What Is Reverse Osmosis and How Does It Work?

July 27, 2021

Reverse osmosis is the process of removing contaminants by sending water through a semipermeable membrane. This results in clean drinking water that is separated from waste. Many home and business owners are investing in reverse osmosis (RO) technology for many of their water needs. Let’s take a closer look at how the RO water purification process works and whether it might be right for you.

How RO systems work

These systems work in several phases. An RO system includes an under-counter holding tank, and water goes through several filtration phases.

The first phase is prefiltration, which is designed to protect the unit’s membranes via reducing the number of suspended materials that are liable to clog the system. The second phase is when filtration removes chlorine, which can damage the membranes. The third phase is when the semipermeable membrane removes a wide range of contaminants. The water then goes into a pressurized storage tank, which holds treated water. The last stage is a carbon post-filtration phase, which removes any aesthetically unpleasing tastes or odors.

Each RO system contains a variety of components, including:

  • Cold water line valve, which acts as the water source for the system
  • Pre-filters for protecting membranes from sand, silt, dirt and other sediment
  • RO membrane, which acts as the heart of the system and designed to remove a broad spectrum of contaminants
  • Post-filter for the final polishing stage
  • Automatic shutoff valve for conserving water
  • Storage tank, which holds two to four gallons of water

As you can see, this is a very involved process to transform the water from your tap into clean, polished drinking water. You’ll be able to see and taste the difference.

The contaminants an RO system removes

A high-quality RO system removes a broad spectrum of contaminants that can be found in drinking water. These include:

  • Arsenic
  • Chlorine
  • Sediment
  • Salt
  • Fluoride
  • Herbicides
  • Pesticides

Note that a reverse osmosis system will not remove bacteria and viruses from water, though water from city treatment plants should already be safe in this regard.

The benefits of using an RO system

The reality is that reverse osmosis provides a high level of water purification. It extracts 98 percent of the solids found in water, making it healthier to drink. Other benefits include:

  • Removing bad tastes and odors from water
  • Reducing sodium
  • Nearly eliminating contaminants

An RO system is easy to install and fits right under your kitchen sink. It also doesn’t require much in terms of maintenance. If you’ve been living on bottled water, reverse osmosis is a more environmentally friendly and convenient way to ensure you have potable water at all times.

WES Water has more than 35 years of experience. We are the industry experts you can count on to meet your water treatment needs. We provide water conditioning and purification solutions for residential, commercial and industrial applications. We do it all, from water purification and reverse osmosis to whole-house water filters. Give us a call today to learn more about how our products and services can help you!

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