What is “Reverse Osmosis”? How does it work?

Reverse osmosis (RO) filtration system involves the use of a semi-permeable membrane that filters out and eliminates impurities in your water supply. Whole home RO filtration systems encompass a multi-step purification process that occurs prior to distributing clean water throughout your home. Most modern RO systems combine membranal technology with carbon activated filtration to produce high-quality and tasty drinking water. RO technology was originally developed by the U.S. Navy to provide potable water for submarine crews.

How much purified water will RO systems produce on an average day?

The amount tends to vary with each manufacturer. However, several different factors will ultimately determine how much purified water your RO system can produce in a day. They include:
  • Water Pressure. The higher your water pressure, the more water your RO system will produce.
  • Water Temperature. Higher temperatures will also equate to more water. Hot water is a lot thinner than lukewarm water, which allows it to pass through the RO membrane at a higher flow rate.
  • Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). A higher concentration of solids can limit the rate at which water passes through the RO filter.
Unless you experience any major plumbing issues, your RO system should always produce an optimal amount of clean and healthy drinking water for your entire household.

Can I install an RO system on my own?

You can always visit a big box store and purchase an RO system that you can easily install in your home by yourself. However, you should always consider hiring a professional water filtration specialist to inspect your home and recommend a system that will fit your needs. Your local professional takes a look at several different factors, such as water pressure, temperature, the distance of the holding tank to the faucet, and overall water quality. This is a crucial step in understanding what your system will require. You are always taking a risk when undergoing a DIY water treatment project, so you are always much better off consulting a professional.

How much maintenance will I need to undergo for my RO system?

Any whole home filtration system is going to require some degree of maintenance. An RO system will require you to switch out the carbon and membranal filters periodically. Keeping the filters fresh will protect the membrane and prevent it from diminishing significantly. We recommend that you check your carbon filters every 6 to 12 months before you change them out. The RO membrane will require you to replace it once every year or so. You should never overlook regular maintenance procedures when it comes to your RO system. Otherwise, you will quickly begin to notice deficiencies with your unit, such as reduced water production and restricted water flow. We recommend that you hire a qualified water filtration specialist to undergo regular evaluations and checkups.

How do RO systems compare to distillers?

Both RO and distillation systems will remove dissolved solids from your water supply. They are both viable whole filtration methods in terms of removing various other contaminants as well. That being said, RO systems and distillers are a lot different in terms of the filtration process. RO filtration makes use of a semi-permeable membrane filter, whereas a distiller is like a tea kettle. The distiller vaporizes your water supply via boiling it, and then the steam condenses and forms water again. Most impurities are left behind during the boiling process. Furthermore, distillers are not very effective at removing the more volatile chemical compounds, such as chloramine which many water treatment facilities use as a disinfectant. Distillation in general does a good job at purifying your water supply, but RO filtration offers a more comprehensive solution to producing potable drinking water.

Do RO systems remove those essential minerals from our water supplies?

The answer to this question is somewhat complex. RO filtration indeed removes about 95% of the mineral content from your water supply, but there is more to it than what you are and aren’t removing. There are two sites to this debate that we want to delve into. Some nutritionists and health experts will say that the mineral content in your water supply is not as important as you may think. Most minerals in your water supply are typically inorganic and they won’t benefit you in any way. Most organic minerals that you need you will receive during normal food consumption. Your body will adapt to a wide variety of biological circumstances and low mineral content in your water supply likely won’t have a disastrous effect on your health (if any effect at all). The main issue is the presence of chemicals and bacteria, not minerals.

Will installing an RO system benefit the environment?

The short answer is yes. Whole home RO filtration systems do, however, produce some wastewater. That’s because they need to flush out the contaminants collecting inside your system so that you can receive a steady supply of clean and healthy drinking water. That being said, eliminating any dependency you have bottled water will go a long way in reducing your carbon footprint. Think about how often you are going out of your way and driving to the store to purchase bottled water. It’s a much more wasteful habit than you think. It is estimated that millions of bottles of water are sold every year, and many people don’t properly recycle the material. Also, plastic bottles will usually end in landfills, oceans and other natural ecosystems where they don’t belong. Investing in a whole home reverse osmosis system means that you are doing your part to protect the environment.

Can I hook up my RO system to my refrigerator?

