I need a new lawn mower, what is the best one for me?

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

I am on the hunt for a new walk behind lawn mower for my yard

This is a legit, genuine hunt and I can show you why.

But first, let me tell you the story of how I have to start my lawnmower.

It's a bitch and a half.

The pull start is rooted. The internal workings are gone. The recoil spring is bung and removed. The idler pulley is just done. It drinks mower oil like a fish.  I have to manually reset it every time I want to use it.

Today I went to mow the lawns and I realized that one of the 'grip bits' had disappeared. I thought about it and wrapped a small rope around the THING and eventually managed to turn the engine over.

And that's when a disaster I'd been expecting finally struck!

While I was mowing the lawn, I managed to rip the handle arms out! The joints were pretty rusted and the metal hard started to come away.

So it's kind of impossible to mow the laws when your mower looks like this:

busted lawnmower handles

So now I am on the hunt to buy a new lawnmower for my 400 square meters of lawn. It's a small lawn really so I'm very happy to push it around in my gumboots for about half an hour.

I think I'm after a classic home lawn mower with a catcher.

One that will last at least 6 - 10 years and one that I'm able to maintain fairly easily. I don't want to buy the cheapest lawnmower out there but I think a mid-range, sturdy beast should suit my needs.

I also want a petrol/gas engine as I think petrol just adds to my lawn mowing experience. Even when I flood the damn thing...

What are my options? 

Given how much we love Husqvarna products due to their renown for reliability, let's check out the:

Husqvarna HU800AWDH Walk Behind Mower

husvarna lawn mower

Tackle your lawn care with a superior mower! 

The Husqvarna HU800AWDH has an all-wheel-drive system that guarantees balance and power in hilly terrain and the toughest mowing conditions. 

A durable mower, it features a 22" heavy-duty steel deck and a powerful 190cc Honda engine. 

The mower comes equipped with a quick pin, four-point adjustment for level cutting and a water hose connector for easy deck cleaning. 

The specifications as described by the manufacturer:
  • Honda gcv190 190cc 4 cycle engine. Net power at preset rpm: 3000 rpm
  • 22-Inch, 3-in-1 steel mower deck that gives you the option to side discharge, mulch or bag your grass
  • All wheel 4x4 drive rear hi-wheel that is exclusive to Husqvarna products - this provides improved maneuverability in all types of grass or terrain
  • Auto walk self-propelled all wheel drive system lets you control the pace of your mowing.
  • The cutting width is 22 inches
  • Ball bearing wheels 8-inch front and 11-Inch Rear Ball Bearing Wheels, 3 position handle height adjustment

In terms of power, this machine is nicely placed for your traditional lawn set but also has enough grunt for unlevel terrain.

You can employ three grass cutting modes - standard collection for a tidy lawn, a mulching mode for lawn fertilization and ejection!

Here's some reviews from users who brought this mower from Amazon.

"This self-propelled mower is really strong and pulls me along anywhere I want to go. I have to wear hearing protection with this thing because it is so loud, but that's fine with me. I love the power behind this beast and you will too!"

"I held off on the review until now to give me some time with it. The Honda engine has been great, has started effortlessly on the first pull every time I've used it, nothing required other than fuel. The AWD system has been excellent as well with only one hiccup, mulching high wet grass led to some drive belt slippage that remedied itself within a few minutes. The Honda engine combined with AWD allowed me to add a lawn striping roller and the unit effortlessly climbs my hill while mulching and striping."

"This mower is a beast. Built a pool in the back and I have a VERY steep hill behind it now. VERY steep. Climbs right up it perfect. You just walk along with it. Very pleased with it. Plenty of power, easy to start, great packaging/ boxing. Great mower so far. Lots of power."

If this mower sounds like it suits your needs, check out the price on Amazon.

Greenworks 20-Inch 12 Amp Corded Lawn Mower 25022

long world gas lawnmower

Want some grunt with your mower? Have a look at the Long World 161cc 20“ Deck 3-in-1 Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower

  • gas-powered push lawnmower with 161cc OHV powerful engine to get grass cut sharply & quickly in small yards.
  • 3-in-1 cutting system, equipped with a 20-inch steel mulching deck to side discharge, mulch and rear bag.
  • One Lever Adjustment, 8 grades of cutting heights (1-3 inch) which lets you cut grass at the size you want
  • 1.2 litre gas tank
  • Front wheels: 7” height; rear wheels: 10” height, wheels for easy operation and control while mowing.
If this mower will chop your lawn down to size, check out the price on Amazon.

