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What is a Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System?

By February 4, 2021No Comments

Interested in learning more about Reverse Osmosis Systems? You’ve come to the right place.

Before we dive in, it’s important to establish what a reverse osmosis system is. RO systems use pressure to force water across a semi-permeable membrane to remove dissolved solids in water.

how reverse osmosis works

Do you need a reverse osmosis system?

If your goal is to remove contaminants like lead, fluoride, and other inorganics in your water, reverse osmosis could be the solution you are looking for. If your goal is to only improve the taste and smell of your water, reverse osmosis is not necessary.

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Whole House Reverse Osmosis Systems

Reverse osmosis systems are not recommended for whole-house filtration. Reverse osmosis systems remove all dissolved solids present in water including beneficial minerals. Another reason is that RO water filter systems produce a large amount of wastewater. For every 1 gallon of filtered water, you will likely have at least 3 gallons of water will be wasted.

What contaminants will a reverse osmosis system remove?

An RO system can effectively reduce the following in water:

  • Most microorganisms
  • Arsenic
  • Chlorine
  • Fluoride
  • Heavy metals
  • Nitrates
  • Sediment
  • Iron
  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Cysts


How does a reverse osmosis system work?

Reverse Osmosis Filtration Systems are usually comprised of the following components:

reverse osmosis water filter system



Reverse osmosis systems always have a pre-filter. The type and the number of pre-filters will depend on the type of membrane that is being used. The most common reverse osmosis pre-filters are sediment filters and remove chlorine. A pre-filter is necessary because it helps extend the life of the membrane.


The membrane is the most important component of an RO system. Membranes are designed with pores small enough to pass pure water through and reject larger molecules like dissolved salts (ions) and other impurities like bacteria.

Storage Tank:

After the water passes through the pre-filter(s) and membrane, it will flow into the storage tank. Once the RO storage tank is full, there is a shut-off valve that will prevent more water from passing through the membrane.

Many RO systems come with a faucet, which is typically installed near the kitchen sink separate from the regular faucet. When the RO faucet is turned on, purified water will flow from the storage tank to a post-filter.

woman getting water from RO water filter faucet on sink


The post-filter will remove any remaining tastes and/or odors from that water making it safe to drink.


A drain line will run from the membrane housing to the drain which will dispose of the impurities and contaminants that were removed from the water source also known as wastewater.  

woman enjoying purified water

Benefits of reverse osmosis filtration:

Reverse osmosis has a very high rejection rate for most impurities that are found in water and can be very cost-effective long term. Reverse osmosis is effective at producing pathogen-free and mineral-free water. If you have well water or if your water is not municipally treated, a reverse osmosis system can be beneficial.

Which RO system should I choose?  

The choice is ultimately up to you. We recommend taking the quality of each component into account, especially RO filters and membranes into account.


Affordable Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System:

One of the more affordable reverse osmosis systems, the PureValue 5EZ50 Reverse Osmosis System features a Desal 50 gallon per day thin film composite (TFC) membrane which will provide you with clean, great-tasting water. If you’re a first-time buyer of a reverse osmosis system and are looking for an RO system that will purify your water and improve the taste, this is a great option. This reverse osmosis system uses John Guest quick connect fittings for easy filter changes.


purevalue 5ez50 reverse osmosis system



PureValue 5EZ50 Reverse Osmosis System

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Easy-to-Use Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System:

We’re big fans of the Brondell H20+ Circle Reverse Osmosis System. Why? Because it’s so easy to use! It’s compact and will fit conveniently under your kitchen sink. It features a patented SmartValve technology that delivers fresh, clean water and is 10 times more efficient than conventional RO systems. Brondell’s SmartValve Technology is unique in that it has a flexible reservoir to eliminate backpressure which also allows for a substantial reduction in wastewater. This reverse osmosis water filter system will reduce the following from your water:

  • Aesthetic
  • Chlorine
  • Bad odor and taste
  • Industrial chemicals
  • Pesticide and herbicides
  • VOCs
  • TDS
  • Turbidity
  • Cysts
  • MTBE
  • Asbestos
  • Mercury
  • Chloramines
  • Lead
  • Arsenic
  • Fluoride
  • Cadmium
  • Copper

This space-saving reverse osmosis system makes it easy for you to enjoy the benefits of clean, purified water in your home with its quick-change filters and easy-to-install components.


Brondell H2O+ Circle Reverse Osmosis System





Brondell H2O+ Circle Reverse Osmosis System

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Most Popular Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System:

Our most popular Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System is the Hydrotech 1240 M Series Reverse Osmosis System for a good reason! This reverse osmosis water filtration system filters water through 4 stages to ensure the water is free of pathogens, dissolved solids, organics, pesticides, and VOCs. This series contains an exclusive sediment filter in addition to two carbon filters and the RO membrane. Plus, it comes with an air gap faucet that helps prevent wastewater from reentering your water supply.

hydrotech 4vtfc75g, 1240 M series reverese osmosis system



Hydrotech 4VTFC75G, 1240 M Series Reverse Osmosis System

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For more information about Reverse Osmosis Systems, check out our RO Filters Buyers Guide.

When should I change my RO filter?
We recommend changing RO filters once a year with systems on municipal water and every 6 months with systems on well water.

When should I replace the membrane?
A membrane can last between 2 to 5 years. When you change your membrane filter will depend on how much water is processed through the membrane and your water quality. The best way to determine whether your membrane needs changing is to use a TDS (total dissolved solids) meter to determine the filtration performance of your membrane. If your membrane is reducing less than 80% of the TDS in your water, this is a good indication that it is time to change the membrane.


Have a question we didn’t answer? Head over to our Frequently Asked Questions About Reverse Osmosis article where we’re answering some of the most common questions about Reverse Osmosis Water Filters Systems. is a replacement water and air filter company located in the United States. The views and opinions contained herein are solely those of the original author and do not represent Eco Blue Life or its affiliates. This article was originally published on  
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