No matter what kind of water ionizer or water filter system you have or are planning to buy you might find you benefit from reading [and watching demos] about alternate ways to install it.
Directly hooking your water ionizer to the plumbing is one such alternate way of installing a water ionizer. It requires what’s called a “Tee”. Here’s a simple demo and explanation of how to do that.
Installing a Tee
Why directly hook the ionizer to the plumbing? It eliminates the necessity to have hoses attached to my faucet. I really love it that way. The 1/4 inch hose hooks in under my sink; goes through a couple of filters and then comes out right where I want it, behind my water ionizer.
Here’s a quick video showing the full procedure, followed by an abbreviated transcript of the video.
Abbreviated Transcript of “Installing a Tee” video:
This is a simplistic explanation about how a tee gets installed. You have shut-offs on each water line under your sink both for hot water and cold water. Use the cold water line.
If you’re installing a water ionizer or water filter system directly to your plumbing you should be pretty "handy". Otherwise just get a handyman, because you do not want to develop a leak under your sink.
Installing a Tee will usually not need plumber’s tape or anything too tricky, because it usually has gaskets (O-rings) to prevent leaking. Just tighten it in enough, so the gasket seals. You will need pliers for this.
In some cases you may need an adapter to help fit the tee to your particular shut-off. Some tees come with adapters, but If you find an adapter is needed, your local hardware expert can assist you.
Tightening it the right amount is what’s going to keep it from leaking.
Once you have the tee installed, you will be able to supply water to your water ionizer, water filters or whatever you want to supply water to. The rest of the water ionizer installation will be easy.
After you’ve installed the Tee, before you forget it check for leaks. Continue checking for the next couple of days, just to be sure. Water damage can be an enormous cost.
Another thing to keep in mind with your tee, is that it has a shut-off. The shut-off position can be in the all-the-way open position [parallel with the water line]; fully-closed position [horizontal with the water line] or partially open position, which I like. It’s kind of a nice feature to be able to regulate your water flow. Flowing the water through filters a little bit more slowly is going to filter the water better. So, I usually will keep the shut-off in the partially open position for that reason. It can be adjusted to just the right speed for you.
To install the hose into the tee, you push it into a hole that’s called a Quick Connect. Quick-connects are also called John Guest Fittings. Don’t be satisfied with one push. I always give it another push. It has to be seated properly or it might leak. But once these quick connects are installed properly they won’t leak.
To remove the quick connect just pinch down on the ring and then pull out. It’s probably easier said than done with these quick connects, because they’re not always going to cooperate with you. There are tools you can get that will push the ring in with one hand rather than two thumbs and some people find that easier.
Caution: Direct-Plumbing is Not For All Water Ionizers
Not all water ionizers can be put under the constant pressure of direct-plumbing. Actually most water ionizers weren't made for this. The water ionizer's water-cell has to be specifically made strong enough to stand up to the pressure of direct-plumbing.
The strongest brand of water ionizers for installation under constant pressure is the AlkaViva brand. The other brands may last fine for a while, but due to the constant water pressure they are subjected to I've seen them sometimes develop an internal leak. This is because they were basically just made to be used with a faucet diverter.
What I do to combat this issue is install an external shut-off in the water feed line. This allows you to turn off the water supply to the water ionizer during the times you aren't using it much. It's not a perfect solution, but it solves the internal leak issue without having to go back to the faucet diverter.