The two most common filtration methods for obtaining potable water, generally described as well filtered, are osmosis devices and fine-pore carbon block filters. However, the results of the two techniques could not be more different. How is this possible and why? What are the quality criteria for both filtration methods? Lets read about ro vs filtered water.
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Diffrence between reverse osmosis and filter water
The operation of carbon block filters is well known and for precisely this reason it is often underestimated. On the other hand, there is also much talk about osmosis water, its purity, its possible effects on health and the possible dangers it entails. However, it is surprising how little knowledge consumers tend to have about what exactly osmosis water is and what properties and effects it actually has on health and in the home, and these aspects are generally not questioned either.
The osmosis technique has a reputation for filtering water particularly well. In a stricter sense, this can even be said to be true for high-end devices. That is why there are people who say that osmosis water is especially healthy. However, this does not hold from a medical point of view.
The heart of an osmosis filter is its membrane. The fineness of filtration of osmosis equipment can only be surpassed by a distillation process. But what normally only chemists or specialists know is that osmosis water can also contain other substances that we do not want to be present in our water.
Water filtered by activated carbon filters
Of all the systems, it is the one that has the best cost-effectiveness ratio and the one I recommend. Removes more than 95% of chlorine, chlorination by-products, heavy metals and pesticides, also from microplastics. Since we are talking about filtering water that is already drinkable and with minimal concentrations of most of these substances, with a good filter of this type we achieve almost pure water. In addition, they do not eliminate minerals, it has a more alkaline pH and the mineral concentrations of the original water, even increasing those of potassium and magnesium in some carbon filters made with vegetable fibers.
Activated carbon filters can be of mineral origin or from plant residues such as fiber and coconut shells or fruit bones, much more suitable as they are obtained through the recycling of waste.
From my point of view, it is the recommended filter for most houses where purified water reaches the tap with little residue and impurities. They are cheaper than reverse osmosis and do not waste water, 1 liter of water makes 1 liter of water.
They are of different types:
- From jug: they require monthly filter changes and generate more waste with their refills that are also more expensive. They are changed every month or every 150-300 liters. I don’t like them because the water goes into a plastic jug and plastics deteriorate with use.
- Those that are attached to the tap, the cartridges must be changed every 3 months or after approximately 1200 liters filtered.
- The countertop or under countertop that are changed every 6-9-12 months (up to between 1200 and 8000 liters) according to its quality and the hardness of the water.
- Those that are located in the general water intake and filter the water throughout the house: they have the problem that bacteria can grow in the pipes if they are not used for a while or that if residues are produced after filtering in the pipes in bad condition (either plastic or old) these will pass into the water we drink.
The longer the duration, the less amount of waste will be generated with the spare parts and the cheaper they are, although the initial investment is higher.
Those with ion exchange resins increase the effectiveness in filtering heavy metals and other chemicals and are the most recommended.
3. Water filtered by reverse osmosis filters
Sold as the perfect systems to consume the purest water, these filters give us a water with practically nothing, only H2O, without toxins but also without healthy minerals. In addition, since they have several phases, they require several filter cartridges and their cost and maintenance is much higher, and they may cease to be economically profitable depending on the water your family consumes. They take up more space at home, they also generate more waste and worst of all, discarding 3 out of every 4 liters of water we consume to generate them (or even more if they are not of good quality). Therefore, and despite the fact that today it is the most abundant, I do not recommend them for domestic use for habitual water consumption.
Why is water filtration with activated carbon healthier?
The decisive difference is that high-quality carbon block filters filter selectively by nature. But how is this understood? The natural substance of activated carbon filters due to the difference in charge of the ions. The important minerals dissolved in water are negatively charged and remain in the water because they cannot be attracted to the same charge. Pollutants, on the other hand, have a positive charge that is attracted by the negatively charged activated carbon.
The end result of a high-quality pressed activated carbon filtration is more balanced, healthier and even much cleaner. The deciding factor for both methods is that the cartridges are actually periodically replaced within the specified time frame. If this is not done, osmosis equipment greatly increases the risk of bacterial contamination, whereas carbon block filters simply no longer filter thoroughly.
What Are The Benefits Of Reverse Osmosis Water?
Due to the purity of the reverse osmosis water, it offers a neutral taste. This is particularly noticeable when preparing drinks such as tea or coffee, as these now have a first-class and unadulterated aroma. One of the greatest advantages is of course that your tap water is free of any pollutants thanks to the filtering. However, there are many other advantages:
- The aroma of fresh vegetables, dishes and sauces is not adulterated
- Coffee machines or kettles do not scale
- There are no limescale stains even during cleaning
- Always the purest drinking water – carrying water crates is a thing of the past
- Inexpensive drinking water supply compared to buying water bottles
Does Reverse Osmosis Water Also Have Disadvantages?
It is often argued that reverse osmosis water also filters healthy minerals and is therefore useless or even unhealthy for humans. These statements have been refuted a thousand times, but also proven.
It is to question how humans actually consume most of their minerals and trace elements. It has been proven that hardly any minerals are absorbed by drinking water, but rather by eating solid food.
An example: one liter of classic mineral water contains between 1.5 and 600 milligrams of calcium. 100 grams of cheese in turn contain an average of 800 milligrams of calcium, which is significantly more.
If, however, increased emphasis is placed on mineralized water, the reverse osmosis water obtained can subsequently be easily enriched with minerals through a mineral filter.
