What is Reverse Osmosis Filtration?
Reverse Osmosis Filtration is one of the most thorough cleansing processes for water.
Osmosis is basically a process where molecules move through a membrane. The membrane is like a wall with very small holes in it. The molecules make their through the wall from one side to the other because the solution they are in want to have the same amount of molecules on both sides of the wall. Osmosis occurs naturally over time.
In Reverse Osmosis, we us pressure to reverse the process. There is high pressure on one side of the membrane or wall, and low pressure on the other side. The movement of the high pressure water over the membrane forces water molecules to pass through the membrane, leaving behind almost everything else in it. By the time it has passed through the wall, the water has been stripped of hard water minerals, chlorine and chloramines, pathogens and micro organisms, and almost everything else that can be carried in water, leaving it pure, clean and delicious.
Many bottle water manufactures use the reverse osmosis process. I was just drinking some water bottled by Neslte, and read about the water on the label. It said the water came from a public source in Colorado, and had been cleaned by reverse osmosis! And you thought bottle water was fresh from a spring in the mountain! Well, at least they are honest, and the water is clean.
It is important to understand that in order to create reverse osmosis water the water has to be in motion. As it moves past the membrane, it is then sent down the drain. So in order to create really clean water, we have to waste some of it. Some of the cheap reverse osmosis systems out there can use up to ten gallons of water to create one gallon of reverse osmosis purified water. The better systems, like the ones we sell have worked on making the process as efficient as possible, and require between three and four gallons of water to create one gallon of reverse osmosis water.
Reverse Osmosis System
A Reverse Osmosis System is made up of the following basic parts:
- Membrane – Of course the membrane is the most important part of the system. It usually sits on horizontally on the top of the filters in the system.
- Filters – Before the water comes to the membrane it is helpful to filter it out. This helps the membrane to last longer. The filters sit vertically in canisters underneath the membrane. There is usually a sediment filter and one or two carbon filters.
- Holding Tank – The reverse osmosis process takes a long time. If you tried to fill a glass as the water passed through the membrane it could take hours. So the system has a holding tank which allows for storage of the water. It has an pressurized air chamber that will force the water out when you turn on the faucet, and can hold several gallons. This way, you can fill a glass or even several pitchers with pure water without waiting.
- Faucet – The system needs a way to deliver the water to you. Usually there is a separate faucet installed by the kitchen sink that you can use just to get the purified water from the system. There is also the option of connecting the system to the water dispenser/icemaker on the refrigerator. This makes for clean, clear ice cubes without the white floaty stuff they can leave behind.
Reverse Osmosis Maintenance
There is some maintenance required with reverse osmosis systems. Once or twice a year, the filters will need to be changed to keep them clean. Membranes can last a lot longer with clean filters, but the membranes also need to be replaced. It is also a good idea to periodically check the system for leaks.