Is Reverse Osmosis The Best Water Filter For Your Home?

Typical RO Water Filtration System For The HomeIn my opinion, the answer is generally no. While reverse osmosis, commonly referred to as “RO” is a very powerful technology, it is not the best water filter for most homes or offices. Reverse osmosis is best suited to address the two issues for which it was originally designed:

  1. Desalinating brackish water or sea water and/or
  2. Reducing very specific chemical contaminants.

You might need RO if you are facing challenges with flouride, sodium, total dissolved solids (TDS) or chemicals like arsenic, radium, nitrates and nitrites, etc. If that's the case I recommend taking a look at the Everpure ROM II or ROM III RO systems which you can learn more about here. 

What then is the best water filter for your home or office?

In our opinion, the best technology for home or office applications served by municipal water utilities is a combination of high quality carbon and sub-micron filtration. One of the best examples of this technology that we've found is the Everpure H-300 under-the-sink water filtration system which offers:

  • Simple installation,
  • Dedicated faucet, (take back your fridge!)
  • Minimal maintenance
  • Visual filter change indicator and
  • Reduction of harmful contaminants to NSF/ANSI permissible limits, without removing healthy minerals.

Why reverse osmosis may not be the best water filter for you.

Reverse osmosis has a reputation as being the ultimate in water purification technology. This often stems from its use in military theatre. Military users may be deployed anywhere in the world and need to be prepared to treat a wide variety of challenging water sources including sea water and/or water contaminated with chemical, biological, radiological, and/or even nuclear contaminants. It is important to note however that while these military grade, mobile reverse osmosis water purification units (ROWPU) do include reverse osmosis membranes, they also include a wide variety of other treatment technologies such as ultraviolet light, activated carbon, pre-filters, post filters and very specialized filter media to fill in the gaps that RO itself does not address.

And while reverse osmosis water filters will reduce a pretty wide spectrum of contaminants such as dissolved salts, Lead, Mercury, Calcium, Iron, Asbestos and Cysts, it will not remove some pesticides, solvents and volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) including:

  • Ions and metals such as Chlorine and Radon
  • Organic chemicals such as Benzene, Carbon tetrachloride, Dichlorobenzene, Toluene and Trihalomethanes (THMs)*
  • Pesticides such as 1,2,4-trichlorobenzene, 2,4-D and Atrazine.

*Trihalomethanes are formed as a by-product predominantly when chlorine is used to disinfect water for drinking. They represent one group of chemicals generally referred to as disinfection by-products. They result from the reaction of chlorine or bromine with organic matter present in the water being treated. The THMs produced have been associated through epidemiological studies with some adverse health effects. Many governments set limits on the amount permissible in drinking water. However, trihalomethanes are only one group of many hundreds of possible disinfection by-products—the vast majority of which are not monitored—and it has not yet been clearly demonstrated which of these are the most plausible candidate for causation of these health effects. In the United States, the EPA limits the total concentration of the four chief constituents (chloroform, bromoform, bromodichloromethane, anddibromochloromethane), referred to as total trihalomethanes (TTHM), to 80 parts per billion in treated water. Source: Wikipedia

While reverse osmosis technically provides a mechanical barrier that is more than suitable for the reduction of biological contaminants such as protozoan cysts, bacteria and viruses, it is important to realize that many reverse osmosis membrane manufacturers have not performed testing and/or received certification for these contaminants and generally issue statements such as the following:

Notice: The use of this product in and of itself does not necessarily guarantee the removal of cysts and pathogens from water. Effective cyst and pathogen reduction is dependent on the complete system design and on the operation and maintenance of the system.

For the ultimate in confusion, try and search the web for a definitive listing of what contaminants reverse osmosis can remove or try to compare different residential systems from different manufacturers side by side. So much depends on the system design, maintenance and raw water source that it can be a real challenge to determine the expected performance and protection that a residential reverse osmosis system can offer to you and your family or coworkers.  While reverse osmosis as a technology may be known to have the ability to remove certain contaminants under laboratory settings; a commercial system, especially a residential system, may not have similar capacity. When looking at a residential RO system, read the fine print, product specifications and contaminant reduction claims carefully. When in doubt, look for a system that meets NSF/ANSI Standard 58.

Reverse Osmosis is not the simplest or most cost effective technology.

Most reverse osmosis systems require a constant flow of water to clean and flush their membranes. This water is disposed of as waste water. Between 50-80% of the water entering the water treatment system can be disposed of as waste water, something referred to as concentrate (because the contaminants are concentrated in this stream of water). The amount of water produced by the system for drinking is called the recovery rate (the amount of good water recovered from the original water source). If you receive a water bill each month or quarter like most of us do, you would be paying for all of the water your RO system sends down the drain. Using the GE Model #GXRM10RBL as an example, it has a recovery rate of 18.77% which means that for every gallon of water produced for drinking, approximately 5.5 gallons would go down the drain.

