With more than 30 years’ experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space, Mark Nelson is a Class 1 Drinking-Water Operator and a CBWA (Canadian Bottled Water Association) Certified Plant Operator. As founder and president of Nelson Water in Ottawa, Mark focuses on dealing with challenging water treatment system designs for problem water. He also heads the largest water bottling plant in the city of Ottawa with a delivery network throughout the Valley.

While many people may have heard the term “reverse osmosis,” not everyone understands what these systems can do. Reverse Osmosis offers some unique benefits that can significantly improve the quality of previously unpalatable or unhealthy water. So, here we’ll explore reverse osmosis and its benefits in greater detail so that you can make an informed purchase decision.

The Reverse Osmosis Basics

Reverse osmosis has actually been around for over 250 years. While it was initially used in industrial applications, in recent years, it has become more popular for domestic water treatment systems. Reverse osmosis systems operate by passing water through a membrane. This membrane is semi-permeable with tiny holes, allowing certain molecules to pass while others are retained. Since water molecules are smaller than many contaminants, the water can pass through the membrane, but the contaminants are prevented from passing. Most standard RO membrane housings accommodate membrane capacities ranging from 10 to 150 gallons of water per day. This provides options for smaller to larger households for all drinking water needs.

RO systems can be installed as point of entry or point of use systems. This allows you to treat just your drinking water in your kitchen or the water supplied to your entire home. The choice will depend on whether the contaminants in your water supply will impact bathing or cause damage to water using appliances or fixtures.

RO System Configuration

RO systems can also be configured to suit specific water quality issues. One of the potential disadvantages of an RO system is that while the membrane is highly effective, it may be vulnerable to damage from sediment or larger particles. Fortunately, it is possible to protect the membrane with a configured filtration system. If you have sediment or other particles that could pose a risk to the membrane, it is possible to have a filter installed before the membrane. This will filter out any sediment or particles before the water is passed through the membrane. This should maximize the potential lifespan of the membrane, which is typically between two and five years.

The Benefits of RO Filtration Systems

Although reverse osmosis is not the most common form of domestic water treatment, it does offer some unique benefits. These include:

Elimination of 99% of Contaminants: Reverse osmosis has been shown to be highly effective at removing contaminants from water supplies. It can eliminate practically all dissolved salts, heavy metals, iron, asbestos, and calcium. It can also remove 99% of bacteria, viruses, and pyrogenic substances from your water. Although reverse osmosis will not remove volatile organic chemicals, solvents or some pesticides, it is possible to team the RO filter with other filtration methods for a complete water treatment system.

Better Smelling and Tasting Water: Reverse osmosis can eliminate the bacteria and chemicals that could be making your water unpalatable. This makes your water taste fresher while looking and smelling cleaner. So, you can enjoy drinking your tap water rather than having to purchase costly bottled water to stay hydrated and healthy.

Excellent and Efficient Purification: The high pressure RO process can remove some pollutants that are very detrimental to human health and wellness. Despite this impressive performance, there are no additional pumps necessary that can cause excessive amounts of energy to be wasted.

Eliminate Pollutants Without Collection: When the water is pushed through the reverse osmosis membrane, only the water can pass while the contaminants or pollutants dissolved in the water are retained. These contaminants don’t collect anywhere to accidentally find their way into the treated water. All the contaminants are flushed through the system, so they will not affect the water quality or create a potentially unhealthy residue.

Easy to Clean: Unlike many other types of filtration system, reverse osmosis is extremely convenient. These types of systems don’t get messy or need elaborate cleaning processes. To clean a reverse osmosis system, all you need to do is remove the filter membrane and rinse it before putting it back into place. There is no unhealthy residue to be concerned about.

Eco-Friendly Option: Unlike some forms of water treatment, reverse osmosis does not require any use of chemicals for purification, making it an eco-friendly treatment option. Any contaminants removed from the water supply can be disposed of naturally, so you don’t need to rely on potentially harmful chemicals or agents to enjoy pure, clean water.

Minimal Maintenance: While many domestic water treatment systems are designed to require minimal maintenance, reverse osmosis is even easier. There is no need to check and replenish salt levels or any other form of continued maintenance. All you need to do is rinse off the filter periodically and refit it into the device. Most manufacturers recommend cleaning the membrane every three to twelve months, depending on your water usage and the levels of contaminants in your untreated water.

Space Saving: Unlike many domestic water treatment systems, reverse osmosis devices are remarkably space saving. There is no need to worry about needing to clear space in your basement or other area of your home. The water treatment technician will be able to fit a new reverse osmosis system in the most modest of homes.


Reverse osmosis is an excellent way to improve the quality of your water supply. These types of systems can be used to transform questionable water into clean tap water suitable for drinking, preparing meals or even bathing. Although reverse osmosis can provide superb quality water, it is far cheaper than resorting to buying bottled water. These filters are easy to use and provide a smart investment for any home, making them well worth some serious consideration.

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of reverse osmosis or improving your water quality, be sure to speak to a professional water treatment specialist. An experienced technician can not only assess your tap water to determine the levels of contaminants common in your area, but also guide you through the treatment options best suited to the unique characteristics of your water.