When you have impurities you want to remove from your home’s water, reverse osmosis is one of the most effective ways to do it. Water treated with reverse osmosis is crystal clear, tastes great, and is ideal for drinking, cooking and cleaning.
What Is Reverse Osmosis?
Reverse osmosis is a type of water filtration that uses a specialized semi-permeable membrane to remove both large and microscopic particles from your water.
How Does a Reverse Osmosis System Work?
Reverse osmosis is based on osmosis, a natural process where a diluted solution passes through a membrane into a stronger solution until the concentration of both solutions is equalized. Reverse osmosis is an opposite process, where a concentrated solution (in this case, contaminated water) is forced through a special membrane that traps the contaminants, letting pure water through to the other side.
Most reverse osmosis systems use a multi-stage process. First is a basic sediment and carbon filtration process, which eliminates the largest particles from the water. Next, the water passes through the reverse osmosis stage, where up to 96% of contaminants are removed into a separate wastewater stream and flushed away. The reverse osmosis system used by Enercare also includes two final filtration stages to catch anything remaining in your water.
The process itself takes time: filling a glass of water at the actual flow rate would take at least five minutes. For this reason, most reverse osmosis systems include a tank where the purified water is stored until you need it, so you can have water instantly for most day-to-day use.
Where Is a Reverse Osmosis System Installed?
Because the reverse osmosis process takes time, produces wastewater and requires a storage tank to deliver treated water on-demand, these systems are not usually installed on the main incoming water line for your whole home. It’s more common to find them mounted at the point of use, like your sink or your refrigerator’s water hookup.
How Is Reverse Osmosis Different than Water Filtration?
While reverse osmosis is a type of water filtration, it’s much more specialized than most basic water filtration systems which use activated carbon or similar filter media that remove some kinds of contaminants. For the smallest particles, such as dissolved solids, arsenic, reverse osmosis is more effective, ensuring your water is always safe to drink.
Benefits of Reverse Osmosis Water
The purifying capabilities of reverse osmosis systems mean they offer several important benefits. Reverse osmosis:
- Removes lead and mercury
Although most municipal systems already treat for these heavy metals, older systems and non-municipal sources may still be contaminated. As lead and mercury are extremely hazardous to humans and pets, it’s important to filter them out of any water that may be consumed.
- Reduces sodium
If you get your water from a well that experiences salt infiltration, a reverse osmosis system can ensure your water is drinkable.
- Improves taste
While some water contaminants won’t affect your health, they can make your water taste or smell bad. Reverse osmosis filters out chlorine and other chemicals to ensure your water tastes great.
- Supports health
By removing a wide range of contaminants, reverse osmosis produces the healthiest possible water for you and your family.
How Long Does a Reverse Osmosis System Last?
With proper maintenance, a reverse osmosis system should last 10 to 15 years. For the best performance and longest lifespan, you’ll need to change its filters at least once a year and the membrane every two to three years. If you rent a reverse osmosis system under the Enercare Advantage™ program, we’ll provide complimentary replacement filters and membranes for the life of the system.
How Does a Reverse Osmosis System Affect the Environment?
Although reverse osmosis does produce wastewater, it’s far more environmentally friendly than relying on bottled water for clean-tasting water. It also uses no electricity to run and reduces the amount of treatment your home’s used water needs when it goes back into the municipal water recycling system.
There are also a few things you can do to reduce the amount of wastewater your reverse osmosis system produces. Choose a system with an automatic shut-off valve that stops the flow when your storage tank is full. If your system allows for it, you can install a permeate pump, which can reduce the wastewater by up to 80%. You can also retain your reverse osmosis wastewater and use it for landscaping. Although it contains more dissolved solids than potable water, it’s still safe for your plants.
Reverse Osmosis is a Key Part of Your Home Water Quality System
Reverse osmosis is the best way to get the healthiest, best-tasting drinking water in your home — and it works even better in concert with other water treatment solutions. Our whole-home water filter gets you high-quality water from every tap in your home and, if you have hard water, we also have water softening solutions that will prevent white chalky build-up. Get in touch and we’ll help you design the perfect water treatment solution for your home.
Want to Learn More About Reverse Osmosis?
If you’re interested in renting a reverse osmosis system, Enercare can set you up with a reliable, effective made-in-Canada reverse osmosis system — with no-fee installation^. Fill out the following form and one of our team members will get in touch with you soon.
®/™ Enercare, Enercare Advantage and the designs are trademarks of Enercare Inc., used under license. ^Installation charges may apply for a non-standard installation.