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I've made a terrible miscalculation

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My family drinks A LOT of water. Besides my morning coffee or tea, it's all we usually drink. Our fridge has a water filter, but they no longer support it and the off brands leak. The water flow was super slow causing family members to line up. Well I thought a water cooler would be a great idea. We could have cold clean water come out super fast along with hot water for tea. We had one years ago before we got this fridge and I kind of missed it. So I installed it yesterday around 3pm and put in a 4 gallon bottle I picked up at Sam's Club for almost $5. It's already almost gone! I had no idea we drank that much water! Yikes! Now I'm calculating out my monthly drinking water bill and I'm thinking I've made a terrible mistake. 

So what are my options? It looks like Costco might deliver in our area, but that's still $6/5 gallon bottle. Are there filters I could use and refill the bottle myself? 

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They sell filtered water systems to install at the  sink. It won't be cold -- but you could use ice.

 

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Any reason you can't drink tap water?

My housemate installed a filter on our kitchen sink, because our new faucet puts a horrible taste into our kitchen water.  But it takes forever for the water to flow through the filter.

I just drink tap water (usually from the bathroom faucets).  But my housemates and kids like to fill large glass water bottles (with filtered water) and drink them gradually throughout the day.  They will put the bottle under the filter and leave it on while they are busy doing something else.  It tastes pretty good if you have the patience for all that.

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We have a reverse osmosis system under our sink which filters our well water.  We love it.

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You can refill the large water bottles at my grocery store for not too much (much less than $5). Perhaps you have a grocery store or convenience store that has that option? If not, I would buy a filter system for my faucet and refill the large bottles at home myself.

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11 minutes ago, vonfirmath said:

They sell filtered water systems to install at the  sink. It won't be cold -- but you could use ice.

 

 

10 minutes ago, SKL said:

Any reason you can't drink tap water?

My housemate installed a filter on our kitchen sink, because our new faucet puts a horrible taste into our kitchen water.  But it takes forever for the water to flow through the filter.

I just drink tap water (usually from the bathroom faucets).  But my housemates and kids like to fill large glass water bottles (with filtered water) and drink them gradually throughout the day.  They will put the bottle under the filter and leave it on while they are busy doing something else.  It tastes pretty good if you have the patience for all that.

We have a water softening system that would not work well with drinking from faucet taps. The drinking line is the one that was so slow it wasn't worth trying to bypass or buy a new filter system. 

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I would wait a few days to see if usage changes. Once the newness wears off, maybe the consumption will change. Give it a week to see if you are indeed going through that much water each day.

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42 minutes ago, The Accidental Coach said:

I would wait a few days to see if usage changes. Once the newness wears off, maybe the consumption will change. Give it a week to see if you are indeed going through that much water each day.

I have thought about that. They were all so thrilled that it dispensed water so quickly my middle timed it. We live in the desert and use 34 oz stainless steel tumblers to keep our water cold. On weekends, I'd estimate each family member (there's 5 in the family) fills it up 2-4 times and I'd guess they would have gotten more if it didn't take so long to fill up.

It might be ultimately cheaper to replace or somehow clean out the drinking line, but I have no idea how to do that. The water flow is slow before it even gets to the filter under the sink. We have really hard water so the line is probably clogged with mineral deposits.

I like the taste of reverse osmosis systems, but only half the family agrees with me.

Edited by Plum
changed from 3-4 to 2-4 since youngest said she might fill hers up twice a day on the weekend

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59 minutes ago, Plum said:

We have a water softening system that would not work well with drinking from faucet taps. The drinking line is the one that was so slow it wasn't worth trying to bypass or buy a new filter system. 

We ran a line *before* the water softener. The water goes through a prefilter and then to the reverse osmosis unit. Then we have spigots on the sink that are just for drinking water. Not as hard to make happen as you'd think. Just google drinking water faucet, and they pop up, like $25. 

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34 minutes ago, Plum said:

We have really hard water so the line is probably clogged with mineral deposits.

Yes, you need a prefilter. That gets the worst of the minerals, and then it goes to your various units and lines.

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3 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

We ran a line *before* the water softener. The water goes through a prefilter and then to the reverse osmosis unit. Then we have spigots on the sink that are just for drinking water. Not as hard to make happen as you'd think. Just google drinking water faucet, and they pop up, like $25. 

