APEC RO 90 Reverse Osmosis Review (2021)
Water contaminants are found in drinking water everywhere. At low incidence levels, they can be quite harmless, unless you are drinking a significant amount of them in your tap water for a long period of time.
However, you might live in an area with a high incidence of water contaminants. This is where having a great reverse osmosis water filter can come in handy. Learn about, one of the best on the market, the APEC RO 90 with this in-depth review!
What Is The APEC RO 90 Reverse Osmosis?
The APEC RO 90 Reverse Osmosis is a high-quality under-sink water filter that features 5 stages of filtration for better water quality. Unlike other reverse osmosis water filters, this drinking water filter system is meant to be easily installed by yourself without a plumber’s help in under one hour. This product is made in the USA and it can be found on Amazon. These are the elements you will receive when you purchase the APEC RO 90 Reverse Osmosis:
- Sediment pre-filter and housing (1st-stage filter)
- Carbon block pre-filter and housing ( 2nd-stage filter)
- Carbon block pre-filter and housing ( 3rd-stage filter)
- Membrane and housing (4th-stage filter)
- In-line carbon filter (5th-stage filter)
- Storage tank
- Tank ball valve
- ASO – Automatic Shut Off valve
- Check valve (Internal check valve encased in plastic fitting)
- Feedwater inlet
- Product (filtered) water outlet
What Are The Benefits Of The APEC RO 90 Reverse Osmosis?
There are several benefits to the APEC RO 90 Reverse Osmosis, which are listed below. There are several stages of filtration (five) that get rid of most contaminants (99 percent), however, unlike some other reverse osmosis systems, this APEC water filter does not feature an added UV light (that takes care of microorganisms) and a remineralization stage (that adds beneficial minerals such as calcium and magnesium back into your water and makes your water alkaline for better-tasting water). Here is a breakdown of the benefits of this reverse osmosis water filtration system:
- It has 5 stages of filtration
- It is a high capacity filter
- It wastes 3 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of purified water
- It comes complete with everything you need to set it up
- It can be installed by anyone with basic DIY skills in about 1 hour
- A faucet and pressurized storage tank are included
- Replacement filters (polypropylene sediment filter and carbon filters) must be purchase at around six months of use
- Stage 4 (the RO membrane) and stage 5 filter elements are replaced at 2 to 3-year intervals
- Wastewater can be rerouted for watering gardens or some other non-drinking use
- It is a compact system
- All of the tubes are color-coded
- The recommended water pressure coming into the filtration system is between 40 and 85 psi
- For lower water pressures, a pressure-boosting permeate pump would help
- The filters do not have an indicator to show when they need changing
- The 90 gallons of purified water produced each day is the highest of any system we recommend
- The relatively inexpensive filters make for a low total cost of ownership (TCO)
- It removes up to 99% of contaminants
- It features a 4-gallon pre-pressurized water storage tank
- It also features a 100% lead-free chrome faucet
- The U.S. based technical support is free for the lifetime of the product
- It features 1-year limited manufacturer’s warranty
- It is made in the USA
- It features a WQA Cold Seal certification
- It is NSF certified
- The filters in housings are more difficult to replace than modular filters
- There is no remineralization stage to add back minerals
- It does not include a UV light to kill bacteria and other microorganisms
How Do You Install The APEC RO 90 Reverse Osmosis?
Below is a short summary of what the installation for this product would look like, in case you would like to take a look at it before you purchase this product.
- Stand the 3 housings upright. Make sure each housing has a rubber O-ring in its groove.
- Starting from the 3rd stage housing, hand twist the housing onto the main system turning counterclockwise, one by one, for all 3 housings.
- Use the wrench provided to completely tighten the housing starting from 1st-stage. Repeat this step for the 2nd stage housing, and for the 3rd stage housing.
- Remove 3 end plugs (white color).
- Locate the cold water supply valve under the kitchen sink. Turn off the incoming cold water completely by turning the shut-off handle clockwise.
