Reverse Osmosis filters include many parts with names that are confusing and misunderstood.
In this post, we have a look at a home RO system and clarify some of the terminologies before describing the role of each part.
The standard RO systems comprise five stages, but systems can be found with less or more steps of filtration.
An Reverse Osmosis filter system with 6 or 7 stages would involve a pH or an alkaline filter, while a system with less wouldn't filter the water in a more refined way.
Pre-filter (First stage): This is the first point of contact for the untreated water. The pre-filters job is to remove the larger particles and protect the filters that come after it (particularly the reverse osmosis system). Things that are mainly eliminated by it include rust, sediment, and dirt.
Pre-filter (Second & Third Stage): The carbon filters' key role is to eliminate several organic compounds including chlorine from the water. These compounds can have poor tastes and smells, so the carbon filters operate to enhance the taste and odor of water.
Automatic Shut-off Valve: Once the storage tank reaches capacity, this valve will shut off and prevent any more water from flowing through it, which stops the overflow of the water tank.
RO Membrane (Fourth stage): This is where the machine earns its money, and the reverse osmosis process occurs. The membrane is composed of an excellent material, which will typically not allow particles of a size bigger than 0.0005 microns (0.00000005 cm) to pass through.
Flow Restrictor: This gets the task of regulating the water flow. The reverse osmosis process works better at water higher pressures, and this element helps with the efficiency of the system.
Storage Tank: This is where your water is stored, before coming from the faucet. Sizes range from approximately 3 to 9 gallons.
Drain Line: This takes the by-product waste water away to the nearest drainage area.
Post-filter (Fifth stage): This filter serves to enhance the flavor before the water run through the tap. Coloration and the odor may be improved here.
Post-filter (Sixth stage): Many reverse osmosis filter systems will demand a further period of filtration. This is a pH or alkaline filter, which functions to add minerals back to water which gets eliminated during the filtration process. Additionally, it serves to increase the pH to more alkaline levels.
Ed is a water specialist in Tampa, FL. He built CleanerSofterWater.com to help his friends and family learn about DIY solutions to common water quality issues in the home.
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