 

2 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Yes, you need a prefilter. That gets the worst of the minerals, and then it goes to your various units and lines.

 

I think maybe we have the same setup? We have a drinking line that is not connected to the water softener. It has spigots at the sink and behind the fridge. They are the same line as in you can't use them at the same time. I'll have to take a look and see if we have a prefilter. We didn't choose this system and I'm thinking there's some things I don't know. 

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1 minute ago, Plum said:

They are the same line as in you can't use them at the same time.

So if it's filling your ice machine, does that work fine? It might be a water pressure issue. Our lines are clear, some kind of plastic, not metal. So if they're gunked up, you'd be able to see. Yeah, do some snooping...

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8 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

So if it's filling your ice machine, does that work fine? It might be a water pressure issue. Our lines are clear, some kind of plastic, not metal. So if they're gunked up, you'd be able to see. Yeah, do some snooping...

I have so many problems with my water lol.

I've joked to dh that we might save money replacing the fridge if we go through this much water. We have a leak in the water line inside the fridge that we've managed, but I'm sure it has impacted the pressure coming out of the fridge. The ice maker works fine. The fridge filter is no longer supported and the off-brands leak. I've thought about bypassing that line at the wall and installing a culligan wall mount, but the pressure is still bad before we even get to the filter. Same with under the sink. I'm sure it doesn't help that the filter under the sink and in the fridge need to be replaced but are no longer supported. It has to be slowing the flow even more. 

It doesn't look like we have a prefilter on the drinking line. I should call Culligan about the water softener system and see about getting a prefilter and then look up how to flush the line. 

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1 hour ago, Plum said:

I have thought about that. They were all so thrilled that it dispensed water so quickly my middle timed it. We live in the desert and use 34 oz stainless steel tumblers to keep our water cold. On weekends, I'd estimate each family member (there's 5 in the family) fills it up 2-4 times and I'd guess they would have gotten more if it didn't take so long to fill up.

It might be ultimately cheaper to replace or somehow clean out the drinking line, but I have no idea how to do that. The water flow is slow before it even gets to the filter under the sink. We have really hard water so the line is probably clogged with mineral deposits.

I like the taste of reverse osmosis systems, but only half the family agrees with me.

 

Is it all being consumed?  (Versus filling a big container and then some gets dumped later due to stale, dust, pet fur...)

I go with OkBud— get rid of cooler.  Use a Berkeley to filter tap water.  Then put carafes in fridge to cool. 

Big Berkey autocorrects troubles

Edited by Pen

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Just now, Pen said:

 

Is it all being consumed?  (Versus filling a big container and then some gets dumped later due to stale, dust, pet fur...)

I go with OkBud— get rid of cooler.  Use a Berkeley to filter tap water.  Then put carafes in fridge to cool. 

The cups we use have lids and straws and keep the the water icy cold overnight, so no waste. Those stainless steel thermal cups are great; especially in the summer. I can bring one with ice water in it and leave it in the scorching hot car and come back to icy cold water. 

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if you do get a Berkey get largest you can fit— in desert you’ll go through water from it really fast too.  

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10 minutes ago, Plum said:

I have so many problems with my water lol.

I've joked to dh that we might save money replacing the fridge if we go through this much water. We have a leak in the water line inside the fridge that we've managed, but I'm sure it has impacted the pressure coming out of the fridge. The ice maker works fine. The fridge filter is no longer supported and the off-brands leak. I've thought about bypassing that line at the wall and installing a culligan wall mount, but the pressure is still bad before we even get to the filter. Same with under the sink. I'm sure it doesn't help that the filter under the sink and in the fridge need to be replaced but are no longer supported. It has to be slowing the flow even more. 

It doesn't look like we have a prefilter on the drinking line. I should call Culligan about the water softener system and see about getting a prefilter and then look up how to flush the line. 

Yeah, call out a plumber or think through the options. We have a large holding tank after our reverse osmosis unit. How large is the tank the water sits in? That will affect how much water you have to give pressure. I can take a picture if you need to see. It's been a while since I looked at it. So a tank after your reverse osmosis unit will hold the water to increase the pressure.

