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Reverse Osmosis setup for a water feature

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  • Apr 3rd, 2018 8:28 pm
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Reverse Osmosis setup for a water feature

Long story short, we have a water fall feature in our house, and I am in charge of maintaining it. That Im fine with, what Im not fine with is the hard water in our city and causing issues. Our pump seizes like clockwork once a year, and they will not cover replacements anymore due to the hard water issue. Calcium and scale build up as well, and leaving water marks on the stainless steel, that dry and then become white.

Our house does not have a water softer or a reverse osmosis setup.

When I used reverse osmosis water for awhile, by manually adding it, the time consumed doing it got so tedious I stopped. Hauling multiple jugs from Canadian tire at the self fill, storing them, manually filling the resevoir, which is over head in the furnace room

Is there any filters a person can add to just this line for scale control. Anything I have seen are those inline filters for fridge water lines and ice makers. But they seem to just deal with taste, etc

Or is my only option to get a RO system just for this? Can a person hook up multiple lines to an RO system. Say if we did hookup the fridge water line for that water and ice. Im not worried about drinking water at the kitchen tap
38 replies
Deal Guru
Feb 9, 2006
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Brampton
Seems like an awful waste to use RO just for a water feature.
Deal Addict
Nov 30, 2011
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GTA
Soak the pump in a pail filled with equal parts hot water and vinegar for a couple hours eqch month.. This will help with the buildup.

Then clean the stainless with vinegar and water.

Good luck and glad it's your job to maintain this beast and not mine.
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Jan 15, 2004
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What kind of water feature is this? Interior I assume? I think a water softener makes more sense that RO system as the whole house will be benefited from it. You don't need RO as it's not drinking water.
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golden wrote: What kind of water feature is this? Interior I assume? I think a water softener makes more sense that RO system as the whole house will be benefited from it. You don't need RO as it's not drinking water.
Do new water softners work without salt? Since we have a septic system we cant use salt based softners.

I agree with some posters above, I dont want to waste an RO for just this. unless I can tie in the water line for the fridge ice maker and built in water inside spout

Yes its an interior
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tebore wrote: Seems like an awful waste to use RO just for a water feature.
Im just spit balling some ideas thats all. I agree with that to, unless I can get other benefits from the RO for another part of the house
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WikkiWikki wrote: Im just spit balling some ideas thats all. I agree with that to, unless I can get other benefits from the RO for another part of the house
RO systems are anywhere from 3:1 - 9:1 in terms of efficiency meaning it takes 3-9Units of water or make 1unit of "Clean" water. There's many factors that play in to this and it's why you have really cheap RO systems vs much more expensive ones.
That's why I'm saying it's a waste for a water feature.

You'll better served by a softener. Not that there's no waste in that too because they have rinse cycles.
There's no such thing as a salt less softener. The ion exchange needs to happen to Soften.

You also have the option of something like this.
https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.1000 ... IaEALw_wcB

It doesn't remove minerals it just puts a charge in the water to prevent it from sticking to surfaces.
Personally I don't know if it'll work well in a water feature but it does work to prevent major scaling issues in plumbing.
Frequently called by shills as a salt less softener or other type of name. Calling it a softener is a disservice to a good product. It works but it's not a softener. Softeners do the ion exchange.
Last edited by tebore on Mar 1st, 2018 10:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Someone posted recently in here about their installation of a descaling system in their house... Take a browse through the forum for that.

C
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CNeufeld wrote: Someone posted recently in here about their installation of a descaling system in their house... Take a browse through the forum for that.

C
Without crapping on that thread that was over kill and he overpaid.
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westcoastyvr wrote: Soak the pump in a pail filled with equal parts hot water and vinegar for a couple hours eqch month.. This will help with the buildup.

Then clean the stainless with vinegar and water.

Good luck and glad it's your job to maintain this beast and not mine.
Thanks, I read more last night and had an online chat with a waterfall place in the states that sells the chemicals I use to make sure algae and scale doesnt happen, and learned some things I wasnt aware of.

1. What you mentioned, soak the pump in a 50/50 vinegar water solution to break up the scale. I know in the past the power to the pump was there, the impeller was seized instead. Know that I know this Ill probably get years from the pump. They mentioned to do it once a month, but Im using a Little Giant pump, which they dont carry. But the location of it is hard to get to in the resevoir in the furnance room, so I will only do it when I do a complete purge, which is 3-4 times a year.

2. Chemicals I guess I have been using to much, although they said that wont hurt anything, its just a waste. Using 5 drops a week for algae when I need 1, and was using 15ml of the anti scale a week, when I was supposed to use 1/4 tsp a month

3. Drain the water monthly. Thats how to make the chemicals work better and with fresh water. Since the waterfall has a replaceable filter, which I replace when the flow gets really low because its plugged. But the doesnt help with the water thats being recycled over and over, although it auto fills due to evaporation. Thats why the first month after a complete clean, everything stays so clean and no scale buildup, because everything is fresh. Draining the water is easy, just have to turn a valve on the pipe and it drains.

