June 29, 2022

Why Reverse Osmosis is Bad for Ice Vending

As you do research for your new ice and water vending machine business, you have probably encountered companies offering reverse osmosis (RO) water filtration. While RO is common in water filtration systems and even beneficial in some applications, it’s not the best option when it comes to ice vending. In fact, it’s going to cost way more than it will provide. Let’s explore why reverse osmosis is bad for your business.

Let’s Talk About Total Dissolved Solids in Water

Some manufacturers might try to sell you expensive filtration systems using reverse osmosis based on what they call TDS counts, or Total Dissolved Solids, in your water. Unfortunately, this is just a sales tool designed to get you to overspend. While water that goes through a RO membrane does reduce TDS, it’s less important than you think – and not having enough water can actually be harmful in the long run.   

According to the World Health Organization’s “Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality,” there’s not even an established health guideline value for total dissolved solids. The primary factor when it comes to TDS levels is actually the way it tastes. TDS levels of 600 parts per million (ppm), are generally considered satisfactory. 

So why do some of our competitors want to upsell you to spend thousands of dollars on a filtration system that is essentially unnecessary? It costs anywhere from $2,000 to $7,000 just to add a reverse osmosis system to a machine. That doesn’t even begin to measure how expensive the replacement filters, electricity, pumps, manifolds, and other upkeep. So, if you don’t need it, why do they want to sell it to you? One word. Profit.

The nitty gritty.

Reverse osmosis membranes don’t just filter out bad particles – they filter out important, beneficial, and essential minerals too. Minerals such as calcium and magnesium. In fact, having too low a TDS level in your water can be harmful to a majority of your machine components.  

Water is a universal solvent, so when you remove those minerals, it becomes more acidic. This makes it more corrosive to the components of your machine. You’ve heard of the health benefits of alkaline water? Well, acidic is the opposite. Plastic, metal, rubber – none of it is safe. As it dissolves these materials of your machine and ice maker, it introduces these toxic materials into the water. This could pose significant potential health risks. All this also will cause error codes, premature wear, machine breakdown, and additional maintenance issues. 

To top it all off, the acidity becomes reflected in the taste, giving it the infamous metallic flavor you’re probably familiar with in some purified water. Several bottled water companies use RO to filter their water. You’ll notice they don’t advertise it – in fact, they have to add minerals back in just to make it palatable.

This is why reverse osmosis is bad for ice and water vending. If the water doesn’t even taste good, AND it’s harsh on your machine, what is the benefit? The answer—not much.  

The Alternative to Reverse Osmosis

Besides incredibly expensive filters and membranes, and poor-tasting water, RO requires a lot of very limiting specifications. It puts three to four gallons of water down the drain as waste for every one gallon of treated water. This means you will need a connection to a sewer, which limits where you can place your machine. All this water also costs you money which means sky-high water bills! 

It is also an incredibly slow process, taking hours to fill a storage tank. This is limited in size in an ice and water vending machine. That means if someone makes a large water purchase at your machine in the morning, you’re out of business for the day. That means no ice and water while you wait for the RO system to replenish the tank. 

As always, Everest has you covered. Our Five-Stage Filtration System from Everpure uses filters designed by and for McDonald’s in order to provide the delicious soda, water, and coffee their customers have grown accustomed to for decades. They spent the money on research and development to craft the perfect filter for all water types. You can rest assured that the water you sell your customers is the best quality available. After all, they could have ANY filtration system and they designed this one.  

If it’s good enough for “billions and billions served”, it’s good enough for your water and ice customers. These filters remove any sediment larger than half a micron in size – that’s a tiny fraction of the width of a human hair. We then filter the water through back-to-back solid block carbon filters to remove chlorine, contaminants, and odor. Finally, we sterilize the water with ultraviolet light. The result is great tasting, perfectly clean water with no odor. All without the expense, hassle, and limitations reverse osmosis requires. 

When it comes down to it, you have to choose what is best for your business. Is it a high-quality filtration system developed by one of the biggest names in the fast-food industry, at no additional cost to you? Or is it an expensive, wasteful RO system that will cost extra both initially AND in the long run, as well as hurt your business in a number of ways? Say no to RO, and yes to Everest and our five-stage ultrafiltration system. 

Everest Ice and Water vending machine
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