A reverse osmosis faucet is simply one that allows the water to be filtered before being delivered out through the faucet. Normally, during the process of osmosis, a solvent like pure water would be passed through a membrane, collecting a solute from the membrane to deliver a solution on the other side of the membrane.
Reverse osmosis simply means instead that as a solution passes through the membrane the solute or any solids are removed from the solution, allowing pure solvent, water in this case, to appear on the other side of the membrane.
Why would you Want a Reverse Osmosis Faucet?
In different regions the water supply to your home can vary tremendously. Some regions are well known for having very pure and soft water, whereas others can be hard water areas or areas where the quality of the water is variable.
By filtering the water before it leaves the faucet a reverse osmosis faucet can eliminate suspended particles in the water, much of the taste associated with hard water and the odor of chlorine in water supplies, which can occur if the water requires intensive treatment before delivery.
Dependent on the membrane filters you use they can also eliminate sediments, volatile organic chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides that find their way into the water supply; along with a variety of other chemicals also finding their way into our water supplies like trihalomethanes (THMs) which are carcinogenic chlorine disinfectant by-products, pharmaceutical residues and even hormones like estrogen.
What it Does
Reverse osmosis systems can be fitted underneath any faucet that you have or are thinking of buying. The unit is entirely self contained and is very easily plumbed in. There are currently two main types in use.
First there are the mechanical filtration units; these resemble extremely fine sieves with a 0.2 micron mesh, which remove particulate matter and sediments.
The second type are referred to as electrokinetic adsorption filters, which are activated carbon that make any contaminants in the water stick to them. Currently highly popular with consumers is the coconut shell activated carbon filter. This produces incredibly fine particles, presenting a larger surface area for any contaminants to adhere to.
Some activated carbon blocks can be prone to creating channels through them, which means that not all of the filter will be used efficiently. So, if you chose to use activated carbon filters, ask for a system that uses cartridges, rather than blocks, as these are designed to ensure an even flow throughout the cartridge.
Changing Filter Cartridges
By and large the reverse osmosis cartridges will require changing every 6 months or so. To some extent the period between changing filters will be determined by the amount of times you use the faucet with a reverse osmosis system fitted to it. As well, the quality of the filters you buy will influence the length of time they last.
Buying an economy non-preparatory filter might cost less initially, but if it’s not the one recommended by the manufacturer it could well be inferior in other respects. Basically, as much as waiting for 6 or more months to pass, if your sense of taste or smell tells you it is time to change the filter – then change it.
If the filter is very close to being exhausted you’ll probably find that the flow of water from the faucet becomes sluggish, as it struggles to pass through a used and clogged up filter. You’d be advised to always have a spare cartridge available as, if that does happen the reverse osmosis unit could literally stop working and delivering water at any time.