Water-related problems have existed for the longest time now, and since it’s a fact that everyone knows. Developments and methods were made with hopes to stop these troubles from causing harm.
The importance of treatment comes down to the truth that water is not only used for chores, but we also consume it and let it stay on our body.
There are many sources that supply water, natural or the water reserves; the sad truth, however, is regardless where our water comes from, its cleanliness and safeness is questionable.
The crystal clear river that you think is safe from chemicals may have dissolved organic matters with it, and even the ones from treatment plants may acquire contaminants as it flows towards your homes.
Water as a natural matter had some unworried about contaminants; they share the belief that as long as they’re hydrated; it’s enough. What they failed to see is how dangerous some contaminants are, the harm of these contaminants may range from little effect or to long-term harm.
With the many methods and technologies developed, Reverse Osmosis Water Filter seems to be one of the most popular, but what really is it?
A View of Reverse Osmosis
The existence of Reverse Osmosis is calculated to range four hundred years ago, and this method had been known to be an important method of water filtration.
Through the years of use, the process had evolved and developed as it started to become an accessible method for everyone. However, this process is not invincible, as contaminants increases, the effects of the said method may decrease.
Reverse Osmosis existed and was welcomed by many as the best alternative for the expensive distillation process, and it is continuously embraced as one of the most effective and safest ways to treat drinking water. Other than being cheaper, it is found to be more effective than distillation on getting rid of dissolved chemicals on water.
The method is ideal for filtering out heavy metals and chemicals such as nitrates, fluoride, sodium, mercury, uranium, lead, radium and many more. It could also get rid of harmful bacteria, chlorine, and other hazardous sediments.
Reverse Osmosis Filters are one-of-a-kind filtering systems that have detailed and traditional purifying activities. With its purpose of removing unidentified particles in water, this filtering item carefully and meticulously pulls out any harmful chemicals which may endanger the health of the consumer who drinks water from it.
Invented during the 1970s, Reverse Osmosis Filters helped and aided lots of people by ensuring the safety of the water they drink. Its membrane-like structure has specialized qualities in draining out the particles mixed with the water it filters.
The impurities found and filtered are then separated and slashed out in the system of filtered water. This is how Reverse Osmosis Filter works in the household for how many decades now.
With its natural process that forces the solvent to produce safe and clean water, Reverse Osmosis Filter also provides the conversion of seawater and brackish water into a sterilized one.
It did a huge contribution in applying it to different sectors like medical, domestic and industrial purposes. This filtering equipment is long proven to be good and trusted by the majority of consumers in the market.
Its traditionalized process still maintains it's effective with the service it delivers to the water filtering industry. In fact, this water filter facility stands out with the other ones because of its long-term duration of service to the consumers in the market.
Indeed, there are various things to consider when buying a reverse osmosis water filtering system. The majority of the homeowners are aware of this kind of system. However, they don’t have an idea what it is and how it actually works. In the next section, we will be going to explain some of the terms that you will meet in buying a reverse osmosis system.
How Does Reverse Osmosis Work?
Reverse Osmosis is one of the methods used for water purification. This process uses semi-permeable membrane to purify water.
The process involves water passing through a membrane that is small enough only allowing water molecules to pass by, and this process eliminates those sediments larger than water molecules such as dirt and other contaminants.
Applied pressure is used in the process, and does not need much of electrical power. The membrane is designed in a way that larger molecule contaminants are separated from clean water molecules. Its popularity ranges from industrial to commercial use, and this is widely used for drinking water purposes, its wonder is also seen on converting seawater into the potable and consumable water.
The Downside of the Reverse Osmosis Process
Though it is known to be cheaper than the popular distillation process, it has numerous issues that may seem unfavorable to some. Despite saving energy since it does not need much electricity, the “waste” is manifested on gallons of water being rejected to produce cleaner ones. This process is also working slow compared to other methods.
Health issues are also raised since this process will require filtering of everything bigger than a water molecule, some important natural minerals are being stripped off together with other impurities.
It was proven that water without those important natural minerals is unhealthy to your body. As an example, one of the minerals that Reverse Osmosis can get rid of is alkaline which makes the water acidic, and as we all know, consuming acidic liquids will have a harmful effect on our body.
Since Reverse Osmosis only removes the ones that are bigger than water, contaminants that are smaller than water molecules will not be eliminated effectively.
Smaller contaminants may include fertilizer sediments, industrial solvents, pesticides, or herbicides; these miniature sediments are free to pass through filter membranes and thus, allowing it to enter your body when consumed; the presence of these contaminants may bring diseases such as cancer and other illnesses.
Step by Step Process of Reverse Osmosis
Usually, the reverse osmosis system contains around 5 filtration steps. They will often have different names but they perform the same thing. Here is the description of each step:
- Sediment Removal Stage- With this step, it can block the larger contaminants in the water. Examples of which are the rust, clay, silt, and stones. The majority of the manufacturers will use a 5-micron filter for this step. Those large particles will be suspended. As such, no harmful elements can reach the membrane.
