RO water filters are massive scams of our generation. A lot of people do not know that its a pure marketing gimmick. In every adverts you watch, these water companies seem genuinely shocked with your lack of common sense, which unfortunately, has made you drink poison called TAP WATER !! As a solution they send drinking water experts such as Hema Malini and Sachin Tendulkar to counsel you. And get this.., they want you to drink battery grade, lab distilled – H2O!.
Fundamental premise of these adverts is fearmongering. They will tell you that consuming tap water can cause an array of medical conditions; screw with happiness of your kids and elderly. And hence, you would regret till eternity for not having invested in 14 stage UF + UV+ RO+ Taste Enhancer + Alkaline + Copper and what not.
Full disclosure – even I did succumb to this gimmick a few years ago. I did not know it was a scam. But, you know – that’s how scams work!
I bought one when I moved to Bangalore. Its the same one sold by lord Sachin Tendulkar. It costed me around 17k for a problem which could’ve been resolved by a water kettle worth 250 bucks. Anyways, The installation guys tested the water; were appalled by our TDS level 350; congratulated me for having invested in ‘my health’ set TDS for about 20 and left.
Let me take a slight deviation from my story to explain you what things they lied me about :
- The utility : RO is designed for survival rather than household utility. Its definitely a boon where only water available is very hard/salty. At a residence it pretty much useless and harmful. In a gist, most of household do not need a RO filter ,unless they are on a ship (Ahoy Sailor!) .
- The Health benefit : They will tell you TDS at any level is very bad for you. Basically, TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) is everything that is dissolved in water including essential metals & minerals such as Na, Fe, K, Mg , Ca etc. Low TDS water has none of these good stuff. This will have health consequences, more than other way around.
- UltraFiltration (UF) : The biggest joke is UF filter along with RO. RO can do everything a UF can do and more. They still sold you a UF !
- The standard : They would recommend that TDS should always to be set at 25 or less. This is way way less than the guidelines provided by World Health Organisation (WHO)
The presence of dissolved solids in water may affect its taste (1). The palatability of drinking-water has been rated by panels of tasters in relation to its TDS level as follows:
excellent, less than 300 mg/litre;
good, between 300 and 600 mg/litre;
fair, between 600 and 900 mg/litre;
poor, between 900 and 1200 mg/litre; and
unacceptable, greater than 1200 mg/litre (1).
Water with extremely low concentrations of TDS may also be unacceptable because of its flat, insipid taste
I could not find a good investigation report from India; but found a Canadian one, have a look.
Back to my story
After all these research, we called servicing guy and asked him to set for 250ppm. Again, he was shocked and said something very funny “Sir, I can set it to 250 – but I can not guarantee well-being of your family“. Suddenly from being a RO water serviceman, he became my health insurance advisor, dietitian and my grandmother. There was some argument, calling managers etc. Long story short, they don’t like me any more.
Fast-forward now, I spend my time educating people on RO water purifiers. Its kind of my Karma, giving back to society on lesson learned. 🙂
- RO purifiers waste more water than it purifies, sometimes 4 to 8 times . This should not matter in a ship, but for house, its a criminal waste.
- Government of India is trying to implement ban on such filtering where TDS is <500. Read the report
- Health is the main reason why you should be worried about low TDS in drinking/cooking water. Due to absence of expertise I will refrain from explaining health issues associated with low TDS.
- My grievances are specific to RO filters, not UV filters.