93 of 97 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2010
I wanted to give this kit a good review because it saved me from another crappy one made by GE. I found this kit pretty easy to install and only had to do it once to get it right, without leaks. The faucet in particular is well made, solid, and attractive, and fits very well in my cramped sink area. The handle on the faucet is right in front, so you don't have to worry about it hitting stuff on either side. Good design, and looks nice as well.
The Watts hose connectors are higher quality than another kit I bought, made by GE. I wasted a whole Sunday afternoon installing that GE kit over and over, only to find it kept leaking. The problem with the GE kit is that it relied completely on push-in hose connectors, the kind with the little plastic collet with rasps to hold the hose in. And those connectors were not made well.
I'm much happier with this kit, even though it cost $35 more. It does also use 2 of the push-in hose connectors, but they were better made than the GE kit, and easier to insert. The other 2 connectors are actual compression joints that screw in. They hold much better and, after tightening, have not leaked.
The instructions in the box might throw you off a little bit. In one area, it has 3 sets of instructions for how to install 3 different faucets. You need to figure out which faucet you have, and ignore the other instructions. Not a big problem, but not as easy or clean a process as it could be. There was also a half-page addendum floating around the box which I didn't see till I was already done, which had a correction for one of the lines in the instructions. After puzzling over it, I started to suspect this addendum did not in fact belong to the kit I bought but some other one. Shrug. ANYWAY: if you lay your parts all out in front of you and go through the instructions step by step, you'll be fine.
You will need these tools:
1) Exacto knife to cleanly cut the plastic tubing. If the cuts are not clean, the push-in connectors won't work. And the tubing came with rough cuts.
2) Adjustable wrench for tightening the nuts in the joints (actually 2 wrenches would be best because you may have a situation or two where you need to tighten one nut against another, without turning the other one too).
3) Screwdriver or power drill for screwing the filter bank to the wall
4) Thread seal tape. I found that the blue tube's compression joint sleeve was not a snug fit. Too loose. So I gave it a little plumbing thread seal tape to make it snug. The green tube came with a brass insert and brass nut, but the blue tube came with a plastic insert and the fit was different. Why? Good question. I hate to say it, but: typical American manufacturer. Mismatched parts and badly communicated instructions. Oh well, it worked in the end!
You don't get the same high level of filtration from a filter kit like this that you would get with a bulkier reverse osmosis kit. But we have basically good municipal water and just wanted to augment that and make it taste a little better. I did a blind taste test with my wife after installation and she was able to pick out the 1 glass out of 3 that had filtered water in it vs. the other two that had tap.
Taking 1 star off the review because the instructions were a little messy, and it would have been great if they'd used screw-in connectors for all 4 connection points. But still, I'm not complaining.
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2011
This review is being written for Watts 3-stage water filter 531130 on Amazon.com 1/21/2011.
This system consists of a filter housing unit that mounts under the sink and holds three filter cartridges. The filter and housing are fairly compact compared to the previous generation of water filters. For routine filter changes, no tools are required. Each filter is removed by turning the water off at the shutoff valve and pushing a button above each filter. The filters are proprietary and not readily available in local stores. My previous system used screw on filters that were difficult and messy to remove and required a proprietary wrench.
The water tastes OK from this system, but in my case the tap water already tastes fine. I'm using the filter for added safety.
The dedicated drinking water faucet looks nicer than average. It's heavy and has an upscale nickel finish.
Perform a pre-assessment of your sink before you buy this product. If the answer is "No" to any of the following questions, then you should consider the additional difficulty of the project:
1. Does a shutoff valve exist under your sink for the cold water line?
If no shutoff exists, you will need to turn off your main house water line.
2. Turn on the cold water, and turn off the shutoff valve under the sink. Does the water flow completely shut off? If not, you will need to turn off your main house water line.
3. Does the faucet connect to the shutoff valve using flexible hose (common in newer installations)? If not, it may connect with hard copper tubing which will need to be cut, with additional fittings possibly required.
4. Does your kitchen sink already have a hole where the faucet can be mounted (such as an unused sink spray or lotion dispenser hole)? If not, then you will have to drill or punch the sink or the counter (depending on the material).
1. The instructions say to place a brass insert into the blue plastic tubing that connects to the bottom of the faucet. However, the installation kit has one brass insert and one plastic insert. The brass insert is used at the shutoff valve on the green plastic tubing that at the other end connects to the input of the filter housing. The plastic insert is used at the connection to the bottom of the drinking faucet on the blue plastic tubing. I verified this with the manufacturer.