The Power Smart range features machines that are ideal for the smaller yards of America. 

The compact, 159cc self-propelled gas-powered power smart DB8621S self-propelled lawn mower is easy to operate in tight spaces & features three cutting systems including side discharge option & mulching capability plus a collection rear bag. 

This is a no-nonsense model that offers a lightweight design balanced with power. The DB8621S features a rear-wheel drive mode that makes it easier to manoeuvre on uneven & rough. 

The deep dome deck design accompanied by the sharp & solid blade makes for better mulching. 

Easy to operate & weighing just 76 lbs., the mower also features a durable steel deck that cuts a 21 in. swath with an adjustable height from 1.18 to 3 inches.

So that's three simple choices for you and for me. Of personal interest, it's been a long time since I've brought a new lawnmower - the key point of change for me appears to be the move from metal to plastic.

... and now this has got me thinking about the best kind of battery based lawnmowers...

Can I use vegetable oil for lubricating my chainsaw bar?

Sunday, March 28, 2021
vegetable oils for chainsaws

How do I use vegetable oil with a chainsaw bar?

In a world where manufacturers make oil designed especially for use on a chainsaw's bar and chain, it could be a considered an odd question.

You should always use the recommended specification oils.


Can you actually use vegetable oil as a substitute for chainsaw oil?

The short answer is you can but it's not without some pros and cons of which you should properly consider before adding some cooking oil into your chainsaw!

First up, let's consider why some woodmen and women may want to do this.
  • Is it a cost saver?
  • Is it better for the environment?
  • Does it make the chain cut better?

Regards the last question, we doubt this very much...

Let's discuss the environmental side of the equation. 

Standard chainsaw bar oils are derived from petroleum so each and every time you use your chainsaw, this product is being left in the environment. You know this because it comes off the chain attached to the sawdust. The continuous operation of the saw sees the bar being continuously oiled.

So the issue then is petroleum-based oil products being deposited on to the land and cause an environmental risk.

The use of veggie oil, which is of course plant-based, poses no such risk to the environment and by using it you, your chainsaw saw is a lean mean, environmentally friendly machine!

If you are storing your chainsaw for a time (say over winter when it's cold in the shed) then you should drain the vegetable oil from your unit's reservoir. 

Have you ever had a really cold bottle of olive oil in the back of your couple? 

The cold... changes it. 

So you don't want that in your engine.

And what about cost savings of using oil?

Canola oil is, as a general rule of thumb, at least half the price of bar and chain oil so there are some real cost-saving incentives there.

Can vegetable oils work in cold conditions when using a chainsaw?

This is where petroleum-based oils win out over veggie oil every time. The cold-temperature properties and oxidation stability of vegetable oils mean that they will not perform as well as they do at warmer temperatures.

That said, there are now vegetable based chain oils that have additives to combat the cold.

I'm sold, BRB, just gonna grab some canola oil from the kitchen

Not so fast, you environmental hero.

Before you grab some oil from your kitchen or supermarket, you may wish to bear in mind that there are manufactured bar and chain oil products that are environmentally friendly and they will biodegrade when left on the earth.

These 'green oils' can be found at your local chainsaw store or on Amazon.

Brands like Stihl make their own such oils and state their products feature no loss of lubrication or adhesion when compared to traditional oils.

These green oils contain products which help the oil before like traditional oils.

The benefits of using vegetable oil on a chainsaw

  • Environmentally friendly as they are biodegradable
  • Cost effective and cheaper than standard oil
  • Can be quite 'sticky'
  • Easier to clean from clothes and equipment.
  • Users also experienced less skin irritation.
  • If using a saw to cut meat, then vegetable oil is the obvious choice so the meat tastes good (you can use sunflower, canola, palm oil etc). 
  • You won't breathe in carcinogens that you can get from petrol based oil

The disadvantages of using vegetable oil on your cutter

  • Occasional chainsaw users may find the cooking oil will dry up and hold the chain like glue (if you use a specially formulated 'green oil' then you should not have this problem.
  • Kitchen oils are not necessarily designed for use on a chainsaw in the long term which could cause maintenance issues, so we'd recommend the use of a vege oil designed for your chain.

Best adjustable wrench for home maintenance in 2021

best 12 inch wrench

When I was a wee lad, we had a fantastic garage that my dad worked in.

