Ecowater vs. Kinetico??
Very informative board you have here - it's much appreciated, b/c its the only one with OBJECTIVE opinions on water systems I could find.
I have it narrowed down to the following RO systems:
Ecowater or Kinetico
They both seem to be high quality, but I'd love to hear from some people that have first hand experience withe either their RO Systems or Softeners.
I'd appreciate any opinions anyone could share, whether you've used the systems or not -- which one would you buy?
I feel that Kinetico makes the finest ROs out there and for a number of reasons. By looking at the web site you will see four drinking water selections. The one on the extreme right can be ignored as it is a metered carbon filter.
From right to left are. K-2, K-R/O gx, and the Purefecta.
The K-2 is comparable to the Ecowater system in almost every way which the exception that the Ecowater has an electronic monitoring system to indicate filter changes and the faucet is a little more stylish. In both, the filters are proprietary and the tank is air charged. The Kinetico has a 7-year warranty on all parts and 2-year warranty on the membrane. Not sure about warranty info on Ecowater.
The Purefecta is unique in a number of ways. It is the only RO that is rated NSF p-231 (which was created for this unit) which signifies it as a micro-biological barrier stopping virus (4-log) bacteria (7-log) for 2000 gallons. Nothing comes close to performance and certification. The special viral and bacterial filters are developed by the PALL Corp. and they chose Kinetico's fine gx model to accompany them.
These are acceptable even on boil alerts and other pathogenic waters. This is designed for immune deficiency patients, medical facilities, and customers with a particular interest in the finest quality water available.
The gx (and vx) models are the standard for Kinetico. It has a number of patents including the Ever-Clean Rinse membrane and it hydraulically operated tank. It comes with a designer faucet, filter monitoring system with automatic shut-down (500 gallons) and easy-to-replace filter elements.
One of the two key features is the QuickFlow Tank. Most ROs use the typical air bladder pressurization system which occupies half (or more) of the tanks volume. When faucet is opened, the air bag pushes water from the tank (a 3-gallon tank provides about 1.2 gallons at 7psi).
As the tank empties, the pressure of the air bag decreases as does the flow through the faucet until it becomes little more than a drip. Have you experienced this? These are also hard pressed to provide adequate flow rate to distant locations (wet bars, bathroom faucets), especially refrigerators.
Then as the tank refills, the air in the bag provides counter-pressure against the membrane so it produces water more slowly, typically at about 12-15 gallons per day or half gallon per hour.
The gx uses household water pressure to provide water to all locations. The 3-gallon tank actually holds approximately 2.7 gallons due to having no air bag. As a faucet is opened, a sensor detects water exiting the tank and a valve opens letting household water enter and apply pressure against the water bag.
The result is: twice the volume of water, no flow reduction until tank is empty, high enough pressure to reach fridges and no back pressure on membrane so it produces 30-35 gallons a day at 60psi source line pressure. This is unique among any major water treatment manufacturers.
Moreover, the tank refills whenever water is dispensed. Take a glass of water and it refills immediately, keeping the tank full at all times. Air-charged tanks don’t normally refill until they are nearly empty leaving you with less water than needed at times. Typically 2/3 of line pressure.
The membrane is also unique. Whenever the tank refills, the membrane takes treated RO water (approx. 140 ml) held in a small reservoir and flushes the membrane so that it sits in a bath of clean water nearly its entire life. This can happen many times every day. Some ROs have a manually operated rinse option. Kinetico’s is automatic.
All other ROs’ membrane are in contact with untreated water 100% of their lives and usually give no more than one year’s warranty. Kinetico’s gx membrane has a 7-year warranty (!) if following a Kinetico water softener and a 4-year if it follows another brand of softener, which is four times longer than other warranties.
Kinetico’s RO membrane warranty is at 90% rejection while most others warranty theirs for a maximum of only 80-85% rejection. So Kinetico will replace their membrane within the first seven years at a higher rejection rate than others brand new. That is pretty impressive.
Ecowater’s RO is comparable to the K-2 model and is priced accordingly, maybe even cheaper.
I hope this answered your question to some extent and I would love to hear an Ecowater rep state the advantages of their equipment.
Andy Christensen, CWS
I have a Kinetico system that I got six years ago. It uses an air charged tank which is steadily becoming a pain in the arse. I'm thinking of going to a tankless GE Merlin system (.5GPM flow), but this GX system intrigues me. When was the new GX tank introduced? What type of flow rates can I expect from the new GX tank?
The chances are, you can convert your older Kinetico RO to use the QuickFlow tank. I changed mine and it made a world of difference.
It will provide water at a rate of about 1/2 gallon per minute. It will also double the volume availabe, and replenish the tank at a much faster rate than your present set up.
Do you live in England?
Andy Christensen, CWS
Thanks for the reply. No, I'm in Seattle, WA. If they're both 0.5GPM, I think I'll just go with the Merlin for simplicity. I have to do a pressure check, but I think I was at 70psi when the Kinetico system was installed (city water). I think the Merlin should be fine at that pressure.
Last edited by BoB-O; 07-18-2007 at 11:15 AM.
You're welcome. I think that will work for you. Please stop back here and give us updates, problems and solutions you may come across, OK?
I'm not an expert however I personally would not feel comfortable with a system that lets the untreated water into the same container where clean water is. And -from the description - it appears that is the case.
Originally Posted by Andy CWS
just my 2c
Surely you don't think that the RO flux-water and the household water actually mix, do you? They are certainly seperated. It wouldnot make any sense forthem to mix as that would defeat the purpose of having an RO in the first place. I did say that it has a "water bag".
Sorry,I you were confused by my description; I shouldn't assume some things.
Andy Christensen, CWS
Originally Posted by Andy CWS
Sure, I don't think they mix. What I do assume is that the only way to find out if container like this is leaking is through water tests which I don't think is good.
I have a RO by Watts, model 4V IIRC, with integrated shutoff valve within filter assembly. I had it leak slightly so that my TDS levels were high enough to prompt me to replace all the filters...in vain of course since it was the valve that was bad. When I described this to support they simply said that this system was not to be used when unsafe conditions are present. In other words - so what if some unfiltered water got through...
IMO this is not acceptable and now that I know better I would avoid a design that has a potential of mixing unfiltered water with filtered especially if it's hard to detect a fault. (I can imagine a double bladder design where if one of them leaked water would flow out of the container and warn the user but I have no idea if such thing exists)
I can see your point but I have not encountered this failure as of yet. I will ask a technician what tell-tale signs occure if bladder failure happens and how to manage it.
If the baldder broke the quality of water would immediately be noticed. Also there may be pressure problems which would prevent normal usage. The QuickFlow tanks have been around for about five years and we haven't had a failure yet that permitted water to come through untreated.
Thanks for your comments and input,