2. The instructions say to place the plastic sleeve over the tubing, with the tapered end toward the end of the tube. However, the two plastic sleeves in the kit are of different design. The one with the green tubing fittings (water supply) is tapered on one side. However the other plastic sleeve is identically tapered on both sides (like a normal brass compression sleeve). This end leaked until I tightened the connection (carefully, due to the all-plastic design of this end, see below).
3. The plastic insert connection to the bottom of the faucet requires a bit of adjustment to get tight enough without crushing the plastic tubing (since this tube has the plastic insert instead of the brass insert).
4. The faucet is geared toward right hand installations, and my faucet hole is on the left rear corner of the sink. My choices were to mount the faucet so that the handle is on the left and rotates away from me to turn on (my choice) or mount with the handle on the right which requires reaching over my current faucet in the middle of the sink. My old drinking faucet had a push lever instead of a rotating handle for the shutoff, and was universal vs. this right-handed design.
Another good idea when starting this or any other plumbing project: Locate a plumber ahead of time and know their hours. Start your project on a weekday morning if possible so if anything goes wrong, you can call a plumber during their normal working hours.
The filter system continues to work fine. The push button cartridge system still works well without leaking. The weak point is the faucet which has minor seepage at the rotating handle point. So far, this has just resulted in a few drips and mineral deposits not warranting changing the faucet.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2012
The heading may seem a bit over the top, but the difference in the taste of the water was way beyond what I hoped for.
We just purchased a home out in the country with it's own well. I grew up on well water so the water here was nothing out of the ordinary for me. However, my wife grew up in town, and even though I can't stand town water myself, the well water was repugnant to her. We had the water tested and it is perfectly safe to drink. Actually, the water is not hard at all, and in fact has a natural salt in it. No water softener needed, and my wife actually commented about how amazing her hair is after showers compared to the town water.
So whats the problem with our water? It smells, and it smells bad. I didn't ask for a ton of specifics on the water testing, I just wanted to make sure it was safe to drink, and the hardness was just something that they told me about. But as to the smell, I can only assume its a sulfur smell. The testing guy didn't tell me and I didn't think to ask. As I said, I grew up in the country and the water is not out of the ordinary for me. The water where I grew up was hard as nails, but it did not have the taste that goes along with the smell of the water out here. When you take a drink, and hold the water in your mouth, the smell,,, kind of translates directly into how the water tastes. I don't know if I am explaining that well, but suffice to say, even for me the taste was not exactly pleasant. We own two parrots and the wife started buying them spring water in loo of the tap water. And we started buying bottled water, mostly because my wife would not drink the tap water period, and heck, if we have spring water in the house, I'm not going to "Not" drink it. The spring water was not exactly a large money burden, but it was a bit of a pain to store and bring home all the time. So the wife bought a PUR faucet attachment to try and see how it went. Well, she uses the water for the animals, but we still drink the bottled water.
The PUR was an absolute pain on the faucet. I can't stress this enough. I can't understand why anyone would willingly put one of these on the kitchen faucet. But the faucet was leaking around all of the gaskets anyhow so we decided to change it out. We got a really nice Delta Leland faucet. We love the pull out spray nozzle, but there is no way to attach the PUR, (which secretly I had in mind from the git go). But while at HD, we saw some under sink water filtration units. I went home and did some research, and turns out that the Lowes and HD models had mixed reviews at best, and the ones that rated them negative had some fairly credible and not insignificant complaints. So I turned to Amazon for alternatives where I ran into This Baby. It had excellent reviews, and the biggest complaint that I felt was legit, was the adapter valves construction.
I spent two hours installing this. Keep in mind please, this install would not take any normal human being nearly this long. Honestly, if I were in a rush, I could have installed this in like 15 min. But as it happens, I had a day off work and was home alone, so I took loads of time to read the instructions word for word, and I didn't exactly push the install hard. I just,,, took my time. I considered the plastic valve carefully. I am no fan of plastic mechanical parts. PVC pipe is one thing. But I like to get good quality brass fittings when ever it is possible. Now, I could have gone to the store and got one of these in brass. (I think). But the valve, though cheap, didn't seem to be altogether garbage. Warning, if you over crank on any of the threads, you may well have a problem. But, I had time. So I was GINGER with it. Snugged things down good, but didn't over tighten anything. To my pleasure, not a leak anywhere. Although I would gladly have paid for a brass fitting in the kit, hell, id of happily paid and extra 20-30 bucks for one to just come in the kit. But, this one simply works. I'm not tickled that its plastic, and I can tell you that if you abuse it during the install, I can see where you would have fatal issues with it. But, there is no doubting the final results on my end. It just,,, works. On to the faucet. The one thing I do not like about the faucet is where the neck fits into the valve fitting. I like things of this nature to be able to articulate back and forth with just a bit of friction, and to be stable in the vertical direction, with no play. This faucet does have a bit of play vertically when you twist the neck left or right. It just feels cheaply put together and I do worry about it leaking over time from being flexed back and forth when you twist the neck. It seems like an unnecessary amount of ware on the gaskets because the tolerances were not engineered to be closer. It feels flimsy. However, I do find much else to like about it. The metal seems to be,,, great frankly. Good metal. The coating seems also to be very good. There is a gloss coat over the metal that should keep the metal from staining from contact with water, as stainless has the propensity for. And to my surprise, it matches up so well with the Delta Leland, you would think that they were all part of the same kit. It really looks sharp next to the Delta. I can't speak to longevity as far as gaskets are concerned, only time will tell how long the faucet will hold up without leaking. But it functions with no problems out of the box, and it looks just great.