- First Carbon Filter Stage- In this step, chlorine and other harmful chemicals can be eliminated in the water. These chemicals cause the bad taste in the water. As such, it needs to be removed.
- Second Carbon Filter Stage- In this stage, most of the remaining particles in the water gets suspended. In comparison with the first carbon filter stage, this one is more compact and denser. With this, it can block more particles in the water. The resulting product is a stream of clean water.
- Reverse Osmosis Membrane- This is considered the most important step of the filtration process. This is where the water passes through the reverse osmosis membrane. The membrane is a semi-permeable one. It has the capacity to remove even the tiniest particles. Most of the time, the contaminants are eliminated by their size, weight, and ionic charge. Those elements larger than 0.0001 microns and heavier than 200 molecular weight are eradicated. All the heavy metals plus the radioactive components are removed. Thereafter, the suspended contaminants are drained out of the system. Then, the separation of the pure and contaminated water takes place.
- Removal of Bacteria- For some reverse osmosis systems, this can be the last step. On this step, the chlorine, bacteria, bad smell, and viruses are removed. Thereafter, the pure water goes on the faucet and water tank.
- Optional Steps:
- Mineral Addition in the Water - After the water reaches the reverse osmosis membrane, the majority of the contaminants are already removed. Unfortunately, the minerals in the water are eliminated too. For some people, they drink water to supply minerals in their body. But if the minerals are absent, it can do harm than good to you. But in this step, minerals are added to the water. With this, water will be better-tasting and healthier.
- UV filter- This is also an optional step in the reverse osmosis filtration system. With this, it can eliminate the viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms in the water. The UV filter is a light bulb. As such, the RO systems will also need to have an electrical outlet for the power source. With the UV light, it can kill the contaminants in the water. The resulting product is a clean water suitable for children and the elderly.
Contaminants Removed by the Reverse Osmosis Filter
The reverse osmosis water filtering system can remove up to 99.9% of contaminants in the water, depending on the quality of the source.
Due to the system’s high water filtering efficiency, it is used in treating the surface or groundwater. Also, it can be used to treat brackish water. Today, food and beverage companies use reverse osmosis water filters. The same is true with the semiconductor manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies.
TDS or the total dissolved solids refers to inorganic compounds in the water. Examples of which are the sulfates, potassium, chlorides, bicarbonates, and sodium. Add to that some of the organic matter which is dissolved in the water.
TDS can be measured in the lab which can be accurate yet expensive. Also, it can be measured by its electrical conductivity. The results are within 10% like how you get it in the lab.
A high-quality RO water filtration system can reduce 90% of the TDS in the water. However, this amount varies according to the water source.
Installation and Maintenance of the Reverse Osmosis System
The majority of the RO systems that are available in the market today can be installed easily. As a matter of fact, there are products that do not require any installation. You just have to connect it with the faucet and it can already work.
On the other hand, there are products that need to be installed permanently. Though they are made by various manufacturers, the installation is similar.
You can install the system on your own, without the help of professional. Just remember that the system needs to be installed under the sink on the kitchen cabinet. If you wish to have it far from the sink like in the storage area or basement, make sure that you buy all the needed parts.
The hardest part of the installation is the drilling of the new mounting hole which holds the pure water faucet. Before installing the faucet, always check with the authorities first. They might require you to install an air gap faucet versus the standard one.
Also, there are kitchen sinks that come with an additional hole for the faucet. This can be blanked off. If such is the case, there is no need to drill a new hole for the faucet. What you need to do is to remove the existing cover.
Step by Step Guide on the Installation
The majority of the RO systems can be installed easily through the color-coded connectors. With this, you don’t have to rely much on the special tools. Here are some of the steps to follow to ensure a good installation.
- Detach the Cold Water: Remove the whole length of the feed pipe of the cold water from the wall to the faucet.
- Put the T-Connector: RO systems come with a T and plush fit connector. There are cases when the push-fit connector might be detached.
- Install the Waste Pipe: If you wish to install the waste connector, you must drill a hole in the waste pipe. The best place to do this is at the horizontal section of the waste pipe. With this, it will reduce the noise from the water flushed down whenever the system is at work.
- Mount the filter: For the majority of the RO systems, you need to mount the filter to the cupboard side. Remember, you have to change the filters regularly so you can have free space to operate it.
- Install the Water Tank: Next, make sure to install the water tank at the base of the cupboard. See to it that you do this on a flat surface.
- Attach the Water Pipes: Connecting the water pipes is simple with the use of the color-coded connectors. With this, you are assured that all of the connections are put in their proper places.
