Reverse Osmosis vs. Filtration: What Do I Need for the Happiest, Healthiest Home?

In the time of Amazon, Target runs, and internet research, getting filtered water in your home is easier than ever. However, not all water filter options are the same and the final result can differ greatly on what type of filtration method you’re using. Knowing what you’re trying to filter out can go a long way in finding a solution that’s right for your home and knowing the benefits of working with a water solutions expert like Culligan Water of Greater Kansas City can take you even farther! Let’s talk about the different water purification, reverse osmosis vs filtered water & other filtration solutions available, and how they work for you.

Basic Water Filtration

When you hear basic water filtration, what comes to mind? One may think about the filtration process done at municipal water treatment plants in order to make the tap water that comes out of your faucet drinkable. Another person may think of a water filter pitcher you can get at the store as basic water filtration. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to basic filtering but it is important to know what exactly that process is doing to your water as it goes through it and what is being removed or added to your drinking water through that process.

Water Treatment Plant Filtration

In order for water supplies to become drinkable and safe for consumption, they must first be treated by a water treatment facility. Public water usually goes through five different water purification steps to make your water safe for consumption. It’s important to note that just because it meets standards doesn’t mean it will be enjoyable. It’s not unlikely to have treated water that looks discolored, tastes funny, or smells funny.

Let’s dive into the different water treatment steps at these plants.

  • Coagulation: Usually the first step in water treatment, coagulation involves adding chemicals with positive charges into the water to neutralize the negative charge of dirt and other particles found in the water. 
  • Flocculation: Following coagulation, these treatment plants will gently mix the water to form larger particles, named flocs. Additional chemicals are usually added to the water during this process. 
  • Sedimentation: Next in the treatment process is sedimentation. This allows the heavier particles and solids to be separated from the rest of the water. 
  • Filtration: Once separation has occurred, the real water filtration can begin. During filtration, water passes through filters that have different pore sizes and are made of different materials (such as sand, gravel, and charcoal) removing most dissolved particles and germs like dust, chemicals, and bacteria.
  • Disinfection: After filtration, it’s not uncommon for some plants to add their own chemical disinfectants to the water such as chlorine or chloramine. 

It’s important to note that the water treatment and the disinfection process can differ greatly by the community. Additionally, while the water can be clean and consumable once it leaves the treatment facility, that water must then travel through potentially aged and corroded pipes to get to your home. These pipes can add sediment, iron, and other contaminants back into your water before it reaches your faucet. 

Store-Bought Filtered Water Pitchers

Water that comes out of your faucet may need a bit of filtering before you feel it’s at its most consumable texture, taste, and smell. For many homes in the United States, the answer is a filtered water pitcher from the store. These filters oftentimes give people peace of mind but what does this type of filter actually accomplish? Generally, pitcher filters remove extra chlorine from tap water through their carbon filters, in addition to reliably removing minerals like copper and zinc. 

But with the advantages of the pitcher filters, we also need to discuss the disadvantages. Most standard-issue water pictures with filters are not effective in removing contaminants like bacteria, fungus, lead, arsenic, and fluoride. Additionally, failing to regularly maintain your pitcher’s filter can actually become a breeding ground for unwanted bacteria and microorganisms. This isn’t to say these filters aren’t useful for some things, however, there are other water filtration methods that are able to provide cleaner, purer water. 

Filtering Water Through Reverse Osmosis (RO)

When it comes to water purification, there are few things that work better for the home than a reverse osmosis system. Far more effective than carbon filtration and faucet filter attachments, reverse osmosis systems push water through a semipermeable membrane. The reverse osmosis filter has pores that are as small as 0.0001 microns, which means it can even remove tiny particles such as viruses while letting the much smaller water molecules pass through. This certain type of filter also blocks bacteria, which are much larger than viruses. 

Reverse osmosis systems may require more space than a regular water filter pitcher but compact units that can fit under your sink are available. These types of systems can be plumbed through your sink, ice maker, and sink. When plumbed through your sink, you have the opportunity to switch from your unfiltered water supply to your reverse osmosis-filtered water with just the push of a button. Maintenance for a reverse osmosis system can also be just as easy as replacing the filter in your water pitcher. 

Culligan Water, Your Water Filtration Experts

Water purification is possible with the help of Culligan Water of Greater Kansas City. With over 70 years of experience in the water filtration industry, our professionals can offer realistic and cost-effective solutions for your home’s filtered water needs. 

We can come to your home and assess your current water situation with a free water quality test. Once we know what kind of water contaminants may be present in your water, we can offer a customized solution for all the faucets in your home. If you’re interested in a reverse osmosis system for your home, contact us today! You’re just one call or message away from pure, clean drinking water!


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