It was huge!

It had couches, a rocking horse, a clothes dryer, an unbelievably old radio (made of wood) that he would play horses races on and a pool table.

All of that and the tools. 

There were tools for chainsaws, the lawnmower, and so many rusted hand saws

But that crescent wrench of his! It was a shiny tool of wonder. He had painted the end blue so he would know it was his.

Even as a child, I knew it was something special. It was adjustable so as a kid, it meant I could use it for all kinds of mischief and later on, maintaining my bicycle.

And now as an adult, I miss that wrench.

So, dear reader, I'm in the market for a new spanner.

It's got to be a quality one.

One that won't rust if MY son leaves it outside in the grass for a week.

One that's easy to adjust and one that feels just right in the hand like my dad's did.

It's got to have a sense of weight about it that just says, yep, I can get this nut undone, piece of cake, just put some elbow into it mate!

So what's the best adjustable wrench on the market for me to have a look at then? Are they any popular brands or newer kinds of material I should be thinking about? I have no idea, so let's find out on my journey to get a new wrench.

The first thing to ask ourselves is what size wrench do we need? Are we fixing car engines, adjusting wheel alignment on a bicycle or what?

If you want a stock standard, no fuss wrench, then, by all means, grab a cheap steel wrench that will do the job but it might make you work a little bit harder than you need:

steel adjustable spanner

This kind of spanner will set you back less than 10 bucks on Amazon. It's the classic style, drop forged and made of steel with a chrome plated finish and it will do the job but it might not be the kind of tool you keep in the shed for thirty years.

We reckon though you should insist on a quality wrench, and we think Ares have just the tool for you.

The Ares15-Inch adjustable wrench boasts a 2-inch (50.8mm) jaw capacity and a precision machined 4-thread knurled non-protruding jaw adjustment worm, making it perfect for jobs requiring exacting precision in tight spaces.

Both the handle and jaws have an HRC 40-50 hardness rating, so it’s tough enough for stubborn jobs. It's tough as it is made of durable, heat-treated Chrome Vanadium Steel with a corrosion-resistant Manganese Phosphate coating.

Its handle grip features an anti-slip design which delivers the user more gripping power to help reduce fastener damage and provide more torque while preventing hand stress and fatigue during prolonged use. 

The wrench is a wrench for all jobs. DIY around the home, plumbing, working on the farm or doing automotive work. 

Here's the specs:
  • Size: 6-inch
  • Jaw capacity: 15/16-inch (23.8125mm)
  • Constructed of Chrome Vanadium Steel
  • Corrosion-resistant Manganese Phosphate coating
  • Unique jaw and neck design increases steel hardness (HRC) by 3 degrees and reduces the wrenches’ overall weight by 10%
  • Ergonomic TPR handle grip
  • Anti-slip design 
  • Precision milled 4-thread knurled non-protruding jaw adjustment worm
  • Metric and SAE measurement markings
  • Special jaw design protects nuts during use for increased torque

But you want to know if the Ares spanner is the real deal. Well, buyers on Amazon have road tested it and given their review feedback:

"I use this wrench almost daily. The grip is nice, fitment of the adjuster is excellent, the small teeth on the jaws are a nice for a little additional bite. Well worth the price for quality tools."

"Good quality and very small for very tight spaces"

So check out the price on Amazon:

Ares also do a pretty handy set of wrenches:

This sets wrenches features up to a 1 5/16-inch jaw capacity and metric and SAE measurements, eliminating guesswork when doing precision jobs.

The 8-inch wrench also features a V-jaw with aggressively angled teeth perfect for gripping pipes and rounded fasteners.

handy wrench set

Coilover spanners

coilover wrench
There are also plenty of other kinds of wrenches that have specific design features to help with particular tasks such as the coil-over.

Coilovers can be used to tighten side slot nuts on collars, lock nuts and bearings.

Because of the action when using them, they can give great leverage when turning stubborn bolts.

These kinds of spanners are very popular for motorcycle maintenance as they can fit shocks, steering columns, and all kinds of nuts.

Top five facts about spanners and wrenches

  1. Crescent wrenches are actually a trademarked brand all of their own!
  2. English engineer Richard Clyburn is widely credited with inventing an adjustable spanner in 1842.
  3. The first patent for a spanner was granted to Enoch Harris in 1885. This featured an adjustable jaw. Since then many different patents for differing forms of spanners have been accepted over the years.
  4. No one knows how the term "monkey wrench" came about
  5. The expression "spanner in the works" came about from employees deliberately sabotaging factory production lines with tools such as wrenches. Or not...

