Reverse osmosis systems
Reverse Osmosis System Buyers Guide
If you're looking for the cleanest water possible at the turn of a faucet a reverse osmosis system is for you. Tucked away under your kitchen sink they remain completely out of sight and feature a separate faucet installed on your countertop that dispenses your purified water.
These systems are best for homes, apartments and offices. Whether your on untreated well water requiring UV sterilization or city water we have a system that will work for you. If you're looking for the cleanest water possible at the turn of a faucet a reverse osmosis system is for you.
What is a reverse osmosis system and how do they work?
Over the recent years reverse osmosis has become a very popular option for providing drinking water for your home or business. Reverse Osmosis or commonly referred to as RO is the process of forcing water across a semipermeable membrane to remove ions, unwanted molecules, and other harmful contaminants from drinking water. This purified water is then collected in a pressurized tank and ready to used for drinking or cooking.
How Do Reverse Osmosis Systems Work?
The term may sound complicated but the process of reverse osmosis purification is actually quite simple. RO works by using your home water pressure to push your tap water through a semipermeable membrane to remove impurities and contaminants. Water being a smaller molecule is forced through tiny holes in the membrane while dissolved inorganic solids such as salts and other contaminants are rejected and flushed away.
How much does a reverse osmosis system cost?
No longer are reverse osmosis filters too expensive to afford for home use. With most systems ranging in cost from $150 - $300, it’s no surprise why so many people have switched to filtering their drinking water at home. While some may argue that even with the price of the system being more affordable the other costs of replacements and waste water still make it expensive. Let’s break it down and take a look at how much it will actually cost.
- One time purchase of the system: $179.95
- One person consumes on average 180 gallons of water per year.
- Average cost per gallon of water from the city: $0.0015
- Now to get the total amount of water including waster (2:1) waste ratio: 360 Gallons
- The total cost of water for 1 person: $0.0015 x 360 Gallons = $0.54.
- Your first year of owning an RO system will cost you approximately $180.59.
Now let’s take a look at your second year of owning an RO system.
- Replacement filters with membrane: $79.96
- Water: $0.54
- Total spent second year: $80.50
Now to put this into perspective lets compare the cost of purchasing bottled water.
- One person consuming 180 gallons of water breaks down to 1,368 water bottles per year.
- The average cost of a 24 pack of water bottles: $4.99
- The cost per bottle: $0.20
- 1,368 bottles X $0.20 = $273.60
The numbers speak for themselves. Even with cost of purchasing the system you will still save money the first year of switching to reverse osmosis.
First Year Savings: $93.01
Second Year Savings: $193.10
Since you save $193.10 per person, you spend $0.54 to save $193.10 for every additional person in your home or business. That’s a savings of $965.50 for a household of 5!
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes Reverse Osmosis filtration a good option for home?
The process of reverse osmosis has been around for over 100 years, but it’s energy intensive process made it quite expensive and not a viable option for home filtration. However, over the past 10 years recent improvements in design have allowed companies to produce affordable systems that can be utilized for home use.
What makes Reverse Osmosis better than other forms of water filtration?
If you’re currently searching for a water filter for your home or business this will help you understand the why RO is the top choice for millions of American households.
- Most effective method for difficult to remove contaminants: RO systems can remove 1000’s of chemicals such as lead, mercury, fluoride, chlorine, sodium, copper, chloride, chromium, arsenic radium, sulfate, and many more. Unlike standard water filters, pitcher filters, and faucet filters, RO systems can remove PFOA’s which have been an increasing issue with recent water reports.
- Minimal Maintenance: RO systems require very little upkeep which entails cleaning and replacing filters which is done approximately once a year depending on your water quality. While these systems may seem complex, they’re actually quite simple. They have very few moving parts and all replacement parts are readily available and affordable.