Yes, you can certainly hook up your RO system to the ice and water dispensers in your refrigerator. You can install the unit underneath a counter in your kitchen near where you will hook it up to your refrigerator. An installation specialist will integrate the system into your plumbing so that everything will run and operate smoothly. What the specialist will do is run a tube that connects your RO filtration unit directly to your refrigerator. Water pressure is certainly something that your specialist will need to consider during the installation process. As a general rule of thumb, the water pressure originating from your RO filtration unit should be about two-thirds of the incoming line pressure.

How does the water from an RO system taste? How would you compare it to bottled water?

Bottled water and the potable water produced by an RO system certainly have differences in their taste. As we all know, there is very little in the way of standards for bottled water. This is because of the sheer variety of bottled water that’s available, which includes artesian water, mineral water, and spring water among others. These several variations are regulated differently, so you can expect them to taste a little differently as well. It’s always a bit of a gamble when you purchase one of these waters for the first time when it comes to how they taste. However, you can count on each option offering you a level quality that exceeds ordinary tap water. As for the potable water produced by an RO filtration unit, you can expect there to be a consistency of taste and quality. It will remove those impurities that can ruin your water supply.

What are the benefits of installing an RO system?

A whole home RO filtration system is seriously going to transform the daily lives of you and your family. Earlier we discussed the importance of eliminating your dependence on bottled water. Why is this important? It limits the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills and natural ecosystems. The production of plastic is one of the leading contributors of waste in the world. Installing an RO system is also cost-effective and will benefit your monthly budget. Think about all the money you are spending on bottled water – especially if you live in a larger household with plenty of young children. This is an expense that you can eliminate altogether by installing an RO system for your entire home. Also, whole home filtration methods offer you a lot of convenience. Why spend all of this time and effort going out of your way to obtain bottled water when you can install an RO filtration system? It’s simply going to make your life a lot easier.

Are there any disadvantages to RO filtration systems?

Every filtration method is going to have its drawbacks. Even the most effective systems have their flaws. The biggest drawback to an RO filtration unit is it’s somewhat wasteful with water. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, some RO systems will waste more water than they treat. This can potentially have an impact on your monthly water bill. There are, however, RO systems that can recover a certain percentage of the water that they waste. You will also notice a drop in water pressure with certain RO systems, which will impact your overall water efficiency. Furthermore, you don’t have a lot of options when it comes to disposing the wastewater that your system produces. And, if you are landlocked, the wastewater runoff you create can potentially harm the environment.

Is the water produced by RO filtration better for cooking?

It is a lot better for cooking and here’s why. Many restaurants rely on an RO filtration unit to provide them with clean and healthy water to prepare and improve the taste of their food. It is easy to overlook how much of a role water plays in cooking. RO systems are going to help you simplify the entire process and they also allow you to experiment with different ingredients. RO filtration systems are becoming a universal standard among home cooking and the culinary industry.

What are the health benefits of installing an RO system?

The health benefits are quite numerous when it comes to RO filtration. RO systems are removing the majority of impurities that tend to make their way into your home water supply. This includes bacteria and other microbial contaminants that can compromise your immune system and cause you to become sick. Whole home filtration systems will also greatly benefit the more vulnerable populations of people. This includes senior citizens and the chronically ill. However, even the less vulnerable members of society are going to benefit immensely from RO filtration and purification. For example, lead contamination can have severe effects on the healthiest people in the world. We also can’t forget the level of sodium that is often found in municipal water supplies. Lowering your sodium intake will reduce your risk of kidney issues and high blood pressure.

What benefits get overlooked with RO filtration systems?

A whole home RO filtration system will not only save you a lot of space, but they also come in a sleek design. With some of the more outdated systems, you will need to set aside a great deal of space just to install and set everything up. Most RO systems are designed now with your home in mind. The stylish and modern appearance of your RO unit will give your home an updated look as well. Tankless RO systems are also extremely compact, which means that they won’t take up a lot of space. And to think that you are still receiving the same level of efficiency – if not more – from a system that is smaller and less cumbersome!

What are some common myths surrounding RO filtration?

There are several myths regarding RO filtration systems and we would like to dispel them. A very common myth is that you don’t need to install an RO unit because your municipal weather supply is already purified to a high quality. This is not exactly true. Municipalities supply over 80% of the water in our country, and a lot of it goes through treatment facilities and various water lines. Municipal water sources also usually contain disinfecting chemicals in them just so that the water is safe once it finally arrives at your home. Another myth is that your RO filtration unit needs to be underneath the sink in your kitchen. This one is a little silly, but the reason so many people believe this to be true is that many big box stores sell RO units that you install on your own. A water treatment specialist can set up multiple purified water lines that run throughout your home to different locations.