August 03, 2022 22 min read

How To Choose The Perfect Off Grid Water Purifier For You

Looking for the perfect Off Grid Water Purifier? No matter what type of off-gridder you are, there is the right Off Grid Water Purifier for you. Read on and we’ll help you choose the perfect one 

To find the perfect Off Grid Water Purifier, we are going to talk about where you live and the likely types of contaminants you will need to remove, how you’re going to use the Purifier, your water source that you are purifying from, the size, space and power availability that you have, and its required volume and quality expectations. Also, consider how you’ll store or if you will need to transport your Purifier - Portable Water Purifiers are much easier to transport, yet hard Purifiers have a slight edge in performance. 

1. Understanding Private Water Supplies (PWS)

Private water supplies like wells, springs and boreholes provide a more cost effective solution than municipally treated water. A private water supply is any supply not provided by a water company where the water is consumed for domestic purposes or as part of a public or commercial activity. 

Where does the water come from?

When rain falls to the ground, some of it flows along the land surface to streams, rivers or lakes, and some moisturizes the ground. Part of this water is used by vegetation; some evaporates and returns to the atmosphere. Part of the water also seeps into the ground and flows through the unsaturated zone and reaches the water table, which is a surface from where the ground beneath is saturated (see illustration below). 

The Water Cycle - WorldAtlas

Your geography can have a big impact on your water quality. Read more here about different geographies around the world including Scotland, the UK, Europe and the US, and how your water is likely to be affected. 

What type of Private Water Supply do you have?

Water access can affect the types of contaminants found in your water.  It is important to know where your water is coming from so you know how it needs to be treated. 

Well and Borehole Water 

Borehole

Wells and boreholes are by far the most common source of off-grid water. People have been using well water since the dawn of civilization and with good reason. Artesian (upward movement of water under pressure) wells provide a constant source of freshwater.

Pros: The good news is once you complete your well, it provides a source of water with very little required maintenance. Environmentally friendly. 

Cons: The biggest downside to wells is their cost. Drilling holes up to 80m deep can cost between £10-20k per hole, and the water table determines the depth of the well in your area. As the depth of your well increases, so does the cost. Boreholes don’t always work, and multiple holes sometimes need to be made. There is the potential for contamination from external sources, such as snowmelt or runoff.

Things to watch out for: Boreholes don't always produce potable water; depth and drilling location deliver different water quality; mechanical failure of the pump; 

Boreholes don’t always produce clean water, and can cause lots of problems, often to do with how they’ve been installed, where they’ve been installed or mechanical failures. Find out why some boreholes fail here.

Springs

Springs are natural wells. They are points where groundwater moves through cracks and fissures to the surface.

Pros: Springs cost nothing and can provide a lot of water, depending on their size. It’s easy to tap into this water with just a few pipes and a way to divert the water into storage.

Cons: The biggest downside to natural springs is their rarity. Most plots of off-grid land don’t have a spring flowing on them. Those that do will be noticeably more expensive.

Things to watch out for: Water contamination upstream, dead animals causing sometimes deadly contamination.

Springs are also susceptible to environmental factors. In an exceptionally hot or dry year many springs will cease flowing until conditions improve.

Rainwater Collection

Rainwater Collection

One potential source for finding water off-grid is rainfall. A simple rain catchment system can divert water from your roof to a storage system. Figuring out how much you can capture over a year is equally easy. Every square foot of roof space can capture fresh water from rainfall. Figure out the square footage of your roof and look up your local rainfall statistics. Even a home with 200 square feet of roof space will provide nearly 125 gallons of freshwater per inch of rainfall.

Pros: It’s free and easy to collect water in a climate with adequate moisture.  Rainwater can be one of the cleanest, naturally occurring sources you’ll find.

Cons: Rainwater is a limited resource that is susceptible to weather patterns. It can be unavailable at times when it is needed. Large storage systems are required.

Things to watch out for:Rain water still needs to be purified; watch out for birds getting into the tanks.

Keeping your roof clean. Making sure there is no animal contamination over time.

Buying and Storing Water?

