Benefits of Reverse Osmosis Systems:
If you’ve ever taken a sip from a glass of water that came from the home of someone with a reverse osmosis system, you know how pure and refreshing it tastes.
Or, perhaps you have concerns about water quality and want to make sure your family is drinking healthy water that reduces contaminants as much as possible.
Reverse osmosis (R.O.) drinking water truly is the purest choice for any home. Its water the way nature intended us to drink it.
But how exactly do these systems work, and what do they do to your home’s water?
What is Reverse Osmosis?
Osmosis is defined as the process of molecules passing through a semi-permeable membrane from a less-concentrated solution into a more-concentrated solution.
An example of osmosis from nature is the roots of plants drawing water from the soil.
Reverse osmosis is simply the opposite of that process.
The Reverse Osmosis Process
Molecules are forced through a semi-permeable membrane to form a less concentrated solution. Essentially, the membrane acts like a type of filter as it has extremely tiny pores that help remove microscopic contaminants from the water you drink by straining them out.
In the case of reverse osmosis drinking water systems, the semi-permeable membrane only lets water molecules through while other contaminants are collected and flushed away.
How Reverse Osmosis Filtration Works
There’s a bit more to the process when using a reverse osmosis system to purify drinking water.
If you’ve ever seen an R.O. system, you’ve likely noticed the three cylindrical canisters on a manifold. One of these is the membrane and the other two are carbon filters. Let’s take a closer look at what each of these cartridges do.
Step 1: Pre-filtration
The first step in purifying water with reverse osmosis is meant to protect the membrane. It removes larger sediment, including some dissolved solids, and helps reduce chlorine.
This first cartridge is referred to as the sediment filter or carbon block filter. It helps conserve the membrane, which can get clogged by excess sediment or damaged by exposure to too much chlorine, which you’ll find in municipal water.
Reverse osmosis works best when you start with good water and then make it great. That’s why you should never use a reverse osmosis system with hard water unless it is under 3 grains per litre. If your water is too hard, start with one of our other water treatment solutions.
We often recommend having a water softener installed before installing an R.O. system. Scale buildup from hard water can damage these systems in the same way they damage other appliances. Learn more about how hard water ruins appliances here on our blog.
Step 2: The Reverse Osmosis Membrane
Following the initial filtration, comes the real magic of an R.O. system.
Your water is forced through the semi-permeable membrane under pressure. The membrane is a synthetic plastic material that allows the passage of water molecules. However, sodium, chlorine, and calcium as well as larger molecules like glucose, urea, bacteria and viruses cannot pass.
We have reverse osmosis drinking water systems that are tested and certified for reduction of:
- nitrates and nitrites
- chromium (hexavalent & trivalent)
- cyst (cryptosporidium)
- total dissolved solids (TDS)
Steps 3 & 4: Post Filtration and Final Polish
Before your home’s water is ready to drink, it goes through a second carbon filter (or post filter), which removes any remaining contaminants in the unlikely case they slipped past the membrane.
Then the water fills up a storage tank where it waits until you’re ready to use it.
Finally, there’s the in-line activated carbon filter, which gives your water one last polish as it comes out your faucet. This is used to remove any remaining odors or flavors that may come from the system hoses or the holding tank.
The polish is a “just in case” step to make sure the water you drink tastes incredibly fresh!
Reverse Osmosis Reduces Sodium from Soft Water
Water softeners are specifically designed to remove hard minerals from the water. Water softeners solve a lot of hard water problems, but they are not meant for purification.
The water softener in your home gives you water that’s excellent for cleaning, bathing, and laundry. However, not everyone enjoys the taste of softened water.
Remember, in the ion exchange process your water softener uses, hard minerals are replaced with sodium molecules. You could still have a high level of total dissolved solids, which will impact the taste. Reverse osmosis filters out the sodium that your water softener adds.
A reverse osmosis drinking water system partnered with a water softener allows you to enjoy the benefits of both soft water and purified drinking water. Plus, R.O. systems are more efficient when they start with soft water.
You’ll Stop Buying Bottled Water
If you don’t like the taste of your tap water, or you’re concerned about what might be in it, there’s a good chance you’re buying bottled water all the time.
Bottled water is expensive. Those plastic bottles create a lot of waste as they all too often go unrecycled and end up in landfills. Plus, the bottom line is much of that bottled water isn’t as pure as you think. It’s just filtered tap water.
A reverse osmosis system will pay for itself in no time because you’ll only be paying paisas per litre. Plus, whenever you need clean drinking water, it’s right there.
It’s better for Cooking
The impurities in your home’s water are going to affect the taste of the food you make.
That makes a lot of sense when you think about, because the water you cook with often ends up in your food. When you boil pasta, make soups, or bake homemade bread, pure water can make a big difference.
If you’re using municipal tap water for cooking, there’s a good chance you have too much chlorine in it. That will not only cause food to taste odd, it discolors it as well.
You’ll also find that coffee and tea taste better with reverse osmosis water.
Crystal Clear Ice Cubes
Have you ever noticed how when you make ice cubes they tend to look white and cloudy?
The reason for that is the impurities and gasses in your water which crystallize as it freezes. Ice forms from the outside in, and as this happens the impurities are forced to the center of the ice cube, resulting in the cloudy appearance.
If you like making eye-catching cocktails, crystal clear ice cubes will look fantastic in your drinks. But there’s more! Cloudy ice cubes have been shown to be softer and melt faster than clear ice cubes with pure water from a reverse osmosis system. That means ice cubes made with an R.O. will keep your drinks cool longer without watering them down as much.
Reverse Osmosis Water Tastes Delicious
Perhaps the best reason to have reverse osmosis drinking water in your home is how great the water tastes! When you remove all those impurities, you’re left with nothing but clean & refreshing water.
In addition to the membrane that filters contaminants, reverse osmosis systems send your drinking water through three carbon filters before it comes out of the tap. The last carbon filter is simply a “polishing” filter to make sure any lingering tastes or odors are removed.
Are There Any Disadvantages?
The only thing skeptics of reverse osmosis can point to as a disadvantage is that reverse osmosis systems filter out minerals, which they assume are valuable to their health.
In reality, you should be getting most of the mineral your body needs from the food you eat.
Furthermore, the dissolved minerals found in drinking water are organic, which means your body has a difficult time absorbing them. This negates any potential health benefits.
For those who are concerned about losing out on mineral intake, you can always look for mineral supplements. Some people will put a pinch of sea salt in their reverse osmosis water.
The bottom line is that the impressive benefits of reverse osmosis water far outweigh any minor objections.
Is Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Right for Your Home?
Soft water is excellent for cleaning, showering, and laundry. However, some people would rather not drink it. Depending on how hard your water is to start with, it could still have high total dissolved solids (TDS), which can negatively affect the taste. That’s because the hard minerals are replaced by sodium, and there may be other contaminants in your water that a softener will not remove.
A reverse osmosis system can remove that sodium along with other contaminants and dissolved solids, which makes a water softener and an R.O. system an ideal combination for most homes.
When you install a reverse osmosis system, you’ll enjoy better-tasting coffee and tea, clearer ice cubes, and pure, healthy water right from your kitchen sink. If you’re still using bottled water for drinking, you’ll be making a smart investment that saves you money in the long run and is better for the environment.
Reverse osmosis systems are commonly installed under kitchen sinks but can also be installed in other suitable locations.