What Are the Benefits of a Domestic Reverse Osmosis System?
While filtration has long been used in a variety of different forms to remove contaminants from water and other liquids, the effectiveness of the filters used varies quite widely. Consequently, how suitable any given option might be will depend on the degree of purity required. Even relatively simple filter media can be sufficient to render previously turbid water crystal clear. Clarity, however, is no guarantee that the water will be safe to drink. To ensure that it is requires a system capable of removing any microscopic organisms and spores present and even molecular-sized contaminants. One such system is reverse osmosis, commonly abbreviated to RO.
RO is a modification of the mechanism employed by plants to provide water for metabolism to maintain their rigid stems. and to facilitate the intake of carbon dioxide during photosynthesis. In plants, water moves naturally from regions of low solute concentration, across their semi-permeable cell walls, to regions of higher solute concentration, until a state of equilibrium is reached. For industrial, commercial, and domestic purposes, synthetic semi-permeable membranes substitute for cell walls, and counter-pressure is applied to overcome osmotic effects in order to drive water in one direction only, leaving the solute behind. In effect, the process is actually a means to reverse the natural mechanism of osmosis.
Employed for commercial and industrial applications for many years and the technology of choice for around 80% of desalination plants today, concerns about water quality and health has seen a growth in the market for domestic RO systems. While there are some alternative ways to improve the quality of tap water, RO systems provide the domestic user with a number of valuable benefits.
Significant among those benefits, given the current financial climate in South Africa is that RO is more economical than other forms of filtration. Firstly, it requires very little power. Secondly, if you are among the many millions around the world who prefer to buy bottled water for drinking purposes, by comparison, the cost of purifying your domestic tap water with a reverse osmosis system is almost negligible. Incidentally, you might also consider the growing evidence that storing water in plastic bottles, especially when opened and left in the heat, poses a health hazard in itself.
One common contaminant of tap water is sodium. It cannot be removed by water softeners, and is implicated as one of the causes of high blood pressure, and liver and kidney disease. Also, lead pipes are still in use in some areas, and the toxic effects of the metal are well-known. Fortunately, both of these metallic contaminants can be removed with the use of a reverse osmosis system to ensure your drinking water will be safe.
While neither is harmful to one’s health in the low concentrations normally present, many individuals claim that, for them, even the residual traces of iron and chlorine tend to spoil the taste of the municipal tap water. In practice, this is one of the more common reasons the country’s consumers give for choosing to purchase bottled water to drink and use in their cooking.
While some kitchen gadgets can be hard work to clean and to maintain, to ensure that a typical reverse osmosis system continues to perform at its peak, it should require nothing more complicated or strenuous than changing its filter from time to time – generally, every six months or so.
RO technology is highly scalable and, as a result, they are available in a wide range of sizes, and which of these may be the most appropriate will depend entirely on how much water you normally use. Where intended for use in an average household, there are compact models that, in addition to being more efficient, are also far smaller than other filtration systems. Your installation need not be intrusive, as there are domestic reverse osmosis units small enough to be fitted under a sink or conveniently tucked out of sight in any vacant space that may be available.