Then, for the frig parts, have you tried Repair Clinic to see if it's an easy fix? that's where I buy parts, and they usually have videos too.

So prefilter to make your reverse osmosis filters work better. Have you replaced them periodically? The water slows down as the filters clog, meaning that's another thing to check. They're probably clogging pretty quickly if you don't have a prefilter and have hard water.

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Here are two pics. Bottom shows the pre-filter on the line coming from the well into the house. The other pic shows the reverse osmosis trio of filters, a pump (which can push water through faster for faster recovery) and what I *think* are the reservoir tanks. Now we don't always keep that pump on, because the noise drives me batty. (I'm uber sensitive, and even with the acoustical foam it was too much for me.) So even with the pump off we have really good pressure with this set-up. The water pressure will *decrease* if we have water wars (two people running drinking spigots at the same time), but we can. In fact one of my spigots is a larger line that goes to a pot filling faucet by the sink. I have enough pressure to run that. Yor limiting agents are the rate it's going through the filter (which you can alter with the pump) and the reservoir to create pressure. I'm not sure what is doing what with the blue and white tanks. It has been a while. And you can see the filter components are dated. I highly recommend checking them, as your flow will definitely decrease as those clog. 

 

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16 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Yeah, call out a plumber or think through the options. We have a large holding tank after our reverse osmosis unit. How large is the tank the water sits in? That will affect how much water you have to give pressure. I can take a picture if you need to see. It's been a while since I looked at it. So a tank after your reverse osmosis unit will hold the water to increase the pressure.

Then, for the frig parts, have you tried Repair Clinic to see if it's an easy fix? that's where I buy parts, and they usually have videos too.

So prefilter to make your reverse osmosis filters work better. Have you replaced them periodically? The water slows down as the filters clog, meaning that's another thing to check. They're probably clogging pretty quickly if you don't have a prefilter and have hard water.

Ok I went to the Culligan website, we don't have any prefilters attached to our water softener, but we do have the Preferred Series through Culligan under the sink. It's basically a giant filter under the sink. I'm pretty sure the water up to that point has not been filtered and has not gone through the water softener which would be why the flow has slowed. 

We don't have a reverse osmosis system, I'd like one, dh doesn't. I'll have Culligan do a check-up on it and see if there is anything they can do. There are bottleless water coolers that could attach to that line, but I'd want to make sure that the water is clean and the flow has been improved. 

 

ETA: We looked into replacing the leaking parts in the fridge a long time ago. It was not going to be an easy task. We would have to replace the whole line because the leak is in the water reservoir and the connecting line

Edited by Plum

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Check ALL the stores in your neighborhood.  We had a dispenser for our last house but here tap is fine.  When we moved here DH got a bunch of emergency water someplace that's in the basement just in case.  I think it was $3 for a 6 gallon bottle, which was half the cost we were paying in our last home.  I can't remember where he got it.  Possibly Sam's Club, Costco, or Home Depot.

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1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

We ran a line *before* the water softener. The water goes through a prefilter and then to the reverse osmosis unit. Then we have spigots on the sink that are just for drinking water. Not as hard to make happen as you'd think. Just google drinking water faucet, and they pop up, like $25. 

This is what my grandparents did. 

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I'll give it a week and see what the usage is. I was in shock coming downstairs this morning and seeing the bottle only about 1/4 full. I forgot about 1/4 of the bottle goes down into the cooler the first time you fill it.  I guess we have about 1/2 of a bottle total remaining. So maybe it's not that bad. 😂🤞

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Once you get your tap water filtered the way you want, you can fill large glass pitchers/jars and keep a row of them in the fridge. Do a bunch when you have time and it doesn't matter if the flow is slow. Then people can refill their insulated cups from the pitchers instead.

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Dh thinks the flow is slow because the filters haven't been changed in a long time. I called Culligan to find out if they have any replacement filters for under the sink and they wanted to charge me $116! Ugh I can't stand companies that go proprietary and then don't support their own product.  I can get a whole EZ change system with the faucet on Amazon for $75. So dh wants to at least get the filter under the sink replaced and see how the flow is. Then maybe we can use that faucet to fill up our water cooler.

