If you could install one system that would create the purest, cleanest water you can possibly have coming out of your tap, then a whole-house reverse osmosis water treatment system would be it. The reverse osmosis process removes 99% of impurities from water and then replenishes the water with minerals that balance the acidity and provide good tasting water. RO systems are effective against contaminants such as arsenic, chlorine and fluoride, as well as copper and lead. A common industrial use for reverse osmosis systems is converting seawater to drinkable water in desalination plants.
The whole-house reverse osmosis system is simply a larger version of the drinking water system. We most often see the need for a whole-house reverse osmosis system in areas that have a high salt content, like along the seacoast or in homes whose wells are located near highway runoff areas. In this case it becomes necessary to remove the salt from the entire home’s plumbing system – not just purifying water at the drinking source.
A whole house RO system is a bit more involved than a the point-of-use system, however. It requires a pressurized tank and a booster pump to maintain equal pressure and an unlimited supply of purified water throughout the house. For the system to function at its best, it may require some pre-filtering of sediment or a water softener.
A reverse osmosis filter is a very thin engineered membrane that is rolled like a roll of toilet paper. Water passes through a tube of RO filters assembled end to end. As the filtered water passes through the RO system chambers, particles as fine as 3 microns are filtered out between the membranes. When the water comes out, it has been reduced to its purest possible state. Because minerals were removed, the water comes out slightly acidic, so an acid neutralizer deposits minerals back in to improve the taste and balance the acidity in the water before heading to the storage tank. As the purified drinking water is distributed from the pressure tank to the rest of the house, it passes through a UV light filter that removes any bacteria that could be present.