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General Discussion on any topic relating to CPAP and/or Sleep Apnea.
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socknitster
 
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Reverse Osmosis Water Not Good in My Humidifier

Postby socknitster on Sun May 25, 2008 9:13 am

I always bought distilled water for my humidifier, but when we moved into a new house recently and installed a new water softener and Reverse Osmosis system (the RO is only at one special tap at the kitchen sink) I thought I would try using the RO water in my machine.

I know it isn't as pure as distilled, but I had used it (Aquafina and Dasani) when on vacation without issue and I had heard that in some countries distilled is not readily available, forcing cpap users to use RO.

I got thru a gallon and a half and started to notice cloudy water and swampy smell. Next day went back out for distilled. Can't risk getting sick over something as inexpensive as distilled water. This is after a year of using distilled, never encountering such a problem when just refilling each night and never doing much cleaning.

So, I just thought I would report my experience to anyone interested. RO might be ok for a few days, but for me it wasn't acceptable for long term use. It sure is nice to drink though.

Our water here is insanely hard and has iron as well. It smells of iron and sulphur and just tastes absolutely awful. I determined it would be far cheaper and higher quality, not to mention easier on a daily basis to just bite the bullet and put in an RO. Prior to that I used the very inconvenient Britta pitcher for drinking water.

After wrangling with Culligan and Kinetico, who both make excellent but incredibly overpriced products, I settled on a local guy with an excellent local reputation (I did a ton of research with BBB and word of mouth recommendations) and got a softener and RO for about half the price of Culligan and Kinetico and the system works exceptionally well. The products are made by Puritan, right here in Indiana.

Anyway, I just thought I would relate my experiences since this topic comes up frequently.

Jen


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Postby Goofproof on Sun May 25, 2008 10:14 am

It's the second best to distilled, the rub comes from if it's working correctly. How would you know! Jim

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Postby Treesap on Sun May 25, 2008 10:37 am

We have pretty hard water here. I have used only RO water. But we don't have a softener system, which I know adds salt to the water. Does the RO water go through the softener first?
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Postby Goofproof on Sun May 25, 2008 1:11 pm

RO Water is for limited use, drinking, cooking, Ect, Softwater, is for normal household usage, washing, bathroom. So RO would be added after or instead the water softener for drinking and food prep. Jim

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Postby Snoredog on Sun May 25, 2008 3:09 pm

IF the RO system is working properly it should be as near pure as distilled but not the bad taste of distilled.

Don't know how long you have had the RO system, but it needs to be serviced at least every 6 months, that means replacing pre-filters and sanitizing the system with bleach by-passing the membrane.

The RO system also has to be installed CORRECTLY, that means the "discharge" line which drains the bad water has to be plumbed into your sink drain correctly, it should be above the P trap and above water level, it should also go through the anti-siphon valve so there is NO chance of it sucking up sewer gases or black water from the P trap, if that happens it can contaminate the RO system and create a serious health hazard.

I had the WATTS Premiere RO system from Costco, installed it myself, it worked great and I used it for many years, they sold replacement filters at Costco for $40 bucks. You can also buy them online. They have installation and maintenance procedures also online:

http://www.wattspremier.com/

Troubleshooting your system:
http://www.wattspremier.com/watts/webpa ... =28&DID=15

Milky Colored Water
This is caused by air in the system. This is a normal occurrence with the start-up of a Reverse Osmosis System. The milky look will disappear with normal use during the first 1-2 weeks. This condition can also happen after filter changes, but can usually be solved by draining the tank 1 or 2 times.


You would remove one of lines and and inject bleach into the system which pretty much kills everything.

If you have a home distiller and distill RO water you can tell how pure it is, when I did that with my RO water there was NO residual water left in the distiller tank, that indicates the water was 99.9% pure.

Water on the RO system is cloudy after installation or after servicing but it doesn't mean the water is bad.

IF the smell is coming thru your mask/hose you may need to sanitize your hose especially if a "loop" remains in the hose, water will condense at any low point or loop and start growing things. Same for humidifier tank.

While I don't believe you need to sanitize those daily weekly or monthly it is a good idea to kill any things off with bleach, bleach kills everything,

put some water in the kitchen sink put in 1/2 cup bleach and soak the hose and humidifier tank for a hour or so, then rinse really good where there is no residual smell.

You can use vinegar but I cannot stand the smell of that, like snorting a salad all night long.

Can't beat a Kenmore home distiller, distilled water for the machine, iron or anything you need distilled water for any time you need it and no running to the store burning $4.25 gallon gas.

You get NO calcium build up or water lines on the tank with distilled.

someday science will catch up to what I'm saying...

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I use RO water everyday in APAP for months- no problem

Postby packer on Sun May 25, 2008 3:28 pm

I think possibly you might have an RO problem

I have a RO system under kitchen sink- makes about 2 or 3 gallons day

it uses the soft water from the softener and then takes it another step

I also live in Midwest [ WI] and have hard iron water

I did not use it at first because someone here said used distilled- but like so many thing with CPAP- one night no distilled- tried RO-
that was 6 months at least ago - no problem


packer

ps- another thing I was told about RO water is it helps take salt out of soft water


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Postby le_wif on Sun May 25, 2008 9:18 pm

My husband has used nothing but RO water in his CPAP humidifier, and it has worked just fine for the last two years--no smells/no residue. We also live in WI and have very hard water with a lot of iron in it as well. We have one of the overpriced Kenetico systems :wink: and it has worked just fine for the last 13 years. Our RO system comes AFTER the iron removal and softener systems. We change the filters on it regularly. Like the other posters, I suspect that you need to take a close look at the RO system. Smelling 'swampy' doesn't sound right to me, even if it takes a couple of days to develop.

