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APEC RO-90 5-Stage RO System Review

The huge capacity APEC RO-90 features new longer life filters, and a water quality tester. However, does it live up to the APEC name?

APEC-RO-90

The huge capacity APEC RO-90 features new longer life filters, and a water quality tester. However, does it live up to the APEC name? APEC RO-90 Cost: $$$ Filtration Stages: 5 Warranty: 1 Year + 30-day money back guarantee Dimensions: RO system: 17 L x 6…

APEC RO-90

Effectiveness
Maintenance/Installation
Features
Value

Best for bigger homes

The new long-life filters really set this system apart from its rivals. It's super low maintenance with filter replacements only every 12 months. An excellent water production rate of 90 gpd, makes this system ideal for larger households too. Combine this with a really effective filtration system and competitive price, and you have one of my favorite RO systems on the market.The APEC RO-90 is the perfect choice for bigger households that seek an effective solution to water contamination in the home.

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APEC RO-90

Cost: $$$

Filtration Stages: 5

Warranty: 1 Year + 30-day money back guarantee

Dimensions: RO system: 17 L x 6 W x 18 H inches, storage tank: 11 D x 18 H inches

Filter Lifespan: Filters 1-3 every year, stages 4 & 5 every 3-5 years

Water Production: 90 gallons per day at optimal levels

Similarly Priced Models: iSpring RCC7AK, Home Master TMAFC


Introduction

The APEC RO-90 is a 5-stage reverse osmosis water filter. APEC are the market leaders in home reverse osmosis systems, and boldly market this system as having “The most effective filtration technology in the industry”. It features many of the same attributes of the APEC ROES-50 but also boasts a massive 90 gallon per day water production rate, super capacity filters which can last two times longer than conventional filters, an extra pre-filter set, and water tester. At around $100 more expensive than the ROES-50, it represents a significant outlay, but the need to buy less filters reduces the long term running costs. The 90 gallon per day water flow rate is also among the biggest available, and would be ideal for larger households and families. Competitors offer systems featuring 6 and even 7 stages of filtration at similar prices, so APEC obviously really believe in their technology and build quality.

apec-roes-90

The APEC RO-90 has a lot going for it, and should be a serious consideration for larger households. But, the lack of a pH or alkaline filter is a blow. The reverse osmosis process strips away anything and everything from the water, above a certain particle size. Sadly, it cannot differentiate between the good and the bad, so the healthy minerals are lost at the same time as the arsenic, for example. A pH or alkaline filter can add these healthy minerals back (and raise the pH to more natural levels), providing more natural and healthy mineral water. APEC do offer a slightly smaller model with pH filter, the APEC ROES-PH75.

The amount of waste water that a reverse osmosis system produces is one of its drawbacks. This system works at a ratio (waste water: drinking water) of 3:1. This seems like a lot of waste, but it is considerably better than systems by brands like Watts. To improve the waste water to drinking water ratio even further, a pump can be added. The APEC system with pump costs around $60 more, but can improve efficiency to almost 1:1 under the right circumstances. It should be noted that an RO system with a pump would actually be a necessity should your water pressure be particularly low.

This system fared really well when we compared it to other leading models. To see how it stacks up against other brands please read our guide.


Performance

Performance -wise, the APEC RO-90 is a strong runner. It packs APEC’s renowned high performance filters, but with new larger capacity. The image below gives a good idea of what each filter actually does, and our review of the APEC ROES-50 (which uses the same technology in smaller filters) can shed some light too.

APEC-90 filtersAPEC firmly believe that they produce the best filters on the market, and customer feedback is certainly very positive. Installation and replacement of the filters is relatively easy. A series of official youtube tutorial videos are available if you are curious, but it’s really no harder than screwing the lid on a flask. Replacing the membrane is also a very simple task, and shouldn’t be an issue for anyone. These long life filters (stages 1-3) need changed just once a year, while the membrane and stage five filter need changed every 3-5 years. If for whatever reason, you need a system to be as low maintenance as possible then this one is about as good as it gets.

The system is designed to produce 90 gallons of water per day. The image below shows that this is only achievable should you have ideal constant temperature and a good household water pressure of at least 60 psi. What this doesn’t mention is that the flow rate depends very much on the quality of the water that is being treated too. If your water has high levels of contaminants and larger particles, it will slow the production rate. APEC have achieved these figures in ideal conditions so don’t be surprised to see your system fall slightly short. A 75 gallons per day production rate is much more likely, and still more than enough for most households.

APEC RO 90 graph

Source: freedrinkingwater.com (APEC website)


Installation Information

The system has dimensions of 17 L x 6 W x 18 H inches for the RO system, and 11 D x 18 H inches for the storage tank. It weighs 12 lbs. It is designed to be installed under the kitchen sink, but should that not be possible it can be installed in the garage or in the basement too. You can actually reduce the waste water by installing it on the counter-top, but space and aesthetics make this less viable. If installing the system in the basement for example, you must ensure the water pressure is still high enough. The addition of a pump may be required.

The installation of the water filter system shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours. Basic DIY skills are needed, but it really shouldn’t be an issue. The installation will be considerably harder if you have to drill a new faucet hole though.  APEC have a series of instructional videos which walk you though the process, right the way from un-boxing through each stage of installation. These videos are really helpful and will relieve you of any DIY anxiety, the installation might present. The APEC RO 90 installation manual is available online too. I’ll give you a quick run through of the tools that it says you’ll need.

  • Variable speed drill
  • Drill bit: 1⁄4” (for the waste line), 1/8” (as pilot, not mandatory), and 1⁄2” (for standard faucet hole, air-gap faucet requires 1&1/4” hole)
  • 5/8”, 9/16” open-end wrench, or adjustable wrench, pliers
  • Phillips screwdriverAPEC faucet
  • Utility knife, or scissors
  • Teflon tape

Everything else needed for you to install the RO system in your home, is included in the box.

  • RO system head
  • Pre-filters in 3 Housings
  • Storage tank
  • RO Membrane
  • Faucet with washers and nuts
  • Feed water adaptor 1/2” with needle valve kit
  • Drain saddle for waste water
  • Color tubing 1/4”
  • Tank’s ball valve
  • Wrench, nuts, and inserts

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Fast water production rateNo pH filter
Long life filters
Water quality meter included
Low maintenance

 

Read our reverse osmosis guide to find out about other RO water filters available.

If you need a whole home solution to water pollution then don’t miss our resource on whole house water filter systems.

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