Who Muddies The Waters? Myths And Truths About Reverse Osmosis
In the modern world, drinking water is very rarely clean, so many of us use various systems to purify it. The most advanced method is reverse osmosis. This is a method of filtration under pressure through a special membrane that allows water molecules to pass through and completely retains substances not dissolved in it.
The principle of operation of a reverse osmosis filter. The use of reverse osmosis allows you to purify water from all harmful impurities, viruses and bacteria, as well as soften it. However, some people believe that reverse osmosis water is harmful to humans. Let’s see together whether this is really so.
Myth 1. Reverse Osmosis Removes Nutrients From Water
As we said earlier, the reverse osmosis system removes dissolved salts, heavy metals, viruses and bacteria from water. It is generally accepted that minerals also enter the drainage along with pollution. In fact, the content of minerals in ordinary water is extremely small, and in the reverse osmosis system there is a special filter that mineralizes the water after purification. By the way, ordinary bottled drinking water is purified in the same way.
Myth Number 2. Reverse-Space Water Can Cause Teeth To Be Lost
It is believed that reverse osmosis water flushes calcium out of the body, as a result – this can lead to tooth loss. This statement is refuted by a 30-year practice in the West. It has been proven that drinking reverse osmosis water does not cause dental problems. In fact, you need to drink more than 10 liters of water to get your daily calcium requirement, so we get our calcium mostly from food.
Scheme of water purification in a reverse osmosis filter
Myth Number 3. Osmosis Water Is Tasteless
The senses get used to the taste and aroma of a product that has been consumed for a long time. Therefore, having tasted purified water, it may seem that it is tasteless, especially compared to tap water, which is abundant in chlorine and iron.
Reverse-space water is similar in composition and taste to thawed water. It is considered the standard of drinking water and is the safest. Suitable for use by children from the first days of life. Has a slightly sweetish aftertaste that is transferred to water when passing through the carbon cartridge.
Myth Number 4. The Water After Osmosis Is Dead
Or in other words – it contains absolutely no minerals and nutrients. In fact, this is not the case. Most reverse osmosis systems are equipped with a special mineralizing cartridge, which enriches the purified water with useful substances necessary for the body, namely potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium. Thus, at the exit you get extremely pure water (up to 98-99%) and at the same time improve its taste characteristics and biological value.
Not all activated carbon is the same
There are very few companies that offer 100% pure activated carbon made from carbonized coconut shell without additives. While there are many activated carbon filters whose mass has been enriched with adhesives and other fillers, since the law allows them to contain up to one third of the additives. The post-filters of osmosis equipment are also affected by the different quality of activated carbon.
The osmosis technique allows even the worst brackish water to be converted back to clear, clean water. There is no doubt that this is a technical achievement that must be recognized. But this water is not healthy, if it does not receive further treatment. This is the reason why most osmosis devices already have additional activated carbon post-filters, which, of course, have large quality differences and are not sufficient for mineralization.
Both high-quality reverse osmosis filters, as well as good block filters
activated carbon, provide excellent filtered water, when properly treated. While activated carbon filters need more flow and must filter nitrates through an additional cartridge, the osmosis water must be enriched with minerals and receive an energizing treatment.
Even the best fine filter systems, whether osmosis or activated carbon, run the risk of contamination if the cartridges are not replaced on a regular basis. The useful life of both systems suffers considerably if there is also no domestic filter to pre-filter the water.
An important detail to take into account, finally, is that a good activated carbon filtration system is usually significantly cheaper than a good reverse osmosis filter.
Key difference: ultrafiltration vs reverse osmosis
Water purification is an important process to provide clean water to the community. There are many steps involved in the water purification process that includes biological, chemical and physical procedures. Ultrafiltration is the process in which water is filtered through a membrane filter to separate the molecules present in the water sample that have a molecular weight between 103-106 Da. Reverse osmosis is a procedure in which water passes through a semi-permeable membrane against a concentration gradient. The reverse osmosis membrane is capable of rejecting particles that have a molecular weight> 300 Da. The key difference between the two procedures is the size of the filtered particles from the two membranes. Ultrafiltration filters smaller molecules with low molecular weight.
So, to the big question, installing a reverse osmosis system or an ultrafiltration system, I answer the following in my opinion:
- If the tap water in your area is generally quite acceptable, ultrafiltration may be a great choice.
- If the water in the area where you live is extremely hard, I do not recommend ultrafiltration, since this system is not capable of reducing the concentration of salts or eliminating calcium carbonate.
- If your priority is absolutely not to waste water and you are not too demanding on the taste of water (the network always has flavor), an ultrafiltration system can meet your expectations.
- If you are prone to kidney, gallbladder, etc., I do not recommend ultrafiltration, osmosis is ideal.
- If your main objective is only to eliminate bacteria, sediments, heavy metals and chemical agents in the water, ultrafiltration already covers all your needs.
- If you simply want to optimize space, have a continuous jet, a large flow of treated water and avoid complex water treatment systems, without paying too much attention to taste, then again ultrafiltration would be the best option.
- If what you are really looking for is to have the best water for drinking and cooking, without caring about everything else, then without a doubt, you should install a reverse osmosis system.
- If the water pressure in your area is weak, with an ultrafiltration system you will not have any problem, you will always get treated water. However, in the case of reverse osmosis, you will have to previously solve the pressure problem, whether a pressure group is implemented in the general installation of your home or with a reverse osmosis equipment equipped with a pump.
- If you do not rule out the possibility of installing and maintaining your equipment yourself, in the case of ultrafiltration you will have it much easier.