If you’re like most homeowners, you want to make sure that the water that comes out of your taps is clean and safe to drink. You may have heard of reverse osmosis water treatment and are wondering if it’s something you need in your home.
Reverse osmosis offers many benefits over bottled water and other treatment methods. In addition to removing a significant number of contaminants from your water, it saves you money, improves the quality of your water, and is very green and sustainable.
In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of reverse osmosis water and why you should consider installing a reverse osmosis system in your home.
What is Reverse Osmosis
Reverse osmosis is a widely used water treatment process. It is an effective way to remove a wide variety of contaminants from water, including dissolved minerals, bacteria, viruses, and organic compounds.
How RO works
Reverse osmosis works by passing water through a semipermeable membrane. The pores in the membrane are small enough to remove most contaminants from the water, but large enough to allow water molecules to pass through.
As the water passes through the membrane, the contaminants are left behind and are flushed away. The clean water is then collected on the other side of the membrane.
Read my other articles about reverse osmosis.
The Definitive Guide to Whole House Reverse Osmosis Filter Systems
Complete Guide to Under-sink Reverse Osmosis Filters
Benefits of Reverse Osmosis
Reverse osmosis (RO) provides many benefits compared with bottled water and other water treatment methods. RO has been shown to remove up to 99% of many of the most common contaminants, making it one of the most effective water treatment methods available.
1 – RO Effectively Removes Many Contaminants
The primary benefit of RO is that it effectively removes a wide variety of contaminants from water. In most cases, it can reduce the concentration of contaminants to below the detection limit – complete removal of the impurity.
The following table lists the compounds that reverse osmosis can effectively remove from drinking water. It lists the removal efficiency (i.e., amount of contaminant removed) for each parameter.
|Contaminant||RO Removal Rate|
|Arsenic + 3||70-80%|
|Arsenic + 5||94-99%|
|TDS (Total Dissolved Solids)||95-99%|
2 – RO is Energy Efficient
Reverse osmosis does not require a power source to operate. It uses the available water pressure in your home’s water supply to push water through the membrane. This makes RO one of the most energy-efficient water treatment methods available.
This is a major benefit compared to treatment technologies like distillation – which converts the water to steam and then condenses it back into water.
3 – RO Provides Instant Access to Clean Water
Reverse osmosis treats water in “real time” by passing raw water through the RO membrane. It treats your water instantly as it flows through the filter. This allows you to have an unlimited supply of clean water on demand.
In contrast, other methods like distillation or deionization treat your water in a batch mode. This means that you have to wait for the water to be processed before you can use it.
One limitation with RO is that it creates a pressure drop in your water. This can restrict the flow of water from the faucet.
To overcome this, most RO systems include a storage tank to hold the treated water. This way, you always have a supply of clean water on hand.
Another option is to install a booster pump to increase the water pressure and flow rate. This is often necessary in homes with low water pressure.
4 – RO Removes Minerals
RO filters remove virtually all dissolved solids. This includes compounds that we refer to as minerals.
Minerals include calcium, magnesium, sodium, and chloride. They are often found in our water as a result of leaching from rocks and soils.
While minerals are not necessarily harmful to our health, they can cause problems with the taste and smell of our water. Additionally, high concentrations of certain minerals (calcium and magnesium) can contribute to hard water buildup in plumbing fixtures and appliances.
Reverse osmosis removes these minerals, leaving you with water that is clean and has no adverse taste or odor. You can also remove hardness with a water softener.
5 – RO Saves You Money
For people with contaminants in their drinking water, RO is often the most cost-effective solution. This is especially true if you are currently using bottled water or another treatment method that requires frequent maintenance or replacement of filters.
Reverse osmosis systems are very low maintenance. The only regular maintenance required is to change the pre-filter every few months and clean the storage tank annually.
Additionally, RO systems last for many years. With proper care and maintenance, an RO system can provide you with clean water for decades.
In contrast, other treatment methods like distillation and deionization require regular maintenance and replacement of filters. This can add up to significant expense over time.
RO is much cheaper than using bottled water. In fact, you can expect to pay for your RO system within a year – and save money every year after that.
6 – RO Makes Better-Tasting Food
Reverse osmosis removes many dissolved solids and minerals in your water that can affect the taste of your food. This includes common offenders like chlorine, sulfur, and iron.
When you cook with RO water, you’ll notice a difference in the taste of your food. Many people report that RO-treated water makes their food taste cleaner and fresher.
This is especially important for coffee and tea lovers. The dissolved solids in tap water can make your beverage taste bitter. RO removes these dissolved solids, resulting in a better-tasting cup of coffee or tea.
7 – RO Is Much Better for the Environment
People often buy single-use bottles of water to have filtered water available whenever they need it. However, this creates a lot of plastic waste – and it’s not good for the environment.