All of the waste water produced by an RO system requires a drain of course, something that often times complicates the installation process of reverse osmosis water filtration systems.

Thorough attention must be paid to maintaining reverse osmosis water filtration systems. RO membranes are subject to degradation and/or deterioration by sediment, chlorine and even bacteriological growth (we all know what happens to an old kitchen sponge). Should you forget to change your carbon pre-filter on schedule, it will no longer have capacity to remove the chlorine from your municipal water supply resulting in a damaged or destroyed RO membrane. And how do you know if your RO membranes have been compromised? With most residential systems, you simply won’t know unless you are able to test the total dissolved solids TDS of your raw and treated water on a regular basis.

Want to see what a typical RO installation looks like along with some of the maintenance requirements? Check out this YouTube video . Fast forward to 13:35 to see if RO operation and troubleshooting is a good fit for you and your family or office. Note the requirement to flush and maintain the RO storage tank where water can go stale if not used regularly, especially if there is no additional disinfection or treatment post tank.

Is demineralized water produced by reverse osmosis or even distillation good for you?

No, it’s actually not. According to the World Health Organization, low (TDS) water produced by reverse osmosis or distillation is not suitable for long term human consumption and in fact, can create negative health affects to those consuming it. This lack of minerals also contributes to the awful taste that reverse osmosis water is known for. Stay tuned for our next blog post which will focus on the negative health effects of demineralized water produced by reverse osmosis and distillation.

What does this all mean?

  1. Reverse osmosis was originally invented as a means of desalinating brackish or seawater sources and should be used as the tool for which it was intended.
  2. Contrary to its reputation, reverse osmosis does not remove 100% of all contaminants and both reduction rates and certifications vary widely depending on the contaminant in question
  3. RO membranes can be damaged and destroyed by the chlorine found in most municipal water supplies and thus require carbon pre-filtration
  4. Reverse osmosis water treatment systems are one of the most complicated types of systems on the market today and require pre-filters, storage tanks, pumps, drain connections and diligent attention to maintenance and testing.
  5. According to the World Health Organization, low TDS or demineralized water produced by reverse osmosis or distillation is not suitable for long term human consumption and in fact, can create negative health affects to those consuming it. Stay tuned – we’ll discuss further in our next blog post "Is Demineralized Water Bad For Your Health?".

Do you have an reverse osmosis systems in your home or office? Have you had one in the past? We'd love to hear about your experience!

Comments

  1. I live overseas in an area with wellwater that is highly salty because the water table is overdrawn and we’re at sea level. I’m wondering whether an undersink RO system would be worthwhile in our case and what the risks or downsides might be?

    • An under the sink RO system would desalinate your water and remove the salt. There are some drawbacks but they are not as bad as drinking salt water. Please review our other blog posts on the subject. Good luck!

  2. We installed an Everpure ROM iii 2 1/2 years ago, and were horrified to find that it produces waste water. The advertising for the system and recommendations we received for it never mentioned that. Our home remodeling efforts have all been to promote “green” and eco-friendly construction and materials, and we donated our entire old kitchen to a reuse organization. Now, we collect the wastewater in buckets (the main bucket is in the laundry tub, so excess still runs over into the drain if I don’t get to it in time, but it doesn’t flooe) and use it to flush toilets. A real pain in the neck. Our water bills went down significantly when we started this practice.

    As of the past week, the system is producing wastewater 24/7, and we have not altered our consumption. Why is it not filling the tank and then stopping until another tank refill is necessary? Filters are not due for change.

    • Yes, RO systems do produce waste water. This is one of the downsides to RO systems. Please reach out to whomever you purchased your system from for assistance. You could also contact Everpure directly. You can find them on the web. Good luck.

  3. Sir, I want to ask about removal of hardness from a drinking water filter if it is too much, with low cost and also for removing iron ,also some cations. Its urgent.

    • Thank you for your inquiry but it sounds like you need the help of a local water treatment dealer who specializes in water softeners. I’m afraid that we do not sell water softeners.

