Hey Mtnman, you bring up some valid points, my suggestion would be to present these thoughts to the company. I've purchased the machine, I don't recall "putting it together"
other than attaching the top to the bottom, that's fine most of us can handle that, some can't so they whine about it. I've had mine well over 5yrs and call them when I need the rubber gusset replaced. Maintenance is simple, depending on your city waters corrosion factor, you do need to scrape off the lime deposits periodically (2Xyr). I've had no problems, if I did the company helped me out over the phone and gave pointers. So far as the effectiveness of the produced water, as I have stated previously, I'm a pilot who had chronic swollen ankles and lower legs after long flights, I don't anymore. That's what I noticed almost immediately and will not do without it. I'm sure there are other benefits to the water but I'm not getting scanned just to confirm. As I stated earlier, you raise some very good questions, give them a ring and present them, if you don't like the response that pretty much answers your questions, if you're satisfied try it. Good luck to you.