For those looking for the very best in water filtration, including water filters that will create great-tasting water for any home or business, reverse osmosis is one of the top options available. Many who are considering this route, however, have a simple question: How does it work?
When you purchase a reverse osmosis water filtration system from a reputable provider, they’ll walk you through its basic features and functions, plus how to operate it. How do these systems work, and what sorts of contaminants do they remove? Here’s a rundown.
How Reverse Osmosis Filtration Works
Speaking as simply as possible, reverse osmosis systems utilize a semi-permeable membrane, one that allows water to pass through while blocking contaminants. This membrane is placed in between two tanks: one with clean water and one with wastewater or “dirty” water.
Under normal circumstances, water flows from the clean tank to the wastewater tank as a result of pressure created by gravity. When you reverse the flow of water by using a pump, the membrane starts to work and clean water is forced through it, leaving contaminants behind.
This system is able to remove a wide variety of impurities, including bacteria, viruses, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and heavy metals. It’s been shown to be very effective in reducing the levels of arsenic, nitrates, and chromium in drinking water.
Common Contaminants Removed
Here are the contaminants and other particles that are removed by a reverse osmosis system:
- Chlorine and chlormamine
- Nitrates and nitrites
- Heavy metals (chromium, copper, iron, manganese, mercury, nickel)
Common Benefits of Reverse Osmosis Systems
Here are some of the major ways reverse osmosis systems make themselves worthwhile:
- Removing impurities for health purposes: First and foremost, reverse osmosis systems are great at removing contaminants that can be harmful to your health. This makes them a valuable investment for anyone who wants cleaner, safer water. Instead of drinking water that may be chock full of various pollutants, you can rely on your reverse osmosis system to give you peace of mind.
- Great-tasting water: A side benefit of having a reverse osmosis system is that it produces some of the best-tasting water around. Whether you’re using it for drinking or cooking, you’ll appreciate not having to deal with off-flavors or strange aftertastes.
- Efficient filtration: Reverse osmosis systems are also very efficient at filtration, meaning they can handle large quantities of water quickly and easily. If you have a large family or run a business, this can be a major plus.
- Simple to maintain: Lastly, these systems are generally very easy to maintain. Provided you have a system with regular filter changes, all you’ll need to do is keep an eye on the tanks and make sure the pump is working properly. No need for expensive and time-consuming repairs.
- Save money: For those who use water delivery services or regularly purchase cases of bottled water, a reverse osmosis system can save you a lot of money in the long run. Not only will you have cleaner, safer water to drink, but you’ll also be spending less on other sources of hydration.
Will Reverse Osmosis Filter Out Beneficial Minerals?
There’s no set answer here. Honestly, the best we can do is “sometimes.” However, it’s important to realize that the vast majority of beneficial nutrients and minerals the human body requires come from food, not from water — meaning that if you’re eating a healthy diet, you don’t really need to worry about this.
On the other hand, if you are concerned about your intake of minerals (especially calcium and magnesium), invest in a reverse osmosis system with a remineralization filter. This will add back in some of the beneficial minerals that were removed by the reverse osmosis process.
If you’re considering a reverse osmosis water filter for your home, keep these themes in mind.