Need sensible criteria to choose a new filtered water solution.
June 21, 2013 8:07 AM   Subscribe

We were kinda-sorta thinking about getting an undersink RO system, but now it has escalated, not to "urgent", but to "let's get this thing done".

We have a water dispenser in our home, for which we lug home 5-gallon bottles of filtered water. It dispenses both hot and cold water. The unit broke (specifically, the button for the cold water dispenser broke; I'm sure all it needs is a replacement spring inside the button. I couldn't easily access the area, so I called the company's tech support. They told me they do not sell replacement parts and it is unreparable - gah!). We've had this unit for 5 years, and it is a "quality" brand, so I am super upset that we have to replace it. We paid good money for this thing.

I hate throwing good money after bad, so I won't buy another water dispenser. Which means now we need a new option for drinking water. I'm thinking undersink RO system is the way to go, but I have no idea of how to choose the right system. I also don't know if there are other options that I'm not aware of.

I want a system that will last a good while, not one where an integral part will break and I will have to scrub the whole thing (for instance, I read some reviews where the plastic cap on the filter compartment broke, and the owner had to replace the system - expensive fix due to the breaking of an inexpensive part).

Any recommendations of how to find a quality product? Ideally I'd like to get 10 years out of something I pay good money for (or give me a reality check - is that unreasonable?) I know there will be maintenance costs as the filters will need to be changed.

Also, the few systems that I looked at online showed that I need to drill a hole in my sink for the dispenser fitting. I'd prefer not to (read: filtered water will come from the tap), but I will if that's my best option.
posted by vignettist to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Is there a particular reason why you're not considering something like this?

I don't have one because I have no qualms about drinking straight tap water, but lots of folks I know have them and they seem pretty great. Not fiddly at all like I expected them to be.
posted by phunniemee at 8:12 AM on June 21, 2013

Ms. Digi and I recently had a Culligan RO undersink system installed. It was a bit pricey, but we could not be happier with the results. Service from the Culligan folks was excellent, as well.
posted by digiFramph at 8:58 AM on June 21, 2013

Also, we had to have a hole drilled in our granite counter top. There was no problem at all. The separate faucet for the filtered water is attractive and takes up very little space.
posted by digiFramph at 9:00 AM on June 21, 2013

If you were in Minneapolis I would have one to give you - my folks had a Culligan undersink system and they loved it, but they had issues with their well that made it unusable.
posted by Coffeemate at 9:28 AM on June 21, 2013

I had an undersink system and it was easy to replace the filter.

I will say this, why not get a new fridge with a water dispenser/filter instead? You'll get filtered ice and water and some even have a HOT water dispenser now.

Just another way to approach the issue.

FWIW, I lived in Florida, where the water is so undrinkable that even Koolaid won't mask the nastiness.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:47 AM on June 21, 2013

I've installed two filters from Pure Water Products, a three-stage RO for home, and a little countertop thing at work. The company is excellent, provides bullshit-free information, has great prices and support. You have lots of options to choose from, and they can help advise you further if you call them up.
posted by odinsdream at 10:52 AM on June 21, 2013

I was coming in here to recommend Pure Water Products too. I was just replacing the filtering part for an undersink unit I already had, but they helped me find the right fittings for what was already in place, even though it wasn't what the shipped the filtration unit with normally. They sell a lot of their parts individually, so even if something does break, you won't have to replace the whole thing.
posted by natabat at 11:33 AM on June 21, 2013

Whole house is the way to go. Cheaper over time. And then you get to bathe in it too.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:18 PM on June 21, 2013

Sorry, this link should have been in my previous comment.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:19 PM on June 21, 2013

Thanks everyone.

We haven't considered getting a fridge with a water dispenser because our fridge is still just a few years old, but that is a great suggestion. Maybe when we get the next one.

In the meantime, we are starting with the least expensive option, which is the PUR filter system. We picked one up at Costco this weekend. It doesn't fit on our kitchen faucet for some reason (I wasn't there for installation), so it was attached to the faucet on our utility sink (laundry room is right next to the kitchen anyway).

I didn't particularly care for the taste of the first glass. The water has sort an odd mouthfeel, if that makes sense. Softer, but not a more pleasant taste (apparently we have been really spoiled by the water we have been buying from the local water store).

Hubby has suggested waiting to see if we get used to the taste. He also brought up the very good point that if I don't like the taste from the PUR filter, I may not like the taste from the more expensive RO system either, except we are out more money and have altered our sink at that point.
posted by vignettist at 9:02 AM on June 25, 2013

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