Good luck to you!
Le_Wif


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RO

Postby CamiTampa on Sun May 25, 2008 9:34 pm

If your RO unit is hooked up properly, and the RO filter is in good shape, (they only last 6 months max,) then your RO water should have less dissolved solids than the distilled water.

RO is actually better than distilled, but since it wastes 4 gallons for every 1 gallon it makes it tends to be expensive and not eco friendly.

I use my RO exclusively and have never had any build up or smell.

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Postby zorrro13 on Sun May 25, 2008 9:44 pm

I have been using bottled water and now tap filtered water here in BKK and never had a problem. Just remember for drinking purposes RO also removes calcium and essential minerals from water as well so you may need a supplement I'm not 100% sure but worth checking out

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Postby bigk on Mon May 26, 2008 5:23 am

We don't need water softeners here.

I've used RO water in mine for months (Since December) with no ill effects.

My RO membrane lasts around 5 years actually but the other filters are replaced every 12 months when the lasy comes to service it. I use a PPM meter so I know how pure the water is.

I have never used distilled water.

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Postby CentralScrutinizer on Mon May 26, 2008 6:10 am

If RO filtered water is causing a bad smell... I'd be leary of drinking that same water.

If might also want to look into a deionizing filter... They go after a RO filter... Deionized water is supposed to be even cleaner then distilled... I've got one, but I haven't changed the filters in a while so I haven't been using the water directly from the filter... However since I also regularly boil water for making green tea, I just use leftover boiled DI water in my humidifier..

While distilled water is not that expensive, I hate having to buy bottled water on a regular basis... I'd much rather have a convenient source of good water right at my home.

I'm still really surprised by your report of bad smells over time when using RO water... That seems really odd to me.


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Postby socknitster on Mon May 26, 2008 11:09 am

Everyone has really interesting points.

The softener and RO system have been installed for about 2.5 months. I used the RO water for about half of that time before noticing anything. This is after a year of never cleaning the humidifier tank, only topping it off with distilled each night (not a terribly smart idea, but I have an m-series and it is a pain). So I followed suite with the RO water.

I didn't notice any smell until after weeks and weeks of doing this. So, I just think that the RO water has a teeny bit more residual stuff that bacteria in the air could grow in. Also, the smell was very mild and the "cloudiness" was really not much more than just a few white floaties--someone less paranoid than me probaby would have not noticed either thing. I do have a degree in biology, so I know the smell of bacteria very well.

The RO system is installed above the water softener in garage, giving it a gravity feed to the nearby kitchen. The installer said that that this kind of situation is easier for install and filter replacement and doesn't take up all that room under the kitchen sink. The drain line goes out separately to the same place the softener drain line goes.

Treesap--if you have hard water and an RO system, you may need to replace the filters more often because the system gets clogged up a lot faster. It also may not perform as well. With a softener, you really aren't technically supposed to drink the soft water without more filtration. But, by the same token, water softeners don't dump nearly as much salt into the water as they used to. There is actually very little sodium in softened water. Which the RO filter takes out along with fluoride and other ions.

For this reason a friend of mine had an absolute fit--that I would raise a child in a house without fluoridated water. Well, I did some research and called our dentist and the densist isn't concerned about it at all. Tons of kids all over America grow up on well systems without fluoride and have perfectly fine teeth. Apparantly you can buy prescription supplements for fluoride, but our densist says we don't need them.

I don't believe RO can filter out all bacteria either. Hearing the success of some of you with RO, I think I will send some water samples out to be tested just for peace of mind. If there IS bacteria in the water I'm guessing it is coming from the water source not my RO system. We have a strange water system here. It isn't city water even though we live in a city. It is a "private company" and we have to pay for it separate from trash and sewer and it is very expensive even though it is the crappiest water I have ever encountered. This is a college town with a prominent chemistry department so I don't know why all of this is put up with when just 2 miles away the next town over has much better city water.

So, I will clean my equiptment and get my RO and plain softened water tested as soon as I can. Good points everyone. Thanks for your input.

jen


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Postby ww on Mon May 26, 2008 8:24 pm

Since I am my own water system, I have no one else to blame. Out of well into Water Softener system then R/O system. R/O systems are quite good at filtering water, improving taste and providing distilled water quality. Neither distilled water or r/o water have any taste. You might want to read this concerning the ability to filter bacteria and viruses and although they say not to feed it from a contaminated source of bacteria, it removes it quite nicely. http://www.home-water-purifiers-and-filters.com/reverse-osmosis-filter.php I do have a tester ($10) that basically measures the conductivity (ions) of the water. Since R/O systems basically produce ion free water, I am not sure what would be the basis of any further ion/exchange except to change money from your hands to theirs. It should work as well as distilled water in your humidifier. Someone said it was better than distilled water which is kinda hard to do, but it is as good!


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RO - Distilled

Postby CamiTampa on Mon May 26, 2008 8:41 pm

This is from AquasanaStore.com

Distillation and reverse osmosis are ineffective at reducing synthetic chemicals. Distillation reduces contaminants based upon their relative boiling point. Virtually all synthetic chemicals boil at a lower temperature than water and, therefore, are vaporized and condensed along with the water in a distillation process. Reverse osmosis reduces contaminants based upon molecular size. Virtually all synthetic chemicals are molecularly smaller than water and, therefore, cannot be effectively reduced by reverse osmosis.


I guess it depends on the contaminants you are trying to filter out.

For our purposes they are basically the same.

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Postby RonS on Tue May 27, 2008 1:13 am

The after-treament storage tanks of RO systems can and do become contaminated.

I would be looking at the quality of the RO water at the tap.

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