      Sincerely,

      Andrew Moorey, Co-Founder
      Elua, a Global Hydration Company

  4. Hello,
    Is it true that fluoride can be removed only by Reverse Osmosis?
    Is it true that Reverse Osmosis removed all necessary minerals and calcite? if true, how to compensate it?
    I am living in Toronto where trihalomethanes and flouride in the water.
    Thank you
    Alex

  5. I buy distilled water and use health food store remineralizing elements from the Utah salt lake to put the minerals back in the water. Is this not a good and simple solution solution?(pun not intended)

    • Thanks for the comment. Buying demineralized water and remineralizing it can be a viable option when faced with really challenging water sources heavy with contamination. Many remineralizing products do not come with third party accreditation or testing so it can be hard to know the quality of the minerals and if it may be introducing any trace contaminants. If you have access to good quality tap water, a more simple technology for drinking water would be microfiltration and carbon such as that found in the Everpure H300 which you can see here http://shop.elua.com/products/everpure-h-300-water-filtration-system

  6. kudos to u for explaining in such an truthful way.
    where having RO has also become fashion / FAD.
    i live in ghaziabad / U.P. having municipal (ganga water) supply of TDS 320-360.
    shall i go for RO or for water purification system (UV/UF)
    i am confused as RO will bring TDS to 30-40 is it advisable.
    also there are chances in future (4-6 yrs) TDS level may go up

    PLS suggest ASAP
    gaurav

  7. Hi,
    I just had a flood because the reverse osmosis system under the sink broke apart and leaked in my home all day while I was a work. All the flooring had to be replaced. I’m looking for a system that is flood-proof. Is there such a system? Thanks for your help.

  8. I have a few questions

    1. What are the different methods to purifying your own water?
    2. What is the best filtration system, product to remove fluoride and contaminated water?
    3: What is the longevity of these products?
    4. Have you heard the recent crisis in Flint Michigan?

  9. I manage several properties with private wells that were recently tested and found to be above limits in Uranium and Gross Alpha. Results for Gross Alpha were 20-31 against the MCL of 15 and Uranium results were 17-24 against MCL of 20. Is there an RO system that will bring these contaminants within standard limits? By the way, the local water district here has also been found to be above these same limits and are downplaying the effects while at the same time assuring me that steps are being taken to correct with no timeframe.

  10. I have extremely hard water in the new house we purchased and need to put in a softener. From the research I’ve done it looks like the only filtering system I can use is RO as this is the only thing that will remove the sodium caused by the softener. It seemed to me carbon isn’t possible. Is this true and can you suggest a way around this?

    • Great question. There are 2 approaches to this problem.

      1) install a tee before your softener and run a cold water supply line to a bar style faucet at your kitchen sink. Depending on the quality of your raw water supply, you may or may not want to add an under the sink water filtration system like the Everpure H-300 http://shop.elua.com/products/everpure-h-300-water-filtration-system?variant=1093438189

      2) There are technologies that can soften water without salt. Search Google using terms like “salt free water softener”. There used to be a product called Water D.O.G which uses oxidization and filtration to remove Iron instead of a traditional water softener.

      I’m afraid that we don’t specialize in residential water softeners but hope the above ideas help. To answer your original question – Yes, RO is the only way to remove salt from a water source.

      Sincerely,

      Andrew Moorey, Co-Founder
      Elua – Better water, better life!

  11. Hello,
    I have an old RO system and it has been here since when we moved in in 2009. We change the filters every often, as of now we have a problem where it has a low flow, also changing the filters are becoming a hassle. We are thinking of removing the system to replace it with another water filtration; however, I do not know the situation of our water here in Cerritos, California, U.S.A and also we have a water softener system for the house. the H-300 that was recommended will be too long for our under sink area. I was looking at the H-54 or H-104 is there any system that has a similar potency of the H-300 or any system you can recommend?

    • Hi, thanks for the question. The H-54 is close to the H-300 but does not have the ability to remove VOCs. If you have a water softener, I’m assuming you are probably on well water vs. municipal water? Every well is different with unique challenges. Is there a specific problem you are trying to solve? Taste, odour, bacteria, iron, hardness?

      Cheers,

      Andrew Moorey, Co-Founder

  12. We’re purchasing a home built in 2006 that has an RO system. We don’t know how old the system is or whether it’s been properly maintained. We’re used to drinking filtered water from our fridge and I’m not sure we’ll even use the RO system. The water bills in our small town tend to be quite high, so that’s another issue with RO. Yet everyone around here seems to think RO is the ultimate in water treatment. I don’t know what to do with this system we’re inheriting.

    • Hi,

      If you are not a fan of RO and don’t think you will need it (based on the quality of the local tap water) I would recommend removing it. If you your sink has a secondary bar faucet installed, you might want to consider leaving it in place and replacing the RO system under the sink with a non-reverse osmosis system like the H-300. It’s significantly better than any fridge based system and will provide a better quality of water at a faster flow rate. The installation would be really easy since you already have the bar faucet installed. Maybe you could sell the RO system locally? Thanks for the question – I hope this helps!

  13. Hi,
    I just bought a house with a drilled well. The water test revealed uranium is present at half the allowed level. I really do not like the idea of RO because of the amount of waste water and the water softener systems I keep seeing are overkill. I just want to treat the drinking/cooking water.
    I saw your comment to Drew above about special filters for uranium.
    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi, sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Yes, we do have a filter specifically for Uranium. I’ll have someone in our office send you an email ASAP with pricing info.

