Reverse osmosis (r.o.) is a process by which a semipermeable membrane separates contaminants such as chemical fertilizers, ions and other molecules from water. Just like any other desalination process, reverse osmosis is designed to make water safe for drinking.
There are advantages and disadvantages that come with r.o. and in today’s post we are going to thoroughly examine them…
How Does the Process Work?
To gain a better understanding of how r.o. works, you first need to understand what osmosis is:
- The goal of osmosis is to establish a solute concentration equilibrium on both sides of a semipermeable membrane. During the process, water molecules diffuse through the membrane to the opposite side with the higher solute concentration.
Technically, r.o. means that the movement of those molecules is now turned into the opposite direction with the help of pressure from the outside:
- There are two sides in an r.o. filtration system— the feed water supply on one and the purified water on the other side. When outside pressure is applied on the side of the feed water supply, water molecules diffuse to the other side and thereby get separated from most impurities.
- R.O. completely separates a solvent and a solute from each other as only very small molecules can pass through the membrane.
A typical household r.o. filter systems stores the purified water in a tank. A storage unit can usually store as little as one gallon to as much as 10 (depending on the model).
Advantages of Reverse Osmosis
It Is Relatively Affordable
Who said access to purified water has to be expensive? Say goodbye to the hassle of buying bottled water! Say goodbye to filthy tap water! R.O. filtered drinking water is highly cost-efficient and easily available in your kitchen.
All you need to do is to buy and install a filtration device. The most money you are going to spend on aside from the unit itself is the regular filter replacements. Maintenance requirements are usually still quite low; in fact, a once-a-year cleaning may do, depending on your usage.
It Provides Contamination-Free Water
A r.o. system will filter harmful chemicals and minerals, metals and viruses out of your tap water. Unfiltered water may be contaminated and consuming it could cause diarrhea, mottled teeth or worse.
In very bad cases contaminated water consumption led to serious conditions such as cholera, dysentery, gastroenteritis, guinea worm disease, hepatitis E, typhoid fever and other waterborne diseases.
It Improves Taste
Most users can attest that filtered water simply tastes better. As a result, you would surely develop a preference for water over sodas and other artificially sweetened beverages. You might even find yourself drinking more than before once you have tried r.o.-filtered water.
It is Energy-Efficient
You do not need to plug in a r.o. filtration systems for it to do its job. The pressure that is already present in your plumbing system is sufficient.
Disadvantages of Reverse Osmosis
It Is Subject to Occasional Clogging
Since the semipermeable membrane and the other filters have extremely tiny pores, the filtered molecules can clog them up every now and then. Depending on the feed water quality, you might have to check and maintain your system more often to make sure that clogging does not become a major problem.
It Filters Out Essential Minerals
A membrane or a filter does not distinguish between substances that are good and substances that are bad for your health. It will filter out every particle that it possibly can. As a result, even healthy minerals that naturally occur in water can be stripped out. Especially if you are using a purification unit with a remineralization stage, it is no big deal, but we still wanted to mention it.
It Purifies Slowly
Depending on the pressure in your plumbing system, the filtration process itself can become quite lengthy. If your demand outweighs the supply, you have to be patient and wait until enough water is available.
Sure there are a couple of downsides, but nonetheless r.o. systems remain to be the number one choice for water filtration among homeowners – and even businesses – due to the many advantages that the technology offers. Modern systems work cost-efficient and remove almost all impurities.