Reverse Osmosis water filtration process has many benefits for your home. This process removes impurities, contaminants, and dissolved solids from water, leaving you with clean, filtered water that tastes great. There are many reverse osmosis systems on the market, so it’s important to research to find the right one for your home. This article will discuss some of the benefits of reverse osmosis and how it can benefit your home.
What is Reverse Osmosis?
Here is a reminder of what osmosis means and entails understanding reverse osmosis better. Osmosis is a naturally occurring process. It involves a weaker saline solution migrating towards a strong saline solution. An example of osmosis is how plants absorb water from the soil or how kidneys get water from the blood.
Reverse osmosis is the opposite of osmosis. While osmosis happens naturally without energy, in reverse osmosis, energy is applied to the more saline solution. The saline solution passes through a semi-permeable reverse osmosis membrane. This membrane allows water molecules to pass through but not most dissolved pyrogens, bacteria, organics, and salts.
However, the water does not flow naturally through the membrane. It must be pushed through the membrane using pressure greater than the natural osmotic pressure to deionize or desalinate water. The pressure only allows pure water to pass through the reverse osmosis membrane and holds back most contaminants.
How it Works
Reverse Osmosis uses a high-pressure pump to elevate the pressure on the ROs salty side and force water through the semi-permeable membrane. As the water comes out through the other side of the membrane, it leaves behind 95%-99% of dissolved salts in the reject stream. The salt concentration of the water determines the pressure amount needed. Desalinated water that is deionized or demineralized is known as product or permeate water. The water stream carrying the concentrated contaminants left behind is called the concentrate or reject stream.
As the feedwater enters the reverse osmosis membrane, water molecules get through the semi-permeable membrane, and contaminants are not allowed through. These contaminants and salts are discharged through the brine or concentrate stream into the drain. The contaminants can also be reintroduced into the feed water supply for recycling through the RO system to save water.
The reverse osmosis system uses cross filtration instead of standard filtration. In standard filtration, contaminants accumulate in the filter media, but the water solution goes through the filter with two outlets in cross filtration. One outlet takes the filtered water while the other takes the contaminated water. To prevent contaminant buildup, cross-flow filtration permits water to remove the buildup and permit sufficient turbulence to keep the semi-permeable membrane clean.
What are The Benefits of Water Filtration through Reverse Osmosis ?
Reverse osmosis is beneficial to your home. An RO system gives you a limitless supply of great-tasting and safer water for your family. It also positively impacts the environment and reduces your household expenses. There are other benefits of RO water filtration, including:
1. Cleaner and Safer Water
Tap water contains numerous substances and sediment, making the water smell or smells unpleasant. Others are detrimental to your health, eventually. Water treated through reverse osmosis is clean and safe for hydrating, cooking, and making beverages. The process minimizes your exposure to probable contaminants, and the water exceeds the quality of some single-use water bottles.
An RO system helps remove many potentially harmful impurities and pathogens found in tap water, which include:
Compared to other water filtration methods like tap water filters or pitchers, reverse osmosis handles a variety of probable concerns. A reverse osmosis stage is a great option for water treatment, and most reverse osmosis solutions implement a multistage process. During the pre-filtering stage, the system uses various filtration media even before feed water passes through the semi-permeable membrane, a major aspect of reverse osmosis.
2. Improved Taste
Unfiltered tap water can contain substances, such as chlorine, which negatively affect the smell or taste of water. Under-sink RO systems clean water and store it in a tank ready for use. Other options treat water on the spot guaranteeing you high-quality water when you need it.
3. Lead Removal
Lead is a common contaminant in U.S. drinking supplies. This contaminant gets into the water through corrosion of water pipes. Lead does not have to be in large quantities to be harmful; even trace amounts of this metal are still dangerous to human health. The Environmental protection Agency (EPA) recommends eliminating lead in public drinking water.