- Saves Time and Money: Once you make the switch to filtering your own water at home you can stop buying cases of bottled water, cancel your water delivery service, and stop buying expensive refrigerator filters that are ineffective. After purchasing a system, your annual cost of replacement filters and water (including waste water) is approximately $40.49. Your average annual savings on bottled water is $233.11 and only doubles with each member of your household.
- Clean Crisp Taste: If you haven't tried RO water yet I think you would be surprised when I told you that 90% of bottled water is processed using reverse osmosis. RO systems produce some of the most pure and best tasting water which is why bottled water companies use the same process.
When it comes to water everyone’s situation is different. Some people may have crystal clear water with no smell, or slightly yellow water with a sulfuric smell. Even if the contamination is not visible your water could be unsafe or bad for your health. Reverse osmosis is the best solution to treat odor, taste, appearance, and provide you with the reassurance that the water you’re consuming is safe.
What does reverse osmosis remover from water?
Reverse osmosis systems are one of the most effective in home water filter systems.
Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, E.coli, Enteric, Sulfate, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc, Mercury, Cyanide, Norovirus, Rotavirus, Sodium, Chloride, Copper, Chromium, Lead, Arsenic, Fluoride, Radium, Nitrate, Phosphorus, Nickel, Phosphorus.
What are the parts of a reverse osmosis system?
There are many manufactures of reverse osmosis systems and in most cases use similar components and function the same way. However, where the bigdifference is quality of components, performance, and efficiency. Purchasing a cheap inefficient RO system can end up costing you more in the long rundue to the amount of water they waste and problems that arrise.
Reverse Osmosis System Components:
- Feed water adapter: This attachment installs directly to your cold water line that runs to your kitchen faucet so that it can divert water to the reverse osmosis system. It does not affect the function of the faucet or water pressure.
- Polypropylene Spun Sediment filter: This is the most common first stage of a reverse osmosis system. This pre-filter removes visible particulate such as dirt, sand, dust, debris, clay, and rust. Removing these larger particles earlier in the filtration process helps extend the life of membrane and carbon filters in the system.
- Granular Activated Carbon Filter: The second stage is where organic and synthetic chemicals such as chlorine, pesticides, and herbicides are removed. Also known as a GAC filter, granular activated carbon is made from organic material such as wood, lignite, and coal. Due to the increased surface are of a GAC filter they’re highly effective at absorbing and removing bad taste and odor from water.
- Carbon Block Filter: Just like GAC filters, carbon block filters are made from wood, lignite, coal, and remove pesticides, volatile organic compounds, arsenic and sediment. Unlike granular filters, the carbon in this filter is a solid block. This is beneficial because it forces the water to have longer contact with the filter media which improves it’s contaminant removal. The only downside with carbon block filters is the effect they have on flow rate. Since carbon block filters slow down flow rate it’s best for systems to only use one carbon block filter and one granular carbon filter.
- Automatic shutoff Valve: Reverse osmosis water filtration systems are dependent on water pressure to control when water is being filtered and when the system turns off. The automatic shut off valve or ASOV relies on the pressure from the tank to indicate once it’s full. Once the tank is full the ASOV shuts off water to the membrane and drain. Once water is drawn from the storage tank by turning on the faucet and the pressure drops within the tank, the ASOV opens again and allows the system to refill the tank.
- Reverse Osmosis Membrane: The reverse osmosis membrane or RO filter is where the system does all the heavy lifting and removes the majority of dissolved solids and contaminants. This is the 4th stage on most systems directly following the ASOV. Reverse osmosis membranes are highly effective at removing metal ions, aqueous salts, sodium, chloride, copper, chromium, lead, arsenic, fluoride, radium, sulfate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, nitrate, phosphorus, and PFOA’s.
- Flow Restrictor: To prevent excessive waste and maintain pressure on the inlet side of the membrane a flow restrictor is added on the drain line off the membrane housing. This part is crucial for a reverse osmosis systems to function properly. If there was not flow restrictor water would take the path of least resistance and only flow through the drain line.
