What is a whole house reverse osmosis system?
A whole house reverse osmosis system (Point-of entry, POE) provides the very best water quality to every faucet in a home. Reverse osmosis is a mechanical filtration method to remove ions and molecules by utilizing pressure to force a solution through a semipermeable membrane. Larger molecules are rejected resulting in the highest quality water entering your home.
How does your whole house RO system work?
Unlike the under-the-sink systems, whole house RO systems utilize much larger membranes and cannot rely on the incoming water pressure for process. These systems are equipped with a booster pump to push the water through the membrane. The size of these membranes can be 2.5” x 40” (producing 700 GPD or 0.5 GPM) or 4” x 40” (producing 1400 GPD or 1 GPM) and a typical whole-house reverse osmosis membrane system contains one or two membranes. The actual water production is dependent upon many variables.
What to consider before installing a whole house reverse osmosis system
A whole house RO system does provide the best water quality compared with competing technologies. However, there are many things that one needs to consider before even requesting a quote. A short list may include the following:
- Necessary space,
- Electrical and rerouting plumbing.
To keep it simple, a whole house reverse osmosis system is not an “on-demand” system and a large storage tank is required to hold the treated product water as well as a separate booster pump to supply the treated water into the residence.
Pretreatment is often not taken into consideration when is pricing a POE reverse osmosis system. The membranes are quite expensive, and one would not want to replace these often. However, membranes can last for years if they are properly cared for. Pretreatment would include addressing sediment, metals, oxidants, hardness, and organic or biological contaminants if present. Most POE RO systems come equipped with a cartridge sediment filter as standard. If the system is located on a private well, an iron filter may be required before the RO. If the system is located on a municipal system, a carbon pretreat filter may be required before the RO. Hardness, which can be found in well and municipal water, can be addresses with a water softener, water conditioner (SP3, OneFlow for example) or antiscalant chemical injection. All pretreatment options have their advantages and disadvantages so discuss these options with a water treatment professional.
Posttreatment is hardly ever discussed upfront with a whole house reverse osmosis. The product water has a very low mineral content and the RO process also removes the alkaline compounds which makes the water acidic in most cases. When combined, the aggressive water can leach metal from your plumbing, fittings, fixtures, and appliances (copper, zinc, and lead to name a few). The water can also have a stale taste. Remineralization and a final carbon polish are recommended. As no chlorine is present, ozonation or a UV light can be used for post sanitation.
How much does a whole house reverse osmosis system cost?
The actual cost for a properly designed whole house reverse osmosis system is significantly higher than just a “whole house RO”. Intec prides itself in working with troubled water and has sold reverse osmosis for residential, commercial and industrial applications. We can assist in consulting, system design, pretreatment options, or sourcing all components for a custom build.
Nelsen offers may models with various options to suit your needs (more than shown on this site). These are great value systems that offer great quality at very reasonable pricing.