Should I get a Reverse Osmosis unit?
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  #1  
Old 05-21-2020, 06:33 PM
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Afid Afid is offline
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Should I get a Reverse Osmosis unit? Male
Default Should I get a Reverse Osmosis unit?

I have heard a lot of really great things about reverse osmosis and I was wondering what people thought of it. Is it worth it? How much of a difference does it make? For some extra context, I currently use well water (I haven't tested it, but I expect the tds is pretty low) and it has no added softeners or anything. I have a collection of around 50-60 orchids, but I want more (of course) and I have fallen in love with some of the more picky species (Disa for example). Anyhow, I'm just looking for some general ideas so I can prioritize saving up to get one (or beg my parents to get me one for my birthday) if it seems necessary.
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:01 PM
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If the TDS of your well water is below 50 ppm or so, it's probably fine for essentially everything. Higher, and you'll see a big difference with RO. I grew orchids for about 25 years with tap water (mentioned in other post) and most did fine. The Cattleya types, Cymbidiums, Aussie Dendrobiums and most Oncidium tribe plants pretty much don't care. But my success rate for Pleurothallids, Sophronitis, a lot of Dendrobiums, and other plants from tropical cloud forest areas was mixed. Since I got that RO system that I use for the potentially more sensitive plants (especially the little ones) my success rate has increased considerably.

I say that my RO unit was really expensive... the actual unit was actually quite cheap, but with improved results, now I have to re-buy a whole bunch of species that I previously killed.
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  #3  
Old 05-22-2020, 07:15 AM
KingKong KingKong is offline
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Should I get a Reverse Osmosis unit?
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Rainwater is cheap and ideal.

RO units are a big bulky pieces of plastic that can break down after 2 years already.

That is the gist of it, if you live in an apartment and can't collect enough rainwater easily then a RO unit could be beneficial

[Remainder of post redacted due to snarky off-topic commentary directed at a member. Knock it off KingKong. ~ WaterWitchin]

Last edited by WaterWitchin; 05-22-2020 at 12:09 PM.. Reason: Snarkiness directed at another member
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Old 05-22-2020, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingKong View Post
RO units are a big bulky pieces of plastic that can break down after 2 years already.
Sorry, but that's really incorrect.

A standard residential system, which is usually used by orchid growers, is no more than 18" x 18" x 6", making it fit nicely in the cabinet under a sink. Yes, the storage tank is larger, but if you collect rainwater, you'll need an even larger one, as you cannot turn on the rain as needed. I use a counter-top unit now, and it's about 15" x 9" x 9".

Break down in 2 years??? You either don't know at all what you're talking about, or have experienced some garbage products. When I sold my greenhouse prior to moving, my 25-year old RO system went with it, and it was functioning just fine. Sure, there is maintenance to be done - filter and membrane replacement - but that's certainly not a breakdown.

Afid - get your water tested so you know if RO would be advantageous. If you look at the USGS Water Hardness map, it suggests your is probably pretty high.
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Old 05-22-2020, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingKong View Post

RO units are a big bulky pieces of plastic that can break down after 2 years already.
not really if you get a good one. I went through several cheap ones that were a royal PITA, then had one made to specs that I wanted.



75 GPD Jungle Hobbies Reverse Osmosis Filter
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Old 05-22-2020, 03:53 PM
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I know for me, having better quality water was a big game changer (I'm on municipal water). I guess my water is very hard? I have misting set up, and I was noticing a lot of salt buildup everywhere from the water evaporation.

After switching to purer water (I'm actually using RO/DI), I noticed a significant improvement in the overall health of my orchids, as well as the overall durability of my potting substrate.

I am using this unit, the 75 GPD model:
https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/5-sta...ef-supply.html

I've been using it for ~8 years without problems. The individual filters DO get exhausted eventually, and they will need to be replaced with some frequency (depending on how "dirty" your water is).

I don't know if you need to go with full de-ionization (DI), or if RO is sufficient for you. DI is helpful if you have a lot of salts/minerals in your water
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Old 05-22-2020, 04:55 PM
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I suspect DI is overkill.. one has to put SOME minerals back into the water at any rate (Cal-Mag) At the time that I got my RO unit, I did a price comparison between DI and RO based on my anticipated usage, and DI came out prohibitively expensive - no contest. In other areas the analysis could come out differently depending on local water quality. Another consideration... when a RO membrane starts to fail, TDS goes up slowly (and throughput drops) - one has plenty of warning. With DI, when the cartridge fails, it does so abruptly, so one goes from very pure to "untreated" quickly. Back in my lab days, we had two banks of DI cartridges, so when the light went out on the first we would call for service and the second would hold things until that happened, then they were swapped so we always had good water. But there, DI was mission-critical. For home use, for that safety margin, initial price gets doubled - so more overkill.
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:23 PM
Oyarzabal Oyarzabal is offline
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Completely agree with Ray. The structure part of an Ro system will last ages. Filters and membranes need to be change regularly and this go even for the crappiest system you can put together yourself. I do not see how the plastic housing or hose will break unless you proactive mistreat yours system.

---------- Post added at 03:23 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:09 PM ----------

Unless your water is really bad, or you are collecting the most delicate species I do not see the need for an RO system. If your water TDS is 50 even 100 you will be fine. If in the high range collect some rain water and do half and half.
I would spend the money in an automatic irrigation system, plant in a non degradable substrate, and water the heck out of the orchids. Plants that are water daily growth faster and flower more that plants that are water weekly and even every second day.
I am working in my irrigation system and the change is noticeable for those that are being water daily.
There is an old AOC paper on the subject.
I will upload a video of my system shortly.
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Old 05-22-2020, 06:02 PM
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I am not a proponent of the RO system Marty showed, as it uses proprietary filters.

Gimme good ole' standard generics any day.
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Old 05-22-2020, 06:11 PM
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Montana is a place where water can be nearly perfect (more likely in the mountains, near granite, etc.) or have lots of dissolved minerals (more likely if you have black shale, limestone, etc. as your bedrock). Some places have both black shale AND also mountains (I'm thinking near Glacier NP)

A basic water test is cheaper than an RO unit. I would start there. Your county agent, or an agricultural lab, can do.
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