How Do I Get Replacement Salt & Test Strips For My MIOX® Purifier?
Keeping your MIOX® purifier running strong is easy. Because the MIOX uses simple rock salt, and chlorine test strips that can be purchased off the shelf, we’re no longer asking you to rely on our customer service department for these replenishment supplies. Here’s what we’ve tested and recommend:
- Salt: Food-grade rock salt or coarse salt (the type used in a salt grinder). This can easily be purchased at any grocery or kitchen supply store.
- Test Strips: Off-the-shelf “Free Chlorine” test strips. You’ll want ones that register free chlorine levels of 3.0 ppm. We recommend SenSafe™ Free Chlorine Water Check test strips.
- Using the Test Strips: Follow the instructions in your MIOX users’ manual, substituting the off-the-shelf test strips for Step 8 and Step 10 in the illustrated instructions (or Step K and Step L in the written instructions).
Greater than or equal to 3.0 ppm free chlorine = OK. Less than 3.0 ppm free chlorine = Too Low.
See MIOX instructions here.
What are the metal parts that I see when looking into the open purifier?
The metal parts make up the electrolytic cell. When you look down into the top of the purifier you will see a 3/8" diameter titanium post in the center; this is the cathode. Around the inside of the cell, inside the plastic outer case, is a piece of titanium tubing; this is the anode. The anode and the cathode are the two halves of the electrical circuit that create the MIOX cocktail.
How do I decide if the MIOX Purifier is the best choice for me?
The MIOX Purifier is ideal for anyone who needs their water treatment system to:
- Purify (not just filter) for international travel and heavily used backcountry areas.
- Treat very large quantities of water without pumping.
- Be ultralight and ultra-compact.
- Be virtually maintenance free.
- Positive, visual confirmation that dosing is adequate to purify.
For example, a large group on a river trip can gather water in gallon containers at night, dose with the MIOX Purifier in minutes, and have purified water ready to go in the morning. The MIOX Purifier has a 7–10-year shelf life due to its lithium batteries, making it ideal for emergency preparedness and is compact and light enough for ultralight travel.
Using the MIOX Purifier in conjunction with a filter is an excellent system for international travel. Purifying pre-filtered water with a MIOX solution reduces dwell times to only 15 minutes by removing resistant protozoa and is an excellent strategy for extremely challenging water, greatly improving dirty-tasting or -smelling water. The MIOX Purifier also provides peace-of-mind. It is the only chemical purifier with safety-indicator strips to confirm that you have added enough disinfectant to purify your water after the appropriate dwell time.
How do you know the MIOX Purifier inactivates giardia, cryptosporidia, bacteria, and viruses, and how long does it take?
Two full rounds of testing according to the Environmental Protection Agency Guide Standard were performed at BioVir, an independent lab, using the MIOX Purifier. One test was performed with giardia plus bacteria and viruses in both general (type 1) and worst-case (type 2) water as per the EPA Guide Standard. Knowing that cryptosporidia is a more resistant bug, testing was also performed with crypto plus bacteria and viruses in both waters. The required 3-log inactivation was achieved in both general and worst-case water conditions in 30 minutes for giardia and four hours for cryptosporidia. Bacteria and viruses were inactivated to the required 6-log and 4-log levels in only 15 minutes for both water types.
What is cryptosporidia?
According to the United Stated Center for Disease Control, “Cryptosporidiosis is a diarrheal disease caused by microscopic parasites of the genus Cryptosporidium. Both the disease and the parasite are commonly known as "Crypto."
Many species of Cryptosporidium exist that infect humans and a wide range of animals. The parasite is protected by an outer shell that allows it to survive outside the body for long periods of time and makes it very resistant to chlorine disinfection.
While this parasite can be transmitted in several different ways, water is a common method of transmission and Cryptosporidium is one of the most frequent causes of waterborne disease (drinking water and recreational water) among humans in the United States.”
Because both animals and humans carry crypto, it is found in most surface water sources. The potential for contamination can be estimated by the surrounding influences, such as agricultural operations, high concentrations of wildlife and/or well-traveled backcountry areas where improper human waste disposal has become problematic.
If I run out of salt, can I use any salt or seawater?
Other forms of salt besides rock salt will work, including table salt, sea salt, crystal salt, tablet salt, and even No Salt, which is a potassium chloride mixture. Seawater is not salty enough to work and will give a low-salt fault if used. If you use table salt, you may need to shake more vigorously because of the compaction that occurs with small granules, and you may need to shake more than 10 times to get the right concentration of brine.
