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How Does Reverse Osmosis Work? | RO Home Water Filters in Texas

If you are worried that your tap water might not be safe to drink, you are definitely not in the minority. The recent discovery of a brain-damaging parasite in the water supply of Lake Jackson has raised serious concerns about the quality of municipally-supplied water. Switching to bottled water is one way to keep you and your loved ones safe. But a much better option is to install RO home water filters in Texas instead.

Unlike bottled water, installing a reverse osmosis filter for a steady supply of safe drinking water is highly cost-effective. It saves you the hassle of carrying and storing a large stock of bottled water. And it’s good for the environment too.

If you are not exactly sure what reverse osmosis means and how reverse osmosis home water filters work, read on to find out.

What Is Reverse Osmosis?

Reverse osmosis is basically a type of water purification technique. It utilizes a special semi-permeable membrane to filter out impurities, unwanted ions, extra mineral molecules, and similar substances from the water. The result is pure and clean water that tastes better and, most importantly, is safe for direct consumption.

How Does Reverse Osmosis Work?

To fully understand how reverse osmosis works, let’s first talk about osmosis.

Remember science class you might have taken some time during your school years? You might recall that osmosis refers to the flow of water molecules from a region of high concentration to a region of low concentration.

Imagine two compartments in a large water reservoir separated by a partially permeable membrane. If you fill one compartment with pure water and the other with not-so-pure water, the water molecules from the first compartment (area of high concentration) will flow through the membrane to the second compartment (area of low concentration). This is a natural phenomenon that will continue until both compartments have an equal concentration of water molecules. The pressure exerted by the molecules while moving through the membrane is known as osmotic pressure.

Now, coming to reverse osmosis, it’s all in the name.

Reverse osmosis is a process in which water molecules are forced to move from an area of lower concentration to an area of higher concentration. For this, a certain amount of pressure, called the reverse osmotic pressure, is applied to the lower water concentration side.

Consequently, the water obtained on the other side of the membrane is cleaner as impurities are left behind.

Reverse osmosis is not a new water purification technique per se. It has long been utilized in commercial water filtration systems as well as wastewater treatment plants. However, it has become popular in residential water purification systems only recently. And for all the right reasons too. But before we discuss those, it may help to understand how reverse osmosis drinking water filters for home use work.

Stages of Reverse Osmosis Water Systems

The chief component of all RO systems is the membrane in the filtration set. As mentioned earlier, this membrane is inherently semi-permeable. It has small holes that allow water molecules to flow through but prevent large contaminants from passing.

However, a home-based reverse osmosis system consists of a total of 3 to 5 different types of filters in addition to the main membrane.

A carbon filter and a sediment filter are always present. Apart from these, the system may also include pre and post filters that further purify the water before or after it is forced through the membrane.

·         Sediment filter – Removes foreign particles like dirt, dust, and rust from the water supply.

·         Carbon filter – Reduces the concentration of chemicals like chlorine and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in the water.

·         Partially permeable membrane – Filters out more than 95% of all unwanted soluble compounds, called total dissolved solids (TDS), in the water.

How Residential RO Filters Work

1.      Water from the mains water supply in your home enters the reverse osmosis system and undergoes a prefiltration process. This typically utilizes carbon and sediment filters in conjunction to remove relatively large compounds that can damage or block the RO membrane.

2.      Water is then passed through the semi-permeable membrane. This is where reverse osmosis takes place, and finer particles, including microscopic impurities, are removed.

3.      The purified water flows into a storage tank. The RO system continues operating until the tank is completely filled. Then, it shuts off automatically.

4.      When you want to drink the pure water and turn on the dedicated faucet, the filtered water is polished even further. This is called postfiltration, and it’s done to enhance the taste and optimize the quality of the water.

What Are the Benefits of Drinking Reverse Osmosis Water?

It goes without saying that water is essential for life. But poor quality water can be more damaging for health than you may have imagined.

When it comes to getting clean and pure water that is safe for drinking and cooking, RO filtered water can make a world of difference. The main benefits of using reverse osmosis home water filter include the following:

Fewer Contaminants

RO systems can effectively remove harmful molecular compounds that are usually present in tap water. This includes lead, chlorine, arsenic, and various other chemicals that can find their way into water sources.

Improved Taste

RO treated water is said to have the best taste compared to regular bottled and unfiltered tap water. Despite industrial filtration, it’s common for municipally-supplied water to contain traces of lead, sulfur, nitrates, and unbalanced levels of other minerals. This not only makes tap water unsafe for health but also gives it a weird taste and smell. RO filters remove these unwanted substances, making your drinking water fresh, odor-free, and more palatable.


Water is life – but only if it’s clean, pure, and germ-free. Want to learn more about how installing RO home water filters in Texas can provide you with a steady supply of the best quality water? Get in touch with Shell Water Systems now!

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