- The feed water adaptor comes with a separate needle valve. The adaptor goes inline onto your 1/2” or 3/8” cold water pipe. The needle valve portion screws onto the adaptor.
- Loosen the nut and separate the cold water riser tube from the faucet shank. Gently bend the riser tube so that the feed water adapter fits onto the faucet shank.
- Screw the needle valve onto the adaptor tightly. Apply 6-8 rounds of Teflon tape onto the needle valve before attaching it to the adaptor.
- Turn on the feed water.
- Turn on the tank valve.
- Wait for the tank to fill.
How Do You Change The Filters On The APEC RO 90 Reverse Osmosis?
It is also important to know how to change the filters if you are purchasing this product. Here is how you would replace the first three stage filters:
- Turn OFF cold water supply to RO system.
- Open housing: Have the RO standing upright.
- Discard 3 used filters, wash housings with mild soap, rinse off.
- Close up the housings. Make sure each housing has a black O-ring in the thread groves. Use a wrench to tighten each housing.
- Remember to turn on the cold water supply and open the tank valve after you finish changing filters.
- Check for leaks.
Here is how to replace the stage-4 membrane:
- Turn OFF the cold water supply to the RO system.
- Locate the Membrane housing on the system. Remove the white tubing from the housing cap.
- Make sure the “double-ring” end of the membrane goes into the housing first.
- Close the housing cap. Reconnect the white tubing to the cap. Turn on the cold water supply and open the tank valve. Let the RO system run to refill the tank (takes about 2-3 hours).
- Check for leaks!
- Drain the first tank of water (through the faucet) to flush out the new membrane.
Finally, here is how to replace the stage-5 carbon filter:
- Remove the old filter.
- The new Stage 5 carbon will come with two end plugs on the stage 5 filter that has to be removed before inserting the tubing.
- Use some mild bleach solution to rinse the Tee-Fitting and Tubing end.
- Connect the Tee-Fitting to point J and pure water output tubing to point H.
- Check for leaks.
How Do You Know The APEC RO 90 Reverse Osmosis Might Need Troubleshooting?
Lastly, it is also important to understand when you might have a problem with your system. Here is a comprehensive list of the issues that you might have with this system and how to fix them:
1. RO Makes Humming Noise
When RO makes a humming noise, it is most likely caused by air bubbles being trapped in the Check Valve during installation. To purge air from the check valve, do as follows:
- Close the tank’s valve.
- Tilt the RO system to the right. Put something under the 3rd filter housing to keep the RO tilted. This helps dislodge the air bubbles from the Check Valve.
- Turn on the RO spigot. Let pure water flow through the spigot for about 1 minute.
- Turn off the spigot. Wait for about 10 seconds.
- When the noise is gone, open the tank valve, let the RO run as usual.
- If the noise comes back, try the above procedure again another 2- 3 times.
- If the noise persists after a few days, that means there is air in your water source, or the current Check Valve is resonating with your water pressure and pipes, creating the noise. In this case, a new Check Valve will solve the problem.
2. No Water at The Dispensing Faucet
- Water supply is off — Turn on the water or open Needle Valve
- Tank’s valve is closed — Turn the tank valve to an “Open” position
- The output line is crimped — Remove the crimp
- Incorrect installation — Verify all line connections
- Tank defective, no pre-charge pressure — Set the tank pre-charge to 5-7 psi
- ASO connection Error — Reconnect ASO to the correct connection
3. System Slow Shut-Off
The most common cause for “slow-shut-off” is insufficient input water pressure. RO needs sufficient input pressure to shut off promptly. The claimed gallon per day (GPD) flow rate for each RO model is rated based on 60 psi input water pressure at 77 degrees F water temperature. Lower water pressure and colder temperature will slow the system’s output.