Water Storage

While not necessarily in the spirit of off-grid life, it is possible to purchase water and bring it to your home. The most common way to do this is with a water tank that you load into your car or tow behind it. This is not the environmentally friendly off grid solution everyone is looking for, but it’s worth covering. 

Pros: The advantages are that you only purchase the water you need and can get more whenever needed. 

Cons: Buying and transporting water is susceptible to issues with the grid itself. It can also be a hassle, especially if you don’t already make regular trips into town for other supplies. Bulk water isn’t available for purchase everywhere, though most RV parks and other areas with frequent travellers will have some options available. 

Things to watch out for:Tank contamination from birds or other small animals; the hidden cost of water transportation over time.

The ongoing cost of buying bottled water can really add up. The hidden cost of transportation is high. Using plastic bottles multiple times can cause breakdown of the bottle walls that can lead to unhealthy contaminants seeping from the bottle.

Can I use Natural Rivers, Streams, and Ponds?

Many prospective off-gridders wonder why they can’t merely use water found in natural springs, streams, ponds, and rivers on their property. In much of the United States and the rest of the world it is illegal to use natural rivers, streams, and ponds without permission. In the USA, western states rely on something called Appropriative Water Rights to determine who can use the naturally present water. If in doubt, contact your local council or authority. 

2. Do I NEED a water purifier for my private water supply?

    For a non-commercial property, no. It's entirely your own choice, and you can drink groundwater at your own risk. We would still highly recommend you get your water checked regularly as explained above to ensure there are no health risks to yourself or others.

    For a commercial property, yes. It is a legal requirement, and without one you may end up without a commercial license in many parts of the world. This is usually due to the effect waterborne diseases can have on tourism. 

    Not drinking water sign - Stocksigns

    Who is at the greatest risk?

    Some people are more vulnerable to harmful bacteria than others. These include:

    • Bottle-fed infants
    • The very young
    • The elderly
    • Anyone whose immune system might be compromised.

    For these people we recommend that you always boil water used for the following purposes:

    • Drinking, including preparing cold drinks and ice,
    • Brushing teeth,
    • Preparing food, particularly that which will be eaten uncooked such as salads and fruit.

    What is the legislation near me?

    Here is some more in depth information on different locations in relation to commercial property requirements: 

    • Private Water Supply Legislation for Commercial Properties in Scotland
    • Private Water Supply Legislation for Commercial Properties in England and Wales
    • Private Water Supply Legislation for Commercial Properties in North America

    When choosing an Off Grid Water Purifier, one of the most important factors is understanding the type of property you are purifying your water for. Is that property commercial or non commercial? Different types of property can also influence how many people you are purifying for, space availability, performance requirements, power availability, water source availability etc. What type of property do you have, and have you considered all of the requirements?

    3. What contaminants do I need to remove from my Private Water Supplies

      Understanding the contaminants in your water supply, and where they are likely to come from, will determine the level of purification you need. There is no point in installing expensive purification technology if your water is already safe. Equally, cheap water purification technology will not remove many harmful contaminants, so it pays to understand what is in your water. 

      A brief overview of technology purification levels and the contaminants that they remove: 

      How does water becomes polluted?

      There are four main types of contaminants that you should be aware of when reviewing the quality of your water. 

      Inorganic contaminants 

      Inorganic contaminants like arsenic, iron, chromium and manganese commonly occur in nature and often end up in our surface and ground waters.  Some occur as a result of manmade pollution such as perchlorate, and others like nitrates occur because of interactions between nature and pollution.

      Inorganic contaminants impact taste, color, and odor of our drinking water.  They are also important for health, having both beneficial and adverse effects. 

      If you have lots of Inorganic contaminants, consider a:

      Microbiological contaminants

      The microbial contamination of water is often of faecal nature related to humans (water sewage treatment plants, combined sewage overflow (CSO), non-collective sewage systems), domesticated animals (manure spreading, pit stock overflow), or wildlife.

      If you have lots of Inorganic contaminants, consider a:

      Organic contaminants

      Organic chemicals are a group of human-made chemical compounds that have been made for a variety of products—such as pesticides, gasoline, dry-cleaning solvents and degreasing agents. This group of chemicals includes volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), which are substances that contain carbon and evaporate or “off-gas” at room temperature, and synthetic organic chemicals (SOCs).

