Which reverse osmosis system is best?
With the high cost of bottled water, many people are turning to home filtration systems as alternatives. Reverse osmosis is one such system. This method of filtration uses pressure to force water through a semipermeable membrane. This effectively removes dissolved solids, contaminants and bacteria, making the water safe to drink.
There are several types of reverse osmosis systems. Some deliver filtered water to a single faucet, whereas others are designed to filter water for the whole house. An excellent all-around choice is the Home Master HydroPerfection, which is designed to be installed under a sink and includes nine stages of filtration, a UV sterilizer and a remineralization chamber. Alternatively, there are several other systems available that use various filtering techniques for different amounts of water.
What to know before you buy a reverse osmosis system
A reverse osmosis water system comes in various sizes to suit different needs. Some large systems include a storage tank and a pump and can filter water for the whole house. Whole house reverse osmosis systems can be fantastic options for big families or two-family dwellings that may have multiple kitchens.
However, most are smaller units that deliver clean water to a single faucet. These are designed to be installed under a kitchen sink and often take up most of the room in the cabinet. If interested in more about sizing options and what sort of reverse osmosis system will best fit your needs, check out the best reverse osmosis systems review at BestReviews.
Depending on the type of system, several stages of filtration are used. A carbon filter should be included as this removes chlorine, odors and bad tastes. Other filters remove pollutants such as heavy metals, bacteria, chemicals and other harmful contaminants. These filters need to be replaced periodically as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Beyond regular filter changes, the whole system and related pipework should be cleaned and sanitized annually or when you change the filters. This involves flushing out the system and is best tackled by a professional. If the water has a strange color or smell, then this is usually a good indication that maintenance is necessary.
What to look for in a quality reverse osmosis system
Reverse osmosis systems can be used with most water supplies and are particularly effective for brackish groundwater, which often supplies rural properties. The various filters are not designed to process hot water. Therefore, the system should only be coupled to the cold mains supply.
Reverse osmosis systems are often supplied with a dedicated faucet. This is because the filtered water flows at a lower pressure. If you want to upgrade the faucet to one which matches your existing kitchen faucet, then be sure it is specifically designed for low-pressure systems.
The downside of a reverse osmosis system is that it removes all good minerals in addition to harmful substances, which isn’t good for long-term consumption. A system with a remineralization chamber will add healthy minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, back into the filtered water, ensuring you get all those health-boosting minerals in every glass.
How much you can expect to spend on a reverse osmosis system
Reverse osmosis systems are quite expensive and start at around $300 for a single faucet model. Whole-house filtration starts at around $600 and can increase up to $5,000 for a high-output system that comes with a storage tank and pump.
Reverse osmosis system FAQ
Do reverse osmosis systems need electricity?
A. Essentially, reverse osmosis runs by water pressure alone. However, if the system incorporates a UV sanitizer or a pressure boosting pump, then these will require an additional power supply.
How often does the membrane need to be replaced?
A. Typical membrane life is about three to five years for a reverse osmosis system for home use, depending on the quality and amount of water that flows through it. If you notice a significant reduction in pressure, it’s usually because the membrane is saturated and needs changing. Alternatively, a digital total dissolved solids (TDS) tester can be used to check if the membrane is still effective.
What is not removed by reverse osmosis?
A. Reverse osmosis will not remove all contaminants from water supplies. Some pesticides, solvents and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as chlorine and radon require a carbon filter for removal. Most reverse osmosis systems have at least one carbon filter as these contaminants are also damaging to the membrane.
What’s the best reverse osmosis system to buy?
Top reverse osmosis system
What you need to know: This single faucet system has nine stages of filtration and removes up to 99% of chlorine, chemicals and dissolved solids.
What you’ll love: A UV sterilizer and a remineralization chamber, which adds healthy minerals back into the filtered water, are also included.
What you should consider: The supplied faucet is low quality and may need upgrading.
Top reverse osmosis system for the money
What you need to know: This budget-friendly option has five different filters and can supply up to 100 gallons of filtered water a day.
What you’ll love: It includes a high-quality faucet, a digital water quality meter and an impressive five-year warranty.
What you should consider: This system doesn’t add any healthy minerals back into the water.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This all-in-one system has four filters, which are housed in a compact unit that takes up little room under the sink.
What you’ll love: It is quick and easy to install and comes with a faucet with an integrated LED warning light to remind you when to change the filter.
What you should consider: Due to their small size, the filters need replacing every six months.
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Chris Gillespie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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