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The Complete Buyer's Guide to Reverse Osmosis Systems

Most people know they don’t drink enough water on a daily basis. However, it’s possible the water you’re currently drinking isn’t the correct, purified kind your body really wants. Fortunately, you have options. A reverse osmosis system can provide your household with the water it deserves. Before you go spending your hard-earned money on a system just yet, though, continue reading this buyer’s guide to make sure you know what you’re buying.

Reverse Osmosis

Many filtration systems designed for your home work by using reverse osmosis. During osmosis, water naturally diffuses through a semi-permeable membrane from a low concentration of salt to a place that has a high concentration. So during reverse osmosis, water is forced to do the opposite: traveling from a body of high salt concentration, through a semi-permeable membrane and finally to one of far less salt. After reverse osmosis, the original water ends up largely purified of its originally high salt content and other solids. For our purposes, reverse osmosis is used to filter tap water using the pressure supplied in a normal home so that it can be turned into drinking water.

How It Works

All reverse osmosis systems will have at least some components in common that are necessary for the very process to work. Tap water travels through a valve that is attached to the home’s supply of cold water and into a tube that ends in the pre-filter used for reverse osmosis. Some systems may use more than one pre-filter.

Usually, the pre-filter is simply used to remove any dirt or sediment that may be in the water. A carbon version may also be used to purify the water of chlorine. This pre-filter is essential because it keeps the actual membrane from being overexerted, thus extending its life.

After the pre-filter, the water is sent through the reverse osmosis membrane, which will finally remove the majority of any impurities left over. From there, the water is kept in a storage tank.

When this tank becomes full, a valve will be triggered that shuts off any further water from traveling through the membrane. A reverse osmosis system will come with its own faucet that is usually attached to the home’s kitchen sink, separate from the normal faucet. When the reverse osmosis faucet is activated, the water from the storage tank will travel through one final post-filter to remove any lingering tastes or smells. At this point, it is now ready to drink.

Why Is Reverse Osmosis Necessary?

Many of us take for granted that the water from our tap is perfectly fine to drink. However, countless studies have proven otherwise. Take, for example, a recent investigation done by the Associated Press that showed one out of five of every state school’s drinking water they tested violated the Safe Drinking Water Act at some point during the last decade. Reverse osmosis systems will go a long way in cleaning up your water supply, which could very well contain dangerous elements like arsenic. Unfortunately, not even drinking out of plastic bottles can guarantee you safe results.

Potential Drawbacks of Reverse Osmosis System

One of the main drawbacks of a reverse osmosis system is simply that it can’t purify your water all on its own. There are just too many challenges for its membrane to take on by itself. Consider municipally treated water, for example, that comes loaded with pesticides, herbicides, and chlorine, among other contaminants. That’s why you absolutely must have a pre-filter to assist with cleaning your water before it ever gets to the membrane. Some also argue that our tap water contains certain minerals our body needs. Whether or not that’s true is up for debate.

However, if it’s true, reverse osmosis will certainly strip your water of many of these potentially advantageous minerals. Often these minerals are responsible for giving your water a certain “refreshing” taste.

To many, however, reverse osmosis restores water’s original taste, which is far preferable.

Lastly, while it will depend on your model, there will be a certain amount of wastewater produced by your reverse osmosis system. On average, a reverse osmosis system uses at least three gallons of water for every gallon of purified water it produces.

Choosing the Right System

Still, there’s a reason so many people rely on this for their household’s water. To get the best results, though, you’ll need to pick the best system. This means not just the basic reverse osmosis system itself, but also the cartridge and membrane it uses. Reliable brands include Kinetico, Hydrotech, Pentek, Aqua-Pure, Watts, and Omnifilter.

In order to pick the right models amongst these brands, however, and further make sense of how this filtration can help your family, contact us at Deer Valley Plumbing Contractors, Inc. We have 25 years of experience helping households in the Phoenix area make the most out of their fixture options. Whether you just need help picking a make and model or installing the unit, we’re here to help.

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