From Jess/Eco-friendly Mama/page owner here: as most of you know, Berkey is THE name if water filters amongst the “green” community. Many well-known natural Mama bloggers endorse them. My page took part in a few Berkey group buys, trying to help save money on these expensive systems. When I started looking for 3rd party test results to show that they lived up to their claims, I had a very hard time finding much at all! So I reached out to the group to ask: has anyone tested their Berkey water? Interestingly enough, no one had at the time. I decided to help raise some funds to sponsor a couple of tests, and was definitely not impressed. I’m blessed to have safe water from my private well, and we do test annually to make sure nothing changes.
You can read the 1st results of a few tests here: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/2015/09/29/berkey-fluoride-filter-test-results/
Then Catherine, a Mama in the group did a very thorough test on her own, and shared her very detailed write-up here: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/2016/06/17/very-thorough-disappointing-berkey-test-results/
She is the same Mama who is sharing the below report on putting her new Aquasana system to the test. FINALLY, SOME GOOD NEWS!
Important note from Catherine:
No group sponsored this testing. It was all coordinated and paid for by myself. Also, there was nothing received in exchange for this review and I paid normal price for my system. I am solely sharing this to help others, as I’ve been surprised and disappointed in other water filtration systems in the past and I know not everyone has time and money to research, buy, and test multiple kinds of systems.
I’m so excited to share POSITIVE news about my search for great drinking water!
In September, a member of this Eco-friendly USA group (Jelena) shared that Aquasana was having a 60% off sale and the a BOGO code worked in addition to that, so I decided to purchase the OPTIMH2O™ REVERSE OSMOSIS + CLARYUM drinking water filtration system (Jess’ Amazon affiliate link: http://amzn.to/2h5IbAZ)
Many of you know my Berkey experience (linked here) and know I’ve been looking for something with better fluoride reduction that is more reliable and a better fit regardless of your pH… and that because of that, I was very skeptical of any system and determined to test it.
I had it installed in mid-October and did testing that first week. This was my first update posted 11/7 in the group “It was a 87% reduction in fluoride. They claim 95% reduction, but honestly it is so small (.07 mg/L), I’m not too worried. It’s only half remaining of what it was with the Berkey and it’s slightly greater reduction than the in-line filter that was posted about last month. They are sending a new stage 2, RO filter though just in case. – Though they are sending a new one, if it wasn’t filtering optimally – I wonder if the first plumber we used might have damaged it somehow (vs. it coming defective to start)? He is a certified plumber but from the neighborhood. He just did the first half and then my husband drilled the hole in our countertop and we had a plumber from a different company come finish it. Who knows…
The pH of the treated water increased and I would not want it too high long-term but I wish I would have tested the Berkey water pH (I only did before), because I know that increases it too. Typically RO water is lower pH (~6, which is acidic, 6.5-8.5 is typical for regular drinking water), unless a remineralizer is used. They told me that it can take some time to balance out though, so he suggested I re-test in 1 month and the pH might be lower. (We had only purged the system for 24 hours prior to testing. I did try those at home test strips before taking the sample to my county health department but they are so subjective.)
There was significantly less magnesium, calcium, and chloride. That’s to be expected, though I thought it might be a bit higher with the remineralizer. So I bought [trace minerals] to ensure we are getting enough minerals. I know this is a concern people have about RO filters, and I understand there are pros and cons with every system. Obviously the best option is if our cities stopped adding fluoride to our water.
The company has been absolutely GREAT to work with (plus it’s a 90-day return policy) – I am very pleased so far! Once it’s been longer for us to switch the RO filter and use the water, I will re-test fluoride and pH. Also, since I still have the Berkey, I may even test the post filtration pH of that just to compare… though I won’t be using it myself. I’ll share another update once I have more results to share and I’ll include all the #s with that update!”
Here is my latest update:
The pH is right in normal range and fluoride isn’t found at all 0.0!!!!!!!!!!!! The only thing is I didn’t test my tap this time because I have tested it 3 times this year and I realized it isn’t fully apples to apples comparing tap to the RO water because it’s been sitting in the RO tank for a little bit (a couple days)? I wish I had, but the testing adds up. I feel confident with it. (I had also mentioned that I might test Berkey pH compared to tap as another comparison since their FAQs say it raises pH too but then I heard if you don’t store your filters properly they can dry out so I thought that may not be accurate at this point, plus more money on a product I am not personally interested in, so I didn’t.) Whenever I change filters in ~5 months, maybe I will retest tap vs. filtered just to have another data point and share. I am SO happy to have found a water filtration system that works for me. Plus, it was BOGO so my mom will have the other one. (I have been waiting to take it to her/ get it installed until my testing.) It was $222 for two systems, so only $111/ system plus installation, which is at least comparable to Berkey if not less up front. It even included 2 glass water bottles.
Also, some people say that they wouldn’t want an RO system because they don’t want to waste water, which I understand but I wanted to share that so far, I have seen less water consumption than a year ago. I know there are many factors in that, but I think we don’t (couldn’t possibly) drink enough for it to make a big difference. I think that is more valid for a whole home system like when you filter shower/ bath, toilets, and sink water. Those are the main places you use a lot of water.
Lastly, I know some people say that they don’t want minerals stripped of their water, but at what point is it worth it? That’s a personal choice for everyone to make and our reasons for choosing any type of water can vary and that’s okay. Since I stopped using fluoride toothpaste, I decided I don’t want fluoride in my water either. As I’ve said before (specific to fluoride), the best thing is if your city would stop adding it to your water! The main thing is that you should know the honest and full pros and cons of each system and be able to decide for yourself up front what you prefer and then if there’s anything you don’t want in your water – be sure to test your tap and filtered water so you can ensure you are drinking what you think you are drinking. Good water is out there; I hope everyone can find some that they love!