      VOCs and SOCs do not occur naturally in drinking water. When products made with VOCs and SOCs are improperly stored or disposed of, or when a spill occurs, they can contaminate groundwater and drinking water supplies.

      If you have lots of Inorganic contaminants, consider a:

      Radiological contaminants

      Radiological water contaminants are undesirable radioactive substances that have entered a water supply. They are also known as radionuclides. Typical, naturally-occurring radiologicals found in drinking water include isotopes of radium, uranium and radon, among others. Fission products from man-made nuclear reactions are also of concern today, particularly radioactive cesium and iodine.

      If you have lots of Inorganic contaminants, consider a:

      For more information on the types of contaminants, and what potential health effects you should be aware of, read more here.

      What happens if I drink contaminated water?

      The contaminants fall into two groups according to the health effects that they cause. 

      Acute effects occur within hours or days of the time that a person consumes a contaminant. People can suffer acute health effects from almost any contaminant if they are exposed to extraordinarily high levels (such as in the case of a spill). In drinking water, microbes, such as bacteria and viruses, are the contaminants with the greatest chance of reaching levels high enough to cause acute health effects. 

      Most people’s bodies can fight off these microbial contaminants the way they fight off germs, and these acute contaminants typically don’t have permanent effects. Nonetheless, when high enough levels occur, they can make people ill, and can be dangerous or deadly for a person whose immune system is already weakened.

      Chronic effects occur after people consume a contaminant at levels over the EPA’s safety standards over the course of many years. The drinking water contaminants that can have chronic effects include chemicals (such as disinfection byproducts, solvents and pesticides), radionuclides (such as radium), and minerals (such as arsenic). Examples of these chronic effects include cancer, liver or kidney problems, or reproductive difficulties.

      For more information on common illnesses associated with private water supplies including E.coli, Cryptosporidium and Lead Poisoning, read more here

      Simple steps to reduce contamination chances 

      You should:

      • make sure the water source is protected from contamination by grazing animals, or material washing down from upstream
      • install and maintain appropriate treatment that can treat your water to a consistently safe quality
      • ensure your water is properly disinfected before you use it
      • make sure that water is stored and distributed in a way that avoids it becoming contaminated after treatment and disinfection, but before you consume it
      • make sure all covers for your supply are properly sealed
      • raise covers above the level of the land
      • cover the ends of inlet pipes with fine mesh
      • talk to local farmers to make sure there are plans to avoid contamination, and protect the supply from contamination by other chemicals, especially agricultural pesticides, oil, solvents and industrial chemicals
      • make sure tanks and pipework are protected from exposure to chemical spillages and accidental contamination. Especially if supply pipes are made of plastic or polypropylene.

      4. How do I know what contaminants are in my private water supply?

        The purpose of testing your water supply (sometimes called sampling) is to see if the levels of germs, chemicals and metals are above the regulatory limits. Anything above the required limits is a danger to your health.

        If you have a large, or commercial, private water supply, you must have at least one sample taken for testing by your local council every year. This is done to show that your supply is 'wholesome' and complies with the legislation (you may be charged for this).

        If you have a smaller, non-commercial supply, testing isn't compulsory. But you can ask your local council to test, and risk assess, your supply for you. This will give you a clear idea of the potential risks. 

        Local testing laboratories

        To find certified water testing laboratories in your area try some of the following links.

        Can I do it myself?

        The Best Water Test Kit Options in 2022 - Top Picks by Bob Vila

        While home kits can be convenient and cheap, the only way to be 100% sure that you are safe is to have your water tested periodically by professionals. Home kits are just not as reliable as a professional laboratory. 

        Are Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) meters useful?

        For measuring raw water, no. To get an indicative measure of the effectiveness of your purification device, yes,

        What are Total Dissolved Solids?

        Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) is a term that describes the inorganic salts and small amounts of organic matter present in solution in water. The principal constituents in TDS are usually calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium cations and carbonate, hydrogen carbonate, chloride, sulfate, and nitrate anions. TDS is usually measured in mg/ or ppm (parts per million). You can get your water tested in a lab or use a commercially available TDS meter.