- Plug the system in the electrical outlet: For systems with UV filter, you should plug it in the electrical outlet. Make sure that the RO unit is near the outlet so that the power cord can be able to reach it.
- Turn on the water: Now, you have to turn on the water and check if there are any leaks. For leakages, turn off the water and use a Teflon tape. However, don’t do this step if you are using a Countertop Portable unit because this will cause further damage to the product.
- Fill and empty the water tank: To activate the filters, fill and empty the water tank. Always checks the manual of the unit to be sure how many water tanks are needed to be filled and emptied. Remember, you must drink the water at this step.
Other Than Reverse Osmosis, What Would Work Well?
Water filters, these work well like Reverse Osmosis but are way cheaper and less space requiring. However, the effectiveness of water filters varies on the brand. There are those brands that claim to work like magic but do not do what it promises.
In comparison of Reverse Osmosis and Water Filters, Reverse Osmosis fails to effectively remove pathogenic bacteria, it does not have the ability to clean your water free from small-sized bacteria; in order to do so, you would need to install additional parts like UV light to eliminate it, but this would also mean additional expense.
If you have installed UV light, the next thing you need to do is to make sure that the tank is clean, after passing through the purification process, your water is stored to a tank, if you fail to clean it regularly, it may be a population ground for bacteria.
However, as what was said earlier, the effectiveness of the water filter varies depending on systems; if we would be talking about the best system; Berkey Water Purification System would be the best choice.
The Berkey Water Purification system is cheaper than Reverse Osmosis, and it requires less expense for installation since you would be able to put its part together by yourself. Berkey’s Water Purification Systems is also portable, and it won’t require you a lot of space.
While others complain about wasting water during the Reverse Osmosis process, the Berkey System will clean all of the water you would want it to filter without throwing out even a single drop.
The filters do not get rid of natural minerals, it just simply shows that the water being produced after going through Berkey’s process is clean and healthy water for your body.
Unlike Reverse Osmosis that has purification limit, the Berkey can remove 99.9% of contaminants on your water, making it 99.9% cleaner and safer for consumption.
Though reverse osmosis filters remove the harmful contaminants present in the water, there is a possibility that even the remaining healthy minerals may be stripped off too from the water.
Berkey Water Filter stands superior with the other because it has specialized feature and equipment which highly ensures the consumer with regards to the safety of water it purifies.
Highly polished with 304 stainless steel shell, Reverse Osmosis cannot compete with its overly enhanced benefits. The latter only contains age-old tubes and vintage filters that screen out impurities from the water.
Reverse Osmosis Filters has its limitations. It can only cater sea and brackish water while the Berkey one can take and convert it all into new and safe water which is suited to be consumed by everybody.
Unlike the Reverse Osmosis which requires plumber and electrician to install its filtering system, the Berkey Filter needs no varied and detailed assembly. Its quick and easy built-in ability allows you to transport this filtering equipment in all places you wish to come and see. It has no limits and knows no bounds in filtering all sorts of water.
Proven to be the supreme filtering equipment among all others, the Berkey can accommodate the huge amount of thirsty people with its impressive storage capacity that caters 3.25 gallons. Surely you can’t find that specialty with any other water filter systems.
Berkey Water Filters VS Reverse Osmosis
Reverse Osmosis has been accepted as an effective way to clear out contaminations in water for a period of time. Berkey Water Filter, however, has revolutionized the water filtering technology to meet today’s standards of water decontamination.
Both have made their stand with providing clean and safe water to the consumers. Yet these systems are very different as to how they purify the water. They also have different key components that are necessary for the whole process.
Beneficial Minerals in the Water
The reverse osmosis process strips out the necessary and beneficial minerals in water thus making it acidic or be in a “hypotonic” solution.
The term hypotonic solution means that it is a de-mineralized solution wherein it can’t be good for something so natural and healthy like water. This has some impacts on the body because when a hypotonic solution comes together with a hypertonic solution, then the equilibrium is sought.
A hypertonic solution refers to the fluids of the body that is full of minerals. So by drinking a hypotonic solution then it will cause the minerals from your body’s blood and lymphatic system to be de-mineralized and be flushed out.
If this cycle caused by the reverse osmosis in your body continues to happen, then it will have a negative impact on your bodily functions unless of course, you will be taking necessary supplements to counter it.
In the case of the Berkey filters, they are purposely designed to leave all the beneficial minerals of water to ensure that the demineralization of the body will prevent the dangerous cycle to happen.
This certainly puts the Berkey filter a healthier choice since you can reap the benefits that water can provide your body with.
Pathogenic Bacteria Removal
Pathogenic bacteria like the giardia and e-coli cannot be removed by the reverse osmosis system. This is the main reason why ultraviolet (UV) lights are installed in the said system so that the bacteria can be killed.
But there are often that the water can have some shady spots which will prevent some of the bacteria from getting exposed and be killed. Also, if the UV light is situated prior to the bladder tank, then it will cause the bacteria to colonize in the bacteria itself.