Review: Cowryman Router Plane Handheld Woodworking Tool

Thursday, March 25, 2021
REview owryman Router Plane Handheld door making Tool

 Cowryman Router Plane Handheld Woodworking Tool

Need to cut a handy dado joint? 

Making a door?

The Cowryman handheld plane will see you right. Built of stainless steel, it's .31 inch iron will help you get your wood groove on in no time.

The blade is easily adjustable with the screw meaning you can craft joints till the cows come home.

Cowryman Router Planes are a necessity for any work that requires precise depth cuts, such as tenons, mortises, door locks, hinge gains, inlay, or for any work that requires an area cut to a precise depth.

Cowryman Router Planes have a vertical square blade. It's easy to sharpen the blade with a standard knife sharpener.

This is a mid-range product, built with enough quality in mind that the average DIY woodworker will get some real benefit from this product.

But why take our word for how good this product is when you can check out these massively positive reviews from actual buyers who have used this plane on their projects.

"Out of the box, the plane was sharp enough to use, but as with all new tools I wanted to sharpen it myself before trying it properly. 5 minutes on a 1000 grit diamond whetstone was enough to remove the machining marks on the bevel. The back of the blade was flat enough to use straight away, but I spent another 2 minutes to improve it slightly on the diamonds. Another few minutes with a leather strop and it was razor sharp and ready for use. The blade is thick (8mm square) with only a primary bevel which makes it easy to register on a sharpening stone.

The sole of the plane is stainless steel of a decent thickness, so there is no flex in the plane whatsoever. The sole isn't perfectly flat, but it's close. A few minutes on some 150 grit abrasive paper should get it perfectly flat, but I haven't found the need to do that yet.

The adjustment mechanism is incredibly simple to use, and with a little practice, it's easy to perform very fine adjustments in seconds. It comes as standard with a wing-nut to tighten the blade, but also includes a larger locking screw which is a huge improvement and makes it very easy to lock the blade in place firmly.

This is a small plane, which is ideally suited for leveling small rebates, dados and tenons. I'd trust it with tenons & rebates up to 18mm (3/4 inch) wide, but it will probably get a little unstable after that. There is, however, enough space in the sole to drill two small holes and fit a wooden sole to improve stability somewhat.

All considered, I really enjoy using this plane and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone."

That's a pretty positive review but wait we've got another!

"Great tool. I don't have the money for a full sized Veritas and with the cost of used router planes being driven out of control by collectors, retrofiles, resellers, sometimes pro woodworkers and sadly hipsters who nail them to a wall and never use them, this was a great find. It's a simple enough design to modify with a wood sole or low profile handles but very solid overall.

The blade is sharp out of the box and easy to resharpen.

It cuts very well and is very comfortable to use 'as is'. The blade adjustment thread and dial operate smoothly and the lock screw and additional larger lock lever both hold well and appear to have solid threading throughout. Anyone who can work metal should be able to make new blades, or you can buy different sizes made for this tool at a pretty reasonable price.

It's way better than I expected for the money and doesn't need anything out of the box to work well. It's a good small size, but it is not big like the Stanley 71. If you expect a smaller tool I think you will be happy."

"The blade was sharp right out of the box, didn't need to tune it (smooth out and level the bottom plate). Works excellent. I don't have dado blades on my table saw (nor do I own a band saw), so most times I make multiple pass on the table saw to remove waste wood when making lap joints and dovetails.

Which works but it's not completely smooth, so that leaves chiseling and or sanding to smooth out the grooves. *note I do own a large router, but I keep it firmly attached to it's routing table and I hate taking it out to use it for a few minutes and then have to put it back in* This manual plane does the job quite nicely. Really happy with this purchase. Great work guys."

Here's an excellent instructional video that shows how to expertly use this handy tool:


Check out this cool key chain multi tool.

LG Dryer: Best lint filter replacement assembly

There's something really satisfying about removing lint from a clothes drier filter. It's the best feeling for some reason, the feel of the cotton materials on the hands is quite soothing.

What's not soothing is discovering your lint filter is damaged or worn out - and it's time to get a replacement filter.

The biggest tell that you need to replace your filter is if there are marks left on your clothing at the end of the drying cycle.

