If you’ve ever read or heard an advertisement about water softeners, you might have heard the term ‘Reverse Osmosis’ at some point during the advertisement. But what exactly is reverse osmosis, and how does it affect the quality and softness of your water?
Before talking about reverse osmosis, you should understand the purpose behind it. Unless you’re constantly purchasing bottled water for use in your home, you’re using water that is generally piped from other sources, such as wells and reservoirs. Water from these sources tends to harbor various types of impurities that can affect the taste and quality of the water. Minerals such as calcium can make the water ‘harder’; this in turn leaves scale-like deposits on your plumbing fixtures, can affect the functioning of appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers, and affect how soap, detergents, and shampoos work. Impurities such as bacteria, mold, and algae can also lurk in water; these can affect your ability to use that water around the house and could even make you sick if you drink it.
This is where reverse osmosis comes in. In simple terms, reverse osmosis uses your home’s existing water pressure to pass water through a semipermeable membrane. That membrane attracts minerals and impurities in the water and holds them, allowing the filtered water to pass through. This not only makes the water taste better, it also makes it safer to drink and reduces hard water buildup on your plumbing fixtures.
The term ‘reverse osmosis’ is derived from the process being a reversal of the osmotic process. In osmosis, a solvent moves from an area of low solute concentration to one of high concentration. With reverse osmosis, however, pressure is exerted that reverses this process, forcing the solvent from an area of high solute concentration to one of low concentration. In other words, water (called the ‘Universal solvent’) is made to travel from an area with a high concentration of solutes (in this case, minerals and impurities found in the water) through the membrane, emerging on the other side into an area of low solute concentration.
Here at Water Products and Solutions, we have been serving Sheridan and Johnson counties for over 30 years. If you have further questions about reverse osmosis water systems, or would like information about having a reverse osmosis system installed in your home, contact us for more information today.