- Storage Tank: Since reverse osmosis systems typically produce 50-100 gallons of purified water a day they must use a storage tank so that you have filtered water on demand. These tanks have a pressurized bladder inside that boost the water pressure at your faucet.
- Carbon Post Filter: To ensure your water is clean and odorless it passes through the 5th and final stage which is a carbon post filter. This is similar to the second stage GAC filter and is comprised of activated carbon.
- Optional Ultraviolet Purifier: For homes without adequate disinfection and sterilization of their water it's best to have a UV filter on your reverse osmosis system. Homes that are on well water do not have added chlorine to kill microorganism and bacteria that may be prevalent in your natural water source.
- Optional Alkaline Filter: Since reverse osmosis does such a good job of removing dissolved solids it's often a concern that it removes beneficial minerals. Studies show that we receive all the necessary minerals directly from our diet and any we take in from the water we drink is an added benefit. Alkaline filters naturally add back those minerals and increase the alkalinity of the water.
- Faucet: Since reverse osmosis systems operate independently of your kitchen faucet they must have a separate faucet installed. This allows you to use filtered water as you please so that you don’t waste filtered water on washing your hands or dishes.
- Drain line: Since reverse osmosis membranes separate the contaminants in your water they require flushing of these contaminants as waste. This drain line allows this process to be automated and runs directly to your drain saddle.
- Drain Saddle: The drain saddle is the final step for your waste water. This attaches on the p-trap or drain under your sink and allows the drain line to connect with ease.
Why do I need a reverse osmosis system?
Whether your water comes from the city or a well, we all know that water contamination does pose a serious health risk to everyone. Reverse osmosisallows you to have the peace of mind that the water being consumed in your home is free from harmful contaminants.
Municipal water treatment facilities do an excellent job of treating and sterilizing our water. Yet, residual chlorine, chloramines, and added fluoride poseserious health risks when consumed. Recent studies show that the risk of cancer in individuals who drink chlorinated water is 93% higher than those whodo not. This is only one of many concerns drinking unfiltered tap water. The EPA has set thresholds for acceptable levels of deadly contaminants such aslead, mercury, and arsenic. Not only are there allowed limits of the contaminants in your water, but these limits are also often exceeded. No matter howwell your water is treated it still has a long journey through outdated and potentially rusted piping to get to your home. This is where these harmfulcontaminants get back into your water.
Those whose water source comes from a well all know that this water is easily contaminated from the environment around you. Pesticides from a farm,animal waste from livestock, or pollution from a factory are a few of the factors that can affect the source of your water. Unlike municipal water that useschlorine to destroy bacteria and viruses, your water is untreated. If you plan on cooking or drinking this water adequate sterilization must be done toprotect you and your family. The most efficient and affordable method is by using a 6 stage reverse osmosis system with an ultraviolet sterilization filter.
What makes one reverse osmosis system better than others?
If you’re interested in a reverse osmosis system and you’re currently doing your research you will find there are many different systems that all look verysimilar. Where they differ is going to be quality of components, design, and manufacture support.
Quality of components
- Filter housings: One of the most important parts of a reverse osmosis system is the filter housings. Cheap housings are prone to cracking with age,poor seals which can cause leaking, and loose fitment of filters that can cause low performance of the system.
- Fittings: Each tubing installed on reverse osmosis systems will typically connect by quick connect fittings. These fittings work great and are the best option for connections. However, just like with cheap filter housings, cheap fittings on a reverse osmosis system can lead to a nightmare of leaks and performance problems.
- Filters: While the filters in most reverse osmosis systems are universal, not all filters are created equal. Poorly made sediment filters can allow dirt and other sediment to pass through which shortens the life of other filters in the system. Granular carbon filters that do not have enough filter media in them can provide poor performance, and cheap carbon block filters are prone to clogging and an increase loss in water pressure.
