How Does a Reverse Osmosis Water System Works?

Are you fed up with the unpleasant smell and taste of the tap water running in to your home or perhaps you have concerns about your water quality and want to make sure your family is drinking clean, safe and healthy water.

Wouldn’t it be convenient if you didn’t have to buy bottled water any more and if you could get pristine drinking water straight from the faucet in your own kitchen.

If you have ever taken a sip of water that came from a reverse osmosis drinking water system, you know how pure and refreshing it tastes. Reverse Osmosis drinking water is truly the best choice for any home and family.

Everyday more and more homeowner are installing reverse osmosis drinking water systems in their homes to improve the quality of drinking water in a convenient and cost-effective way. No other solution offers the same healthy benefits like clean fresh water that you will get from your Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System.

The reverse osmosis drinking water system is one of the most complete under the counter systems available on the market. The system eliminates up to 99.8% of harmful contaminants in water such as bacteria, viruses, arsenic, radium, lead and chlorine thanks to the multi-stage filtration technology.

If you are unfamiliar with reverse osmosis drinking water systems, you may have some questions, how exactly does the system and process work and what does it do to your drinking water?

What is Reverse Osmosis?

Reverse osmosis removes contaminants from unfiltered water, or feed water, when pressure forces it through a semipermeable membrane. Water flows from the more concentrated side (more contaminants) of the RO membrane to the less concentrated side (fewer contaminants) to provide clean drinking water. The fresh water produced is called the permeate. The concentrated water left over is called the waste or brine.

semipermeable membrane has small pores that block contaminants but allow water molecules to flow through. In osmosis, water becomes more concentrated as it passes through the membrane to obtain equilibrium on both sides. Reverse osmosis, however, blocks contaminants from entering the less concentrated side of the membrane. For example, when pressure is applied to a volume of saltwater during reverse osmosis, the salt is left behind and only clean water flows through.

Reverse Osmosis Diagram

How Does A Reverse Osmosis System Work?

A reverse osmosis system removes sediment and chlorine from water with a prefilter before it forces water through a semipermeable membrane to remove dissolved solids. After water exits the reverse osmosis membrane, it passes through a postfilter to polish the drinking water before it enters a dedicated faucet. Reverse osmosis systems have various stages depending on their number of prefilters and postfilters.

5 Stage RO Flow Diagram

Different Stages Of Standard 5 Stage Reverse Osmosis System

The Reverse Osmosis Membrane is the focal point of a reverse osmosis system, but an reverse osmosis system also includes other types of filtration. A standard reverse osmosis systems are made up of 5 stages of filtration.

A standard reverse osmosis system contains a sediment filter, activated carbon filter, carbon block filter in addition to the reverse osmosis membrane. These filters are referred to as the prefilters, they help to conserve the reverse osmosis membrane.

After filtration, water flows to the storage tank, where it is held until needed. The reverse osmosis system continues to filter and purify water until the storage tank is full and then shuts off.

Before your reverse osmosis water is ready to drink it goes through a carbon filter, referred to as the post filter or an taste and odor filter, which removes any remaining contaminants in the unlikely case they slipped past the membrane.

Why Do You Need A Reverse Osmosis Storage Tank?

An reverse osmosis storage tank holds reverse osmosis water so you have plenty to use when you need it. A reverse osmosis system makes water slowly. It takes one minute to produce 130ml to 260ml of reverse osmosis water, depending on the reverse osmosis membrane size. If you were to turn on your faucet for a glass of water at the actual membrane production rate, then you would have to wait at least 5 minutes for it to fill. With a storage tank, your glass fills instantly.

Does Reverse Osmosis Waste Water?

A reverse osmosis system sends water with rejected contaminants down the drain as wastewater, unlike other filters that trap contaminants. As water flows through the system, it’s divided into two streams. One stream carries the filtered water to a dedicated faucet, and the other stream carries the removed salts, dissolved pollutants, and minerals to the drain.

The wastewater carries rejected contaminants from a reverse osmosis system to the drain. The system has about 60% to 75% of waste water per liter depending on the quality of reverse osmosis membrane used. But the brine water is used for a purpose, so it’s not exactly wasted. The wastewater in an RO system helps clean the water, just like a dishwasher uses water to clean dishes or a washing machine uses water to clean clothes.

How Long Does A Reverse Osmosis System Last?

Reverse Osmosis systems usually last between 10 and 15 years. While the systems themselves have a long lifespan, the RO membrane and filters need replacing periodically. The prefilters and post filters should be changed every 6 months to 1 year. Depending on your water conditions, the reverse osmosis membrane should be replaced every 2-4 years.

Typical Rejection Characteristics Of A Quality Reverse Osmosis Membranes

Membrane Rejection Chart

Where Can I Use An Reverse Osmosis Drinking System?

Under The Sink? YES

Reverse Osmosis is most commonly installed at the point of use (POU), like under a kitchen or bathroom sink. A point-of-use reverse osmosis system could also be mounted in a cabinet or remotely in the garage or basement.

For A Refrigerator? YES

Connecting an under-sink reverse osmosis system to your refrigerator is simple and worthwhile. Reverse osmosis removes minerals from water, making your ice clear and beverages more refreshing.

For A Borehole? YES

If you get your drinking water from a private water source like a borehole, then an reverse osmosis system is an excellent way to ensure that the water flowing to your tap is safe. A reverse osmosis system is a perfect way to remove difficult contaminants often found in well water, like nitrates.

For A Aquarium? YES

If you’re a saltwater fish enthusiast, then an RO system is perfect for you. Reverse osmosis allows you to strip all minerals from the water and add exactly the amount of salt you need back in with a remineralizing filter. Most aquarists rely on a combination of reverse osmosis and deionization (known as RO/DI water) to ensure their fish are immersed in highly pure water, modified to match the fish’s natural environment.

For Agriculture? YES

Reverse Osmosis works well for hydroponic farming, but not all plants survive or thrive with RO water. RO is best suited for greenhouses where plants are misted or in small gardens, depending on the types of plants. Since hydroponic farming eliminates soil, and instead nurtures fruits and flowers with only nutrient-rich water, high-quality water is paramount to hydroponic success. Even small amounts of sediments, salts, and dissolved organics can upset the delicate balance of the plant life. RO water allows for total control over your plants nutrient intake.

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