At the start of the Summer, we gave a quick mention to an interesting water filtering system named Restore from HoMedics. This water-purification pitcher uses an activated-carbon filter similar to many others on the market. However, they have one notable feature not available in any other system, a built-in germ-killing UV light source. Today, we’ll take a RainyDay FirstLook at the HoMedics Restore system.
The HoMedics Restore clean water system is made up of a few simple elegant parts: 8-cup pitcher, filter, lid, AC adapter. The pitcher is visually appealing, feels substantial but not too heavy. The handle is rubberized and very comfortable to grip. At the base of the handle is a switch for the two modes: Purify, and Fill. The pitcher is bottom-heavy as the circuitry for powering the UV bulb is in the base of the unit. There are two steps to the HoMedic Restore process: activated-carbon filtration, and UV light sterilization. Water to be treated goes into the top reservoir, flows though the filter, and is UV-treated in the lower chamber. Once treated, the water may be poured directly from the pitcher. The pitcher may also be unplugged from the adapter and the entire unit placed into the refridgerator for chilling.
Most home filtration systems do a great job of getting rid of odd tasts and odors from the water. Many of them also get rid of other contaminants such as zinc, lead, and other chemicals. However, the activated-charcoal in the filters does not impact bacteria, viruses, and cysts or any organisms which are small enough to pass through the physical membranes. This is where (forgive the pun) the UV light shines. The HoMedic Restore UV sterilization process is designed to achieve the following:
- Bacteria: 99.9999% or 6 log reduction
- Virus: 99.99% or 4 log reduction
- Cyst: 99.95% or 3.5 log reduction
Here are the basic technical specs for this Restore purification system:
- Recommend use: 2 gallons per day (7.5 liters)
- Filter life: 40 gallons (151 liters)
- Typical Bulb Life: 10 years
However, one must be realistic about the Restore purification system, or any similar countertop filtration units. It is a SUPPLEMENTAL and secondary purification system designed for home use, not something built to take contaminated or untreated water and make it drinkable. These units are best for taking tap water from the faucet and giving it a final scrub before drinking.
The AC wall adapter is a controller and power converter in one. There are three buttons (Purify, Reset, Cups Per Day) on it and their functions are self-evident. The adapter has a convenient retractable cord (which accounts for its unusually large size). In the back of the unit is a small cover for a battery. There was no mention of the function of this battery, but it probably has something to do with remembering the settings when the unit is not plugged into the outlet.
The prep and set up for water purification was very simple. The first step was to prepare the activated-carbon filter for use by soaking it in water for about 10 minutes. This was to ensure that the filter is evenly moistened prior to its first use. The filter chamber is in the rear of the pitcher. Note that the bottom of the bowl is slightly sloped toward the rear so the water will flow into the filter.
The instructions recommend that the first two full pitcher of filtered water not be used for drinking as loose carbon particles will be flushed out of the new filter. We also recommend washing out the top reservoir as there were loose particles floating around there as well.
UV light is generally grouped into three ranges called UVA, UVB and UVC. The “germicidal wavelength” is between the 100 – 280 nm of the UVC band. UVC light works by disrupting the DNA of microorganisms and destroying their ability to multiply. UVC light has been used to effectively disinfect and sanitize surfaces in hospitals and laboratories for years. The technology has been well proven in industrial settings.
Getting the Restore pitcher ready for sterilization was very simple. Once the 8 cups of water had worked its way throught the filter, we plugged in the cord, flipped the switch in the handle to the upper (Purify) position, and pushed the “Purify” button on the AC wall adapter. The bulb started up with a pink-ish glow and quickly shifted to a bright blue hue. The entire Restore UV sterilization cycle lasted about a minute. Once the light goes out, the water has been sterilized and the purification process is complete. At this point, the water is ready for consumption.
Normal filtration works by removing contaminants in the water by physical (size) or chemical (activated charcoal) means. By combining filtration and UV sterilization technologies in an easy to use format (i.e., the ordinary water pitcher), HoMedics has made this proven commercial purification technology available to the consumer. Restore is California-certified for microbiological water purification, a first for a water pitcher utilizing UV technology.
We’ll let you know how the taste compares to our other filtered water in the head-to-head comparison. Look for it in the Fall.