Finally, we get to the reason for buying this thing in the first place, and that's how well it treats the water:
I ran the water through the filters for about 5-6 min. The water came out with a kind of, gooey foam to start with. That quickly went away. Then the water was cloudy, but that too went away within the first couple min. Then the water had bursts of cloudy large bubbles at regular intervals with some cloudiness between these spurts. But after about 5 to 6 min, the water ran clear and solid in a perfect stream. Turning the water on and off since has produced nothing but a perfect clear unbroken stream of water. Daddy happy. But how about the taste? Now I can't speak to what specifically is or is not in the water with regards to minerals (some of which you want in there anyhow), and other things. But what I can tell you is that the smell of the water is completely gone. And the associated taste of the water with the smell is also gone. In fact, the only taste that I can notice at all is,,, how to describe this. Imagine if you had spring water, and then you ran it through a water softener. The salt from the softener imparts a certain taste. Not salty per say, the softener is not there to turn your water into sea water. But it sort of just, tastes soft,,, if you know what I mean. Anyone that has a softener probably gets it. If you don't have one, you probably don't know what "Soft" tastes like. I can only assume that this effect is due to the natural salt in the well water, and that the filters are not filtering at least that part out. BUT, on reading how the filters work, they are not designed necessarily to remove dissolved,,, things. This could go into a bit of science and I don't pretend to be a scientist. But as I understand it, Dissolved salt is not necessarily removed by the filters, where solids, like iron, would be. All and all, the water tastes like clean soften water. Actually quite pleasant to drink. Don't get me wrong, if I had a choice, I would still prefer the spring water that runs out of the ground up to our camp. But, since we don't have a spring here at the house, This in my estimation is about as good as it could get. The difference in taste between the "Tap" water and the filtered water honestly, no fluff here, is like night and day. You would swear that there are two separate sources of water. The PUR took the smell away, but the taste still remained. The 3 stage filter however makes the water actually taste great and I can't stress that enough. The end result is much MUCH better then I had hoped for. For $124, I can't see how you can beat it.
They say you need to change the filters every 6 months. Well, a few comments on that. I firmly believe that how often these filters "NEED" to be changed is directly proportionate to how much water you run through it. If you had a family of 4, and used this filtered water in the same way you used your standard Tap, you know, like for washing dishes, feeding house plants, making coffee, iced tea, and what have you, the same as you would use your tap if you didn't have this filter, then I think 6 months is a fairly accurate estimation of how long you could expect these filters to work well. However, if you consider how you WILL actually use this separate tap, like for the morning coffee, for drinking water, cooking, and if you are like my wife and I, that is a two person household, you won't be running nearly as much water through the filters as you run through a standard tap. I honestly can't see why you should not get a good solid year of use out of the filters.
For my final word on the filters, I see that Amazon sells an "Annual" replacement back. It appears to come with 5 filter cartridges. So apparently, two of the three cartridges need (or are suggested to be) changed every 6 months. And one of the three is good for a full year. If I am correct in thinking that you should be able to get a solid year of use out of the filters given how much water you will actually be drawing through them, then $74 gets you enough filters for two years. $37 a year to change filters is pretty dang good in my book. If you are looking for a simple fix to treat your tap water, and a fix that actually works, I don't think you are going to do much better for the $124 this kit costs. Give it try, and I suspect that for the majority of folks that do, it will work out just great. I could not be happier with it.
You can pretty much disregard most of the last two paragraphs. It turns out that you will probably want to change the filters every 6 months. I got away with 7 before I broke down and replaced the first two filters. And with that, the water is right back where I like it.
The faucet is holding up remarkably well. Actually I have no complaints about it so far. Looks like it will hold up just fine.