Is it true that reverse osmosis water filtering systems are completely safe or effective for the average individual? This type of water filtering system was once touted as a panacea for water purification and safety. However, it has been shown to have several disadvantages which immediately show the drawbacks of using reverse osmosis. Understanding what reverse osmosis water filter benefits and disadvantages can help you make an informed decision on the right type of water filtration for your home.
Not all reverse osmosis systems are effective or safe for the average individual. Some water purifiers claim to eliminate viruses, bacteria, heavy metals, and other compounds while claiming they are not. They also do not remove toxins, heavy metals or chemicals in the water supply. The basic components of such a system can make water much less healthy for you.
How It Works
A reverse osmosis system operates by pushing water through a series of filters. One of these filters will typically contain a single RO unit. The RO unit extracts water and vapour from the water. The unit then pressures the water through a series of beds, which is typically composed of multi-media or polymers. The process is often made by requiring pressurized air to be forced through the beds of the system.
Many say reverse osmosis is the most efficient way of filtering liquid. In reality, however, it can be the most wasteful. Reverse osmosis wastes more water than it cleans since the system works by requiring more than twice as much water as it cleans to produce the desired result. The wastewater, in turn, often ends up in a disposal unit or other waste treatment facility. While the RO unit can purify liquid to a higher degree than other systems, it does so at the expense of natural processes that naturally occur in the home.
Reverse osmosis membrane filtration systems are available to both residential and commercial users. The reverse osmosis membrane is made of semi-permeable materials that allow it to pass through many pores in living matter. Because the semi-permeable membrane allows water molecules through, the result is an almost impenetrable filter that removes nearly all contaminants from tap water.
Reverse osmosis systems utilize a porous membrane that is slightly larger than the semi-permeable or membrane. This larger size creates a bigger surface area of pores for the pre-treatment step of the reverse osmosis system. The pre-treatment step involves the addition of activated carbon to capture chemicals and minerals that reverse osmosis systems are less effective in removing. Carbon granules are added to pre-treatment fluids until they are no longer visible on the surface of the fluid. The carbon granules are then filtered out of the system through the reagent reservoir.
In the reverse osmosis step of the process, the pre-treatment fluid is passed through a large layer of carbon granules and other surface contaminants. For these contaminants to be removed, the pre-treatment liquid is passed through the second layer of filters. These filters trap chemicals such as chlorine and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) on their surface. They also capture trace minerals such as calcium and magnesium in their liquid. Because these minerals are essential to human health, reverse osmosis treatment is necessary to make sure that the human body receives the essential nutrients it needs.
Reverse osmosis filters are very effective in removing a variety of contaminants from tap water. However, many people who have had problems with reverse osmosis systems in the past now prefer to use a multi-stage filtration system instead. Multi-stage filters can include both a carbon filter and a multi-media block to ensure that the chemical and mineral contaminants are all removed from the water.