      Cheers!

      Andrew Moorey, Co-Founder
      Elua – Better Water, Better Life!

  14. I live in an area of Texas where a great deal of hydraulic frac’ing is done. Despite the claims of safe, responsible drilling, frac’ing and recovery our water has taken on characteristics not present prior to the frac’ing boom. Prior to this the water was poor tasting and we opted for bottled water. Since the gas wells started popping up the water taste declined even more. I was considering RO up unit now but have reservations. What can you tell me about filtering out the common chemicals used in frac’ing such as benzene?

    • Hi Stuart,

      Yes, frac’ing is not good. The Everpure H-300 is effective in reducing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) like Benzene to safe levels but I’ll be honest in that we’re not experts on all of the contaminants that might be present as a result of frac’ing. Here is a good link from the US EPA on VOC water contamination as it relates to the BP Gulf Spill. Here is a link to where you can learn more about the Everpure H-300 on our website. Scroll down to pickup links to additional information. http://shop.elua.com/products/everpure-h-300-water-filtration-system?variant=1093438189

      I hope this helps!

      Andrew Moorey, Co-Founder
      Elua – Better water, better life!

    • Thanks for the recommendation on the H-300. Prior to your response I concluded that the H-1200 was what I need. Other than a single versus double cartridge how does it compare to the H-1200 and why do you recommend the 300 versus the 1200?

      • Hi Stuart,

        The H-1200 is another very good product from Everpure. The main difference between it and the H-300 is that it is designed to reduce MTBE and chloramines. MTBE is a specific chemical contaminant associated with fuel contamination (http://www.epa.gov/mtbe/water.htm) and chloramines are used by municipal water treatment plants as an alternative to chlorine http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/rulesregs/sdwa/mdbp/chloramines_index.cfm . You are in a tricky spot since you don’t really know what might be in your water. Water filtration for odd chemicals and contaminants can be become a big challenge requiring very specific technologies for individual contaminants. Even reverse osmosis will not remove all contaminants across the board.

  15. I live in Newark, NJ and have low water pressure. If a toilet flushes in anywhere in the four floor building our apartment is in (only two tenants), our faucets only drip till the toilet fills again. The town water is filthy and highly chlorinated, or worse. I have been using a GE Profile RO system for 10 years, and manage to get about 4 gallons or less water per day. The GE filters say they last for 20,000 gallons or 3 months. In fact, they don’t last 3 weeks before the pre-filter is a medium dark brown and slimy, and the production rate slows below 2 gallons per day. The post filters are clean for over 6 months, so the GE (or other brand) 1 micron filters probably work well. The water tastes fine, no chlorine odor. It is a trouble free system, we just can’t get enough water from it.

    I would like to find a higher production system, possibly in conjunction with a pump, so we could use the system for showers too, to avoid the exposure to chlorine. I and my wife don’t shower a lot, maybe 1/week in the winter, more often in the summer. No other occupants in the apartment.

    Thanks for any suggestions you can make.

    • Hi,

      Thanks for the post! To solve the water pressure problems related to the toilet flushing, I would advise contacting a local plumber in your area to help troubleshoot. You’ve touched on just a few of the problems that plague people with under the sink reverse osmosis or RO systems. I would suggest taking a look at the Everpure PBS-400 which can be installed on any tap anywhere in the home because it of its high output – 2.2 gallons per minute compared to most systems which are between 0.25-0.5 gpm. It still offers a very high level of water treatment, reducing lead, cysts, chlorine, particulate, mould, dirt and cloudiness to levels approved by NSF. Click here to learn more about the PBS-400.

      For maximum filtration, consider the Everpure H-300 which does everything that the PBS-400 does as well as reducing Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs including Trihalomethanes(THMs) to safe levels. The output is still high at 0.5 gpm but not as high as the 2.2 gpm that the PBS-400 produces.

      I hope this helps!

      Andrew Moorey, Co-Founder
      Elua – Better Water, Better Life!

  16. Hi, What are your thoughts on the Santevia water system ? That’s what I’ve been drinking for about 4 years now.

    • Hi, with a TDS of 141 you really should not require RO. Most bottled spring or mineral waters have a TDS of 200-300. Depending on exactly which minerals are contributing to your TDS, you may have to reduce them if using UV. Is this for home, office or other? Where are you located? Thanks for visiting our website and I hope we can help you out.

      Cheers,

      Andrew Moorey, Co-Founder
      Elua – Better water, better life!

  17. Water in our area is hard and has higher level of iron. The water treatment facilities from the city use chlorine and ammonia for disinfection and add sodium silicate to prevent iron precipitate out. I understand that reverse osmosis or distilled water is not good for long term use for drinking and cooking because of lack of minerals while water softener replaces calcium and magnesium by sodium or potassium . Sodium contribute to hypertension. So which is the best way to soften the water for general use and which is the best system to treat water for drinking. Appreciate your suggestions and comments. Thanks.

