8 Things to Know Before Purchasing a RO SystemAqua Soft Water Systems Inc. Authorized independent Kinetico Dealer for Palm Beach and Broward County
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RO systems remove minerals and other impurities from drinking water. It’s important to know these eight things before purchasing a system.
Considering that the human body is made up of over 60 % water, it comes as no surprise that we demand quality drinking water! Additionally, Harvard Medical School recommends we drink “about four to six cups of water each day”, or 32 to 48 ounces of water, as it benefits us by:
- Lubricating and cushioning our joints
- Protecting our cells, spinal column, and vital organs
- Keeping our bodies from overheating
- Helping to remove waste
- Improving absorption of nutrients
- Maintaining a healthy body weight.
For good quality water for drinking, ice and cooking, reverse osmosis (RO) systems are a great addition to your kitchen.
When used in arid countries to desalinate sea water for use as fresh, potable water, reverse osmosis requires an extraordinary amount of energy to work. Exciting news for these desert areas is a recent breakthrough called “batch reverse osmosis” that promises improved energy efficiency, extended equipment life, and the capacity to process high salinity water.
Lucky for us, domestic reverse osmosis water filtration systems already offer energy efficiency, as well as a whole host of other benefits. In this article we answer the most frequently asked questions.
1. What Is Reverse Osmosis?
Remember when you got your driver’s license? Just as you learned to drive forward before learning how to reverse, let
us start with regular osmosis. Going back to your high school days again, osmosis is a process where a liquid, in this case water, spontaneously passes through a semipermeable membrane. While some molecules,
such as water, can through the membrane, other particles cannot. This naturally occurring flow of liquid aims to even out the concentrations of the solutions, in other words, from a less concentrated solution into a more concentrated one, generatingosmotic pressure.
Reverse osmosis (RO) overcomes the osmotic pressure by applying pressure to drive water from a high concentration of molecules to a low concentration of molecules. This pressure-driven water passes through a plastic membrane sheet to remove contaminants such as heavy metals, microorganisms, chemicals, bacteria, and other impurities. Only the purest water molecules pass through as safe drinking water.
2. How Do Reverse Osmosis Systems Work?
Following on from above, your home reverse osmosis system transforms questionable water into clean clear drinking water that tastes delicious!
At the outset, the RO membrane needs to be protected by pre-filters:
- The sediment filter is the first line of defense and removes large particles like sand, silt, and rust.
- To guard against chlorine damaging the sensitive membrane, it is removed by carbon filters – an activated carbon filter and a carbon block filter.
Pivotal in the reverse osmosis process is the semi-permeable membrane that removes up to 90 – 99 % of total dissolved solids (TDS) from your water. This thin film composite is made of three layers:
- Polyester fabric support base.
- Microporous polysulfone layer strengthens the 0.2 micron barrier layer.
- Polyamide barrier layer removes unwanted chemical contaminants like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. as well as bacteria and viruses (although those should have already been removed at the city water treatment plant).
Together with feed channel spacers (that add turbulence and make space for the feed water) and permeate channel spacers (that allow the recycled water, or permeate, to flow evenly across the surface even under pressure), the membrane is wound around a core tube.
Unfiltered feedwater then spirals through the channel, and RO works its magic! The rinse water, or brine, goes for recycling via the drain line; and the treated water, or permeate is almost ready.
The purified water is stored in RO tanks. En route your faucets, fridge, or ice-maker, a final carbon post-filter polishes off your water by filtering out volatile organic compounds that give water a bad taste or odor.
3. Can Anyone Have a Reverse Osmosis Filtration System?
The short answer is, “Yes!” But the full answer depends…
If you have been stranded on the side of the road because you forgot to have your car serviced, you may find the maintenance required is not for you. Not that frequent effort is required, but failure to change your filters and clean your RO membrane and storage tanks will lead to an inefficient to non-operational system.
Installing a domestic reverse osmosis filtration system is not ideal for renters. For most models, you must drill a hole in the drain pipe (for the waste line) and another in your countertop (for the exclusively allocated faucet). Even if you own your home and are happy to accommodate the holes, you will need to budget for a professional installation.
The prime real estate under your sink will be used to house the system. This can be a drawback for small kitchens.
Low water pressure in your area makes the system too slow for convenience. Although an RO system operates adequately with a household water pressure of 40 to 80 psi, the optimum is 60 psi.
4. What Is the Lifespan of a Reverse Osmosis System?
The lifespan of a reverse osmosis system should be ten to fifteen years. The determining factor, of course, is how strictly you adhere to its maintenance schedule.
For tips on how to look after your RO filtration system to prolong its lifespan, keep reading.
