Brondell Reverse Osmosis System – H20+ Capella RO
In this post, we’re going to share our in-depth review of this Brondell reverse osmosis system and we’ll cover all the essential details about it including both the good and the bad.
Recently, there have been many innovations in-home water filtration, which has led to several solutions for effective water filtration, especially in the form of very powerful reverse osmosis systems. However, even with the innovations and upgrades, most RO filtration systems on the market today still have issues with efficiency when it comes to wastewater.
Brondell is one of the brands that has been innovating the RO space in the US and for the last several years, the company has been engineering products for a more efficient and sustainable solution to this powerful water filtration method.
They introduced the H20+ Capella RO system in 2015 which was their first innovation in the RO space and it cut down the wastewater-to-clean water ratio to 1:1, which was pretty decent as most other RO systems had a ratio of 3 to 1.
The company went a step further and released the H20+ Capella RO system (also known as the Capella RC250) last year which is their latest innovation and this further cuts down the wastewater-to-clean water ratio to just 1:1, making it nearly 20 times more efficient than most other conventional RO systems on the market today.
In this post, we’re going to share our in-depth review of this Brondell reverse osmosis system and we’ll cover all the essential details about it including both the good and the bad. Besides its water-saving smart technology, we found that its filtration performance is pretty impressive, plus it has been certified by the Water Quality Association. Let’s take a closer look at what it really offers.
The H20+ Capella utilizes three filtration stages: an activated carbon plus filter, an RO membrane, and a carbon block filter. This 3-stage filtration process has been tested and as well certified by the WQA (Water Quality Association) according to NSF/ANSI standards 42, 53, 58, and 401. It has also been certified by the WQA according to NSF/ANSI standards 372 and CSA B483.1.
All these certifications basically mean that the filtration process of the Capella RC250 is quite reliable and it’s able to effectively remove a wide range of contaminants from the water (actually up to 86 different contaminants). It basically does a much more thorough filtration than most conventional 3-stage RO systems.
The first stage is the activated carbon plus filter which serves as the pre-filter. It clears out up to 99.8% of particulate materials that are as small as 0.5 μm which includes sand, silt, iron, rust, and other fine particles. It protects the subsequent filters, especially the RO membrane from getting clogged and damaged, hence extending their lifespan. This filter also reduces most of the chlorine present in the water.
In the second stage is Brondell’s E2RO membrane filter, also known as the eco-efficient RO membrane filter. This is a powerful RO filter that works by pushing the contaminated water through a semi-permeable membrane that effectively separates the water molecules from the contaminants in the water as it passes through it.
The membrane is so effective that it removes the bulk of the contaminants present in the water. It removes cysts (up to 99.9%), pentavalent arsenic (99.1%), and heavy metals like lead (over 99%), and mercury (96.9%). It also reduces barium (100%), radium 226/228 (100%), cadmium (96.5%), copper (99.2%), hexavalent (98.5%), and trivalent (99.5%) chromium.
Other contaminants it removes include fluoride (97.8%), total dissolved solids (up to 96.4%), MTBE (96.9%), turbidity (96.6%), asbestos (99.96%), and chemical contaminants such as PFOA/PFOS (99.0%), and VOCs (over 99%).
Pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, and emerging contaminants like BPA (up to 95.0%) and TCPP/TCEP (100%) are equally removed by the membrane. It generally performs a thorough filtration that gets rid of almost all contaminants in the water.
Stage three features the carbon block filter which is the final stage of filtration and it further reduces the remaining contaminants like chlorine and VOCs thereby significantly improving the taste and odor of the filtered water. Up to 98% of the chlorine content in the water is removed.
However, while it’s able to remove cysts, many chemicals, and even emerging contaminants, the membrane of the Capella RC250 is not quite effective against microbial contaminants. You can only use it to filter municipal water. It’s not suitable for use with well water or any water that’s microbiologically unsafe – you’ll need adequate disinfection either before or after the system if you suspect that your water has microbial contaminants.
It’s also worth noting that this system is only able to filter out pentavalent arsenic at concentrations of around 0.05 mg/L or less. It may not be able to remove other forms of arsenic, particularly trivalent arsenic which can be present in well water.
Flow Rate and Capacity
The daily water production rate of the H20+ Capella is 21.9 gallons per day which is pretty low compared to standard RO systems as they usually have a production rate of 50 to 100 GPD. What this means is that the H20+ Capella is only ideal for small families that don’t have high water demands.
The good thing though is that the storage tank has a capacity of 3.2 gallons which is similar to that of most conventional RO systems, so even with a low production rate, the tank will help keep your water supply steady for most parts – the rated service flow is around 0.5 gallon per minute which is equally pretty decent.
What makes the H20+ Capella RC250 really stand out is its water-saving technology which greatly cuts down wastewater production. The unique E2RO (Eco-Efficient Reverse Osmosis) membrane features a specialized flow pattern and permeation which reduces the ratio of wastewater to filtered water to 1:1 – for each gallon of clean water it produces, it only generates a single gallon of wastewater.
This ratio makes it one of the most efficient RO systems on the market considering that many standard/conventional RO systems usually waste 2 to 5 gallons of water to produce one gallon of clean water.