    Emily

    • Hi Emily,

      Wow, that’s a challenging water source. If your water is coming from a municipal water treatment plant, the level of hardness and iron should be within tolerable ranges. There are a few disposable filters that can assist with softening. Are you looking to treat a single tap or your entire home? Because your municipality is using ammonia, I would recommend looking for a point of use filter that will reduce chloramines (a nasty disinfection byproduct from treating water with ammonia). Here is a link with more information from home water filtration system manufacturer Everpure https://www.everpure.com/know%20your%20water/Pages/CloramineandChlorine.aspx . We don’t currently carry their chloramine filters but have been thinking of them adding them. I would be more than happy to get your price for any of their systems once you get a chance to review the info within the link. I hope this helps. Can I ask where you live?

      All the best,

      Andrew Moorey, Co-Founder
      Elua – Better water, better life!

    • Hi Dave,

      Uranium contamination in drinking water is not a common problem and the solutions depend on the type of Uranium in the drinking water, how much Uranium needs to be removed from the drinking water, pre-filtration needs should be the water be hard or contain excessive minerals….it really needs to be looked at on a project by project basis hence my comments about discussing in more detail by email.

  18. I draw water from the Ottawa River with a submersible pump in the river. It come into the house and goes through an organic trap to remove the tannins in the water from all of the old logs in the river. It then goes through another filter to raise the ph. From there it goes through a large 5 micron filter and finishes with UV. I have been using RO after that for drinking water and ice cube making. I recently changed a water group ro unit for a culligan unit for ease of service (they are local). I have had nothing but trouble with the collagen unit and I am getting rid of it. After reading your article….I am not sure what to do
    John

    • Hi John,

      My sincere apologies for not getting back to you sooner. We had a glitch in our blog comment notifications. Great questions. I’ll reach out to you directly to discuss in more detail.

      Best regards,

      Andrew Moorey

  19. I am in the process of planning out a custom tiny house that will be completely off grid. We will be harvesting rain water and are looking for a way to make it potable. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Bobbie Joe,

      My sincere apologies for the delay in getting back to you. We had a glitch in our blog comment notification system. I’ll reach out to you by email to discuss further. The right product will really depend on how much water you want to treat, how much power you will have available, etc.

  20. Jan. 1 2015 – It’s with great regret that we must announce that the manufacturer of the Fincel Water Filtration System has discontinued the product effective immediately.

    Hard to believe a company who say RO is bad and your product is good when the company is about to belly up?. Would you post this up?. I highly doubt it.

  21. I had my well water tested and it contains vocs above state standards. I was told ROS along with a activated carbon tank as well as a pre sediment filter was the best way to go. Do you have have any insight on this.
    Thank you for the information.

    • Depending on the VOCs (it’s a term that encompasses a wide spectrum of contaminants), carbon itself may be sufficient. You might want to consider starting with good quality carbon filtration, even 2 stages back to back, and then have the water retested before committing to RO.

  22. First of all, as another post mentioned, an RO system for home use includes pre and post filters. I have never seen one that didn’t and I’ve evaluated a couple of dozen units. So explaining the limitations of passing the water through an RO membrane is disingenuous. I’ve had my water tested and it’s CLEAN.

    Second about the minerals: It’s true that one loses some minerals. Depending upon location it may not be a lot, but it’s some for sure. Also if you test water that comes out of an RO system, it tends to be acidic. I solve for all of this by spinning my filtered water in a vitalizing machine that contains a mineral cartridge. It creates hexagonal oxygenated molecules that contain the same levels of calcium and magnesium as what comes out of my faucet. It’s an extra step and an extra $ 70 a year for the cartridge, but the water I get feels terrific. One can also dissolve minerals into the water. There are numerous healthy products that are not expensive given how little one needs: a drop or two per liter.

    Third, there is one real issue with RO systems. They do waste water. Lots of it. And while I can capture some of this water and use it for cleaning, I can’t do things like water the garden, since it’s full of the contaminants I just paid to get rid of.

    It would be ideal if filtration systems could do as much as an RO system without wasting water, but I personally have never seen a single filtration system that can remove fluoride as well as the other contaminants to the level that RO can. I will investigate the one mentioned here; it’s new to me. In the meantime it pays to be fair and accurate about the competition.

  23. I have been thinking RO systems are the most efficient filters on the market. However, in your post, you said such a ro system has so many drawbacks and I don’t which type of filter is the best. Can you recommend some types, because I plan to buy one. Thanks. Wendy.

