I used to think that Wisconsin had some decent drinking water. But then I moved to Arkansas, and I was shocked to find that no one in that area used a water softener. I even questioned my home builder about the lack of a softener, and he made some quip about us Yankees and our bad water "up there."
When I moved back to Wisconsin, one of the first things I noticed about the water was how "greasy" I felt while rinsing myself off in the shower. That's a side-effect of soft water, I suppose. I also noticed that the faucets in the kitchen of my apartment were covered in mineral deposits, and, that the water tasted odd. I chalked a lot of that up to the old age of my first apartment.
Apartment #2 had a refrigerator with a built-in water filter. That helped with the taste of the water, but I noticed the same mineral deposit build-up on the faucets, and, I found that I had to replace my water filter every two months or so - the water would slow to a trickle as the filter clogged with sediment.
The new house here doesn't have a water filter in the refrigerator, so I went back to drinking tap water. And, well, it stunk - both literally and figuratively. Some days it would taste literally like fertilizer. Other days it tasted like pure metal.
Having given-up diet soda in February, my beverage options are quite limited - water, unsweetened tea, and the occasional carbonated mineral water. I spoke to some neighbor friends about the drinking water, and all agreed it was of dismal quality. I mentioned it to my good friend Chris from work, and he told me that he "makes" his own reverse-osmosis-filtered water for his massive salt-water fish tank.
He showed me his water-making set-up, and I was impressed. It had a really complex-looking filtration system with large tubs of water, sand filters, pumps, coral pools and more. He needs to clean, treat, and prep the water so that his fish will stay alive. If that doesn't say something about the water quality here, I don't know what else does.
So, I asked Chris for some help with a water filter system at the house, and he suggested a system from Spectra Pure - the same company he uses for his tanks and his drinking water.
The price for this stuff was a bit shocking - it's not your $19 Brita or Pur system - but, it's effective and is the real deal. So, I bit the bullet and placed an order. Within a few days, the system arrived, and I was ready to install it.
Here's what the kit looked like after I unpacked it from the shipping containers:
Four cartridge filters, including a reverse-osmosis membrane, a pressurized storage tank, a faucet, and a bunch of lines. Good times were in my future.
The system is sold as an under-the-sink unit, however, I thought it would be best to install it in the basement and then run the supply line up to the sink. However, upon closer inspection and in talking through it with Chris, it made more sense to install it under the sink. So, I cleaned-out the cabinet under the sink, made a mark for drilling the faucet hole, and got to work.
I had to buy a special drill-bit to cut through the stainless-steel sink, and boy was that money well spent - the bit made short work of the stainless.
With the hole cut, I set about preparing the sink connections - I had to insert a supply-line ball valve, cut a small hole in the existing drain pipe, and run all of the lines.
The only downside to my new filter kit was the inclusion of some super cheap-o compression fittings. Rather than including copper fittings, the company used these skimpy plastic fittings that failed with every attempt to create a leak-free connection. One particular fitting failed in spectacular fashion - spewing gallons of water around the kitchen at around midnight. Ahh. Good-times.
The next morning, I stopped at the hardware store, purchased $0.92 worth of copper fittings, and within 30-minutes, the system was live.
The supplied faucet matched the sink fairly well (although it didn't match the goldenrod wallpaper). :-)
After draining and filling the system a few times to flush the new filters, I was able to enjoy the fruits of the new system - a fresh, clean, clear, and completely tasteless glass of pure water. Ahhhh.