The only other RO systems that offer such efficiency are the iSrping RCS5T, Home Master TMAFC-ERP, TMAFC-ERP-L, and HydroGardener TMA-HG-PRO (all of which utilize a permeate pump to push water through the RO membrane, except the iSpring RCS5T). This Brondell H20+ Capella RO system also uses less feed water, so generally, you get very clean water, but without the waste that’s often associated with the reverse osmosis system.
The system’s minimum operating pressure is 35 psi while the maximum is 100 psi. The minimum feedwater temperature it can support is 39°F while the maximum is 100°F. The tank comes already pre-charged to 6 psi.
Installation and Maintenance
The H20+ Capella RC250 is an under-sink water filter system, so you have to install it under your counter or sink. The installation process itself is a bit challenging as it requires altering some of your plumbing systems – you need to have plumbing experience or at least basic DIY skills to install it.
The provided installation manual is well-detailed and clearly takes you through all the steps necessary to successfully set it up. The process involves installing the T-valve, the air-gap faucet, the drain clamp, the filter head connection assembler, the filter themselves, the water storage tank, and connecting all the tubes for different connections including the water supply, faucet, brine input to flow restrictor, and the storage tank.
It’s basically a process that would require some technical skills. The most challenging part is setting up the faucet because you may need to drill at least a 1-inch hole in your sink or countertop if you don’t have an existing faucet hole. The package includes a chrome air gap faucet (prevents backflow) that works with the filter system, hence you can’t connect it to your existing kitchen faucet.
The drain clamp installation may as well require drilling into your drainpipe, so if you have no basic DIY skills then you may need to seek professional help or get a plumber to do the installation for you; otherwise, you may end up damaging your plumbing system or even the filtration system itself.
The entire process can take a few hours and almost everything you need to complete the set up including the manual is provided. However, you’ll need to have certain tools for the faucet and drain clamp installation as they are not provided – this includes a drill, 3/8-inch drill bit, and ¼-inch drill bit.
Note that the system can only be installed on your cold water supply line since running hot water through it will damage the filters. Once installed, the whole unit (filters and the tank) takes up a relatively small space – the tank takes up around 14.5 x 8.5 inches while the filters and the hanger take up to 13.5 x 3.75 x 13.5 inches of space, hence they can easily fit in a small under-counter/sink cabinet.
The overall quality of the entire system is good. The filters have thick, solid housings, the fittings are plastic but do feel durable while the storage tank is made of stainless steel. Once you properly mount the filter head connector assembly (made of metal) and attach the filters, the whole unit remains very sturdy.
The Brondell Reverse Osmosis System H20+ Capella RC250 requires very little maintenance because it’s only the filters that you’ll need to replace from time to time once you install it. The filters themselves have a decent lifespan and the replacement process is fairly easy because it’s a “twist and seal” filter system.
The RO membrane needs replacement after every 24 months and should be replaced with one that has identical specifications to ensure the same efficiency and performance in terms of contaminant reduction. The first and third-stage carbon filters can last up to 6 months before requiring replacement which is the same lifespan as most other carbon filters out there.
However, the filter replacement cycle may vary based on the quality of your source water and the rate of use. If it’s highly contaminated or your daily water usage is quite high, then you are likely to replace them frequently, especially the first carbon filter – it may only last up to 4 months.
You may have to test the product water regularly (probably after every 3 months) if your water quality is poor to ensure that you replace the filters on time or else the contaminants may not be reduced effectively.
Brondell has tried to make knowing when to change the filters easily by integrating an LED filter change indicator on the provided chrome air gap faucet. It works by tracking both the time and the water flow from the moment you installed the Capella. When it’s time to replace the filters, it begins to flash red to let you know. It’s a very convenient addition that allows you to always change the filters on time and ensure your water is clean and safe throughout.
Once you change the filters, you have to reset the indicator by replacing the battery which is a simple process and you can get the battery replacements from Brondell. It uses a CR2032 battery type and Brondell does provide one with each set of activated carbon plus filters (RF-30) you get.
The Brondell Reverse Osmosis System is a reliable RO system for filtering municipal water as it’s able to significantly improve the taste and odor of water as well as effectively remove a wide range of contaminants including chemicals, heavy metals, cysts, and emerging contaminants.
It’s a great option if you are looking for an efficient under-sink RO system or if wastewater is a big concern to you because it generates very little wastewater compared to many standard RO systems. It’s an ideal option for small to medium families whose daily filtered water demand isn’t too high.
Brondell offers a one-year warranty for the system as well as customer support. You can reach them via phone, email, or on their website. The customer service staff are responsive, so you can get help quickly in case of any problems with the system or if you have any questions.
Things we like
- Can remove all kinds of contaminants from the water
- Low wastewater production due to water-saving technology
- Features an LED indicator to alert you when filters need changing
- Comes with detailed instructions and necessary components
- The maximum allowed water pressure for the Capella RC250 is 100 psi
- Impressive filtration capacity thanks to the 3-stage filter
Things we don't like
- Not suitable for households with high water usage
- A bit challenging to install and replace