    • Hi Wendy,

      Thanks for the comment. I’m so glad that you enjoyed our post on RO systems. If you are working with standard municipal tap water in Canada or the US, I would recommend the Finecel Water Filtration System here http://shop.elua.com/products/finecel-water-filtration-system. Unfortunately, we’re out of stock right now as a result of the manufacturer being out of stock. We’re not sure when they will fill our next order. We are looking for some additional water filters that meet our criteria and will get the word out on Facebook as well as through our mailing list. You can sign up for our mailing list at the bottom of our website and/or you can also sign up for a back-in-stock alert for the Finecel by filling out the short form on it’s product page here http://shop.elua.com/products/finecel-water-filtration-system

      When it comes to drinking water, what are you most worried about?

      All the best,

      Andrew Moorey, Co-Founder
      Elua – Better water, better life!

  24. Bur , what kind of filter you will recommend for the public wter to be purifyied, in special in Florida> I saw a boiler installed a year ago and it will be damaged if they don’t install a softener tank, all the mineral are proporcioned by the vegetables and fruits,, what do u think about?

  25. I work at an office where we have an RO water system. I have stated many times that I feel as if I am more thirsty after drinking this water than after drinking regular tap water. Is there a reason for this? …..or am I going crazy?

  26. sorry but i could disagree more with this article. its so negative its obviously just here to slag off RO filters. in My Opinion if the WHO are pumping out information against the ro filters then its safe to say they are good TO USE THE WHO ARE A PATHETICALLY USELESS ORGANIZATION IN ANY EMERGENCY. there are always pros and cons but reading this article it seems that RO filters are bad for ones health. most of these arguments they use can be counter acted like. No the water in RO filters does not taste Bad.(like the crap which comes out of the actual tap. yes they more convenient because the water comes out of a tap. all the crap about minerals. when you can get all that from a healthy diet with green vegtables most RO-filters remove 98-99% of the contaminants and have a 4-9 filters depending how many you want they are cheap and clear out chlorine (AND SODIUM FLOURIDE)which this article says it doesnt ie it lies about. “RAIN WATER DOES NOT HAVE ANY MINERALS YOU IDIOTS AND ITS SAFE TO DRINK”.

    THIS ARTICLE IS TOTAL DISINFO AND A LOAD OF CODSWALLOP.
    BEST REGARDS

  27. Your article is replete with false and misleading statements.

    Household RO units are not complicated to use or install, are easy to service, and remove more harmful contaminants that your filter system. Reverse Osmosis is one part of a home RO system, which MUST include prefilters and postfilters. The pre and post filters are typically carbon / GAC, and DO remove VOCs and THMs – and they are very effective. The prefilter is required to protect the RO membrane from chlorine and chloramines.

    Distilled and RO filtered water is NOT bad for you. It is simply water. Rain water is distilled water. Would you not drink that? Your statement that the WHO says that distilled water is unsafe is a flat out LIE. The WHO says that hard water, if it has the correct type of dissolved solids, can serve a minor role as a nutritional supplement. In the U.S., where the TDS of typical tap water is fairly low, this equates to a trivial amount of minerals. You’ll get more minerals from a single cracker than you’ll get from a day’s worth of hard water.

    Oh an RO water is basically deionized water, which tastes GREAT – i.e. it has no taste. If you taste your water, you’re drinking something that’s not water.

    • Thanks for joining the discussion Lee. We appreciate all comments and view points.

      We do however standby our conclusion that RO systems are not the best water treatment systems for most homes, especially those served by municipal water sources where the power of RO is simply not required. The complications, cost, waste and demineralization of the water produced by RO is simply not justified. For more details, please refer to the qualified, independent, third party references (including links to source documents) found in our post above as well as our post about demineralized water which can be found here http://elua.com/2013/11/is-demineralized-safe-drinking-water/ . Are there situations where RO is a good for home use? Yes, by all means but when looking at the average homeowner in North America or any other developed country, the evidence is that RO is not the best fit.

      While the taste of water is very much a personal decision, the anecdotal evidence we have gathered over the years is that deionized or demineralized water tastes terrible. I would urge anyone interested to buy a gallon of demineralized water (usually used for irons or batteries) and compare with a bottle of filtered water. If you do not have access to filtered water, purchase a bottle of your favourite spring water and conduct a taste test with friends.

      Thanks again for your comments!

  28. Require a system for lake water that is safe to drink for coffee, tea, etc. We use the water for washing, laundry, bathing using only a 5 micron filter placed directly behind the pump.

    Use bottled water for drinking.

    Have had a reverse osmosis system system before that lasted many years. Unable to find replacement filters for this last RO system,
    I purchased a new RO system that has 2 carbon filters, one of which is a “pre filter” according to brochures that came with the system.

    Within 2 weeks I had to replace the 2 carbon filters which makes this system cost prohibitive.

    I need another RO system which has a couple of prefilters to avoid replacing the carbon filters so frequently.