5. Do Reverse Osmosis Filtration Systems Require a Lot of Maintenance?
Yes, reverse osmosis filtration systems do require regular maintenance. But no, it is not a lot of hard work!
To ensure that your reverse osmosis system performs optimally, you will need to service the different components of the filtration system periodically:
Frequency: Every year
Action: Having trapped all the large particles, your sediment filter needs to be changed once a year. For good-tasting water, change your carbon filter at the same interval.
Frequency: Once a year
Action: Use a simple air pressure gauge to check the pressure of your storage tank via the Schrader valve. Ideally, the empty tank air pressure should be 7 – 8 psi. Repressurize your reverse osmosis tank with a bicycle pump – but do so gently so as not to rupture the bladder.
Frequency: Once a year
Action: To ensure pure water, the post reverse osmosis water filters need to be replaced, but less frequently – depending on how much you use the system and local water conditions.
Reverse osmosis membranes
Frequency: Two to three years
Action: As the central part of your RO system, the fine membrane is key to clean, purified water. Your RO membranes will need to be replaced occasionally.
6. Does RO Impact the Environment?
Let’s tackle the perceived negative environmental impact of RO filters head on!
While the stat that reverse osmosis uses four gallons of water to purify one is correct, there is a lot more to consider before writing it off as wasteful.
First, despite “tap water provided by the water utilities (of Palm Beach County and Broward County being) in compliance with federal health-based drinking water standards”, these legal guidelines are outdated. Most of us innocently drink water that still contains unhealthy contaminants. Water purification for the sake of your health is hardly a waste!
Secondly, the ratio of 4:1 equates to a system that is 25 % efficient – way more efficient than that of your washing machine or dishwasher
Next, fitting a flow restrictor creates backpressure on the membrane, reducing the flow of waste water per minute.
Recent studies have shown that even seawater reverse osmosis desalination “can be designed and operated without causing significant environmental impacts”.
7.What Are Advantages of RO Over Other Water Filtration Systems?
The answer to this question lies in how you are going to utilize the system and what you are aiming to remove.
What it removes: Algae ,Arsenic ,Bacteria ,Bad taste/odor ,Benzene ,Chloride ,Chlorine ,Copper ,Crypto ,Fluoride ,Lead ,Mercury ,Nitrates ,Pesticides ,Rust, Salt ,Sulfates ,Viruses
Pros: One of the purest forms of potable water.
Cons: Not energy efficient. Expensive.
What it removes: Bad taste/odor ,Benzene ,Chlorine ,Pesticides ,Rust ,Partial reduction of: Crypto
Pros: Inexpensive, yet efficient operation. Compact and easy to install.
Cons: Not as effective. Takes up cabinet space.
What it removes: Bad taste/odor ,Benzene ,Pesticides ,Rust ,Partial reduction of: Algae ,Arsenic ,Bacteria ,Chloride ,Chlorine ,Copper ,Crypto ,Fluoride ,Lead ,Mercury ,Nitrates ,Salt ,Sulfates ,Viruses
Pros: Makes drinking water a pleasure. Fully automated system.
Cons: Healthy minerals lost. Maintenance required.
8. What Are the Benefits of Using an RO system?
Crikey! If all the above has not already convinced you, here are some benefits of installing an RO system in your home:
For Your Health and Safety
The potable water in Broward and Palm Beach County is nasty! Data from the Environmental Working Group is shocking:
- Broward County’s water averaged 11.5 total contaminants detected – including arsenic at 133 times the EWG’s health guideline.
- Palm Beach County’s water averaged 11.5 total contaminants, including 305 times the health limit for levels of total trihalomethanes (West Palm Beach), 220 times the EWG’s health guideline limit for haloacetic acid (Delray Beach), and 6 times their guideline for radium (Boca Ranton).
According to studies on the provision of water for healthcare purposes, RO “is the most efficient and economical method for removal of contaminants from tap water”.
For Your Energy Consumption
As powerful as they are at filtering impurities, reverse osmosis systems are very energy-efficient as they do not use electricity.
For Your Tastebuds
Prepping and cooking with uncontaminated water lets the flavors of your ingredients shine! Best of all, reverse osmosis has only a negligible effect on the nutritional value of the water.
For Your Budget
Save Mother Earth and your money by refilling bottles with RO water rather than paying for bottled water.
Serving West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, and Broward County, Aqua Soft Water Systems Inc. is an authorized independent Kinetico Water Systems dealer based in Royal Palm Beach. Our keen sales team can assist you to find the right water treatment options for your water problems and within your budget.
What are you waiting for? Get in touch with us today to enjoy the benefits of an RO system today!
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