Overview of the APEC RO-90 Top Tier High Flow
The APEC RO-90 Top Tier High Flow is another popular under sink RO system from APEC that gets a high number of positive reviews.
It is nearly identical to the ROES-50 we recommend, but with one major difference: it is rated for 90 gallons per day vs 50 GPD with the ROES-50. 90 GPD is the highest of any under-sink system on our charts and is an important feature if you use large amounts of filtered water for cooking, coffee, tea, ice, or an aquarium.
It has 5 stages of filtration and wastes the average rate of about 3 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of purified water.
The system comes complete with everything you need to setup and, typically, can be installed by anyone with basic DIY skills in about 1 hour. Both a faucet and pressurized storage tank are included.
Filtration System Design
The APEC RO-90 is a filter/housing system. This means that all the filters are removed from a filter housing and then the replacement filter is fitted back into the housing and the housing replaced. Since there is also water in the housing, this can be a little messy.
The stage 1, 2 and 3 filters, which require replacement at around six months of use are loosened with a supplied “C” spanner wrench and then unscrewed by hand. The old filter element is removed and replaced with the new filter element, then the filter housing is screwed in and tightened with the “C” spanner. Users recommend greasing the filter housing threads to ensure you can twist it off easily the next time you change the filters.
Stage 4 (the RO membrane) and stage 5 filter elements are replaced at 2 to 3 year intervals, again depending on the quality of the feed water. The best way to gauge the age of your filters is with a simple TDS test meter.
Follow this link at the APEC web site to see a complete list of the contaminants that are removed.
As with all RO systems, some incoming water is used to flush the RO membrane and create back pressure. This wasted water is sent down the drain. APEC suggests that the waste water can be re-routed for watering gardens or some other non-drinking use. This would only require some additional tubing to reach your waste water storage container.
The amount of water needed to flush the membrane varies depending on the incoming pressure of water, but typically with the APEC RO-90, 3 gallons is wasted for every 1 gallon of pure water produced.
Ease of Installation
The complete APEC RO-90 is a compact system that is designed to be installed in a small under counter space although it can be installed anywhere there is a convenient water feed line. Installation can be done by someone with average DIY skill level in about 1 hour with tools that most households will already have. To help with installation, all of the tubes are color-coded.
The recommended water pressure coming into the filtration system is between 40 and 85 psi. For lower water pressures, a pressure-boosting permeate pump would help.
The user manual is quite detailed but it is worth taking a look at the following videos from APEC before you start since they do show how easy the system is to install.
- Video 1 – Unpacking and checking the unit
- Video 2 – Installing and fitting filter and membrane units
- Video 3 – How to install the feed water and drain saddle adaptor
- Video 4 – Installing the RO faucet
- Video 5 – Connecting the tubing connections and system start up
The filters do not have an indicator to show when they need changing. The best way to check if the filters need changing to test the water entering and exiting the system with a TDS meter.
Be sure to consider the space you will need to remove filter housings with the spanner wrench before you install. Accessing the filters easily is very important so make sure you have enough room before mounting the system to the wall.
Check out our list of the best reverse osmosis accessories for some items to consider with your new reverse osmosis system.
APEC RO-90 Pros
- 90 gallons of purified water produced each day is the highest of any system we recommend
- Relatively inexpensive filters make for a low total cost of ownership (TCO)
- Removes up to 99% of contaminants
- Designed for DIY installation within about 1 hour
- RO Membrane life of between 2 to 3 years
- 4-gallon pre-pressurized water storage tank
- 100% lead-free chrome faucet
- U.S. based technical support which is free for the lifetime of the product
- 1 year limited manufacturer’s warranty
- Manufactured in the USA
APEC RO-90 Cons
- 3 gallons of wasted water per 1 gallon of purified water is average
- Filters in housings are more difficult to replace than modular filters
- No remineralization stage to add back minerals
- Does not include a UV light to kill bacteria and other microorganisms
- Well and natural water sources are more prone to this problem but only a water test can confirm the level in your water
Visit our reviews of the best undersink reverse osmosis systems to compare the APEC RO-90 with the competition.
The high output of the APEC RO–90 makes it ideal for situations where higher than average water filtration is needed.
While the filters are a little more difficult to replace than the modular filters on competitors such as the Home Master systems, the cost of the filters are less than many competitors.
The waste water produced is on the high end but since the output is so high, many people still select this system.
For high quality, high output, and lower than average maintenance costs, the APEC RO–90 is a highly recommended RO filter system.