        TDS in Water - What is TDS and How to measure TDS in water with Arduino? -  Latest Open Tech From Seeed

        Usually, if the TDS level is below 200 ppm, it is considered to be very good for drinking. However, it does not mean that that water does not still contain harmful contaminants that can have significant health effects. Tap water supplied by many municipalities usually has a TDS of below 200 ppm. Groundwater usually has TDS levels of anywhere between 200 ppm and 3,000 ppm.

        5. What water purifiers can I choose from?

          There are often some common misconceptions around purification technology. Off grid versions of the same technology can be very different from the off-the-shelf or Amazon purchasable domestic units. This is because the pressure on these systems is considerably higher than in domestic units which just purify mains water that has already been treated by a utility company. So which type is right for you?

          The three stages of purification

          Before deciding on a type of purifier, it is important to understand that there are three main types of purification systems for different stages in the water journey. Traditional water purifiers often need to work together in order to remove different contaminants at different stages of the water journey from source to tap. This is because many technologies cannot remove all contaminants and so they need to be combined together to produce the desired pure drinking water.

          [GRAPH SHOWING TECHNOLOGY LOCATION]

          Need to update this into sections. 1. Pre-filter. 2. Main treatment. 3. Post treatment. 

          An in depth technology review

          To give you a full overview of all the technology available, we have analysed 6 different technologies capable of working with off grid private water supplies. You will see that some technologies will work on their own eg Vapour Distillation, and some technologies work best together eg UV lights.  The more large particles that are removed, the better for the longevity of the device. 

          1. Sediment Filters
          2. Vapor Compression Distillation
          3. Reverse Osmosis (RO)
          4. UltraFiltration (UF)
          5. Ultraviolet (UV)
          6. Chlorine additives 

          Sediment Filters

          Sediment filters are pre filters that are used  with other water purifiers like Distillation RO, UV etc. A basic sediment filter catches unwanted dust and mud particles present in water.

          Water Purification stages covered: 

          Water quality type: Drinking water only 

          Installation location: Wet room, Utility room, Outside Shed

          Advantages of Sediment filter:

          • Removes dirt, dust, rust and mud particles present in water.
          • Removes any visible pollutants during pre-filtration, 
          • By removing sand particles sediment filters protect RO and UV purifiers from getting damaged and it increases their lifespans

          Vapour Compression Distillation 

          Image of Novus Product 

          Distillation is the oldest form of water purification.Traditionally, however, it has been a slow and energy intensive process. 

          Vapour Compression Distillation or Mechanical Vapour Compression (MVC), uses a compressor to add energy to evaporated steam, which then reheats the boiling source water through a shared wall, allowing for the heating element to be turned off after startup.  Vapour Compression is much more efficient in distilling water compared to older technology, which requires massive amounts of thermal energy input (i.e. plant steam, electrical heaters) applied over a multi-pass evaporation/condensation process.

          Novus high speed low energy distillation is a new form of distillation that produces the same outcome at a higher speed and energy efficiency. Learn more about our product here.

          Water Purification stages covered: 

          Water quality type: Drinking water only 

          Installation location: Wet room, Utility room, Outside Shed

          Advantages of Vapour Compression Distillation:

          • Very high purification of water due to the evaporative nature and the high temperatures  
          • No removable parts or filters that can be clogged or can reduce cleaning efficacy  
          • Completely consistent level of purified water with no drop in quality over time  
          • Purification from a wider variety of sources, including saline, without clogging 
          • Self cleaning cycle with predictive maintenance technology 
          • Used to make bottled ‘SmartWater’ - giving confidence that it is a desirable end product
          • Low operational and maintenance costs

          Disadvantages of Vapour Compression Distillation 

          • Only suitable for drinking water production volumes
          • Expensive and environmentally hazardous refrigerant required
          • Requires electricity to run

          Rural RO Water Purifier

          RO water purifiers use semipermeable membranes to purify water. The RO membrane uses a water pump that pressurises the raw hard water to pass through the RO membrane. During this process solids like arsenic, fluoride, lead, chlorine, nitrates and sulfates are trapped in the RO membrane thus allowing only  purified water through to the other side.