4. Sluggish Flow At Dispensing Faucet
- Insufficient water pressure — Check water pressure. If too low for this chosen RO model, either increase your water pressure or add a pump to the RO system
- Input water to RO is blocked — Make sure Feed water valve is fully opened and unhindered
- Tank not filled yet — Wait until the tank is more filled, takes on 2-3 hours average
- Low tank pre-charge pressure — Raise tank pre-charge to 5-7 psi
5. Tank Takes Long Time To Fill (Claimed GPD Not Met)
- Insufficient water pressure (below 60 psi for non-pump systems)
- Low water temperature (below 77 degrees F)
- Input water pressure too low (below 40psi)
- Feedwater valve partially blocked, not opened fully, reducing input water pressure to RO
- RO busy feeding multiple output points
6. System Does Not Shut-Off
- Input pressure way too low (below 30psi)
- One of the shut-off valves is defective, so RO cannot shut off
- Forgot to insert membrane into its housing
- The membrane is inserted incorrectly
- Water pressure too low, causing TDS to be higher than usual
- Input source water has very high TDS
- Wastewater flow is restricted or clogged
7. Filter Housing Is Leaking
If you are experiencing a leak from any of the pre-filter housings on the reverse osmosis system, the rubber O-ring may be defective. The filter housing must have an O-ring in order to seal properly.
8. Air Bubbles
The system has lots of air bubbles in cups or bottles when filling. This often happens when the system is first installed and it should be gone within a few weeks.
What Is A Reverse Osmosis Water Filter?
A reverse osmosis water filter, as the name suggests, works the opposite way to osmosis. Osmosis works when a solution with low concentration to a solution with a high concentration through a semipermeable membrane. Reverse osmosis uses electricity to push a solution (your water) with a high concentration (of contaminants) to a solution with low to no concentration.
Essentially, the contaminant particles get caught in the semipermeable reverse osmosis membrane (which features tiny holes for the water molecules to pass through) and are unable to get through, meaning that the water that is produced is contaminant-free. This is one of the most popular kinds of water filtration systems and one of the most effective. Other kinds of water filtration systems include:
The Activated Alumina Filter
- It is one of the only filters that effectively removes fluoride
- It is inexpensive and effective
- It can leak a small amount of aluminum
The Ceramic Filter
- It is a natural method
- They can filter through bacteria and protozoans effectively
- They are not as effective at removing viruses
- There can be an increase in bacterial contamination with poor-quality filters
- It is highly effective
- It can also improve the smell and taste of the water.
- It is a slow process
The Ultraviolet Water Purifying System
- It kills bacteria, parasites, and viruses
- It does not remove contaminants like minerals or lead
The Activated Carbon Filter
- It removes contaminants, bad odor, and taste
- It does not require electricity
- It does not eliminate minerals or salts
The Granulated Carbon Filter
- It is inexpensive
- It is less effective
- Water pressure has a significant influence on its effectiveness
The Ion Exchange Filter
- It can soften hard water
- It does not require electricity
- It requires regular maintenance
What Is An Under Sink Water Filter?
Under sink water filters are more compact and easier to fit in your home. Again, as the name suggests, these kinds of water filters are installed under your sink, leaving you space on top of your counter for cooking. RO water filter systems are also more efficient and they have a higher water flow rate. Their biggest issues are that they tend to be a little more expensive than other kinds of water filters and their installation can get a little tricky if you are not great at DIY things.
The Water Pitcher Filter
- They are a widespread and affordable solution
- They are free-standing
- They improve the taste and odor of water
- They have a short shelf life and need to be replaced regularly
The Faucet Water Filter
- They attach easily to any faucet
- They are inexpensive
- They filter water right at the tap
- They slow the water flow
Whole House Water Filters
- They treat all water in the house
- They can remove volatile organic compounds
- They require professional maintenance
Countertop Water Filters
- It can switch easily between filtered and unfiltered water
- It can have its own spout
- It requires installation
- It can require a decent amount of space
Refrigerator Water Filters
- It removes bad odors and tastes
- It eliminates contaminants
- It needs to be replaced regularly
Portable Water Filters
- It has a small design for camping and hiking
- It removes microorganisms
- It only filters limited amounts at a time