Watts Premier WP4-V vs Kinetico K5 RO system


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Old 01-24-09, 11:49 PM
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Question Watts Premier WP4-V vs Kinetico K5 RO system

I am on well water and have used an Amway/Quixtar solid block charcoal filter for the past 10 years on the softened (EcoWater/Besco) water for drinking. I am considering going to RO and really like the Kinetico K5, other than the cost. I know it is good, but having a hard time justifying the $$.

My unit will be mounted in the basement, with a 30' to 40' line to the drinking faucet. Water pressure is set between 45 and 60psi. Even with Iron Out in the softener, we do get light iron stains in the toilet bowls and shower. The clear tube feeding our carbon filter is discolored red from the iron, whereas the outflow is clear, so the filter must be doing something. We are a household of 2 adults and a toddler. Water is the beverage of choice.

The Watts WP4-V is roughly $200 at Sam's Club, with annual filter cost of $28 and membrane replace at a conservative replacement cost of $80 every 2 years, or $68/yr in recurring costs. If I go 3 years on membranes, the annual cost would be about $55.

The K5 filters are around $54/yr, and membrane is something like $130 every 10 years, for a total annual cost of $67. If I add VOC filter, that bumps it up to $75/yr. The local dealer said we could probably go 18 months before hitting the 500 gal replacement period on the K5.

The K5 unit is way more than the Watts, however. If I look at the cost over the next 20 years, the WP4-V system plus filters would be about $65 to $75/year. The K5 would be $100 to $125/year. We are currently paying $125 each year for the replacement Amway carbon filter.

What are the advantages of the K5 over the Watts, and are they worth $40 to $50 per year more?

Thanks,

Geordon
 
  #2  
Old 01-25-09, 08:15 AM
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It's good that you have done your calculations. Most just consider the initial purchase cost and little more. When it comes to drinking water, I am much more particular in quality and longevity as well as ease of maintenance.

Watts Premier: Browsing WP4V-50-BVC
The WATTS unit is a good piece of equipment and its low purchase price is a great selling tool. That model is rated NSF 042 (although their site says NSF 58).
NSF Certified Products - Drinking Water Treatment Units

Filter changes are according to an estimated use or on a calendar schedule, say every 12 months. The filters are in removable housings, which need to be sanitized each time they are removed.

Other features are the use of an air-bladder style tank and 1/4" lines, which are standard in the industry. It comes with a nice faucet. The unit is housed in a manifold-type construction, which makes it compact and easy to mount.

The official web site above clearly states that it will remove viruses, bacteria and cysts but does not explain how that is done or if it is certified by NSF (NSF Certified Products - Drinking Water Treatment Units do that, which it is not. All membrane pores are small enough to prevent those from going through but are not rated as a microbiological barrier due to certain anomalies that permit organic growth through the membrane eventually, especially on membranes that don't have a rinse system.

Drinking Water Systems, Drinking Water | Kinetico Home Water Systems
From the site above you can see the K5 is a very different unit with unique features that adds to water quality and longevity.

First, it doesn't use an air-bladder style tank, which supplies only between 7-9psi pressures. Since you have 30-40 feet of service, this will greatly reduces flow rate and pressure at the faucet. If you have an icemaker, this further reduces service levels. Since the service on the WATTS uses a 1/4" line, it will even further affect water delivery. A booster pump (+- $280) will be needed.

The K5 uses household water pressure (30-60psi) to drive the water from the tank. These lead to a number of bonuses.

1. Since the air bladder has been removed you 2.7 gallons instead of around 1.3 gallons in an air tank.
2. Pressure at the faucet is consistent (full) until the tank is empty. Air tanks begin to lose pressure immediately until it becomes little more than a dribble as the tank empties.
3. High pressure provides better service at fridges and remote location provided by a 3/8" line instead of a 1/4" line with the WATTS unit.
4. The tank refills more quickly (1.5 gph) instead of about 0.5 gph with air tanks. This gives 40.5 (NSF rated) gpd instead of 9.06 gpd rated with the WATTS units. It produces more because there is no air bag counteracting the water production and the K5 has a built in membrane pressure booster pump, which you can see in the diagram on their web page.

