ionizers & de-ionizers
- Not clear what you mean by "ionizer."
- Evidently you need a whole-house water softener–to remove bothersome minerals–of which one effective type might be a de-ionizer aka "ion exchange resins." My father worked for Rohm & Haas when they first developed these circa 1970. So I used it for a science project and also drank "deionized water" for several years–which my father and I eventually decided is not a good idea.
- So–just my personal opinion based on 45 years experience but–de-ionizers do not make good drinking water. This includes "Pur" and most of those things popular today. Many fancy drinking water things are basically de-ionizers and try to hide that fact. Anything using ion exchange process basically "flattens" the water–takes the natural electrical zing out–and also removes trace minerals. And the minerals as well as the electricity cannot simply be put back. (Even though some multi-level sales talk will imply otherwise.)
- Reverse Osmosis is about the best purification process. (Just make sure that your well does not have serious chemical pollution. And that the RO filter quality is rated to remove all dangerous bacteria. And that an ion-exchange process is not added. Carbon filters might be added and that is alright.)
- Steam distillation produces somewhat harsher water and is less effective.
- Generally, those fancy expensive New Age type $1,000 to $4,000 things might do something magical. Friends of mine believe in some of them.
- BUT–expensive magic water machines are not necessarily filters of poisons and parasitetes–read carefully.
- AND–the better the water you start with, the better the water. No filter process is 100%. So–spending thousands of dollars on a never-clear-what-it-is "magic water" process never makes sense unless you have good water to begin with. Even if you do believe in the magic.
My final analysis after some 45 years:
- For whole-house "water softening" to prevent corrosion or blocking of pipes and water heaters, etc.: go to Home Depot, Sears, etc and see what is available, study the cost of replacement filters, etc.
- But: be aware that "water softening" might also ensure that your water is not fit to drink, no matter what further process you use. I.e. if you use water softening then you really should drink bottled water. Because the water softening generally worsens the water in some respect for drinking. Either by deionizing or adding sodium or etc. There are magnets which supposedly replace water softeners but no idea whether they work or how many your would need.
- For drinking water: if you do not have great water from your well, then get Poland Spring in the 3-liter crystal-clear bottles (not the frosty bottles). It's pretty good and reasonably priced. (But fresh in supermarkets–not expired from clearance outlets! Then it will have a bad plastic taste.)
- For emergency water supply when traveling: study carefully, there are good things available for short-term use. That can remove deadly bacteria as well as chemical pollutants. Generally this must include deionizing for the chemical pollutants. Deionizing does not sterilize the water but is the best you can do for short term use for chemicals. Other processes can remove bacteria. But not for long term use. If you are not totally in the jungle–most places have decent bottled water, often controlled by Nestle corp. Just make sure the locals are not refilling it from the tap. Buy in reputable stores, not roadside stands.
- For long term use, it is not sensible to start with bad water and try to filter it into good water. You just can't know how well this works and for how long and it is never 100%. Not to mention the side effects of over-pure deionized water. Acid-alkaline imbalance, demineralization of bones, etc.
- Second best–you don't quite agree with me–so OK get a reverse osmosis machine. That is pretty good and does prevent the cost and bother of lugging bottles etc. (But if you have a "water softener" then patch-in a line that enables the reverse osmosis to access the virgin water before being "softened." AND make sure your RO machine includes something to take care of bacteria–and does not include deionizing–and that your water does not have serious lead pollution or agricultural chemicals etc.)
- How to know how good your water is. The best is $500 testing several times a year. Secondly, find someone who seems very sensitive to the taste of water. Such people may seem hokey but, in my experience, generally turn out to know what they are talking about. Thirdly–after drinking one type for several months, suddenly try another type, such as Poland Spring in clear bottles. You might not have noticed how bad the water was–and then when tasting good water you might be struck by the difference.
Hope this helps.