Clean water is essential for good health and for disease prevention. Although the tap water available in most homes is generally safe to use, it is still possible for the supply to get contaminated. This can potentially make water unsafe to use for drinking, washing and bathing. To help keep their water supply safe, many home and business owners rely on water purification systems such as reverse osmosis water filters to keep their water clean.
Reverse osmosis or RO is one of the most popular methods of water filtration and purification. RO relies on the simple process of osmosis performed under pressure, which is the tendency of fluids to move from a solution with a weaker concentration to a solution with a higher concentration by passing through a semi-permeable membrane, such as a living cell or, in the case of water filtration systems, an especially designed filter.
Equipment built to process water using reverse osmosis is designed to remove ions and large molecules from water and other solutions through the application of pressure. This is only possible if the solution is on one side of semi-permeable membranes. These act as filters that allow a more purified form of the solution to pass through.
Reverse osmosis water filters rely on these membranes to keep contaminants away from water that will ultimately be used. These membranes are designed to be ‘selective’, in that they can be used to allow certain molecules (such as water molecules) to pass through and keep larger molecules (such as pollutants and microorganisms) on one side.
Reverse osmosis water filters utilize high pressure to force water through a physical filter so contaminants and impurities are eliminated from the water.
RO water filter systems are a good choice for homes or buildings where water tends to be brackish or have a high salt content. Once the liquid has been processed, the system can significantly improve its taste and appearance and even eliminate unpleasant odor.
These systems usually do a better job of filtering water than do refrigerator water filtering systems. Even premium brands like GE Monogram refrigerator freezers will not be able to compete with a good under sink reverse osmosis system.
The RO process can also effectively filter out harmful microorganisms and common pollutants such as bacteria, viruses, asbestos, calcium, cadmium, fluoride, colloidal matter, hydrocarbons, pesticide and detergent molecules, sulfates and industrial wastes. The system can even eliminate minerals such as salt, manganese, lead and iron. It is an excellent solution for those who prefer mineral-free water.
Reverse osmosis water filters are not as effective in eliminating volatile organic chemicals or VOCs and chlorine because the size of the molecules are smaller than those of water. Because it is effective in removing minerals, RO drastically reduces the alkalinity of the water and causes it to turn acidic instead.
RO is also considered an inefficient process, in that it is wasteful. To produce 1 gallon of filtered water, it wastes an average of 3 gallons.
All things considered, RO remains a very effective way of keeping water clean and safe. RO systems are available in several different models, from smaller counter top systems to larger whole house systems. The filtration process also differs among different models. Some products, for example, may feature a 3-stage system while others may have a 6-stage system. Some systems are also designed to be portable and can be installed and transferred while others have to be installed in one location permanently.
One popular model that will not break the bank for residential purchasers is the Watts Premier RO-Pure 4-Stage Reverse Osmosis System