    • Hi Cliff,

      Lake water can be tricky to treat. It really depends on the quality of the water. I’m going to reach out to you directly by email to discuss further and see if we can help find a solution for you.

      Andrew Moorey, Co-Founder

  29. We too are looking to remove uranium from our all of our water…shower, drinking, tap, ice maker, washer, dishwasher. What systems and filters are available to do this?

    • Hi Michael,

      Thanks for the comment! If you don’t mind, I’m going to reach out to you directly by email with some options we’ve found for reducing Uranium.

      Andrew Moorey, Co-Founder

  30. i Live in the UK and have recently found out that the water being pumped into my house his via a lead pipe. I was thinking of purchasing a RO system with an alkalizing filter attached to replace the minerals lost during filtration. What other systems do you recommend within the uk market that you feels would be more beneficial and more cost effective. i want to make sure the water i drink is as pure as possible and with no health risks at all as i train regularly and drink 4-5L of water a day.

    Many thanks

    Simon

  31. I’ve read your blog and posts and am more confused now that before. I thought I wanted an RO system for my home. But now I see that they are not so good and waste a lot of water. How does the Linx 160 system compare? And what system would you install in your own home. We have municipally supplied well water in my area of New Jersey. Thanks for the help! Willy

    • Hi Willy,

      Thanks for the comment. It is confusing isn’t it? I’m glad that we could help by sharing some of our knowledge about RO systems.

      I personally have a Finecel Water Filtration system in my home. My family and I switched from bottled water a few years ago and we absolutely love it. When we launched Elua last year we spent months searching for a water filtration system designed for the average home served by municipal drinking water. The 2 stages of carbon and 1 stage of ultra-filtration is a huge step up from Brita like pour over water filters but not so radical that it removes healthy minerals, wastes water, etc. We also liked it because of the audible and visual notifications that it puts out when its time to change a filter. You can find it on our website here http://shop.elua.com/collections/your-water-our-best-water-filters/products/finecel-water-filtration-system .

      If you have any questions about please don’t hesitate to call or email. The product page I noted above has other links to videos, performance reports and even the user manual should you want to learn more.

      All the best,

      Andrew Moorey, Co-Founder
      Elua – Better water, better life!

  32. We are looking to purchase an RO system for our home (a whole home system). the initial purpose was to reduce the uranium in our water as we are on a well in the mountains. We have done extensive testing of our water and the uranium levels are 120 pci/l which means we are around 4x the EPA limit. With an RO system we are hoping to reduce this by around 95%. My question is are there any other means of reducing / removing uranium from our water? Anion exchange?
    Also, when we have removed the bad as well as the good should we reminearalize and if so what is the best method and minerals to reintroduce? Will the minerals we introduce be in a form the body can actually absorb?

    • Hi Drew,

      I’m happy to report that there are specialized media filters designed to remove Uranium. They are cost effective, easy to install and simple. I’ll send you more information by email.

      If you are treating drinking/cooking water with RO, you should remineralize. It may not be as good as the original minerals but it will be much better than no minerals at all. If you are treating with the technology used in the Finecel Water Filtration System that we offer, there is no need to remineralize since the system does not remove minerals.

      I hope this helps!

      Andrew Moorey, Co-Founder
      Elua – Better water, better life!

  33. How about distilled water as an alternative? Doesn’t that take everything out (In addition to raising electric costs)?
    My family has been using been using Pure Pro RO with UV, for the past five years, to treat the city water here in Niamey Niger
    West Africa. You should see the filth collected in the filter with a transparent cover. Thus far we haven’t experienced any intestinal infections in an area where amebiasis and other bacteria are rife. Take your choice, depending upon where you’re living.

  34. We use water from our private well which has an Fe content of about 20-25ppm. Will regular home-scale RO water filter work?
    The water is pretty much free from other hard metals or pesticides.

    • Hi Sid,

      Thanks for the question. I’m afraid that we don’t specialize in Iron removal or offer any Iron remediation solutions right now. Iron can be a problem for most water treatment technologies including RO since it can cause serious scaling issues, fouling the RO membranes. I would suggest your best bet would be to call local water treatment companies in your area who are familiar with local conditions. Call as many as you can though and be sure to ask for names and phone numbers of other customers that you can call as references. There are new technologies on the market beyond the traditional water softener which can help knock down Iron without using salt. Try searching online or asking your local dealers for the Iron D.O.G. or North Star Iron Filter.

      Please remember to follow best practices for protecting your well (proper construction, capped, etc.) and follow up by testing the water in the spring and fall for bacteria. Shock treat as needed and consider an ultrafiltration or ultraviolet light system to protect against bacteria like E. coli which can kill.

      I hope this helps.

      Andrew Moorey, Co-Founder
      1-800-899-0828

  35. What are your thoughts on whole house water filters that are not RO? Is that a better way to go than a specific drinking water RO filter?

