What is reverse osmosis and should it be part of my soft water system?

Nov 20, 2020 | General

Reverse Osmosis. It sounds like a topic you should have paid closer attention to in biology classes at school – a bit like photosynthesis. Remember that one?!!

To be fair, reverse osmosis is actually a topic that wouldn’t have formed part of the mainstream curriculum. And those days are behind you! Today, however, if you care about the quality of the water you are drinking, then understanding a little more about reverse osmosis could be both insightful and beneficial – for your entire household.  

What is a Reverse Osmosis System?

In essence, reverse osmosis, or RO, is a water filtration system. It works by pushing your household water pressure through a semi-permeable membrane that removes any contaminants and pollutants, like chlorine and lead, which is likely to be present in the tap water coming in off the mains supply. The RO drinking water system, which would normally be installed under the kitchen sink, has various stages of pre and post-filtration to ensure the pristine water molecules (the good stuff) are retained, with any other impurities being separated out and flushed away down the drain. 

The objective is to leave you with pure, fabulous tasting water that is perfect for drinking (both cold and hot) and, more besides, like washing and preparing food.  

With RO filtration present in the home, you won’t need to keep buying expensive bottled water – as your drinking water will be every bit as good. 

Reverse Osmosis – the Benefits 

Purification that’s Chemical free  

Since reverse osmosis uses a semi-permeable membrane to filter out impurities, no chemicals are involved in the water purification process. 

Effective removal of odours and bad tasting water

Have you ever drank tap water that smells and tastes of chlorine? It’s not pleasant, is it! Thanks to reverse osmosis, your drinking water will be around 99% purer than the standard supply coming into your property.

Water that’s pleasurable to drink

For the morning tea, washing your lunchtime salad, or a thirst-quenching glass of water at any time of the day, you can depend upon your reverse osmosis filtration system to provide you with outstanding results. And every bit as good as bottled water. 

Cost-effective

Once you’ve made your initial investment (check out the prices of our Kinetico K range reverse osmosis drinking water stations and filters), the average household will only need to change the filters once a year. What’s more, every litre of drinking water you use will cost around 2-4p – way, way cheaper than buying bottled water all the time which also encourages the use of environmentally harmful plastic!    

Do I need a separate tap for my RO filtered water? 

Yes, you will need an additional tap, since the RO system is a specialist piece of kit that isn’t designed to provide water for non-drinking purposes. Nor is it there to provide hot water. This is why it is necessary to have a separate tap, a three-way option – one for your RO drinking water and the others for your general duty hot and cold water supply. Usually, this would require just one three way tap to be installed in the kitchen, although separate RO systems can be installed elsewhere in the home if you want tap drinking water running to other rooms in the property. 

If I have a Reverse Osmosis system, do I need a water softener?

This is a commonly asked question and to answer it, first it’s important to understand the difference between the two – as they perform completely different functions. As mentioned above, RO is basically a water filtration system that filters out the impurities in your drinking water. In contrast, the primary purpose of a water softener is to remove hardness from the water, providing you with lovely soft water running throughout the home, through your central heating and all your pipework. This is great for washing, bathing, your clothes, skin and hair. It will also protect your household appliances from destructive limescale build-up. No home in a hard water area should be without a water softener!

However, whilst there is no harm in drinking the soft water created by a water softener, it isn’t everybody’s cup of tea and, in fairness, this is not really its function. This is why having an RO system installed, to provide you with pure-tasting drinking water, could be considered a good option. 

It’s also worth noting that, if you live in a hard water area and you are using an RO system for your drinking water, but you don’t have a water softener, the hardness in the water will regularly clog up the pre-filter RO system. By having a water softener installed alongside, it will help protect the life of the RO membrane.  

By having both Reverse Osmosis and a water softener, you really have all the water bases covered! So, the answer is that they work brilliantly together, but are also highly effective operating independently of one another. 

We hope this has been a useful lesson in reverse osmosis and the invaluable part that it plays in purifying the water you drink.   

At SJ Water Softeners, we take pride in supplying the finest quality drinking water and soft water systems in the area. If you are interested in having an RO filtration system to improve the quality of the drinking water in your home, feel free to call us on 01243 607494 or email: scott@sjbs.info