Should I Boil My Reverse Osmosis Water?

Should I Boil My Reverse Osmosis Water?

If you already have a water filtration system installed in your home, like Reverse Osmosis (RO), you will have purified water coming out of your taps, ready to drink and use in your cooking. However, if you’re wondering whether you should still be boiling this water before use, we will explore the answer to your question within this article.

Reverse Osmosis water should not be boiled because it is a waste of energy and time. The reverse osmosis process is designed to eliminate bacteria and chemical contaminants from the water, so boiling it is not required.

Reverse osmosis systems are often installed in areas with hard or contaminated water. The process includes forcing water through a semipermeable membrane that rids it of contaminants and almost all bacteria. Let’s take a closer look at how reverse osmosis systems purify water so it won’t need boiling after.

Learn more in my comprehensive article about reverse osmosis.

Why Reverse Osmosis Water Doesn’t Need Boiling

Our first instinct to remove any kind of pathogens from water, or any liquid, is to boil it. Boiling can remove all dangerous pathogens, but it cannot remove all of the contaminants that can be present in water.

In emergency situations, such as after a natural disaster, you may need to boil your water to get rid of pathogens. However, boiling should not be a permanent solution to ensure healthy and purified water. It isn’t practical, it’s time consuming, and requires a lot of energy.

Reverse osmosis is a modern-day way of filtering water to make it drinkable. It was originally invented to convert hard water into a drinkable form and to remove heavy metals and specific chemicals.

The water is first pre-filtered to remove chlorine and suspended particles before it is pushed through a semipermeable membrane with high pressure. As the water flows through the membrane, the contaminants are left behind.

The wastewater containing the sediments and contaminants, is washed away down a drain. The purified water is then re-routed to a specific faucet, or a holding tank, for use.

What remains is clean and drinkable water that does not need to be boiled or treated any further.

Read my article about reverse osmosis removing bacteria from water.

What Particles and Contaminants Does the RO Process Remove from Water?

So exactly what contaminants can a Reverse Osmosis filter remove from water? Let’s take a look at the main contaminants that this process removes and the extent to which it removes them:

Contaminant Removal Percentage
Sulfate Up to 98%
Sodium Up to 94%
Calcium Up to 98%
Potassium Up to 95%
Nitrate Up to 75%
Iron Up to 98%
Zinc Up to 98%
Mercury Up to 98%
Selenium Up to 96%
Phosphate Up to 98%
Lead Up to 98%
Arsenic Up to 96%
Magnesium Up to 98%
Nickel Up to 98%
Fluoride Up to 92%
Manganese Up to 98%
Cadmium Up to 98%
Barium Up to 92%
Cyanide Up to 92%
Chloride Up to 92%


The water passes through three filtering stages, during reverse osmosis filtration, to remove the above-mentioned contaminants:

  1. A pre-filter removes the larger particles and sediments, such as chlorine.
  2. A semipermeable membrane removes the rest of the contaminants.
  3. The final stage of filtration involves passing water through a carbon filter to improve the taste of the drinking water.

This comprehensive process ensures that the water from the RO or holding tank is safe to drink, leaves no traces of scale buildup and, therefore, should not be boiled.

What are the Advantages of Using an RO System?

Reverse Osmosis is one of the most popular methods of purifying water. The major benefit is that you get clean drinking water in your home without the need to boil. There are some other advantages of using a RO filtration system:

1.   Energy efficiency

A Reverse Osmosis system operates on the water pressure in your home. It does not need any electricity to function compared to distillation, which uses up heat and adds to your energy waste and expense. The RO process is extremely energy efficient and easy on your pocket.

2. Mineral removal

Reverse osmosis systems can remove minerals from water, so you really don’t have to use water softeners. RO systems are usually used for drinking water. However, if you decide not to spend money to install a softener, you can use RO water for your kitchen tap to keep it safe from lime buildup.

3. Cost saving

Using bottled water for drinking? Once you have a reverse osmosis system, you can use your home water supply for drinking purposes. The result is you save money that you were spending on bottled water.

4. Tastier food

If you use untreated water that has certain salts and minerals in it – it can have an effect on the way your food tastes. Even if you boil your water, the contaminants won’t go away, and your food’s taste will still suffer. RO water has no such contaminants, and it doesn’t alter the yummy taste of the food you cook.

5. On-demand supply

When you use other purifying methods, such as distillation, a lot of effort is required from your end, like filling the water tank to keep up with the demands of your house. The greatest advantage of using RO filtration is that the system sends clean drinkable water to your tap. You won’t have to spend precious time filling up your tank.

Final Thoughts

Water filtration is a necessity in places where hard water supply is the norm. RO water removes major contaminants from water to make it safe for drinking, this ensures that you don’t have to waste time and energy on boiling contaminant free water.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.   Does an RO system remove heavy metals?

A reverse osmosis membrane has miniscule pore sizes. These small pores let water molecules pass. However, contaminants such as heavy metal and chlorine are left behind and cannot pass through the membrane.

2.   Which water is the healthiest to drink?

Pure spring water and mineral water is the healthiest to drink as it contains the right amount of minerals required by your body. Filtered water is clean to drink but is often stripped of the necessary nutrients required by your body.

3.   Is bottled water better than Reverse Osmosis water?

Bottled water costs more money than reverse osmosis water. RO water filtration is also a more sustainable option as it doesn’t require the use of plastic and bottles.


Chief Guru

Richard Boch is a chemical engineer responsible for designing water filtration systems for industrial and residential customers. He has more than 20 years of experience with ion exchange, activated carbon, and reverse osmosis. Richard's expertise has made him a go-to source for municipalities and businesses looking to improve their water quality. When he's not working, Richard enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children. You can also follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

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