In contrast, RO systems allow you to have an unlimited supply of clean water without generating any plastic waste. Once you’ve installed your RO system, there is no need to buy bottled water ever again. You can use a stainless steel or other type of water bottle to transport your water – and you can feel good knowing that you’re not harming the environment.
Reverse osmosis does not require chemicals such as chlorine or salt. Additionally, RO systems require no electricity. This makes them much more environmentally friendly than other treatment methods like distillation.
8 – RO Is Safer than Bottled Water
Bottled water is not always as clean and safe to drink as you might think. Bottlers do not have the same regulatory oversight that your public water utility does. They are not required to sample their water in every state, and there are no standards to limit many of the contaminants that might be present.
Read my article about PFAS contamination in bottled water.
Did you know that some bottled water brands use RO treatment?
9 – RO Systems Are Compact
Most RO systems have a very small footprint. Reverse osmosis systems come in a variety of sizes and styles to meet your needs.
Some are small enough to fit under your kitchen sink. Others are designed to fit on your cabinet for convenient access.
Even whole-house RO systems are small when compared to other treatment methods like water softeners or distillation. This makes them much easier to install and maintain.
Disadvantages of Reverse Osmosis
Reverse osmosis offers a lot of advantages that make it an exceptional way to treat your water. To provide you with a balanced discussion of this water treatment technology, I’ve listed some of the potential disadvantages of RO systems below.
The taste is not to everyone’s liking
Reverse osmosis removes virtually everything from drinking water, including dissolved minerals. This can give the water a flat, lifeless taste that some people do not enjoy.
If you’re accustomed to the taste of mineral-rich water, you may not like the taste of RO-treated water. However, many people find that they quickly get used to the taste of RO water.
One option is to add a re-mineralizer to your RO system. These systems add back the “good tasting” elements to your water.
Read my article about how to re-mineralize your drinking water.
Reverse osmosis wastes water
Reverse osmosis systems reject a portion of the water that goes through them. For every gallon of drinking water produced, two to three gallons of wastewater are also produced. This is not a green or sustainable way to treat your drinking water.
This can be a problem in areas with scarce water resources. In these cases, it’s important to choose an RO system that has a high recovery rate – meaning that it produces less wastewater.
It’s also important to use the wastewater wisely. Many RO systems are designed so that the wastewater can be used for other purposes, such as watering plants or flushing toilets.
RO requires maintenance
Reverse osmosis systems need to be regularly maintained to keep them working properly. Depending on the quality of your water, you may need to clean or replace the filters every few months.
You’ll also need to sanitize your RO system periodically to prevent bacteria from growing inside it. These maintenance tasks are not difficult – but they do require some effort on your part.
Reverse osmosis is not a cure-all
Reverse osmosis is an excellent way to improve the quality of your drinking water. However, it’s important to remember that RO systems are not a cure-all for all water problems.
For example, RO systems will not remove viruses from your water. If you’re concerned about viruses in your water, you’ll need
Read my articles about reverse osmosis system maintenance and how to clean and sanitize your RO system.
RO systems have low flow rates
Some reverse osmosis systems produce clean water at a low flow rate. Depending on which system you choose, it may take several minutes to fill a cup of water.
This can be frustrating if you’re used to getting water from a faucet quickly. But keep in mind that the slow flow rate is due to the fact that RO systems are removing impurities from your water.
RO requires costly installation
If you need a reverse osmosis system, you’ll have to purchase the equipment and have it installed. This can be expensive – especially if you need a whole-house RO system.
Installation costs for RO systems can be as much as $900 to $5,000 for a whole-house system. An under-sink unit can cost between $350 to over $1,000 to install.
The good news is that RO systems are becoming more affordable as the technology improves. And, in many cases, the long-term savings on your water bill will offset the initial installation cost.
Is reverse osmosis water better than bottled water?
Reverse osmosis water is much better than most bottled water. In fact, many brands of bottled water are simply filtered municipal water – which may or may not be treated with reverse osmosis.
Bottled water is also expensive and creates a lot of plastic waste. If you’re concerned about the quality of your drinking water, the best option is to install a home RO system.
Which is better distilled or reverse osmosis water?
Depending on what you’re using the water for, reverse osmosis is generally better than distilled water. Distilled water costs more to produce than RO does. Distillation systems treat water in a batch-mode, while RO is a continuous process.
How often should I change my reverse osmosis filters?
It depends on the quality of your water and how much you use the system. As a general rule, you should clean or replace your RO filters every three to six months.
You’ll also need to sanitize your system periodically to prevent bacteria from growing inside it. These maintenance tasks are not difficult – but they do require some effort on your part.
Reverse osmosis is one of the most effective and efficient ways to remove contaminants from your water supply. RO provides clean, safe water on demand, without removing essential minerals. Additionally, reverse osmosis will save you money in the long run and has a significantly better environmental impact than bottled water.
If you’re looking for cleaner, safer drinking water for your home, reverse osmosis is the way to go. Have you installed a reverse osmosis system in your home? What are some of the benefits that you’ve noticed?