If you don’t like the smell and taste of the water coming from the faucets in your home, you’re probably going to buy bottled water. Buying this water is expensive; the single-use bottles are not environmentally friendly.
RO systems are filtration systems that filter out particles that are smaller than a water molecule plus other contaminants. But are reverse osmosis filters worth it?
They eliminate sodium, chlorine, minerals, heavy metals, and other contaminants in your tap or well water. They do this by removing minerals that alter the natural taste, and you can get pure drinking water.
Simply put, you can create your own bottled water quality at home without spending too much. By investing in a reverse osmosis water filter, you’ll also be taking care of the planet.
Table of Contents
- How reverse osmosis filters work
- What do reverse osmosis filters remove
- Do you need a reverse osmosis filter for US tap water?
- What are the potential drawbacks of reverse osmosis systems
- Can you add healthy minerals back to reverse osmosis purified water?
- Conclusion: When is it worth the cost?
How reverse osmosis filters work
Depending on the number of prefilters and post-filters in your system, these systems have various stages. When water first enters the system, it goes through prefiltration.
The prefiltration stage includes sediment, and carbon filter filters reduce sediment and chlorine before water passes through the membrane.
This preserves the life of the membrane. Water then goes through the membrane, where microscopic particles are removed. The water then continuously moves to a storage tank, which automatically shuts off when it is full.
Whenever you turn on the drinking water faucet, the water moves through a prefilter, which further purifies your water, giving you safe drinking water.
What do reverse osmosis filters remove
Reverse osmosis systems remove a lot of contaminants that make your water unsafe and unpleasant for drinking. It uses a semipermeable membrane with very tiny pores that do not allow salts, natural minerals, and any molecule that is larger than water to pass through. It removes many contaminants including;
- 98% of total dissolved solids (TDS), including lead, asbestos, and harmful metals in water.
- The carbon filters remove chlorine and bad taste and odors in water.
- Reverse osmosis also removes volatile organic compounds VOCs,
- Herbicides and pesticides.
It’s good to note that since pesticides and herbicides molecules are typically smaller than water, they can pass freely, especially if the membrane is old.
Additionally, you might want to consider other forms of water treatment for pure water since these systems do not always remove bacteria and viruses from the water.
Do you need a reverse osmosis filter for US tap water?
The EPA regulates all US tap water, and with very few excpetions, most US tap water is safe to drink. There are limited amounts of chemicals and elements, but they fall below the threshold of safety set by the EPA.
They all contain some levels of contaminants ranging from natural minerals, chemicals, dangerous metals, and sediment.
If you have a private well you are drawing from, you don’t know anything about the quality of the water, so it’s best to have some sort of filtration system in place.
What are the potential drawbacks of reverse osmosis systems
Reverse osmosis water systems are among the most popular options among the many available today if you want pure drinking water. However, when you compare these systems to whole house water filters, they have some serious potential drawbacks.
One of the major limitations of RO systems is that they eliminate most of the natural minerals in the water. This leaves the water with an acidic pH.
A reverse osmosis system takes a bit too much time to get you enough filtered water for a household. An average reverse osmosis filtration system can take up to 4 hours to filter a single gallon of water. Besides, osmosis systems can produce wastewater in the osmosis process. To get one gallon of reverse osmosis water, you send up to three times as many gallons to the drain.
Can you add healthy minerals back to reverse osmosis purified water?
Reverse osmosis is a good system for removing potentially dangerous contaminants from tap water. However, it also strips the water of minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron potassium, and zinc, which are beneficial to our bodies.
While taking demineralized water is more of personal preference, its taste might be flat and unappealing, especially if you’re used to bottled mineral water. This doesn’t mean that you have to give up on taking reverse osmosis water.
How to add minerals back to your osmosis water
You can buy a filtration system with a mineral filter. Some premium reverse osmosis systems have an extra stage with a replaceable mineral filter. This filter adds back small amounts of the healthy minerals back to the osmosis water. You have to pay more for such kind of a water filter.
- If you have already purchased a reverse osmosis filter without a mineral filter, you can add one.
- You can also add trace mineral drops to your demineralized osmosis water.
- Add mineral salts such as Himalayan salt or rock salt.
- If you want plant-based mineral, go for green powders, a blend of dried fruits and vegetables. You can add them directly to your drinking water or add them in smoothies.
How much water is wasted?
Unlike many filtration systems that trap contaminants in water, reverse osmosis water filters send the filtered contaminants as waste. The wastewater that goes the drain contains removed salts, minerals, and dissolved solids.
To produce one gallon of reverse osmosis water, up to 4 gallons must go to waste. This is what many people find wasteful. This waste might increase your bills significantly. Some people may argue that since it is used as a carrier for the waste, it is not truly wasted.
You may or may not agree, but we can do something to minimize what actually goes to the drain. You can use the rejected water for watering your garden or lawn. Additionally, your RO water system should have an automatic shut off valve that stops the flow of water once the storage tank is full.
Conclusion: When is it worth the cost?
A reverse osmosis system may not be a good choice for all, but it is definitely be an excellent idea if you’re struggling with heavily contaminated water. Most people trust these systems since they include different types of filtration. Among the few disadvantages is that RO systems filter out beneficial minerals, too.
Ideally, most of our minerals sources for our body should come from the food we eat, not water. If this a concern to you, you can put minerals back to your water using the methods we discussed above. You can remedy the water wastage by watering your lawn or vegetables.
Since there are solutions for issues raised about RO filters, the impressive benefits of reverse osmosis water far outweigh the minor issues.
RO water tastes better and the process improves the overall quality of your water. This is the most economical option for households. You will ultimately spend less and drink more pure water.