          Rural RO water purifier most effective at purifying hard, salt water containing dissolved solids and chemicals. RO water purifiers are capable of removing metal particles like arsenic, fluoride, lead, chlorine, nitrates and sulfates. 

          Water Purification stages covered: 

          Water quality type: Drinking water only 

          Installation location: Wet room, Utility room, Outside Shed

          Advantages of Off Grid RO water purifier:

          • RO water purifiers remove dissolved solids and metal particles like arsenic, fluoride and lead. RO water purifiers also remove waterborne disease causing microorganisms like bacteria, viruses. 
          • RO water purifier improves the taste and odour of water 
          • RO water purifier is safe, cost effective and easy to maintain.

          Disadvantages of Off Grid RO water purifier:

          • High levels of maintenance are required with clogging being an often occurrence with private water supplies 
          • Operating cost can be large with ongoing expensive replacement membranes  
          • Purpose built housing sometimes required outside if no room inside
          • RO water purifiers produce lots of waste water. To purify 10 s of water a RO water purifier produces approximately 5  waste water.  

          UF (UltraFiltration) Water Purifier

          UF or Ultrafiltration uses hollow fibers of a membrane which is made of a thin layer of material which  separates water and other particles present in water. When water is fed  through the UF membrane, suspended solids, bacteria and viruses sticks, trap, retained in UF membrane. Basically UF is similar to RO technology, the only difference is that RO can block minute particles, whereas UF blocks larger particles.

          UF water purifiers are ideal for places where chemical contamination is low, because UF does not remove chemicals present in water.  It is only capable of blocking and removing germs like bacteria and viruses.

          The important thing is to remember that UF does not work with hard water. UF does not remove dissolved salts that are present in hard water, 

          Water Purification stages covered: 

          Water quality type: Drinking water only 

          Installation location: Wet room, Utility room, Outside Shed

          Advantages of UF water purifier:

          • Works without electricity. Just pour raw water in the upper storage tank and purified water collected in the lower storage tank. No need to bother about water pressure.
          • Works in low water pressure conditions.
          • Does not use chemicals. UF uses hollow membranes to block bacteria and viruses.
          • Filters muddy water. UF is capable of removing mold and germs from water, whereas other water purifiers like UV are incapable of purifying muddy water.
          • No germ remnants in purified water.  Germs like viruses, bacterias are blocked by UF membranes. Purified water is free from their remnants, whereas other water purifiers like UV, even after purification, retain the remnants of the germs. 
          • Long life span. UF membranes can be cleaned without damage or deterioration. Pesticides and chemicals do not damage UF hollow membranes. In good conditions, UF membranes can be used from 3 to 5 years.

          Disadvantages of UF water purifier

          • Does not work with hard water. UF does not remove dissolved solids which causes hardness of water. UF can’t be used to bore-well water, which has high levels of dissolved solids. It is recommended to use a UF water purifier with public supply water from lakes, rivers.
          • Frequent cleaning required. In UF water purifiers germs are trapped, blocked by UF membranes and stay there until the UF membrane is manually cleaned. That’s why it is mandatory to clean UF membranes regularly, usually twice per week.

          UV Water Purifier

          Ultraviolet water purification is proven technology that kills waterborne disease- causing microorganisms, pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and cysts. This environmentally friendly technology uses no chemicals in the purification process. Water passes through a UV lamp tube for purification. When running water is exposed to UV light, bacteria and viruses are damaged and deactivated. 

          UV water purifiers are  ideal for low TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) water like lakes and  river water. UV water purifiers cannot be used to treat hard water, which has high TDS levels. Just like UF water purifiers, UV water purifiers do not remove chemicals like chlorine, arsenic, or  fluoride.