The following health issues can result from lead consumption:
• Blood pressure spikes
• Nerve damage
• Brain damage
• Muscle damage
• Fertility problems
• Developmental issues
Commercial reverse osmosis systems can purify public water systems and lower other elements’ concentration, such as salt.
4. Eliminates Bacteria and Parasites
Reverse osmosis filters out parasites, such as cryptosporidium. The parasite affects the small intestines and triggers diarrhea, cramps, and fever. Children are the most affected by this parasite, where they suffer from dehydration and malnutrition when affected.
An RO filter can also eradicate another waterborne parasite known as giardia. Giardia also causes intestinal problems, mostly in children, and if left untreated, it can cause death. Health experts recommend reverse osmosis filtration if you live in a neighborhood with a dirty water system. Bacteria are too large to pass through RO semi-permeable membrane.
How can you Get Started with Reverse Osmosis in your Home?
A reverse osmosis system is usually connected at the point of use, such as under a bathroom or kitchen sink. You can also mount an RO system in a cabinet, basement, or garage. The same can be done on a refrigerator as it is simple and worthwhile. RO eliminates minerals from water, making your beverages more refreshing and your ice clear.
What is the Lifespan of Reverse Osmosis Systems?
RO systems typically last for 10-15 years. The actual systems can function for a long time, but you need to replace the filters and membrane occasionally. Ensure that you change the pre-filters and post-filters every six months. You should change the RO semi-permeable membrane according to your water conditions every 2-4 years.
Why is Reverse Osmosis better than Other Filtration Systems?
Current water filtration systems are designed to eliminate dissolved organics (pesticides, fertilizers), chlorine, and particles. But, they cannot remove most dissolved contaminants such as potassium, sodium, magnesium, and calcium salts. Tap water contains dissolved mineral salts, which can cause plaque buildup on ice machines, brewing equipment, water heaters, and faucets.
This buildup results in loss of equipment efficiency and expensive repairs. For example, mineral deposits create a thermal barrier covering heating elements in hot water-producing machines. As a result, the heating time is extended, increasing energy consumption.
Besides plaque formation, dissolved minerals can affect the taste of brewed coffee and other beverages. RO removes these contaminants and allows the full essence of tea, coffee, or espresso to be achieved while brewing.
Save Money with an RO System
When you install a reverse osmosis system in your home, you will have cleaner water around the clock. This translates to less money spent on refillable pitchers or single-use water bottles filters. You will save money and time with an RO system. You have to turn on your tap to fill your drinking glass or cook with clean and safe water.
Reverse Osmosis FAQs
1. Do RO units require electricity?
No, they do not. RO units run under water pressure. You will only need electricity if you add an ultraviolet lamp or an electric pressure-boost pump. Standard RO units have neither and usually do not require them.
2. Why are RO units so popular?
Reverse osmosis units produce great-tasting water, which is pure at a reasonable cost in a fully automatic trouble-free format.
3. What is the lifespan of an RO unit?
Practically forever with regular servicing and replacement of worn parts, such as the ledge faucet and the storage tank. The semi-permeable membrane lasts about 3-5 years, subject to the type of water under filtration.
4. Can I connect my RO unit to my icemaker/refrigerator?
Yes, you can. However, check with the manufacturer as pressure concerns some refrigerators. An RO unit produces about 2/3 of the inbound line pressure.
5. What substances do RO systems remove?
Reverse osmosis systems remove fluoride, magnesium, calcium, cryptosporidium, sodium, copper, and lead.
6. What are the estimated annual maintenance costs?
You only need to replace pre-filters and post-filters annually to guarantee proper performance. But, the amount of use and water quality will determine the regularity of filter changes. The annual maintenance cost is less than $0.30 per day, depending on your RO model.
7. Is it advisable to use a water softener?
You can use a water softener on the water passing through the reverse osmosis unit. A water softener can, in essence, prolong the life of the RO semi-permeable membrane. Magnesium (limescale) and calcium are the hardest minerals to eliminate through the RO system. In the water softener, sodium is easier on the membrane as it discards 98% of sodium in the water.