Reverse Osmosis FAQs
Reverse osmosis units are a fairly popular method of water filtration among homeowners throughout the Jacksonville area, but many homeowners have questions about their function. To address these concerns, our team of water treatment experts at Integrity Water Treatment have taken the time to put together frequently asked questions that provide you with the answers you need.
Frequently Asked Questions About Reverse Osmosis
- What is reverse osmosis? – Reverse osmosis is an advanced water purification method that was initially developed by the U.S. Navy to produce drinking water from seawater for submarine crews. Reverse osmosis is a membrane filtration technology that works by forcing water under pressure through the very tiny pores of a semi-permeable membrane. Modern reverse osmosis units for the home combine membrane technology with carbon and mechanical filtration to produce highly purified, great-tasting water.
- How does reverse osmosis work? – In modern home units, water flows through a sediment pre-filter, which removes any dirt or small particles that might be present, and then through a carbon pre-filter to remove any lingering organic contaminants or chlorine. After the pre-filters, the water passes through the osmosis membrane, where any dissolved solids like sodium or other impurities are removed. After passing through this membrane, the water is stored in a small storage tank until it’s needed. When the sink or faucet is turned on, the water in this tank is passed through one final carbon filter to get rid of any lingering contaminants that might still be present.
- What is the best reverse osmosis system? – While all reverse osmosis membranes will produce similar results in terms of purified water, some systems are going to be better suited to the needs of different homes than others. To get a good idea of which system is going to be appropriate for your home, let our team of skilled professionals provide you with a full consultation.
- Is a reverse osmosis unit like a distiller? – While both reverse osmosis units and distillers reduce the number of dissolved solids in your water effectively, the processes for doing so are quite different. While a distiller boils the water and recondenses the steam, reverse osmosis systems filter the water through a semi-permeable membrane.
- Is distilled water purer than reverse osmosis water? – Distillers typically remove a bit more of the common mineral constituents found in water, but they don’t do as well when removing volatile chemicals that have a low boiling point. Chlorine, in particular, is difficult for distillers to remove. Reverse osmosis units, by contrast, are very effective at removing these contaminants with the use of carbon filtration.
- How long will a reverse osmosis unit last? – As long as you have your reverse osmosis unit serviced regularly and replace any parts that wear out, it will last you virtually forever.
- A filter salesman showed me a chart that said reverse osmosis doesn’t remove chlorine. Is that true? – Technically what he said was true, but for practical purposes it’s an out-and-out lie. It’s true that the reverse osmosis membrane doesn’t remove chlorine. It doesn’t have to, because it has a couple of high quality carbon filters with it that do the job. In fact, if the first carbon filter didn’t remove all the chlorine, the membrane would get eaten alive in no time.
- The same salesman told me that reverse osmosis units remove minerals that are essential to health. Is that true or is he again twisting the truth? – It’s true that RO units remove minerals about 95% of the mineral content anyway, but he isn’t really telling you the whole story. The mineral issue is probably the most controversial question in drinking water purification. Experts on both sides of the issue speak convincingly. Our own view, after reading much of the expert opinion, is that the mineral content of water either high or low, isn’t nearly as important as they would have you believe. That is, minerals in water are inorganic and hard for your body to use. You get most of your minerals from food, which provides organic, easily assimilated minerals. The human body is a sophisticated instrument capable of adapting to a wide range of circumstances and capable of thriving in areas having water of high or low mineral content. As long as water is palatable, it’s within the body’s acceptable range. The main issue with water is chemicals, not minerals. Whether water contains 30 or 3 parts per million calcium isn’t really significant, but the difference between 0.5 and 5 parts per million chloroform is of life or death importance. As long as water is palatable, it’s within the body’s acceptable range.
- Do reverse osmosis units need electricity? – No, they run on water pressure. You need electricity only if you add an electric pressure-boost pump or an ultraviolet lamp. Standard units have neither and normally don’t need them.
- Why are reverse osmosis units so popular? – Because they produce great-tasting, very pure water at a very reasonable cost (compared to buying bottled water) and in a trouble-free, fully automatic format. And the most frequent comment we get is: “I didn’t think my water could taste this good, we drink so much more water than we used to.”
- Will A Water Softener Harm The Reverse Osmosis (R.O.)? – No. Calcium and magnesium (limescale) are two of the hardest minerals for the R.O. membrane to remove. Sodium (added to the water by the softener) is much easier on the membrane and it will reject 98% of all sodium in the water. A water softener will help extend the life of the membrane.