Published: August 2, 2016
Last Updated: December 2023
Here Is The Truth About Reverse Osmosis Systems
Reverse Osmosis is considered to be the gold standard of water filtration because it filters almost every type of contaminant. However, there are somethings that customers usually do not find out until it’s too late:
The most common way to get an RO filter into the home is to buy an under sink filter and you would most likely need a professional plumber to do this for you.
Once the RO system is installed you will have to replace the filter cartridges and RO cartridges from different brands are NOT usually interchangeable. This means you should really consider the cost and availability of the replacement cartridges before you buy a specific RO system.
RO works by removing almost everything from water including healthy minerals. This means that you should really look for an RO device that “re-mineralizes” i.e add back some healthy minerals into the water. This will not only make the water more nourishing but also taste better.
You may also need a professional plumber to uninstall your under-sink RO system if you decide that you no longer want to use it.
The Benefits of Using Reverse Osmosis
Reverse osmosis is defined as the process of water being separated by a membrane that acts as a filter which removes all particles and unwanted chemicals.
RO water is purified to a standard clean enough for drinking and cooking because it removes particulates, dust, cysts, lead, arsenic, rust, nitrates, chromium, sand, silt, chlorine, magnesium, sodium, asbestos and copper.
It is one of the most affordable ways to get the highest quality drinking water in your home as it only costs a couple of hundred bucks. Especially when compared to a whole house filter machine that costs thousands of dollars.
Using an under sink RO system (the most common type of RO device) is space-saving because it doesn’t require any countertop space, efficient because you get purified water direct from the tap and easy to use as replacing filter cartridges only take a few seconds.
Reverse Osmosis Filtration: How Effective Is RO When Compared To Other Methods?
The table below shows how reverse osmosis compares to other filter methods such as microfiltration, ultrafiltration and nanofiltration.
|IMPURITIES NOT REMOVED
|0.1um - 10um
|Bacteria, suspended solids.
|Viruses, organic matter mineral salts.
|0.1um - 0.1um
|Some viruses, bacteria, suspended solids.
|Some viruses, organic matter, mineral salts.
|0.001um - 0.01um
|Most viruses, organic matter and salts that create hard water.
|Some mineral salts, including sodium chloride and some viruses.
|All organic compounds, all viruses and most minerals
|Only trace amounts.
Reverse Osmosis vs Carbon Filtration
The table below shows how reverse osmosis compares to carbon filtration, which is the most common method of filtration especially for things like water filter jugs.
Reverse Osmosis vs Water Ionizers
|Type of filter
|Filtration Level (microns)
(Free Gifts & Upgrades)
Why Use Reverse Osmosis Is Ideal For Tap Water
Tap water is generally safe to drink but comes with a lot of problems.
Most cities are based on a very old water plumbing system. Places like London for example have a plumbing system that is suffering from old age and wear from many decades of use.
Another issue is that water contamination can happen at almost any point in the delivery system. For instance, bacteria might come in from the main water supply, a lead leak from a corroded pipe solder. Or it might be something as simple as gardening chemicals accidentally siphoned back by a careless neighbour.
Sadly, many government authorities do not have enough financial resources to address some of these very expensive problems now and into the foreseeable future.
In the UK, Thames Water go through a rigorous cleaning process that is outlined on its website, for treating tap water. However, tap water still contains some trace particles that you might not want to consume.
For instance, there are many reports that UK water contains traces of estrogenic compounds (i.e. female hormones) and the US and UK government routinely add things like fluoride to the water supply.
RO Water Vs. Bottled Water?
There are many reports that most standard supermarket bottled water generally contain slightly filtered tap water.
When the reverse osmosis system is installed in your home and comes directly from your tap, it’s a lot more fresh when compared to stagnant water that has been sitting in plastic bottles.
Also, some plastic bottles have BPA (bisphenol-a), which is used in industrial processes for creating plastic and could be hazardous to health.
Finally, we can’t forget the environmental impact of plastic bottles that fill up our landfills.
On the other hand, bottled water has the advantage over RO in terms of its convenience and cheaper costs. Although, the cost of buying bottled water adds up over time.
Especially as installing an RO water system in your home can be complicated and you may need to hire a professional plumber.
How To Install A Reverse Osmosis System
With a little bit of plumbing knowledge it is possible to install your very own reverse osmosis kit in your home. Below is a handy video that provides a comprehensive guide to how you can install RO in your home if you want to take this route.
How To Install A Reverse Osmosis System
Reverse Osmosis UK?
If you are based in the UK you can buy an RO kit online and have a plumber install it for you. Here are some companies that might be able to help:
- RO World UK – One of the UK’s Largest Suppliers.
- Pure Klenz Water – Online retailers of RO systems with UK wide delivery.
- Uni-Flo Services – Water treatment specialists that work on bigger commercial projects.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) creates water that is essentially free from phosphates, nitrates, heavy metals and chlorine. This means that it is ideal for making up the base for freshwater or salt solution aquariums.
Tap water is perfectly sufficient but as discussed in this article so far and other articles in this blog (e.g. is tap water safe to drink?).
Why is this important?
However, tap is generally full of non-harmful substances that could adversely affect your aquarium. This could be quite severe depending on the type of water that is in your neighbourhood. For example, some places like London suffer with hard water.
If you are interested in this option, there are many clever and easy to install devices that you can buy to make sure you have RO water in your aquarium.
Reverse Osmosis Waste Water
Reverse osmosis is a process often used by industry to produce clean water because of its cost efficiency and effectiveness of removing most impurities found in water.
Having said this, reverse osmosis is very effective at removing other substances from waste water.
Water is one of the most underrated ingredients of tea and coffee.
Using tap water in your coffee maker or kettle might make it full of things like limescale and small quantities of other impurities.
But filtering your water with a system like reverse osmosis means that water tastes better and fresher.
Thereby also improving the taste of your hot beverage.
So, Which Is The Best Home Reverse Osmosis System?
The reverse osmosis system is a water filtration system that is capable of treating almost every contaminant. RO filtered water is cleaner and safer to drink than tap water because most plumbing systems suffer from old age.
Taps also suffer from wear and tear from many decades of use.
There are obvious problems with reverse osmosis such as the cost and complexity of installing it in your home.
Also, there are some unsubstantiated reports that the hyper filtration system removes minerals from water.
Its superior filtration technology means that it is a good choice for aquariums.
Reverse osmosis water is also good for general every day use in the home for things like cooking, drinking and even making hot beverages like coffee.