Why Use A Reverse Osmosis System For Your Home Or Business? Reverse Osmosis or ‘RO’ for short, is a tried and tested method of water purification that works by passing water through a pre-filter, followed by a semi-permeable membrane to separate ions from the water and remove all dissolved contaminants. RO is often used as part of a drinking water filtration system to remove unwanted chemicals or minerals, that a standard system would otherwise leave behind. If you’re worried about compounds that may be in your drinking water like hormones, pesticides and fluoride, then this form of water purification could be just the thing you’re looking for.
Where Is Reverse Osmosis Used?
There are many everyday applications where Reverse Osmosis is used, from producing top quality drinking water to more commercial applications like manufacturing processes where purified water is required to deliver consistent results. Water that is passed through an RO system is stripped of all minerals and impurities, which is especially useful within applications where the water quality is already low. This makes it a particularly popular technology for people with private water supplies or poor quality mains water.
Common Applications For Reverse Osmosis Systems
- Purified Drinking Water
- Industrial Boiler Feed
- Component Wash
- Autoclave Feed Water Production
- Food And Drink Production
- Glass And Vehicle Wash
Why Use Reverse Osmosis For Drinking Water?
When used within drinking water applications Reverse Osmosis is widely regarded as providing some of the ‘purest’ tasting water possible. This is because the dissolved ions and chemicals that can have an effect on taste and odour, have been removed from the water. Domestic systems often feature a series of filters after the RO membrane in addition to the usual pre-filters, such as a Post Carbon Filter or Re-Mineralisation Filter to add a healthy dose of specific minerals back into the water.
Where A Reverse Osmosis System Might Be Suitable
- If you have a water softener and want to remove the additional salt from your softened water (RO is recommended for drinking water if you have a softener installed and your water hardness is 400+ ppm or if you or members of your household are extremely old/young, pregnant or immunocompromised
- If you are conscious about the contents of your water (hormones, pesticides, herbicides, fluoride, lead etc)
- You have an older house with lead pipework
Recommendations For Drinking Water Applications
If using a Reverse Osmosis System for drinking water applications, then we recommend the use of a re-mineralisation filter. This adds ‘healthy’ minerals like Calcium and Magnesium back into your water prior to being dispensed, whilst retaining the purified properties of RO water (removal of contaminants). Although most of the important minerals that the body need come from having a balanced diet as opposed to the water you drink.
When researching whether or not you can drink RO water you may have come across some mis-leading information online. The drinking water RO Systems that we offer have a slightly lower ‘rejection rate’ than more commercial RO’s so you can expect to have a small amount of dissolved minerals retained in the water, this is important as 0ppm or ‘pure water’ has a slightly lower pH than normal tap water – this means that our RO systems don’t actually require a re-mineralisation filter, but for our health conscious customers this is an important add on.
Why Use Reverse Osmosis For Water Treatment?
Reverse Osmosis is an essential process for many industrial manufacturers, production facilities and other businesses (like window cleaning or car detailing). This is because a water supplies mineral contents and chemical make-up can vary, both by locality and external factors like groundworks (which may cause an increase in sediment). This variation in water quality can effect the production output and deliver inconsistent results, which in some applications like steam generation can lead to a lack of efficiency which ultimately increases costs.
Where A Reverse Osmosis System Might Be Suitable
- You need a high quality rinse to finish your product or job
- Your manufacturing process requires a consistent quality of feed water
- You have a private water supply or harvest rain water and have high levels of dissolved contaminants
- You have a piece of equipment (like an autoclave, dish washer or washing machine) that requires purified water
Recommendations For Water Treatment Applications
The Reverse Osmosis Systems used within production facilities and water treatment processes are generally much larger than the ones suitable for domestic customers. The main reason for this is because there is a greater flow rate and pressure demand in order to produce a larger volume of RO water. Businesses with smaller water requirements can often save money by purchasing a smaller RO system and having a break tank installed – a solenoid can be fitted to shut off the RO system when the tank is full with use of a float switch in the tank. So rather than relying on a higher permeate flow rate from the RO to feed their process, with a break tank a bulk of RO water is ready to be used on demand.
What Is The Best Reverse Osmosis System?
Although a simple question, unfortunately there is no simple answer. When considering the best Reverse Osmosis System it’s best to look at your application, to decide whether a domestic or more commercial system would be best suited. Below we’ve collated the most important things you’ll want to consider.
Considerations For Both Domestic & Commercial RO Systems:
- Feed Flow Rate And Volume – RO systems require a certain feed flow rate in order to work properly. If you are a business looking to feed a process then you also need to consider your permeate (or purified water) requirements in volume.
- Feed Water Hardness – Is the water feeding your RO system considered hard? If so it is a smart choice to install a water softener upfront of the RO (usually at the point that water enters your home). This is because hardness forming ions like calcium and magnesium are large compared to other ions, so the RO membrane has to work harder to clean these from it’s surface.
- Operating Pressure – Our Domestic RO Systems feature information on the required feed water pressure, with pumped units available for customers with low water pressure. For Commercial RO Systems understanding your feed water pressure is key to knowing whether or not you will require a pumped unit.
- Space – Where is the system going to be installed? Remember to check the dimensions to make sure you have room to fit it. All of our domestic systems are designed to be compact enough to install under your kitchen sink, or within a cupboard. Each commercial system can either be freestanding or mounted to a wall.
Additional Considerations For Commercial RO Systems:
In addition to the above, there are a few more things you should consider when deciding which RO system is right for your process.
- Operating Temperature – The operating temperature is important as the permeate flow rate of each system is usually taken under test conditions at 25’C. If you are in the UK your ambient water temperature is around 10’C and as such is more viscous meaning the RO membrane has to work harder. With this temperature difference you may only achieve around 60% of the permeate flow rate you would at 25’C.
- Recovery Rates – With reverse osmosis there is always a proportion of waste water. The recovery rate amount of pure water produced (permeate flow rate) divided by the feed flow rate x 100%. Giving you the ratio of how much RO water is produced compared to concentrate or waste water. Usually information on the average recovery rate of an RO system can be found within the product information of your chosen system.
- Rejection Rate – The rejection rate of each system is usually given as an average % which indicates the amount of dissolved solids (TDS) that an RO system can remove. For example, if you have an RO system that offers 97% rejection and your feed water TDS is 300ppm you can expect a permeate quality of around 9ppm.
- Pre-Filtration – Whilst domestic systems are usually provided with suitable pre-filters, if you are sourcing your own pre-filters and assembling your own RO system you need to ensure that any sediment or carbon filters are suitably sized in order to best protect your RO membrane from sediment and chlorine.
Specifying Your RO System
Now you have a good understanding of where and why reverse osmosis is used, you can begin to specify a system that suits your requirements. Whether you are a domestic customer looking to improve drinking water quality, or a commercial enterprise looking to increase production efficiency, you can rely on reverse osmosis to provide consistent results – every time. If you need any help specifying a system that is suitable for your application then feel free to get in touch with a member of our team.
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Improve manufacturing efficiency and take control of your drinking water with our range of reverse osmosis systems for commercial and domestic applications.