The good news is that for the LG Electronics range of driers there are plenty of replacement filters to buy.

You can buy official LG branded filter assemblies or choose from a wide selection of aftermarket replacement lint catchers that will do the job just as well as the brand item.

Choosing the best replacement filter for your LG drier is a pretty simple process as generally speaking, it's a one size fits all situation where the LG range across the board utilizes the same filter size and shape.

The LG Electronics ADQ56656401 Dryer Lint Filter is the most popular seller on Amazon as it's made by the original manufacturer so it's up to the design expectations of the designer:

lg drier lint catcher replacement part

We recommend you use the official replacement part because it's so cheap - less than 15 bucks. This means any aftermarket product will only be cheaper by a few bucks.

Given there's little price variance, I'd personally go with the branded part in this context. For use with the following LG Electronics models:

DLG2702V, DLEX3001W, DLGX3002R, DLEX3001P, DLEX2801W, DLE2601W, DLGX3876V, RN1319VS, RV1321AS, RV1319VS, DLG2602R, DLG2602W, RN1319E, RV1310A, RV1310B, 48231010009, 48231010030, DLE2601R, DLE2701V, RV1319E, RN1308AS, DLEX3875V, DLEX3875W, RN1308BS, RN1321VS, RN1308CS, DLGX3876V, RV1308AS, RV1308BS, RV1321VS, RV1308CS, RN1310AS, RN1310BS, RN1310DS, RV1310AS, DLEX2801L, DLEX2801R, RV1310BS, DLEX3001R, DLEX2901V, DLGX2802L, DLGX3002P, RV1310DS, DLGX2902V, DLGX3002W, RN1310A, RN1310B, DLGX2802W, DLEX3360W

The might look like spam but it's not!

If you do not know your model number, you can search for it on a plate that's probably affixed to your unit or it should be noted in the owner's manual (we always recommend you keep these for such reasons and they are great for trouble shooting ideas as well).

Even though parts may look the same, there are often variances in similar parts and it is important to buy parts that fit your specific clothes drier (e.g filters for a Samsung or GE or Fisher and Paykel are not designed or intended for sue in an LG machine.

If you choose to order on Amazon, you can enter your model number to ensure that the lint catcher is compatible with your home unit. One way to do it is literally hold up the part you need replaced and visually compare it to the part on the page you are looking at ;) 

How to replace a chainsaw spark plug

Sunday, March 21, 2021
If your chainsaw is having a tough time starting, it could be because the air filter is blocked, you flooded it, or perhaps you just need to replace the spark plug.

The good news it's easy to replace the spark plug in your chainsaw.

Here's a general guide to removing and replacing a chainsaw's spark plug

chainsaw spark plug - how to change

It's best if you change the plug when the machine is cold, a machine that has recently been put through its paces will be hot, meaning you have to be mindful of that when changing. 

Of course, if your machine has been running you may not need to replace the plug...necessarily

How to change a spark plug on a chainsaw

  1. This is perhaps kind of obvious but your machine needs to be turned off. Release the trigger on your chainsaw and slide the ignition switch in the rear of the engine down to the "Off" position. Simple. 
  2. There will probably be some screws on the top cover of the saw which you may need to remove. Insert a flathead screwdriver (or apt shape) into each of the screws on the chainsaw's top cover housing. Turn the screws counterclockwise to loosen them and pull each one out of the cover. Pull the cover straight up and off the engine and put the screws in a place you will not lose them. Your machine cover may have a twist-off system, if so engage that. 
  3. There may be a plastic shield, if so remove it. 
  4. There is most likely a rubber spark plug boot on the front of the engine (it's black) - pull it directly from the spark plug. A simple 'wiggle off' should suffice.
  5. Place a 3/4-inch socket wrench on top of the spark plug, turning it firmly counterclockwise will pull the spark plug out of the cylinder. It doesn't need the force of Thor, however! Be firm but gentle. If the plug is a bit sticky then a little CRC may help loosen it. When you bought your chainsaw, it most likely came with a chainsaw wrench, if so use that or it would be the correct size. 
  6. Have a fresh plug at the ready. Insert the new spark plug into the cylinder and turn it clockwise. Place a 3/4-inch socket on the spark plug and tighten it clockwise but do not overtighten. 
  7. Replace the plug boot, any shielding, or air filters (make sure the filter is on correctly or it could suck dirt into the carburetor). 
  8. Push the spark plug boot firmly onto the spark plug, replace the cover and screws, and tighten them clockwise with a flat-head screwdriver.