- Faucet: Let’s face it, RO systems are not the most beautiful appliance you want to see in your kitchen which is why they’re hidden under your sink, however, your faucet sits on top of your counter top at all times. Cheap RO faucets not only have cheap plating that can flake off over time and rust, but they are prone to leaking and wasting water.
- Automatic shut off valve: Like mentioned earlier, the automatic shut off valve tells the system when to turn on and off. This is one part you want to have that’s made with quality. A cheap ASOV can cost you lot’s of money in wasted water if constructed poorly.
- Flow Rate: Most reverse osmosis systems will provide anywhere from 50 gallons per day up to 100 gallons per day. For most homes with 3 or morepeople it’s best to have a system that can provide 100 gallons per day to keep up with your water demands.
- Number of filters: Everyone’s situation is different and needs a system that works for them. Your standard reverse osmosis system will come with 5stages and have optional alkaline and ultraviolet stages for those of you who prefer alkaline water or need sterilization.
- Efficiency: Since not all systems are designed the same, their waste ratios will vary. A good reverse osmosis system will typically produce a 2:1 – 3:1waste to pure water ratio. Systems made with cheap components can have a waste ratio up to 10:1 waste ratio.
- Booster Pumps: Most homes with municipal city water have sufficient water pressure but for those who are on well or have low water pressure willrequire a system that features a booster pump. Reverse osmosis systems need a minimum of 40PSI to run efficiently. Even if your water pressure is above40PSI it doesn’t hurt to have the added booster pump. This pump will make sure your system maintains pressure around 80PSI.
When it comes to purchasing a reverse osmosis system is important to make sure the company you decide on is not just a reseller but are in fact amanufacture. When it comes time for maintenance you want to be certain that you can get any part you need when you need it. Many resellers only provideyou the system and leave you in the dark when it comes time for replacement parts.
Here at NU Aqua we take pride in all of our products. We ensure all components in our systems are of top quality, provide the best performance, and offerindustry-leading support, which is why we can offer the industries best warranty at no extra cost.
How much maintenance does a reverse osmosis system require?
Reverse osmosis systems are easy to maintain and require minimal maintenance.
- Replacement filters: All reverse osmosis systems require replacement of their filters and membranes. This simple process only takes a few minutes and can be done by anyone. For most systems the pre-filters and post carbon filter require replacement every 6-9 months and the membrane every 1-1.5years.
- Annual sanitizing: In order to keep your system clean and prevent contamination it’s best to sanitize your system once a year during your filter change.The process is easy and only takes a few minutes and a few tablespoons of unscented household bleach.
What reverse osmosis filter is best for me?
When it comes to selecting the right reverse osmosis filter for your home the options can be overwhelming. To determine the right system you must first look at where your water comes from. Whether your on municipal city water or your main water source is from a well, this is a big factor in determining which system will work best for you.
Unlike city water that is treated with chlorine for sterilization, well water is untreated and requires more filtration to be safe to drink. Since well water is direct from the source, your local environment has a heavy impact on the quality of your water. If you live near agriculture or livestock your water can be subjected to nitrates and nitrites from chemical fertilizers as well as bacteria and microorganisms from animal waste. Manufacturing and mining industries can produce waste that leaches heavy metals into groundwater that contaminate your water source. These are just a few of the potential hazards that can contaminant your well water. Depending on your locations there are hundreds of other factors that affect your water.
Some homes that have well water as their source will have a whole house ultraviolet filter in place. If your home does not, it's best to have at least a 6 stage system with the ultraviolet filter to ensure your water is properly sterilized. Our UV filters kill 99% of harmful viruses, bacteria, and microorganisms that can be found in well water.
Regardless if you're on well water or city water, your water pressure is important for a reverse osmosis system to work efficiently. For a reverse osmosis membrane to function properly a minimum water pressure of 40PSI is required. Homes that are on well water often fall below 40PSI and require a system that features a booster pump. If your source of water is from the city your water pressure should be over 40PSI and the use of a booster pump is optional.