Reverse osmosis (RO) systems are known for their effectiveness in eliminating water contaminants and impurities. And, with water quality consistently being a concern in the U.S. and around the world, it’s no surprise that RO systems have moved to the forefront of the water treatment industry.


Here, we’ll go through 10 of the top frequently asked questions about reverse osmosis systems. Once you get the answers, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions about your own water purification needs.


1. What is a Reverse Osmosis System?

A reverse osmosis system is a water purification technology that uses a semipermeable membrane to remove ions, molecules, and larger particles from drinking water. By applying pressure to the water, the RO system forces it through the membrane, leaving contaminants behind and producing clean, filtered water.


2. How Does Reverse Osmosis Work?

Reverse osmosis works by pushing water through a pore-filled semipermeable membrane. The pores are large enough to allow water molecules to pass through. But, they’re small enough to prevent contaminants like salts, bacteria, and chemicals from making their way through.


3. What Contaminants Does an RO System Remove?

Reverse osmosis systems can remove a variety of contaminants. These include, but are not limited to:


  • Dissolved salts and minerals
  • Heavy metals
  • Chlorine and chloramines
  • Fluoride
  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • Bacteria and viruses
  • Sediment and particulates


4. Is Reverse Osmosis Water Safe to Drink?

The short answer is … YES! In fact, water from a reverse osmosis system is often cleaner than tap water. That’s because an RO system removes many contaminants that can affect your water’s taste, odor, and safety.


5. Does an RO System Waste Water and If So, How Much?

Many homeowners ask our water treatment experts whether reverse osmosis systems waste water. This is because some older RO systems can use up to 3-4 gallons of water for every gallon of purified water produced. For California homeowners especially, it’s a valid concern since frequent drought conditions often lead to water restrictions.


It’s important to realize that while older systems can waste water, newer and more efficient models often lower wastewater to as little as 1 gallon for every gallon of clean water. In addition, some systems come with zero-waste technology to further contribute to water conservation efforts.


6. How Often Should RO System Filters be Replaced?

The filter replacement schedule depends on several factors, the most important of which include your water quality as well as the specific RO system you’re using. In general, most filters require replacement every 6-12 months. In contrast, the RO membrane itself often lasts 2-3 years. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and schedule regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance.


7. Is DIY Installation of an RO System Possible?

Many reverse osmosis systems are designed for easy installation and come with detailed instructions. If you have basic plumbing skills, you may be able to install the system yourself. However, if you’re not skilled with DIY projects, it’s best to hire a water treatment professional to ensure proper installation and avoid any potential issues.


8. How Much Does a Reverse Osmosis System Cost?

The cost of a reverse osmosis system varies widely depending on the brand, features, capacity, and even geographical location. In some areas, basic under-the-sink units can cost between $200 and $400. On the other hand, more advanced systems with additional filtration stages, higher capacity, and smart features can cost upwards of $500. Additionally, factor in the cost of replacement filters and maintenance when considering the overall expense.


9. Do RO Systems Require Electricity?

Most standard reverse osmosis systems do not require electricity to operate. That’s because they rely on water pressure to force water through the membrane. However, some advanced systems with features like pumps or UV sterilizers may require a power source. Always check the specifications of the model you are interested in to understand its energy requirements.


10. Can Reverse Osmosis Systems Remove Salt From Water?

Yes, reverse osmosis systems are highly effective at removing salt from water. This makes them a popular choice for desalination in areas with high salinity levels. The semipermeable membrane used in RO systems can filter out dissolved salts, providing fresh, clean water even from brackish sources.


High Quality, Affordable Reverse Osmosis Systems From the Water Treatment Experts in Santa Maria, CA

It’s easy to see that reverse osmosis systems are a reliable and effective solution for ensuring clean, safe drinking water in your home. By understanding how they work, addressing common questions, and working with a local water treatment expert, you can decide if an RO system is right for you.


If you DO choose to invest in a reverse osmosis system, make sure to protect your investment with regular maintenance and proper filter replacement. These are essential elements of maintaining the system’s efficiency and longevity.


Whether you have more questions or need assistance choosing the right drinking water system, contact us today to learn more from our Santa Maria water treatment experts!

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