We have had it for about 4 years now, and I do like it, its a great focal point coming up the stairs. Just the upkeep can be a pain some days. I found a cheap place for filters, compared to the place that installed it, which are about $10 a filter, found the same ones at a plumbing wholesaler for $1.50 each if I buy a pack of 12.

When my original chemicals run out I looked at a hot tub place, and they are essentialy the same thing. But now that I can decrease my use, my 8 oz bottles will last a lot longer

They also said if I do the above, when I completely purge and clean the system, it will be a lot easier since the residue build up wont be as bad. After all this time, doing it now is easier since Ive done it so many times. But they also said I may not have to do it as often either
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WikkiWikki wrote: Thanks, I read more last night and had an online chat with a waterfall place in the states that sells the chemicals I use to make sure algae and scale doesnt happen, and learned some things I wasnt aware of.

1. What you mentioned, soak the pump in a 50/50 vinegar water solution to break up the scale. I know in the past the power to the pump was there, the impeller was seized instead. Know that I know this Ill probably get years from the pump. They mentioned to do it once a month, but Im using a Little Giant pump, which they dont carry. But the location of it is hard to get to in the resevoir in the furnance room, so I will only do it when I do a complete purge, which is 3-4 times a year.

2. Chemicals I guess I have been using to much, although they said that wont hurt anything, its just a waste. Using 5 drops a week for algae when I need 1, and was using 15ml of the anti scale a week, when I was supposed to use 1/4 tsp a month

3. Drain the water monthly. Thats how to make the chemicals work better and with fresh water. Since the waterfall has a replaceable filter, which I replace when the flow gets really low because its plugged. But the doesnt help with the water thats being recycled over and over, although it auto fills due to evaporation. Thats why the first month after a complete clean, everything stays so clean and no scale buildup, because everything is fresh. Draining the water is easy, just have to turn a valve on the pipe and it drains.

We have had it for about 4 years now, and I do like it, its a great focal point coming up the stairs. Just the upkeep can be a pain some days. I found a cheap place for filters, compared to the place that installed it, which are about $10 a filter, found the same ones at a plumbing wholesaler for $1.50 each if I buy a pack of 12.

When my original chemicals run out I looked at a hot tub place, and they are essentialy the same thing. But now that I can decrease my use, my 8 oz bottles will last a lot longer

They also said if I do the above, when I completely purge and clean the system, it will be a lot easier since the residue build up wont be as bad. After all this time, doing it now is easier since Ive done it so many times. But they also said I may not have to do it as often either
How much water does this thing use? We probably should have asked that to begin with. When you posted the OP I had a picture of a giant outdoor feature.

If this thing uses like 3L and is small you could go with your RO route.
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tebore wrote: RO systems are anywhere from 3:1 - 9:1 in terms of efficiency meaning it takes 3-9Units of water or make 1unit of "Clean" water. There's many factors that play in to this and it's why you have really cheap RO systems vs much more expensive ones.
That's why I'm saying it's a waste for a water feature.

You'll better served by a softener. Not that there's no waste in that too because they have rinse cycles.
There's no such thing as a salt less softener. The ion exchange needs to happen to Soften.

You also have the option of something like this.
https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.1000 ... IaEALw_wcB

It doesn't remove minerals it just puts a charge in the water to prevent it from sticking to surfaces.
Personally I don't know if it'll work well in a water feature but it does work to prevent major scaling issues in plumbing.
Frequently called by shills as a salt less softener or other type of name. Calling it a softener is a disservice to a good product. It works but it's not a softener. Softeners do the ion exchange.
From the sounds of it, RO, a softner or this thing will be a waste of time and money, or cant be used. Softner is out then, zero salt can go into the septic because its a concrete tank, and as well, bad for the leech field to.

Besides, I do an RO system for this thing, and maybe the fridge line, Ive traded the maintenance of one thing for another really.

Im going to try the updated chemical and water purge each month for the next bit, see how that works. When I called my guy from napoleon yesterday since he was helpful before, they said they got out of waterfall installs and selling them due to the exact fact Im telling him. Unless RO or distilled water is used, to many issues. Would of been nice to know that before hand.
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tebore wrote: How much water does this thing use? We probably should have asked that to begin with. When you posted the OP I had a picture of a giant outdoor feature.