I asked all of the kids about the water cooler and they said they were holding back because it looked so low. I told them to go for it because I need to see how much they will drink to get an estimate of how many water bottles we'd go through. It's only going to get hotter in the next few months. 

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7 hours ago, OKBud said:

Sell it and get a big Berkey water filter 😊

 

 I was going to post this but was reluctant because I know you spent money on this thing. The Berkey is great and will use your tap water, filters it and you can pour it into bottles and refrigerate it for cold water - that's what we do in the summer here and summer here is usually around F100 for 7 months.

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Most of the dispenser refill things here are between 15-25 cents a gallon. We still spent less by refilling our jugs at those versus using a service. 

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DH confirmed he bought the cheap water dispenser water at Sam's Club.  There is no deposit there.

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You need around 2l per person per day which is about a gallon per person every two days I think.  More in hot weather.   So yeah you should go through a 4 gallon bottle every day and a half or two days depending on the size of your household - probably will end up aroun $20-$40 a week.

we have a filter system and the filters are around $200 every couple of years.  So yeah 10 weeks would see you there.  There is set up and install cost of course but that’s once and done.  And ours are on the expensive side because they are for rain water.

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nvm; didn't read the whole thread, lol.  I vote for under sink filters.

Edited by CES2005

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We have four 5-gallon jugs. I refill three of them about once a week for $2.99/each. We go through more in the hot weather. Compared to juice, pop or milk, it's much cheaper. Compared to a $116 filter that lasts, what, a year?  maybe not so much.
If you connected your system after the water softener, wouldn't it be less likely to get plugged by hard water? If you're thinking of replacing or upgrading the system anyway, you might want to just re-plumb all the plugged lines at the same time. Then you're set for years.

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12 hours ago, Plum said:

we do have the Preferred Series through Culligan under the sink. It's basically a giant filter under the sink. I'm pretty sure the water up to that point has not been filtered and has not gone through the water softener which would be why the flow has slowed. 

We don't have a reverse osmosis system, I'd like one, dh doesn't.

Googlefu is saying your unit IS reverse osmosis. https://www.culligan.com/home/water-filtration/drinking-water-systems/preferred-series  That would explain why the filter is $$$. That also is why it's clogging up when you don't change it.

If you like your water, hopefully just changing the filter will take care of this. If not, the reservoir tank...

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We have a reverse osmosis system for drinking water and it sounds like the set-up is just like yours.  It has its own faucet at the sink and we also run it to the fridge instead of using the fridges water filter.  Our filters are around $60 and say they should be replaced every 6 months, but I know we push that out to more like 9 months. Mainly just when we can tell the taste is starting to change.  It is expensive, but nothing like what it would cost for bottled water, it just hurts a little more because you don't usually buy $60 worth of bottled water at a time.  It's also way easier to replace a filter than it is to lug bottles of water from the store every week.  

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I would be leery of refilling at one of those dispenser machines at the supermarket. cleanliness of machine and filters?  Find a water refill store in your area.  You can go inside, rinse out your bottle, refill, and get a new cap.  around here its 25ct per gallon. You can get a new cap for 25ct, or use old one.  I take 4 bottles from the office every couple of months. 

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7 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Googlefu is saying your unit IS reverse osmosis. https://www.culligan.com/home/water-filtration/drinking-water-systems/preferred-series  That would explain why the filter is $$$. That also is why it's clogging up when you don't change it.

If you like your water, hopefully just changing the filter will take care of this. If not, the reservoir tank...

Oooooohhh ...SMH  

saw that page and thought they were trying to sell me something else. I dug up the data sheet for it and I guess that’s about what we were paying before. It says MSRP is $95.70. Though it doesn’t say anywhere on there about it being RO. I usually think of those as having tanks which is why I was confused  Maybe the new versions are RO? Mine was installed in 2006. The picture below is all there is to the filter under the sink. 

We had been changing them annually with the fridge filter. Then they were really hard to find online, so I thought they just weren’t supported anymore.  I guess the only way to get one now is to call it in. 

BTW I looked up my model of water softener (Culligan Medalist 45)  the new versions have filters, but it looks like mine only has the resin. 

CF0AAAFF-8580-4510-9813-F8F3B491A448.jpeg

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