Although Reverse Osmosis seems like a complex system it is really a simple and straightforward water filtration process. And it’s not a new process. High-pressure (pump driven) reverse osmosis systems have been used for years to desalinate* water – to convert brackish or seawater to drinking water. Having a better understanding of how a reverse osmosis system works will eliminate the mystery and confusion you may feel when you look at a reverse osmosis system with its many colored tubes and multitude of filters. Read on to enhance your knowledge of residential reverse osmosis systems. The most important points to remember: All Reverse Osmosis Systems work the same way. Most RO (Reverse Osmosis) systems DO NOT look alike. All RO Systems have the same basic components. The difference is the quality of the filters and membranes inside the Reverse Osmosis system.
How does a Reverse Osmosis Membrane work?
Reverse Osmosis is a process in which dissolved inorganic solids (such as salts) are removed from a solution (such as water). This is accomplished by household water pressure pushing the tap water through a semi permeable membrane. The membrane (which is about as thick as cellophane) allows only the water to pass through, not the impurities or contaminates. These impurities and contaminates are flushed down the drain.
Advantages of Reverse Osmosis
The quality of the filters and membranes used in the RO System (see operating specs)
While one RO System may look just like the next in terms of design and components, the quality of those components can be very different. These differences can have a significant impact on the quality of the water the system produces.
Here are some examples of questions you might ask and consequences associated with “less than desirable” quality.
Has the manufacturer used sound methods? What types of welds have been used in these plastic products? Will they allow contaminated water to bypass the filtration system? Will they allow the system to leak?
How has this filter or membrane been created? Will it allow the water to ‘channel’ and, in effect, bypass the removal component of this device?
What about the quality of the ‘fill’? Are its contents of a high enough quality to produce the expected percentage of contaminant reduction? Carbon quality, for instance, can have huge variances in reduction capability, reduction capacity, and the sloughing of ‘fines’, which can prematurely clog or foul the RO Membrane.
What are the manufacturer’s controls on tolerances or variations in specifications? If this component is rated as a 1-micron filter will it truly filter out everything larger than 1 micron or will it only do the job 80% of the time? And, what if it actually filters at a .5-micron rate? That will stop the system from flowing — clogging it and forcing filter replacement? If this is a sediment filter and it fails the excess sediment will clog or foul the RO Membrane.
And in general – Are the materials used in this product FDA or NSF (National Safety Foundation) approved? If not, you might question their quality or performance ability.
So, it becomes clear that the quality of the components is the key to an optimal functioning RO System.
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This filter removes large particles from the water that are visible to the human eye. These particles can include mud, rust, dirt or any other large particles that may be present in the water.
This filter will remove any chlorine or organic molecules (which cause bad tastes and or smells) that may be present in the water.
This filter is a clock of carbon and will remove any chlorine or organic molecules that may have got passed the second filter. However it also has a 5 micron filter which is there to catch any carbon that may have broken off during the second and third stages.
The UV Treatment is what removes the particulars that are not visible to the human eye such as pesticides, bacteria, viruses, parasites and metal. The ultraviolet treatment sanities the water before the bottles are filled with the purified water.