These features should have been explained to you as well.

Moreover, the membrane also has a unique feature. It has an automatic membrane flush system. When a membrane makes water, it is actually cleaning itself like a windshield wiper flushing the membrane of unwanted contaminants. What kills a membrane is between productions when that water is resting against it. This idol time degradates the membrane causing it to eventual fail--letting contaminants through.

The Kinetico K5's membrane flushes itself every time the tank fills with about 140ml of RO water held in reserve. So even if the membrane sits for weeks or longer, its value remains high.

In addition to that, that tanks fills immediately when you use water. Air systems wait until the tank is nearly 60% empty before refilling. So if you tank is half empty and you need a supply more than what is left, you get a small portion then wait an hour-and-a-half or more for it to refill. With the K5, even if you take 6oz glass of water, the tank quickly fills up and then what happens?...the membrane cleans itself again.

All lines are 3/8". You will notice immediately how fast a glass fills up.

The systems are customizable. There are numorous other filters that can be added to the system in handling additional water issues. It has a mineral filter that adds calcium and magnesium back into the water for taste and nutrients. Arsenic, perchlorate filters can be added as well as a VOC filter or a total of four carbon filters if you'd like.

It has the only bacterial/virus filter rated by NSF (produced by the PALL Corp.) that removes micro-organisms for a rated 2000 gallons. Kinetico is unique (NSF-P231) here as the only rated microbiological barrier system for an RO.
http://www.nsf.org/business/drinking...refecta_VS.pdf

Filters are metered at 500 gallons.

These Kinetico K5 are great when a softener is working 24/7 but have a great advantage when a softener is not working completely as you have stated yours is. Membrane life contributes to end user water quality.

Kinetico K5 has a metered systems that shuts down at 500 gallons. This prevent the user over extending the filter life. Filters come integrated in housings so no sanitization is needed. The membrane comes with a ten-year warranty following a Kinetico softener but four years following yours. That is four times longer than other units.

Kinetico has a K2 unit that is an apples-to-apples to the WATTS unit and has twice the membrane warranty at a competitive purchase price.

The WATTS is a good unit and will provide you with fine drinking water but I prefer the features and quality of the Kinetico K-5. You wont be disappointed.

There are many factors when deciding what water equipment you feel is best for you and yours. Getting all the details is one. I hope I was able to provide some of those details.

Andy Christensen, CWS-II
 

Last edited by AndyC; 01-25-09 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 01-25-09, 08:47 AM
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Andy,

Thanks for such a quick and lengthy reply to my answer. I see you frequent a number of these forums, and this was exactly the information I was looking for. You are correct that my local dealer explained the benefits of the "water-on-water" tank versus the air bladder, and the 3/8" output. Your explanation went into additional detail I may have missed in conversation and also talked about the membrane flushing and water safety.

Sometimes, the written word is more impactful that the spoken. Even though economically, I think the Watts is the winner, for long-term enjoyment, I think the K5 will serve me better. It just hurts a little more up front

My wife pointed out another benefit of the Kinetico system -- the price includes professional consultation, installation, and service. Not that I couldn't install this, myself, and the installation will be quite simple in my house, but paying for professional expertise can often be worth it.
 
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Old 01-25-09, 08:56 AM
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You're welcome.

I am sure your decision will be a good one regardless of which one you choose. There are pluses and minuses to both. Ben Franklin said something to the liking... "that life is little more than a long series of making decisions, I just want to make as many good ones as possible"...

You're right, having service professional available can be a plus.

I have the older K-RO with QuckFlow tank and it stll works great. I won a K5 in sales contest but gave it to Mom. She loves it.

Give me a PM if you have more questions..
Andy
 
 

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