          Water Purification stages covered: 

          Water quality type: Drinking water only 

          Installation location: Wet room, Utility room, Outside Shed

          Advantages of UV water purifier:

          • Low maintenance cost. Change the UV lamp once in a year or when it stops working.
          • High purification rate. UV water purifiers  deliver 2 to 4 s of purified water within a minute. Whereas other RO, UF, Activated Carbon water purifiers take several minutes to purify one  water.
          • Low energy consumption. UV water purifiers use the same amount of electricity as an electric bulb.
          • Less manual cleaning. If you have a UV water purifier with a storage tank, it requires  cleaning twice per week, whereas without a  storage tank, the water purifier needs almost no manual cleaning.
          • Does not alter the taste. UV water purifiers do not use any chemicals, or any semi permeable membranes. Therefore, there is no effect on the taste of the water.
          • UV maintains essential minerals. Does not remove or, change the human essential mineral present in water./li>

          Disadvantages of UV water purifier

          • Germ remnants remain: UV water purifiers kills water borne disease causing bacteria, viruses and other pathogens, but their dead bodies still remain in purified drinking water. In case of fewer germs not exposed to UV light and remains live or redevelop and reproduce their population and makes water impure.
          • UV does not improve water taste: Using UV water purifiers does not alter the taste and colour of water. If the unpurified water has a bad  smell or odor it will be necessary to use an Activated Carbon water purifier in combination with the UV water purifier.
          • Not effective on turbid, mud water. Undissolved Solids like sand, mud and other organic solid matter become obstacles to passing UV light through the water.
          • Doesn’t remove toxic chemicals. UV light exposure has no effect on chemicals like chlorine and fluoride.

          Chlorine and Chemical Additives

          This is not the best or most natural way to purify water, but it will work in a pinch. Will the water have at least somewhat of a chlorine taste to it? Yes, but it should be safe to drink. Add approximately 1 teaspoon of typical household bleach that has a 5.2 percent to 8 percent sodium hypochlorite content per gallon of water. Allow the mixture to settle for at least a half an hour before consuming.

          In Home Water Purifiers

          We have not chosen these for this article as they are often not resistant enough to remove off grid contaminants, and only used for purifying mains water. If you are interested in in-home purifiers, read more here.

          6. Questions to ask yourself before you decide on an off grid water purification system

            Having a good check list is the hardest part of making a decision. Here is our list of what to look for in an off grid purifier, but every property and situation is different, so you may wish to add your own. This is what we think should be at the top of your list.

            Table of needs and different forms of purification

            Will the water quality always be safe? 

            First and foremost the most important factor of any water purification system is that it generates water to the quality that is required. This is often easier said than done with many technologies removing only partial contaminant groups. 

            Will the water quality change over time?

            The consistency of purification over time is vital. Many homes will install an expensive system only to find 3 months later the water quality has dropped below drinkable levels. Your system must provide the same service all year round or with minimal maintenance. 

            It is important to know that performance can deteriorate over time, even with the installation of a new filter.

            Will the water quality actually taste nice?

            Technically heavily chlorinated water can reach all of the safety standards, but do you want to drink it in abundance on a hot summer day? If not you may end up resorting to bottled water over time and wasting the money you’ve spent on this investment.

            Am I aware of the expected maintenance for this technology?

            Will you remember to replace everything regularly? What happens when something goes wrong?

            • Service quality: Service quality is of utmost importance for a water purifier. You need to check with your friends, family members, relatives, and acquaintances about their experience with their water purifier’s brand. You should also check online reviews for the water purifier on the brand’s website, online stores (like Amazon and Flipkart), Mouthshut, Facebook, Twitter, and forums.
            • Service coverage and speed: You need to make sure that your area is covered under a brand’s service coverage. Also, check the brand’s website or social media profiles to know how quickly they visit your home once you request for service.
            • The promise of availability of parts from the date of purchase: Brands sometimes say that they’ve discontinued a water purifier model from their catalog and spare parts are no longer available for it. In such cases, you either have to use sub-standard parts or purchase a new water purifier. Hence, you should consider buying a newer model from any brand and check how long the brand plans to keep supporting that model for spare parts.

            Will the technology give me the volume of water I need for the purpose I will use it for? 

            Make sure to choose an Off Grid Water Purifier that doesn’t fall short of the production capabilities you need. If you get a purifier that's not right for your property you’ll find out when it's too late and have a hefty cost to cover. It pays to make sure!