What oxidants does the MIOX Purifier make and how does it make them?
Electrolysis breaks the chemical bonds of the salt water, or brine (NaCl + H2O), and stimulates chemical reactions, creating primarily chlorine (Cl2 + HOCl + OCl-). Based on microbiological testing, it is likely that other chloroxygen compounds more potent than chlorine are also being created. With current technology, we have been unable to identify these other compounds; therefore, we can claim only that we make a strong chlorine/hypochlorous acid solution. We know, however, that the MIOX solution effectively inactivates cryptosporidia, while chlorine does not—even after days of exposure. The bubbles you see while the purifier is operating are hydrogen ions being freed.
How does the MIOX cocktail compare to chlorine dioxide, chlorine, and iodine treatment?
The MIOX cocktail and chlorine dioxide tablets are effective against cryptosporidia, while chlorine and iodine are not. The MIOX Purifier performs as well as the chlorine dioxide tablets on the market and has the added benefit of an unlimited self life (other than the batteries which must be replaced every 7–10 years). Chlorine dioxide tablets expire after two years. Also, MIOX-treated water tastes better than water treated with iodine, does not make the treated water urine-colored, and does not have the possible thyroid side effects of iodine. In addition, the MIOX Purifier is the only chemical treatment technology with safety-indicator strips for solid confirmation that you have added enough disinfectant to purify your water after the appropriate dwell time. The main reason someone would choose tablets over the MIOX Purifier is cost. However, after 200 liters of operation, or one set of lithium batteries, you will break even with the cost of using comparable tablets and then the MIOX Purifier will start paying for itself.
How long do the salt and batteries last?
The salt packet and batteries provided will last for about 200 liters of operation depending on use. Doses for larger volumes will deplete the batteries faster than those for smaller volumes, with the four-liter treatments causing the most depletion. A full salt chamber will treat about 20 liters depending on use.
How do I treat more than four-liter volumes of water?
To treat volumes greater than four liters, simply calculate how many doses are needed to total the desired volume and add the doses one after the other. For example, if you have 10 liters of water to treat, add two four-liter doses and one two-liter dose. To determine if the proper dosing has been achieved, be sure to check with the safety-indicator strips according to the directions, after the last dose is added.
What about taste—does it make good coffee?
Under most conditions, you will not notice any unpleasant taste. However, some people report a slight tap-water flavor. In tea-colored/tannic water with high organic content, it is possible to detect a more noticeable flavor as the oxidants react with the tannic acid. For those with a sensitive palate, adding vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and drink mixes after the required dwell time can improve taste. In addition, exposure to sunlight and aerating the water after the required treatment time will help improve taste. MIOX®-treated water will also impart a strange taste if used for making coffee. However, boiling water itself is an effective method of purification so there is no need to brew your coffee with Miox-treated water.
What is background demand?
Background demand refers to how much of the oxidant or disinfectant is used up by the background impurities in a given source such as silt, organic matter and dissolved solids. For example, a fast-running clear mountain spring in the heart of the Cascades will have a small background demand, mostly from dissolved solids, while a molasses-paced, tea-colored river channel in the Everglades will have a much higher demand from decaying organic matter and the unfortunate runoff from encroaching developments. The greater the background demand, the more disinfectant needed for effective purification. The MIOX Purifier will create enough disinfectant in one dose to treat the majority of water sources in the U.S. However, when traveling to developing countries or using a highly suspect water source, a second dose may be needed.
Since water sources vary, how do I know I've added enough MIOX cocktail?
After you have dosed your water with the appropriate level of cocktail, check it with the included safety-indicator strips. Remove one safety-indicator strip from the bottle and swirl the end with the pad in the treated water for one second. After 15 seconds, compare the color of the pad to the color chart on the bottle to determine if the water has been treated with enough MIOX cocktail. The color should match or be darker than the color block next to the "OK" reading. If it is, wait 10 minutes and repeat the check one more time. If both readings are OK, wait the required dwell time before drinking. If the reading is TOO LOW at either reading, repeat the dosing procedure and recheck with another safety-indicator strip until you achieve an OK or OK+ reading.
What if I don't have the safety-indicator strips?
Don't panic. We have an overkill option just for this purpose. Simply add two four-liter doses per liter of water, shake and wait the required treatment time.
If the water is cold, do I have to wait longer?
No, you do not have to wait longer when your water source is cold. The wait times listed are for use in worst-case water conditions, which include a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius).
