By Rehan Iqbal
In our quest to find the best, cost-effective way to ensure the water we drink is pure and healthy, many water filtration methods have come into question. A common query is that of Distilled vs Reverse osmosis water.
If you’re considering a home water filtration system, it’s a good idea to explore all your options. Knowing what’s available and how various water purification systems work, empowers you with the knowledge to make an informed choice.
In this article, we’ll be examining the difference between water distillation and reverse osmosis filtration. While both will provide clean healthy drinking water, they are not the same. I’ll be explaining how each system works and what the benefits and drawbacks are for each option.
In order to distill water, it is heated to boiling point. This causes steam to rise, leaving any heavier solids at the bottom of the distiller. The steam enters a condenser where it cools and is condensed back into a liquid.
The water that is produced by a distiller is almost 100% pure. There may be very small amounts of chemical contaminants that are evaporated with the steam and will, therefore, condense with the distilled water. However, these contaminants will be negligible and definitely harmless.
Because distilled water is so pure, many feel it is not that pleasant to drink. It is almost completely tasteless due to the absence of any minerals which give water its flavor. Despite its rather bland taste, distilled water is perfectly healthy. Some of the minerals that are removed during distillation are good for us, but these can be consumed in the food that we eat or mineral supplements.
Distilled water is commonly used in industrial and chemical production facilities, as well as some laboratory and medical applications. Because of its purity, distilled water is used where corrosion may be a problem. For scientific purpose, distilled water is used to prevent any minerals or chemicals in the water from contaminating a test sample or product.
Common domestic uses for distilled water is for use in steam irons, humidifiers, and other appliances that use water. This is to prevent issues like lime scale from damaging these appliances. Distilled water is also used as a coolant for lead acid batteries, like the battery in your car or the leisure batteries we use for boats, golf carts, camping, and other leisure activities.
The process of osmosis involves passing pressurized water through a semipermeable membrane to remove dissolved salts and other solids. When the process is reversed, impurities that have become trapped in the membrane are flushed away. This allows the membrane to be used for a long time without becoming clogged with debris, salts, and minerals. This is the basic science of a reverse osmosis (RO) filter.
An RO filter is made by combining several layers of semi-permeable material to create a membrane filter that has the capacity to capture incredibly small particles, as small a 1 micron or less. The filtration system will prevent up to 90% of all contaminants in the source water from reaching the point of use. These contaminants are then flushed from the filter and dumped into the drain.
The process of backwashing an RO filter to remove impurities has been a cause of concern for some because it wastes water. Very inefficient RO water filters can use a lot more water to clean the system than actual usable water. As a result, high-end RO filter manufactures have sought out ways to improve efficiency and reduce water wastage. These more advanced RO filters don’t waste as much water as cheaper, than less efficient alternatives. More efficient RO filters save money on water bills and are better for the environment.
Apart from a reverse osmosis filter, the system will utilize numerous other types of filters. The Stages of RO filtration can be anything from 3-stages to more than 10. A basic 3-stage RO filtration system will consist of a sediment filter (1st stage) that removes debris like silt, rust, and dirt. The first stage of RO filtration is basically a precaution to prevent the RO membrane (and other filters) from becoming blocked by debris. The remaining two stages utilize an activated carbon filter and the ever-important reverse osmosis filter. By using all the available stages for RO filtration, you can expect water that is over 99% pure.
Other RO filtration stages usually include:
The filtered water is stored in a tank that supplies a faucet (or faucets) for under sink RO water filters. It can also supply all your faucets, water heaters, and appliances. The latter is known as a whole house RO filtration system. This is a fairly large water filtration system that is usually installed in the garage.
RO filtration systems are expensive to buy and require some installation which will cost extra if you are not able to do it yourself. After the initial expense of the purchase price, RO filtration systems are relatively inexpensive to operate and maintain. It is generally considered one of the most cost-effective ways of providing high-quality pure water to the home.
The only recurring expense, when owning an RO filtration system, is replacing the filter cartridges. Generally, filters last a long time. Though this will depend on the type of filter and how much water you use. A typical RO filter, used in an average home, should last for 6 months to a year. Some of the cheaper sediment filters may only last for about 3 months. Whereas some water softener filters can last for up to 6 years.
Regardless of the filter types and how long they last, an RO water filtration system will provide thousands of gallons of pure water, on tap, 24/7 at very little cost.
Water Distiller vs Reverse Osmosis – Which is Better?
A water distiller isn’t too expensive to purchase. If you’re comparing water distiller vs reverse osmosis prices, you’ll find that the latter is considerably more expensive.
Since a water distiller also provides virtually pure, healthy water, it may seem like the obvious choice, given that it is so much cheaper. Okay, there is a constant operating cost in that water distillation consumes a fair amount of electricity. This can become expensive if you distill a lot of water. Yet, when all is said and done, a water distiller might be the cheapest option – despite the electricity bill.
Why Do So Many Consider Reverse Osmosis as the Best Water Filtration Option?
Distilled water may appear to be a little cheaper than RO, though this is debatable, especially if you have expensive electricity. Despite this, RO filters are still the most popular type of water filtration system. While distilled water doesn’t taste that great, it’s every bit as good as RO filtered water. It seems to make more sense to buy a water distiller. What gives?
I guess one of the big attractions to an RO filer is convenience. It takes quite a long time to distill water and most home water distillers don’t have a very high capacity. This means you have to wait for your water to be purified, and you don’t have that much of it. This is okay if you only need a small amount of distilled water for certain appliances that require distilled water. On the other hand, a multi-stage RO filter (which includes a water softener) can provide water that is perfectly suitable for these appliance. This water is always available without any effort on your part.
This is what people most appreciate about reverse osmosis water filtration; you can open the faucet at any time and have perfectly pure water without any hassle. An additional benefit of whole house RO water filters (with a water softener) is that they protect all your plumbing and appliances from blockages caused by limescale.
By using remineralization, the taste of the water is improved, and it is healthier, thanks to the healthy minerals that are added to your water. An RO filtration system can be customized to meet your specific needs, providing all the stages needed to supply your home with the best water.
Basically, reverse osmosis water filtration is an inexpensive, hassle-free way to ensure that your family has perfectly healthy, great tasting water whenever it is needed. This is what makes it the number one choice for most people buying a water filtration system for their homes.