How Does Reverse Osmosis (RO) Work?
Reverse osmosis is the process of pushing water through a few stages of filtration to remove impurities and harmful contaminants. First, pressurized water goes through the particle filter to remove impurities like salt, sand, and sediment. Then, the water passes through an activated carbon filter that traps and removes minerals and contaminants such as chlorine, mercury, copper and pesticides. Finally, the pressurized water is then forced through a semipermeable membrane where the smallest impurities are trapped and only clean water passes through. The contaminants that were removed are flushed away and the treated water is sent to a storage tank to undergo a final activated-carbon filtration to improve taste quality before it’s ready for household use.
Does reverse osmosis remove healthy minerals from drinking water?
A reverse osmosis system will filter the majority of minerals (both healthy and unhealthy) and chemical materials from water, including salt, fluoride, lead, manganese, iron, and calcium.
There is no need to worry about the removal of the healthy minerals. The inorganic minerals in water cannot be digested by our bodies, so removing the minerals does not affect the healthiness of the water. Minerals contained in food are in a form that we can digest.
Is reverse osmosis necessary if I have a water softener?
There may still be impurities in the water you use in your home, for washing laundry, cooking, drinking, etc., even with the use of a water softener. A reverse osmosis system can remove those impurities, including 98% of the sodium left by the water softening process.
The combination of a reverse osmosis system and a water softener has additional benefits.
- Since removing calcium and magnesium is difficult for a RO system, adding a water softener can protect your RO system. Since these are the minerals found in hard water, the water softener will reduce the water hardness, protecting the reverse osmosis unit and extending its life.
- A water softener provides soft water throughout your home, but leaves some impurities behind. A reverse osmosis system will remove the salt left behind from a water softener, making your drinking water more pure.
- Water softeners can save you money on utility bills because water-using appliances will operate more efficiently, using less energy. Plus, soft water can lengthen the life of those appliances. A reverse osmosis system saves money by eliminating the need for a water service and bottled water.