What about that scum (bio-film) in my container?
Tests performed on municipal systems during the switch from chlorine to MIOX treatment show that mixed oxidants are superior for bio-film removal. So the scum should disappear with the use of the MIOX Purifier.
Does the MIOX Purifier cocktail reduce chemical contaminants or heavy metals?
The MIOX Purifier was created with the military in mind. One of the main concerns for military personnel are chemical weapons. Many of the chemical weapons are beefed-up versions of pesticides and herbicides, which are often used as surrogates in testing. The U.S. Dugway Proving Ground performed testing on the MIOX Purifier to determine its efficacy against chemical contaminants. It is very effective at reducing the chemical weapons Soman, VX, and Lewisite. Environmental Health Labs performed testing using the MIOX Purifier to determine efficacy against pesticides, herbicides, and VOCs, and it performed well with complex open-structured compounds such as Malathion but not with simple closed-structured compounds such as Benzene. The MIOX Purifier is not effective at reducing heavy metal contamination. In general, it is best to avoid water sources such as mining tailing ponds or those near large agricultural operations.
I make it a point to consume antioxidants. Is there a problem adding oxidants to my water?
Much of what we do in life contains some level of risk. Many feel that the benefits of disinfecting water greatly outweigh the risks. However, if the residual disinfectant is of great concern, a one-micron filter containing carbon can be used 15 minutes after treatment with the MIOX Purifier to remove any residual oxidants from the water. It is also a very effective way to treat really nasty water. Some people choose not to use chemical treatment at all, which is not usually a problem here in the U.S. In developing countries, however, where there is a high risk of human waste contamination, and therefore a concern of viral contamination, a chemical treatment step can save you from the viral two-step.
I am sensitive to chemicals in water—is the MIOX Purifier the right choice for me?
People sensitive to chemicals, or those who would prefer to avoid them altogether, can use boiling as another option for effective water purification. While some might think UV purification is an effective option, it is extremely difficult to inactivate Cryptosporidium in this manner – especially in silty water or in volumes of over 1 liter at a time.
I am on a salt-restricted diet. Will the salt in the MIOX solution be a problem?
Approximately 5–50 milligrams/liter of sodium is added, depending on the dosage. Sodium addition is less pronounced at higher treatment volumes because the mixed oxidants are more concentrated at those levels. Two ways to minimize sodium addition are to shake the purifier fewer times, resulting in a less concentrated brine solution, and/or to use the four-liter dose.
What about disinfection by-products?
Since chlorine and hypochlorous acid are present in the MIOX cocktail, disinfection by-products can be formed. For added protection, use a one-micron filter containing carbon 15 minutes after treatment with the MIOX Purifier to remove disinfection by-products.
Will the MIOX solution damage my gear if spillage occurs?
Since the MIOX cocktail contains chlorine and can discolor or damage fabrics, we recommend you use caution when creating and using it.
I dropped my MIOX Purifier and now it won't work—what's wrong?
On some early models of the MIOX Purifier the battery bumper was not cushy enough to withstand a direct three-foot drop on concrete that directly impacted the battery cap. This can cause a dent in the batteries to the degree that they no longer touch the contact strip. A new set of batteries will fix the problem.
I am treating tea-colored water and my MIOX Purifier isn't working properly—what's wrong?
Some waters, such as swamps and bogs, contain high levels of organics making them tea-colored. The organics in the water react with the salt while creating the saltwater solution, or brine. Water sources with high organic content require more shaking to achieve the required levels of salt in solution to run the MIOX Purifier. Some waters require as many as 50 shakes. In this case a smaller dose will run better than the larger four-liter dose. Another fix is to have a small container of water that does not contain high levels of organics to use for making the MIOX cocktail.
Can I use a filter with the MIOX purifier to decrease the treatment time?
Yes, if a one-micron filter or smaller is used then you only need to wait 15 minutes for inactivation of viruses and/or bacteria. The MIOX treatment can be added either before or after filtration. If added before filtration, wait 15 minutes before filtering and be sure to filter into a clean container. If added after filtration, wait 15 minutes before drinking the water.
Can I use rechargeable batteries in the MIOX®?
While it is possible to find some rechargeable batteries that can power the MIOX, in general they are quite unreliable due to inconsistencies in manufacturer’s power output ratings. In addition, because they tend to die with little warning and drain over time without use, we recommend using only CR123 Lithium batteries to ensure reliable performance.
Is there a manual I can download for my MIOX purifier?