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Reverse Osmosis-Fundamentals Explained

Posted on 08 February 2018 by Willie Felice (0)

When it comes to water purification, one of the most frequently asked questions is how does reverse osmosis work. For the home, you can choose an under the sink system just for the kitchen or you can choose a whole house reverse osmosis system. But, before you buy one, there are some things that you should consider. First, let’s answer the question how does reverse osmosis work. Simply put, water is forced through a membrane in order to filter out contaminants. Reverse osmosis is commonly used in large water treatment facilities. It works well to filter out large particles, like garbage and other pollutants that end in the water supply, but it is not possible to remove all chemical contaminants by this method. Reverse osmosis does not remove bacteria or microbes, which is why chlorine is added; to kill some of the germs and bacteria.

In some of the better public water supplies, additional systems, like activated carbon filters are used to trap some of the organic chemicals. UV lamps may be used to further disinfect the water. In other words, the real answer to how does reverse osmosis work to purify water is “not very well”, if you are concerned about chemical contaminants. Depending on where you live, your tap water has probably already undergone reverse osmosis to some extent. Adding whole house reverse osmosis will do nothing to improve the taste, smell or appearance of the water that comes from your tap.

Reverse osmosis alone is not enough to insure that the water in your home is safe for drinking. If you put a reverse osmosis filter in your fish tank, your fish would become ill and probably die. If you have fish, you know that carbon filtration systems are needed to protect them. So, why would you drink water that your fish cannot live in? The EPA allows levels of chlorine in tap water that exceed the maximum safe levels for swimming pools. Chlorine and other chemicals in tap water are believed to increase the risk of cancer and have been linked to a variety of other health conditions. Whole house reverse osmosis does nothing to remove those chemicals.

If you are wondering how does reverse osmosis work, you are probably interested in safer, better tasting drinking water. Whole house reverse osmosis will not provide that. A better choice is a combination purification process, available from only a few companies. The best purification processes combine carbon filtration, ion exchange and sub-micron filtration. Carbon filtration removes odors and improves taste, as well as things you cannot see or smell. Ion exchange softens the water by replacing some minerals with others and balancing the trace mineral content. Sub-micron filtration is something like whole house reverse osmosis systems, except that microscopic contaminants are removed from the water.

If you have your own water purification system, you replace the filters regularly. Your local water treatment facility simply adds more chemicals to keep the filters clean and prevent them from rotting. They are not routinely replaced. A home water purification system is a great idea, but whole house reverse osmosis alone is not really the best choice. Hopefully, we’ve answered your questions about how does reverse osmosis work and given you something to think about.