    • Hi Adri,

      That’s a great question. While I would not recommend whole house RO because of the many reasons discussed in our blog post above as well as those covered in our related post http://elua.com/2013/11/is-demineralized-safe-drinking-water/ , whole house water filtration systems can be a great tool for improving water quality throughout the house. Sometimes whole house water filtration is a must. Many home owners with challenging well water really have no choice but to treat all water being distributed throughout the home using a whole house water treatment system.

      If a user is on municipal tap water, there are advantages to whole house filtration but the cost, installation requirements, maintenance costs, etc. will go up dramatically with much of the water being treated going “down the drain” via toilets, showers, laundry, etc. A more cost effective solution might be to install point of use water filtration systems on each drinking water tap (or key ones) and a good quality shower filter where needed to reduce chlorine, etc. in while bathing. Our Fincecel Water Filtration system actually has an auxillary port that can be used to connect to a secondary faucet elsewhere in the home, a refrigerator, ice-maker, etc.

      I hope this helps.

      Andrew Moorey, Co-Founder
      1-800-899-0828

  36. Is there anything proper for a family home that can rid the drinking water of flouride?? So much info but it doesn’t amount to helping the average person:(

    • Hi Kristen,

      Flouride is a challenge to remove and you are completely right in stating that there is lots of information out there but a lot less practical solutions for the average person. While we don’t specialize in flouride removal, you may have no alternative except to consider an RO system. If you do, please consider adding a remineralization component to the system. We’ll be adding some new, easy to use and install remineralization filters soon and will reach out to you when we do. I’ll also do some digging with some of our partners in the industry to see if we can find you a dedicated flouride removal product that is not RO based.

      Have a great day!

      Andrew Moorey, Co-Founder
      1-800-899-0828

  37. After spending hours online researching countless websites and having to work through so much information, I find it disturbing that a company claiming to really want to help can publish such false and misleading information. You know that an RO system will have other filters besides the RO membrane. But you don’t mention it. What a shame and I’m glad to be wiser than I was after first reading this article.

    • Thank you for your comment, we do appreciate the discussion! While we disagree with your assessment of our blog post, we do agree with you that many RO systems do include additional pre-filters. In fact, we reference this in our post sub-section “Reverse Osmosis is not the simplest or most cost effective technology” where we discuss the consequences of not changing a carbon pre-filter once it reaches capacity. When comparing cost, ease of installation, ease of use, waste water produced and quality of water produced (See our post “Is Demineralized Water Safe Drinking Water” we believe that RO systems are not the best water filter for most homes.

      Andrew Moorey, Co-Founder & CEO
      Elua, Division of Global Hydration

    • I agree in part with Mayer. Pre/post-filters aside, RO and UF are the same water filtration process however UF just uses a larger pore size than RO allowing salts, minerals and dissolved organics to flow thru. Rather than ‘pure’ water, UF would produce a higher TDS product than RO. Whether RO water is detrimental to health, there are equal amount of studies concluding the health benefits of RO.

      • Hi Ron,

        Thanks for the post.

        Personally, I believe that it’s difficult to set aside the issue of pre and post filters from the conversation. For most home owners, maintenance and upkeep, including the ability to know when to change a pre or post filter is an important part of their decision making process. A water treatment system that provides an audible and visual alert regarding when to change a filter offers a considerable advantage when compared to a system that does not, especially an RO system where failure to change a prefilter as per manufacturers instructions can lead to chlorine damage of the RO membrane itself, a condition that the home owner would never even realize had happened unless they constantly monitored the water being produced with a TDS meter.

        In my opinion, if it is not required, why take on the additional headaches associated with RO? While UF and RO do use a similar water filtration process, the level of filtration is an important part of the discussion, especially as it relates to cost, maintenance, production of waste water, and safety of the water being produced (See our blog post “Is Demineralized Water Safe Drinking Water”). UF doesn’t really produce a higher TDS water than RO, it simply leaves the original TDS of the water being treated unchanged. Most municipal water systems across North America do not have adverse TDS levels. In fact, TDS levels must be within safe limits to meet regional municipal drinking water guidelines thus RO is simply not required when treating most municipal water sources.

        Yes, there are additional studies on whether RO water is detrimental to one’s health, from a wide variety of sources but we couldn’t find any that came from an authority as respected as the World Health Organization.

        Don’t get me wrong – I believe that RO is a great technology when faced with salt water or a select spectrum of chemical contamination but simply not required by those home owners looking to improve the quality of their municipal tap water.

        Thanks again for taking the time to read my blog and to post a comment. I really do appreciate the feedback and chance for open discussion.

        Kind regards,

        Andrew Moorey, CEO & Co-Founder
        Elua, a Division of Global Hydration

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