Extra for experts: you should test that you have the right plug and that it is 'gapped' appropriately - the electrode spark needs a sufficient 'gap' to do its thing. If you buy the correct replacement, it should be properly gapped out of the box. 

For those who like to take a more visual approach to how you learn, this tutorial video captures the basics of changing the spark plug quite well!


How can I tell if I need to replace the chainsaw's spark plug?

There are plenty of ways to determine when you need to replace your spark plug

Checking it visually will give great insight. If the engine is running as expected, the outside electrode will probably be covered with light brown deposits. 

If the engine isn't running normally, the condition of the plug will be poor. You may observe, thick black deposits that indicate that the fuel/air mixture is too rich. This means there isn't enough air in the mixture. A wide gap or corroded electrodes, on the other hand, are indications of a lean mixture. 

Oil on the plug indicates an oil leak which means your chainsaw needs maintenance or adjustment.

If the plug is coated with light brown deposits, and the 'gap' is correct, you don't need to do anything to the plug. 

If it's coated with black deposits or oil, these need to be removed. You can remove them with an emery board or a small piece of 120-grit wet/dry sandpaper or similar. Even a scratch with a screwdriver can work...

You can adjust the gap, if need be, with pliers. Do not exert too much pressure or you could snap it.  

Using a spark plug tester to check for ignition issues

A spark plug tester is a tool that allows you to check if your spark plug is working properly. It can also save you time by allowing you to check if the problem is actually in your ignition.

In simple use terms, you just need to connect the metal end of the tester to the spark plug coil and start the engine. If the ignition wire is intact, the indicator lights and you can be sure your engine is connecting to the plug coil, implying the starting fault is likely with the plug itself (assuming there's no engine failure or fuel issues of course).

What is the best kind of replacement chainsaw spark plug?

If you buy the correct replacement, it should be properly gapped 'out of the box'. 

Your starting point for guidance is in your instruction manual. This will tell you what sized spark and gapped plug you need. Look in the 'Technical data' chapter of your manual. If do not have one to hand, google your machine type and model for a PDF version. 

Remember, while your machine may be a certain brand, you do not need to use an official replacement part. Most 'after market' parts are fine - as long as they are quality and not some cheap end 'knock offs'.

Case in point, Stihl recommends owners use their NGK plugs in Stihl chainsaws.  

Local specialist chainsaw shops are also well placed to give advice on the correct plug. What I did when needing a replacement a few years back, was take the plug out and get them to swap it out, like for like. Did the same for my lawnmower spark plug too. 

NGK is a well known brand and suits most smaller chainsaws.

Best Ultraviolet Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Review of the best Ultraviolet Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System

You've probably never drunk the water that the good people of Flint, Michigan have been forced to drink in recent times. If your water is even a small percentage as bad as Flint's, we can pretty much guarantee you're in the market for a water filtration system.

If you've got a couple of hundred bucks to spare, then an Ultraviolet Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System might ju st be the home water treatment system you've been looking for:
Let's start with the ultraviolet part of the equation.

The UV light is was kills any nasty bugs that might be lurking in your water. Perhaps you've actually tested your local water supply and you're not happy with what you found. Maybe there was some coliform, E. Coli, viruses, bacteria, or other potentially gut-wrenching microorganisms and you want them gone.

The UV filter will eliminate those bugs.

And reverse osmosis?

You can be forgiven for thinking its simply something that plants do.

Ultraviolet Reverse Osmosis Water Filter 

No, reverse osmosis is a damn clever feat of engineering that some brilliant scientist (Jean-Antoine Nollet) came up with so that you can have great tasting drinking water (and water for making beer!)

Reverse osmosis (or RO as it is often abbreviated to) is a water purification process that uses a partially permeable membrane to remove unwanted ions, molecules and larger particles from water. A pressurized membrane system is utilized to extract biological matter from the water solution. 

The pressure on one side of the membrane forces the water molecules through whilst retaining the unwanted items on the other side of the membrane.

Such a process means that unwanted chemicals and particles like lead, chlorine, fluoride, nitrates, Calcium and even arsenic are removed.

And that's how you purify water!

While it's unlikely that many residential water supplies will come into contact with arsenic, long term exposure to arsenic from drinking such poisoned water has a horrible effect on the human body. It's commonly caused by mining processes or agriculture.