The bladder tank of the reverse osmosis system should be sterilized from time to time because if not then that will be the main source of bacterial contamination.
As for the Berkey Water System, it effectively removes the pathogenic bacteria to a log 7 degree, and it will prevent it from contaminating your drinking water. The log 7 is equal to a 99.99999% bacteria removal rate.
Cleaning and Maintenance
A reverse osmosis system can have up to 4 filter elements wherein each one should be changed at different intervals between 4 months to 2 years.
For the replacement, it requires the water pressure to be shut off, or the system will be disassembled for maintenance purposes.
Also, the bladder tank is needed to be washed using a chlorine solution on a 6 months interval to ensure that the bacteria is completely killed off.
The Berkey Water System last 6000 gallons per set of 2 and it usually takes 5 years before it can be replaced.
The fluoride filter needs to be replaced every 1000 gallons or 2 years is reached. To maintain it, it is recommended that the lower chamber should be washed just by using soap and water once a month.
For a regular reverse osmosis system, it will cost you about 20-65 cents per gallon.
The Berkey Water System only costs 2 cents per gallon, and since no electricity is needed for it to function, then you can save costs for energy consumption.
The taste of the water after it has been treated with the reverse osmosis is very good.
The taste of the water with the help of the Berkey Water System is also very good unless there is an abundance of ionized minerals from the source of the water.
Judging by the brief comparison of the things that matter, you can tell that the Berkey Water System is just as good as the reverse osmosis.
Reverse Osmosis System
Reverse Osmosis System is a complex system that has different stages. It has a handful of parts which need to be mounted and connected correctly to keep its efficiency. It is usually electrically operated. It is a powerful cleaning system that can take vitally 99% of the contaminants.
Reverse osmosis is also known as hyper-filtration. Bottling companies have been using this method as it is known to reduce particles at the molecular level. It is also known for its high yield production as it has a storage tank and with its electrically driven parts, everything can run automatically.
It is so powerful that it can reduce arsenic, barium, cysts, hexavalent chromium, copper, fluoride, lead, cadmium, radium 226/ 228, and turbidity.
On the other hand, it can’t remove pathogenic bacteria like giardia and e-coli. With this, an additional Ultraviolet (UV) filter must be added to the system to kill bacteria. With turbid water, there are shaded spots that can hide bacteria from UV exposure and may not be killed.
It is normally made up of about 4-5 filtering stages, and each has its own function to make sure that water is clean and safe to drink. It uses semi-permeable membrane to remove most of the contaminants and has a granule activated charcoal filter that removes chlorine and magnesium. It has a holding tank, and parts are mounted and may take up space.
Water is first filtered through micron and carbon filters. The water then passes through a semi-permeable membrane. This process wastes a large amount of water in its process. If you have installed ultraviolet (UV) light, it will then remove most of the harmful pathogens in the treated water.
Berkey Water Filter System
The point was made earlier that Berkey Water Filter System is using its advance 6 layer filter system with its Black Berkey Element to filter water with all the unwanted contaminants. Its design purposefully leaves beneficial minerals in the water. This is to avoid having unwanted reactions within your body with a hypotonic solution of water.
Reverse osmosis, however, produces a hypotonic solution of water. This is a type of water that lacks beneficial minerals in the water, making it acidic. How does this affect your body?
Recent studies have found out that prolonged drinking of hypotonic solution can have an unwanted impact on your body system. Our body is hypertonic in nature, having different kinds of minerals used in vital functions of the body.
As you take hypotonic solution, your body tends to be in a state of equilibrium. Hypotonic solution, lacking the minerals, will be compensated by the hypertonic body fluids such as your blood that we all know is full of minerals. These minerals will be flushed out with the equalized water and will be in your urine leaving your body a need to re-mineralize itself.
In a period of time, with great effort, your body will begin to look for other sources for minerals like your bones and organs. Unless you take additional food supplements after affects you be of great impact.
Consumer’s Point of View
Clean water is at most important to us. We want to be safe and stay healthy. But we also need to consider as to the financial aspect and perhaps the additional effort with the water purifying products available.
Reverse Osmosis may give promising results in how clean its product is, but it usually costs a lot as you need to buy a handful of equipment and let’s not forget about the complexity of its installation. It also uses electricity. If lights went out, you would no longer be able to have clean water.
Berkey Water Filter, however, gives highest grade water without the consumer needing technical understanding on installment.
Electricity and extra manual labor are not needed as it operates only with gravity. It would be wiser to buy a product that would cost less and would not add on your other bills, yet still gives you the healthy water that you need.
Water is important to our health so we should be much concern if we are drinking the right kind of water. We can’t just risk our health and our life just because we did not care about the water that we are drinking. We must always make sure that it is safe.