Sometimes people reach out to get our opinion about a filtration system that they’ve got their eye on. Maybe an acquaintance mentioned it, or maybe they found a great deal online, and now they’re thinking about purchasing it. But before you pull the trigger and buy a reverse osmosis (RO) system that you don’t know much about, you should pause and do a little research to make sure this is a smart purchase decision. Here are 10 questions you should think about before buying a water filtration system. These will help you to find the red flags, faulty products, and unscrupulous companies.
Has this product been certified for use in the United States?
This is non-negotiable, especially if you’re a business that will be serving this water to customers. When you’re looking through product information and literature, you should see phrases “independent laboratory testing” and “NSF/ANSI Standards” and badges like the ones shown below. These are verifiable, scientifically-based assurances that your system has been tested and complies to these quality standards. If you can’t find any of this information, or if the testing was not done in a US or US-approved lab, back away.
Can you easily find unique, logical spec sheets?
Legitimate manufacturers freely share specifications with anyone who’s willing to look at them. If you can’t find the system specs, or if something just seems off about them, that’s not a good sign. Do a quick internet search on information from the spec sheets and see if you can find copycats from another company–this could be a sign that a manufacturer went under and their inventory was sold to another manufacturer that won’t support the system.
Can you easily find quality measures like rejection rates and capacity?
This is another one where the availability of information is key. You don’t necessarily need to understand the nitty-gritty details of technical charts, but the data should be in plain sight! Any product that hides its performance promises shouldn’t be trusted.
Are the instructions in plain English?
There’s nothing inherently wrong with foreign-made filtration systems. In fact, we’ve seen some great ones, especially from Canada and parts of Europe. However, you should be able to find product literature that’s written in English, or at least translated in a way that makes sense. It’s a good indicator that the product will meet US safety and purity standards.
What are the warranty terms?
First, make sure the product comes with a warranty! If not, you could get stuck with a dud. Check the warranty length and terms against similar products to make sure it’s in line with what you should expect.
How much will replacement filters set you back?
An inexpensive RO system seems like a great deal. But if the filters will end up costing you far above and beyond the cost of the system, the company isn’t there to provide you with high-quality water. They’re out to sell you filters. Be wary, too, of filters that need to be changed on different timelines but are sold in sets–the manufacturer is hoping you’ll replace them all every time and buy more filters more often.
Are you allowed to perform basic maintenance yourself?
If you don’t want to be bothered with maintenance tasks like replacing filters, that’s fine. (That’s why we offer our Customer Care Program!) But if you’re not allowed to replace your own filters at the risk of voiding your warranty, that could be an indicator of a company that’s focused on boosting sales, not quality. We’re happy to let you perform simple upkeep on your system or ask for our help as you see fit.
Does this system have lots of bells and whistles beyond what you’d expect to see?
Just like anything else, water filtration technology goes through fads. If the system you’re looking at has features far beyond what the rest of the market is offering, it’s not necessarily because that manufacturer has cracked the code to perfect water. They could be making claims that are baseless or downright false. Be mindful of buzzwords and systems with dozens of redundant filters.
Can you find information about this company and its products from third parties?
Positive word of mouth is a good sign, but we don’t mean what you heard from your dentist’s second cousin. Are magazines or online articles talking about this system? Can you find reviews from verified customers? This is also a great time to talk to a local expert in water filtration systems, like Water Doctors.
Does this product sound too good to be true?
As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your instincts. If anything about a water filtration system seems not quite right, don’t buy it. The purity of your drinking water affects the health of your family or your customers, and that is too much to put at stake. That’s why Water Doctors uses top-rated Kinetico systems for our water treatment solutions.