RCC7 reverse osmosis

iSpring RCC7 – Is It Really a 5* Water Filter?

It looks like it would need a team of scientists to install, but trust us, the RC77 reverse osmosis filter isn't so bad!

It looks like it would need a team of scientists to install, but trust us, the RC77 reverse osmosis filter isn’t so bad!

iSpring  (not to be confused with the eSpring water filter by Amway) is a popular name in the world of reverse osmosis water filters.

Created by American water specialists, Spring Water Systems, the iSpring RCC7 is a new and improved version of an older model that received a number of upgrades in mid-2014 – and has been the recipient of raving reviews. But does it live up to its five-star reputation?

Before we go into that, let’s touch on reverse osmosis water filters for a moment. Why go for them in the first place and what’s all this osmosis malarkey about?

What’s Reverse Osmosis?

The word “osmosis” may ring a bell from one of your old science textbooks but here’s a recap.

In a nutshell, it is the movement of water molecules from an area of less-concentrated solution to an area of more concentrated solution so that equal concentrations are created on either side.

Reverse osmosis uses pressure to force your water to flow in the opposite direction. What these systems do is push water that has a high concentration of solvents (such as minerals and chlorine) through a super fine filter that blocks them, allowing clean and tasty H2to pass through.

And the great thing about a reverse osmosis systems such as the iSpring is that it doesn’t require any electricity.

The water pressure in your pipes is enough to get the whole reverse osmosis process pumping, saving you money on your utility bills.

One of our top picks of reverse osmosis water filters is the very reasonably-priced and effective iSpring RCC7.

Is the filtering good?

The iSpring RCC7 can filter up to 75 gallons or 283 litres of water per day, and depending on where you live and the cost of tap water, this works out to about $0.02 for a bottle, or roughly 1 pence.

To get to the end result, it takes water through five different filtering stages. To say that its thorough would be an understatement. All the different filters look more or less the same and are housed in similar-looking cylinders, so we digged around in the manuals to see what they actually do:

Stage What happens
1 Stage 1  First, the water passes through a sediment filter that traps large particles such as rust, dirt and grit.
2 Stage 2 At the second stage, it goes through the first carbon filter that traps anything bigger than 5 microns, which is about 15 times smaller than the width of a hair. This stage removes a lot of the chlorine taste and odor, as well as other large particles.
3 Stage 3 When it gets to the 3rd stage, water goes through a thick block of carbon that further reduces chlorine and its stubborn cousin, chloramine. This decreases any discolouration and makes it taste even better.
4 Stage 4 Fourthly – we arrive at the most important phase, reverse osmosis. This is where the the water passes through a semipermeable membrane that has tiny holes the size of 0.0001 microns (one millionth of 1 mm). This stops the tiniest of contaminants from passing through, including 99% of bacteria and viruses, chlorine, sodium, copper, lead, arsenic, chromium, and fluoride. Oh, and parasites and cysts too.
5 Stage 5 And lastly, the water passes through one final carbon filter to remove any last trace of unnatural tastes or smells before it continues along its way to the kitchen faucet.

It also doesn’t take a long time for the tank, which can hold 3.2 gallons, or roughly 12 litres, to fill up. The exact time it takes is dependent on the water pressure leading to your house or apartment, but on average it takes less than 45 minutes. In our experience it was as quick as 30 minutes, but the pressure to our flat fluctuates in the summer so this will vary.

Click here to find the best price for the RCC7 on Amazon

Let’s have a look at the RCC7’s upgrades

So what are these special upgrades we mentioned at the beginning?

A thumbs up to the iSpring team because they took note of complaints about leakages and overspilling, and the old model’s shabby faucet, and fixed them.

They went back to the drawing board and in mid-2014 released this new version, which includes the following improvements:

Upgrade  How is it better?
Shut off valve No more spillages: Improved shut-off valve for when the tank reaches its limit. The old one did not always stop the water, leading to overflowing, puddles and wet socks!
Water detector Water detector: The above fix is complemented by an alarm that flags your attention when the system is malfunctioning or leaking, which is fantastic because the kitchen cupboard is good at hiding leakages. If it comes into contact with water, get ready for a 101 decibel screech to let you know all about it!
Stage 5 Improved carbon filter: The filter for the 5th stage of filtering has been enhanced. The previous one failed to always stop odours and carbon residue from coming through.
Better valve Better valve: A better quality valve on the storage tank. The other one wasn’t as tight, needing rounds and rounds of plumbing tape. Not so with this one!
Better faucet Better faucet: A new stainless-steel faucet that is completely lead-free.

How hard is it to install?

Although it’s not as simple as screwing on a faucet water filter, the RCC7 is not too hard to get up and running.  If you can put together a cupboard from Ikea, connecting it to your plumbing won’t cause too much trouble.

It's all a matter of matching the right colours and cables.

It’s all a matter of matching the right colours and cables.

Installation requires the use of a few basic tools such as wrenches, teflon tape, and spare O-rings, all of which, thankfully, come with the filter. That is pretty much all you need to set it up under your kitchen counter.

If, on the other hand, you want to get fancy with the tubing and need to drill through your countertop or divert the drain pipe, extra tools will be needed. For most purposes however, the tools it comes with will suffice.

All of the connecting tubes are colour coded, so if you can match blue to blue and red to red, it really is a piece of cake.

For us it took less than one hour to install, and that was with us wasting time by mixing up two parts and having to disconnect and reconnect everything halfway through.

Click here to find the best price for the RCC7 on Amazon

Things to consider

Do you have enough water pressure in your pipes? This is the biggest consideration with the RCC7. Reverse osmosis is entirely dependent on having enough water pressure to push the water through, which depends on where you live (such as in an very elevated area), the plumbing and even where you’re looking to install it (if its in the basement, how far away is that from your main faucet?)

For the RCC7 to work properly, your water pressure needs to be at least 40 PSIBelow that and the filtering performance starts to get worse and the water tank takes ages to fill up.

Good news, though, there is a workaround! There is a version of the RCC7 that comes equipped with an electric booster pump. It doesn’t cost that much more than the standard version and works only when water is flowing, working out from between 20 minutes to one hour a day.

One another downside with reverse osmosis water filters in general is that there is some water wastage. To get one gallon of filtered water (3.7 l), 2 gallons are wasted (7.4 l). This is good compared to other systems in this category that have a ratio of 3:1 or even 4:1, but not so good for those of you who are more environmentally friendly.

8

Good Things

  • Produces up to 75 gallons of water per day. That's more than enough for most households.
  • 5 stage filtering is very effective. Eliminates chlorine, fluoride and other nasties.
  • New model features many small, but noticeable upgrades, such as an alarm!

Bad Things

  • Some components may need to be changed every six months.
  • Like any RO system, it wastes water, to make water.