Reverse Osmosis water filtering has been around for decades. People who use it in their homes can tell you just how pure and refreshing their water tastes. This particular type of filtration delivers highly clean drinking water, but most people don’t understand what it actually is, or how it works. If it sounds to you like something you’d learn in a high school science class, well… you’re not wrong. And it can feel confusing at first. Luckily, we at EcoWater have been working with this effective filtration process for a long time, and we can tell you all about it. So let’s get started with the basics.
What is Reverse Osmosis?
Simply defined, Reverse Osmosis is the process in which pure water is produced by forcing waste or saline water through a semipermeable membrane. If you’re not a science-minded person, think about how you pour your pasta through a strainer to remove the water. Reverse Osmosis isn’t much different. The strainer is the semipermeable membrane, allowing small molecules (water) to go through, but trapping the larger molecules (the pasta) on the surface. When applied only to reverse osmosis water filtration, the semipermeable membrane allows ONLY water molecules through, trapping and flushing away contaminant molecules.
How does it work?
Generally, a reverse osmosis filtration system works in four steps (some have three, some have as many as five, but most follow the same basic rules). In this process, you start with whatever water is fed to your house, whether it’s well water or from a municipality. The system is designed to change it from its original form to something safer, healthier and tastier. It also removes and foul odors along the way, making every filtered sip all the more satisfying.
Step 1: Pre-Filtration
Because the membrane used in reverse osmosis filtration systems requires a degree of protection, the first step is designed to remove larger bits of sediment from the water flowing to your home. This includes certain dissolved solids. This step also reduces some of the chlorine in your water. It’s not uncommon for people to also install a water softener ahead of the line when putting in a reverse osmosis system — this way, you’re giving your filters and membranes a longer lifespan by removing the hard water elements that can create a need for more frequent maintenance and
Step 2: The Membrane
Once all the sediment is removed, it’s time for actual reverse osmosis to occur. At this point, the water coming into your home is sent through a semipermeable membrane — in this case, a type of synthetic plastic — which allows water molecules to pass right through while blocking the pathway for a variety of contaminants, including:
|• Sodium||• Chlorine||• Calcium|
|• Lead||• Selenium||• Hexavalent Chromium|
|• Arsenic||• Glucose||• Trivalent Chromium|
|• Nitrates||• Urea||• Barium|
|• Nitrites||• Fluoride||• Cadmium|
|• Copper||• Radium||• …And more!|
Step 3: Post Filtration
After the more complicated process of reverse osmosis, your water goes through another filtration component: a second carbon filter (also referred to as a post filter). This step removes any sneaky contaminants that may have found their way past steps one and two. From here, your water is deposited in a storage tank, waiting for you to turn on a faucet.
Step 4: Final Polish
So, you’re ready to cook, take a shower or pour yourself a glass of water. When you do, the water passes through an in-line, carbon-activated filter. Its purpose is to add the perfect finishing touch to your water, eliminating any odor or distasteful flavor. This final step ensures your water has a crispy-fresh taste every time.
Good for you. Good for the planet.
The end result of a reverse osmosis water filtration system is remarkably pure water that tastes great. Your water is healthier and safer for you and your family. At the same time, you save money and the environment by cutting bottled water out of your life. Plus, because the water leaving your home is now free of chemicals, it even makes waste treatment more efficient, so you’re doing your part for the earth there too.
If you’re interested in having a Reverse Osmosis water system installed, or you’d like more information, simply click here, or give us a call at 760-754-1960 to talk with one of EcoWater’s experts.