If this thing uses like 3L and is small you could go with your RO route.
Reservoir is 1.73 gallons according to the manual, although it doesnt fill right to the top. It has a float inside that when water levels drop, it calls for water from a line. Thankfully when we installed this there was a capped line, so they just tied into that, and installed a turn off as well. It just circulates through the lines and dumps back into the reservoir in the basement. Then it gets sucked out and through a filter before its sent back to the waterfall.

Looks like Costco carries that anti-scale device you listed to

https://www.costco.ca/Calmat-Electronic ... 17391.html

Maybe something like that will work, as in the entire house. Since its not tying into your water line, but installed outside of it, this is something I could do myself
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WikkiWikki wrote: Reservoir is 1.73 gallons according to the manual, although it doesnt fill right to the top. It has a float inside that when water levels drop, it calls for water from a line. Thankfully when we installed this there was a capped line, so they just tied into that, and installed a turn off as well. It just circulates through the lines and dumps back into the reservoir in the basement. Then it gets sucked out and through a filter before its sent back to the waterfall.
You could use RO, doesn't sound terribly water intensive. To your other point you'll be trading one evil for another.
People do use RO for salt water fishtanks
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tebore wrote: You could use RO, doesn't sound terribly water intensive. To your other point you'll be trading one evil for another.
People do use RO for salt water fishtanks
Im all about maintenance and making sure things last, but Im also getting to the point in my life of not wanting more things in my life to work on. As you said, I would have less maintenance on one thing, and do it for another.

The last few years I have been getting rid of things, or just not replacing them. Some days Id like to see this waterfall go away. Ive told my wife and denied some purchases due to "Im the one that has to maintain and fix this"

That Calmat device seems to have some good reviews. Might be worth while, since really our entire house like many of the hard water issues that we come up against. Even though we use city water, where we get it from everyone does say how hard the water is
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WikkiWikki wrote: Im all about maintenance and making sure things last, but Im also getting to the point in my life of not wanting more things in my life to work on. As you said, I would have less maintenance on one thing, and do it for another.

The last few years I have been getting rid of things, or just not replacing them. Some days Id like to see this waterfall go away. Ive told my wife and denied some purchases due to "Im the one that has to maintain and fix this"

That Calmat device seems to have some good reviews. Might be worth while, since really our entire house like many of the hard water issues that we come up against. Even though we use city water, where we get it from everyone does say how hard the water is
Calmat does work to limit or reduce hardwater issues.
One needs to know it's limitations. It's not a softener, Water also can't sit stationary outside of the fixtures/pipe/(out of reach of the device for long the charge placed on the water eventually reverts and sediments will happen again.

Like I said when these water companies come out rebranding devices like this (there are crap versions of them out there) and call them salt-less softeners or water conditioners and promise the sun and the stars that's where the issue is. Also don't over pay for it.
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tebore wrote: Calmat does work to limit or reduce hardwater issues.
One needs to know it's limitations. It's not a softener, Water also can't sit stationary outside of the fixtures/pipe/(out of reach of the device for long the charge placed on the water eventually reverts and sediments will happen again.

Like I said when these water companies come out rebranding devices like this (there are crap versions of them out there) and call them salt-less softeners or water conditioners and promise the sun and the stars that's where the issue is. Also don't over pay for it.
If I get it from Costco, and it doesnt live up to what it says, then I can return it. Home Depot not so much.

Worth a shot, maybe it is witch craft. But Id rather try this since I can install myself, than go a route of an RO or a softner (which I cant use anyway) which would be more expensive to buy and maintain, and as well, install
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Like tebore said (twice now, I think)... It's not intended for your purposes. Those units put small electrical charge on the water as it passes through. The "softening" effect lasts only a limited time after it passes through that section of the pipe. So good for things drawing water and it being consumed right away. Not useful for things that draw water and hold it for a period. Like a hot water tank. Or water features.

C
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CNeufeld wrote: Like tebore said (twice now, I think)... It's not intended for your purposes. Those units put small electrical charge on the water as it passes through. The "softening" effect lasts only a limited time after it passes through that section of the pipe. So good for things drawing water and it being consumed right away. Not useful for things that draw water and hold it for a period. Like a hot water tank. Or water features.

C
Fair enough, but if it helps with other hard water issues in the house like we have and cant do a softener, I realize its not a softner, but if it stops issues of hard water.

How long would the period last I wonder. Since we have a house of 5 people, hot water tank water is always being used.

Probably wont work for the water feature, but if it helps some, but works for the rest of the house, would be a benefit. Since the water that sits does get refreshed regularly.

Maybe it is snake oil, but at least at Costco, I can return it if it turns out to be bogus
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Hi,

How about getting a small reverse osmosis system like the ones from Costco? Install it under your kitchen sink & run a small water line to the fountain with a shutoff. This way, you'll have mineral free water for hot drinks & cooking & you won't have to haul jugs of water to the fountain anymore.

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