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How Pure Is Reverse Osmosis Water?

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When deciding which home filtration system to purchase, water purity is usually the primary concern. If a reverse osmosis system is on your list, you’re in luck because most RO systems can clean water to 90% – 99% purity levels—a difficult number to beat.

As part of our series on reverse osmosis systems, this article breaks down some of the big questions around RO water purity, like whether it’s safe to drink, how it compares to distilled water or bottled water, and whether you still need a water softener. Let’s get into it. 

Is Reverse Osmosis Water Safe To Drink? 

Yes, reverse osmosis systems offer clean, safe water for you and your family. We also believe they’re the perfect choice for customers with specific health advice to drink pure water, or for those with bottle-fed babies.

It’s the level of purity reverse osmosis systems provide that makes them so beneficial. The system removes contaminants from the water by forcing it through a semipermeable membrane by means of water pressure. The technology within RO water filtration systems effectively removes impurities from your water including sodium, chloride, fluoride, arsenic, sediment, volatile organic compounds, and other hard to remove contaminants such as pesticides, herbicides and nanoplastics.

What About Vital Minerals?

According to The World Health Organisation (WHO), drinking water should contain 100 mg/L dissolved salts, 30 mg/L of calcium, 10 mg/L of magnesium, and 30 mg/L of bicarbonate ion.

Many prospective buyers are concerned that home filtration systems can make their water too pure, removing these vital minerals in the process. Here at Complete Home Filtration, our reverse osmosis systems have a fourth treatment stage, which adds trace elements of calcium, magnesium, potassium and mineral salts to a PH of 8.4—leaving you with pure, contaminant-free water that still provides necessary levels of vital minerals.

Does My Water Source Matter? 

RO systems are typically installed at the point of use, such as in a bathroom or kitchen sink, either tankless or under-sink. Because reverse osmosis systems purify drinking water directly from the source, its purity will be influenced by that source to some extent. However, the vast majority of customers will be unaffected.

Most municipal or Water Corporation supplied water here in Australia is treated for chlorine and bacteria, yet still has inorganic dissolved solids—hence the need for reverse osmosis systems. Private water sources (well water, for example), may not be treated and could still contain harmful contaminants, such as chemicals, pathogens and heavy metals (e.g. arsenic). If your water comes from a private source, it may contain particles that could clog the reverse osmosis membrane, so you may want to consider installing a UV system or other filter to disinfect and soften your water before it reaches the RO system.

If I Have a Water Softener, Do I Need Reverse Osmosis? 

Water softeners do a great job of removing calcium and magnesium in hard water sources—making them perfect for protecting appliances from limescale and softening water for showering and washing clothes.

However, softeners do not do a good job of removing impurities, which is where reverse osmosis systems come in. It’s also worth noting that, while RO systems soften water during the filtering process, extremely hard water can degrade the performance—and even the lifetime—of the semipermeable membrane.

For this reason, pairing a water softener with a reverse osmosis system is beneficial as the two work well together. By softening your water before treating it with a reverse osmosis system, you can remove iron and other impurities that clog the membrane, while also removing sodium added by the water softener with the RO filter.

Reverse Osmosis Water vs. Distilled Water 

Reverse osmosis water and distilled water are two different things—each the result of a different treatment process.

In layman’s terms, RO systems purify water through multiple filtration layers, including the aforementioned membrane, while distilled water works by evaporating and condensing the water to separate and leave behind any dissolved solids. 

Because of their convenience in providing clean, pure water on demand, reverse osmosis systems are becoming more popular for home use. The benefits of RO become even more apparent when certain systems, such as our system here at Complete Home Filtration, include a remineralisation stage. Distilled Water systems, on the other hand, are typically less convenient, requiring a large amount of energy and human intervention.

How Does RO Water Compare to Bottled Water? 

Many bottled water companies understand the benefits of reverse osmosis, so most bottled water is RO purified. The problem however, is in the waste involved in producing bottled water—from the amount of energy, plastics, and petroleum involved, to how much water is required in the process. 

Should You Buy a Reverse Osmosis Filtration System? 

If you’re looking for a highly effective filtration system for your home, reverse osmosis systems are the perfect way to get clean, fresh, rejuvenating water for your home. 

With RO systems, you can forget single use plastic bottles and tiny bench-top filter jugs and easily protect your health, family and home from contaminants.

To find out more about reverse osmosis filtration systems, read our comprehensive guide. Or to speak directly to an informed member of our team, contact us today.