What does reverse osmosis do, in terms of water purification? Given the popularity of this process, it’s worth reviewing.
First, what is “reverse osmosis” (RO)? It’s a process that uses pressure to force liquids through a porous membrane, in order to screen out contaminants. The size of the pores in the membrane will determine the type of contaminants that will be removed.
It was originally designed for de-mineralization and desalination, and for both, it works very well. The industrial applications are good. Many industries require the use of de-mineralized water to prevent excessive corrosion of delicate equipment.
Another example of an industrial applications, is in the food industry. It is used juice making industry, to remove water from juices, to create concentrates.
However, our bodies are not designed to consume de-mineralized water. Making home applications problematic.
Reverse osmosis is widely used by municipalities throughout the country, as one of several treatment steps to treat waste water and our drinking water.
However, it is not the best process for purifying water, despite manufacturers marketing hype.
It is affective in eliminating large contaminants and is sometimes recommended to reduce the amount of lead or cysts in water, but there are safer options. The process is worthwhile, but it is only one step in several that should be utilized.
It is also works great for reducing the sodium content in salt water, making it potable.
The biggest problem is, it’s incapable of removing chemical contaminants, because the molecular size of such contaminants are smaller than the pores of the membrane used in a RO system. They do not remove bacteria either, so an additional disinfecting method is needed.
This process also requires proper maintenance. If not properly maintained, sediment will clog the pores of the filtering membrane, providing water that cannot even be used for making coffee.
Reverse osmosis also tends to be on the expensive side, when comparing it to other more effective, filtration systems designed for use in the home.
Traces of lead can be removed through the use of ion exchange. Reverse osmosis only reduces lead to federally allowed limits. Plus, cysts can be removed by any system certified to filter down to one micron and micron particle filters cost a lot less than RO.
Finally, RO units are expensive to purchase, install and maintain and they create gallons of waste water, which translates into higher costs while creating waste for the environment. So, it’s bad for the environment and bad for your pocket book
Now that you know a little more about how reverse osmosis, you may wish to review your alternatives. In order to be effective and remove the widest range of contaminants, a home purifier should contain multiple steps, including micron filtration, carbon and multi-media blocks and ion exchange.
To answer the question, “What does reverse osmosis do for your drinking water?”; is, nothing that another less expensive, more efficient system could not do.
Do yourself, your family and your pocket book a favor, and look beyond a reverse osmosis water filtering system for your home.