Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Health: Choosing A Water Filter

I have been scouring the internet for more information on water standards in Malaysia and the types of point-of-use water filter available. Of course, thrown into the mix would be budget, maintenance and hopefully fuss-free (reliability) in the long run.

The water quality in Malaysia has always been bad but it is deteriorating to dismal level as indicated here.I cannot understand how some people in Malaysia can live in big houses but try to save money on water quality.

Previously, I have been using Diamond Classic filter but after much consideration, here are the reasons why I have decided to terminate my contract with Diamond water.

1. There was no deposit but installation itself came up to more than RM1000. Like I said, I was ignorant.
2. Monthly fee for indoor unit. RM83/month. So, in three years, we paid RM2988.
3. The contract states 3 years free maintenance but in REAL LIFE, they only change the filter for you in the first 2 years, the total cost of the filters was less than RM1000. In the third year, when you are required to change four filters, amounting to more than RM1000, you have to renew your contract. So CLEVER!
4. If I were to renew my contract, my new fee would be ONLY RM65 per month. (again, SO CLEVER!) In three years, it will amount to RM2340.

If I were to be so stupid and renew my contract, for six years of not that superior water, I would have to pay RM5328 + RM 1000 (installation) and the machine is still NOT MINE!!!!! So SAD :(

Out of the six filters, only two are certified.  
Diamond uses carbon filter but doesn't effectively remove harmful contaminants. Reports and news from Taiwan and Hong Kong claimed they have made false claims and banned them.

So, I set on a quest to find a new one.


WHAT DO YOU WANT IN A WATER FILTER? 
What I am looking for in my system is disinfection and purification.
Alkalinazation, I am not convinced about the effect. Your stomach is acidic, for what? Kill bacteria and whatnot. Then you are taking alkaline water for what? Neutralize the stomach acid? Sorry, don't see the logic here.
Coway - RO water. Meaning it removes every single impurity up to minerals - so your water is mineral free. Can't eliminate virus. Mineral free water causes joint pains after years of consumption. Not very good in the long run.
The only way to kill bacteria without boiling the water is ultraviolet. I don't trust ceramic.

Now that I know what I want, which one to buy?


WHAT ARE THE BRANDS YOU TRUST?
1. ESTABLISHED BRAND (It is afterall an investment)
2. EASY TO PURCHASE
3. SIMPLE TO MAINTAIN
4. CONVENIENT TO GET SPARE PARTS
5. SELF SERVICE. NO NEED TO RELY ON SALESPERSON TO CHANGE PARTS
6. ARE THE FILTERS CERTIFIED BY NSF? 
Since I am no expert, I referred to these sites NSF and WQANSF independently tests, audits, certifies, trains and consults for the food, water, health science, sustainability and consumer product sectors.

So, my options were:
Picture from amway2u.com

1. Amway Espring.
Exorbitant pricing. RM3000 plus :(
Filter change every 6-12 monthly (RM500 per filter)
Certification: NSF 42,53 & 55


2. Aquasana AQ 4000
Price RM 790. Filter change every 1000 gallon. 6-12 monthly: RM 339
Certification: NSF 43 and 53
This is a well established brand in the states. I really, really wanted to get this but...

Customer service was really bad. Reliability is out but that was then. You will have to do more research to see if they have upgraded their customer service.
3. Philips UV water purifier WP3892/01 UV Class A Intellifill
When researching on this model, I was told it had been discontinued. I called Harvey Norman and confirmed with PHILIPS. Don't argue with me saying its still in the market.

Similar to Espring for a fraction of the price.

4. Panasonic TK7585
A friend recommended this. 
Rm1799 at Harvey Norman but hmmm, I want a bug killer, not alkaline ionizer.
Filter/cartridge: RM 175

5. Coway:
I like the hot water and beauty of the design for petit and mach but how to kill bacteria with just ceramic. Not sure if its fortified ceramic or not.
NSF 53


In the end, I bought the Espring with a 12 month installment plan in July 2012. To purchase the Espring, I registered to be an Amway member and was forced to pay RM90 for a beginner sales kit. WTH?

Update June 2013: Changed the filter once after 11 months. Love the beep beep function that basically tells you that the filter is dying on you, please change.

Picture from Amway.com

Update Nov 2013: The rubber pipes/tubings cracked and leaked after 14 months. (indicated by orange arrow). I wrapped it with silver foil and plumber's tape to prolonged its lifespan. Otherwise, you may have to replace it every 4 months if exposed to sunlight. They cost about rm 43, which I have yet to pay my sister. I used her account because mine expired and I don't intend to renew.

I am still using Diamond's outdoor filter simply because I am used to its backwash function. Each time I back wash, the water is dark brown, rusty and disgusting. Note that I am doing it and not my husband.

Update March 2014: Replaced cartridge and filter by myself! The whole time I was stressed about damaging the damn thing. This time it only lasted 10 months. I blame SYABAS for providing Selangor with filthy water. Disgusting money sucking water concessionaires.

April 2015: Replaced filter and cartridge. Lasted 13 months in a household of 4 adults and 2 kids :) 
Must be partly due to the fact that I changed the outdoor filter too.


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