in drinking water. It works best in combination with other water purification methods since it will not remove volatile organic compounds.

RO involves forcing water through a semipermeable membrane with extremely fine pores.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :190, :191, :192

The following information is quoted from the third edition (released in May 2008 ) of Prescriptions for a Healthy House: A Practical Guide for Architects, Builders & Homeowners:

RO systems will remove a variety of ions and metals as well as some bacterial contaminants (cysts), but not coliform bacteria. RO systems will remove some arsenic (arsenic V but not the more toxic arsenic III). Reverse osmosis is well documented in the literature and in post-treatment testing proves to be effective in removing uranium, but NSF [National Sanitation Foundation] does not certify for uranium reduction, RO membranes eject the bulk of almost any dissolved and suspended contaminant including ionic, organic and silica compounds.

One criticism of reverse osmosis-filtered water is that it is stripped of essential minerals. Although this is true, it is a tradeoff for overall water quality. Most consumers do not depend on water for their nutritional needs but elect to take vitamin supplements or remineralize their RO water. Savvy water treatment companies use a crushed limestone (calcite) post-RO filter to impart a pleasant taste to the water. Parents sometimes express concern that RO removes fluoride added to municipal water for dental health purposes. This is true, but water fluoridation in general is a controversial issue and today most children under professional dental care receive whole-mouth fluoride treatments.

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July 10, 2008

:192 Carbon Water Filtration

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:192 EcoTip: Activated carbon in drinking water filters can help to remove chlorine and other volatile organic compounds. The length of time it takes the water to pass through the filter determines the amount of chemical that gets removed. The slower the water flow the greater the removal.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :190, :191

Be careful when interpreting the quality of a water purifier based on manufacturer’s claims. I was once asked to evaluate a purifier based on test results showing a 99% removal of chlorine. The problem was the manufacturer’s instructions said to install the filter so that it would deliver 1 gallon per minute, but the test was performed with the water being passed through the filter at a rate of 0.1 gallon per minute (ten times slower). The advertised test results were of course much better than what was being delivered to the client’s glass. To get the better results the client needed to slow the rate of filtration down to the test rate.

Chlorine removal performance is easy to test – you can visit any aquarium shop that sells tropical fish and purchase a sensitive chlorine test kit. 

If you want to compare chemical removal efficiency between purifiers before you purchase one, make sure the testing has been performed in compliance with National Sanitation Foundation standards. This will help make sure you are comparing units that have been tested in a consistent way.

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July 9, 2008

:191 Water Pre-Filter

Filed under: :191 Water Pre-Filter — Tags: , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:25 am

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:191 EcoTip: A water purification pre-filter can help extend the life of your other filters by removing dirt and debris that will obstruct the other filters faster.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :190 

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July 8, 2008

:190 Water Purification

Filed under: :190 Water Purification — Tags: , , , , — John Banta @ 12:09 am

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:190 EcoTip: A home water purification system can provide the same or better water quality than store bought for a fraction of the cost. Over the next few days I will discuss some of the considreations for a home water purification unit.

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