Express Waters' reverse osmosis system will achieve all the above and more. While it looks like a complicated filtration system, it feature's a logically progressive system to rid the water of unwanted items:

  • The first stage is a sediment filter which helps filter out dirt, dust, sand, and rust.
  • The 2nd and 3rd stages are Carbon Block and Granular Carbon Filters which focus on pollutants like chlorine, volatile organic chemicals, and odour-causing compounds. Which means your water will taste good and not smell. 
  • These early stages help extend the life of the 4th stage, the RO Membrane. The Membrane focuses on the most difficult contaminants like lead, arsenic, chromium, fluoride, & radium of all things!. 
  • The 5th-9th stages feature the alkaline filters which are stages of mineralization, antioxidants, and oxygen to your water. One for each Active Mineral stage your water flows through.
  • The 10th stage is the ultraviolet sterilizer. The UV action can remove up to 99% of E.Coli, coliform, cysts, bacteria, and most other microorganisms 
  • The 11th stage is a Post Activated Carbon Filter which does a final pass through on your water, just before it exits the system via the faucet. This helps remove any potential lingering taste or odor.

But does it work? Does water taste clear? Does it smell less?

Let's check out the reviews left on Amazon by users who have installed the unit for themselves:

"First, it was not very hard to install. It looks intimidating when you take it out of the box, but if you follow the directions, it's pretty self-explanatory by the diagram alone.. I can say about the filtered water is the quality ice it makes.. I compared the filter water with city water to make ice, and the filtered water is a bit clearer where the city water is a bit cloudier. Another note, we never use to drink tap water, have been drinking bottled spring water for decades. We do feel the filtered water tastes a lil smoother and fresher than bottled water."

"I have no idea why we waited so long to make this purchase. Our water is better than bottled in my opinion! You won’t regret buying this product! And it’s saving us money by not having to spend money on water at the store!"

"This unit works well. After a few days of use, I decided to purchase a TDS meter (total dissolved solids). 1st. I measured the water from my faucet and got a reading of 135. 2nd I measured from the water from the refrigerator that I recently replaced the filter on and the reading was 115. Last I measured from the RO system. I was pleased to see the TDS read between 20-24. If you decide to purchase, know that the unit leaked for a few seconds when I turned the water back on. After it pressurized it stopped. I would recommend this product."

"This was very easy to install. I installed it in the basement directly below the kitchen sink. So not exactly typical. We also had the purified water supply line go to our refrigerator also. I was worried we would not have enough water pressure but we actually have more now than we did before we added the water purifier. Our ice cubes are crystal clear. The directions we very simple to follow. Everything is color-coded and very easy to understand."

So if those genuine reviews float your boat, check out the price on Amazon:

So where does a filtration system get installed?

how to install a water filtration system
To state the perhaps obvious, the system needs to be connected to your water system at the exit point of the water. 

Typically this means your kitchen faucet as that's the place most members of the house will seek water from. 

So, ideally, you'll install your kit under the kitchen sink. It's a simple matter of connecting the main water pipe to the entry point of the filter, and the exit pipe to the tap. 

The system comes with a full instructional guide to make installation easy.

The connections are standard fittings so installation should really be a matter of 'plug and play'. 

Given you'll need to change filters once in a while, it should be placed fairly accessibly as per the picture.

Given this is a filtration system, you will need to replace the filters!

The good news is that filter changes are quick and easy with a simple design and clear labels on what to put where:

  • The pre-filters should be swapped out only twice a year: Sediment, Carbon Block, Granular Activated Carbon
  • The others are replaced only once a year: RO Membrane, Post Carbon, Alkaline
The APEC water system is fairly similar in mode and operation:

apec water filtration
  • The APEC system is America's No.1 rated water filter brand with 20 years of success guaranteeing trouble free, noise-free system for long lasting, dependable, pure drinking water.
  • The system comes with 100% lead-free designer faucet, plus Certified JG Food grade tubing and parts to provide safe, contamination-free pure water.

Something to consider is the removal of fluoride from your water supply. 

As an aside, it's worth noting that many communities deliberately add fluoride to assist with healthy teeth programs so if you are removing it from your supply, you may need to consider alternative sources for that, especially if you have children with growing teeth. 

The science is clear, the addition of fluoride has a strong health benefit for the community - however if you don't agree with science, a filter will help you in that position.

The Brondell osmosis system is also a pretty popular home-based water solution:
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