            Drinking and cooking water only:  

            In March 2010, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) issued a report suggesting an adequate total daily intake of 2 litres of fluids for women and 2.5 litres for men. It may not apply to everyone though, and can change based on:

            • Exercise. If you do any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to cover the fluid loss. It's important to drink water before, during and after a workout.
            • Environment. Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional fluid. Dehydration also can occur at high altitudes.
            • Overall health. Your body loses fluids when you have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea. Drink more water or follow a doctor's recommendation to drink oral rehydration solutions. Other conditions that might require increased fluid intake include bladder infections and urinary tract stones.
            • Pregnancy and breast-feeding. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, you may need additional fluids to stay hydrated.

            With that in mind, it’s better to double the recommended amount, especially if you plan on having guests.

            Multiply this new number by 2-4 people, the average number of people in an off grid property, and you get:

            • 10-20 s per day

            For drinking water only, consider a low volume production device like the Novus Vapour Distiller.

            Showering and flushing water 

            Showers are the biggest water user in the house (25%), followed by lavatories (22%). According to the Energy Saving Trust, each person uses about 142 litres of water each day.

            Multiply by 2-4 people, the average number of people in an off grid property, and you get:

            • 300-600 s per person per day

            For Showering and Flushing water, consider a high volume production technology like Reverse Osmosis or UV purification.

            Will I be able to fix it and get it running again if I need to?

            A key factor in choosing a water purifier is how complex the technology is, and how handy you are! How ‘hands on’ are you?

            If the property is commercial and only used for parts of the year, then the purifier will have to be started up and shut down for the seasons. 

            Do I know the true cost of ownership? 

            Many technologies sound cheap on the outside, but do not advertise the high servicing or consumable fees required for ongoing maintenance of their technology. Make sure you understand the installation, ongoing and cost of maintenance, here is a quick rundown.

            • Installation Costs: Not all technology is expensive to install, however many off grid solutions can exceed £10,000. This can be reliant on your location., the size of the equipment, the extra land preparation e.g. building a shed, that comes with it?
            • Ongoing Costs: The cost of RO membrane and other filters is different for each brand, so you need to check how much you need to spend every year on an average for getting the parts replaced.
            • Cost of AMC plans: AMC plans are usually cheaper to buy rather than buying the membrane and filters separately. So, check the price of the water purifier’s AMC plan and check what is covered under the plan. There are various third-party brands, including Onsitego, that offer extended warranty and annual maintenance plans.

            Remember you are saving:

            • Utilities cost: The cost you are saving from not having utilities companies fees which can be high in rural areas
            • Bottled water cost: The cost you are saving from bottled water over a year

            There are undoubtedly others, what have we missed? Comment below and we will try and update the article with your input.

            7. What space do you need for a water purifier and where should I put one?

              Once you know the type of Off Grid Water Purifier you are looking for, it is REALLY important to consider the space you have available, as different technologies come in different shapes and sizes, and understanding your available space  can influence your final decision or significantly add  to the cost if you need a purpose built shed etc. 

              Depending on the system you choose, you will need:

              • Water access  
              • Waste water removal 
              • Electricity 
              • Ventilation space 

              We have split this section further depending on if you are looking for internal (inside the home) or external (outside the home in a shed or purpose built unit) installation.

              Internal

              Congratulations, you have space inside your home for a purification system, or, you have identified earlier in the article, that you do not need a large system for your water needs. 

              Where are some of the best places to install water purifiers inside your home?

              • Under sink - Close to water, waste water 
              • Utility room 
              • Large kitchen 

              External

              If you are fortunate to have a weatherproof space like a shed, garage or outside hut, then you can free up more space inside your home.

              Where are some of the best places to locate water purifiers outside your home?

              • Garage - Closes to water, waste water 
              • Shed

              Double and triple check the space you have available for water purification. This can add a huge amount of unexpected cost when you least expect it. 

              How can we help you find the perfect Purifier for you?

              Duncan Peters
              Duncan Peters

              Chief Purifier - Duncan has been on a journey to improve water purification for over 5 years. When he's not working on water purifiers at Novus, he's writing articles about water, is out exploring nature, or can be found mountain biking in Scotland.



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