Problems of RO Water Purifiers
The disadvantages and problems of RO water filters and purifiers are that it requires high water pressure and that some water is wasted in the reject stream. If there is not enough pressure in your pipeline then a small electric motor is required to pump the water to a high pressure. So RO water purifiers need electricity to work. Secondly, RO purifier wastes some water in its reject stream which carries all the concentrated impurities that was there in the water originally. But the benefits of RO water purifiers far outweigh these minor problems of RO water purifiers.
The biggest advantage of an RO water purifier is that you can drink RO water with closed eyes, confident of the fact that you are drinking pure water. More dangerous than any germ, bacteria or virus in water is if the water contains poison chemicals like Arsenic.
Arsenic and other poison heavy metal chemicals in drinking water slowly poison you, because our liver and kidneys cannot get rid of it, and so these poison chemicals build up in our body (Bio-accumulate) and when symptoms appear, it is usually too late for treatment. Heavy metal poisoning causes deformities, stunted growth and early death. Heavy metals in water, especially Arsenic in water, is known to occur in several parts of India. Heavy metal poisoning can also occur from leeching of heavy metals from water pipes, water tanks, etc.
The best protection against heavy metal poisoning is to have an RO water purifier. RO water purifier removes everything from water, all germs and viruses and also dissolved chemicals. Because RO water removes all chemicals from water, some people say that the essential minerals in water is lost. Even if this were true, it is better than being poisoned with heavy metals. You can get enough and more of essential minerals from the food we eat. Me, the author and owner of this website, has worked in the Middle East and other parts of the world as a water treatment specialist, always used an under-the-counter RO water purifier similar to what is shown in this page.
The other problem with RO water purifiers many say is that it wastes water. True, RO water purifiers waste about the same quantity of water as the pure water it produces. Thus when an RO water purifier purifies say 1 liter of water, it drains away about one liter of water, in which all the impurities are concentrated. So if you produce 10 liters of pure drinking water with an RO water purifier, it will waste about 10 liters of water, which is about one normal bucket full of water. If necessary this waste water from RO water purifier can be collected for other uses like watering plants or washing dishes, etc.
Is there any health problems with RO water? Why some say RO water is not good for health?
Claims that RO water is not good for health is made on three points, one that RO water has no essential minerals in it. Secondly they say that RO water is not good for health because it is too pure like distilled water. The third disadvantage claimed by some is that RO water is Acidic and thus is not good for health.
It is true that RO water filter removes all the impurities in water including all bacteria, germs and at the same time removes the dissolved salts in the water. So is there any truth in the claims that RO water is not good for health? does it mean that RO water has no minerals and is acidic and therefore, RO water is not healthy? This is not true!
Essential Minerals in Drinking water
You can never get enough essential minerals from drinking water alone. Minerals required by our body has to come from food we eat, not from the water we drink.
We will prove this to you by putting some figures to this. WHO (World Health Organisation) recommends that drinking water should not contain more than 500 ppm (parts per million) of TDS (Total Dissolved Solids). 500 ppm is the same as 500 milli-grams in a Litre of water. A liter of water weighs 1000 grams = 1,000,000 milli-grams (mg). Assume we drink 2 liters of water a day, so the total mineral content that can possibly be got in the worst drinking water is 1000 mg. (2 liters at 500mg per liter of water). Of this normally more than 60% will be the highly soluble sodium salts which are not an essential mineral - you get plenty of Sodium in your table salt. That leaves 400mg of mineral salts other than sodium in 2 liters of water. Assume it is all Calcium, an essential mineral, so the maximum Calcium salts you can get from drinking 2 liters of the worst possible hard water is 400 mg as Calcium bi-Carbonate, which equates to about 160mg as elemental Calcium. Eating one slice of bread or one chapatti will have more calcium - wheat flour is fortified with calcium in most countries.
We are talking about the worst possible drinkable hard water - If you have 200 ppm calcium in your water, it is very hard water which will not taste good. Other than Calcium, the other essential minerals you can get from water are things like iron, magnesium, etc. Iron, even in very small quantities like 1 ppm, makes the water discoloured and taste very bad. All water purifiers try their best to get rid of it. So to put it bluntly, it is impossible to get enough minerals required by our body from our drinking water. The essential minerals required by our body have to come from food.
One important point to mention here. The RO water filter is doing its job of purifying drinking water by getting rid of all the salts in the water. This includes all toxic chemicals like Arsenic, Mercury, Heavy metals, Nitrates, etc. which can cause great health damage. In this process of removing the poison chemicals from water, it also removes essential minerals. This loss of essential minerals in water is insignificant when you compare it with the benefits of being sure that your water is free from all poison chemicals.
So yes, RO water is too pure, like distilled water, without any minerals, but it is good for health because you are sure you are not getting any poison chemicals in your drinking water. You can get plenty of essential minerals from the food you eat. Also good RO water Purifiers have a remineralising cartridge which can add minerals to the pure RO water at the final stage to remineralise the RO purified water with purified essential minerals like Calcium.
RO Water is Acidic and so is it bad for health?
The water after being purified by an RO purifier does become acidic because Reverse Osmosis filtration removes the alkaline mineral atoms from salt molecules, for example the Calcium atom from the molecule of Calcium Bicarbonate is removed. What remains is Carbon Dioxide which forms H₂CO₃ or Carbonic acid, which is the same as soda water. All carbonated drinks like Pepsi or Coca Cola contains much more H₂CO₃ or Carbonic acid, than in the water produced by an RO water purifier.
Some consider Acidic water to be dangerous for health. The reason they say is because the H₂CO₃ or Carbonic acid in the water can strip away Calcium and other essential minerals from the body. But consider the fact that human stomach has much stronger acids like HCl or Hydrochloric Acid. If at all H₂CO₃ or Carbonic acid was in any way dangerous to human health, then you would not have Pepsi, Coca Cola and Soda water being sold freely all over the world.
Many RO water purifiers have a special cartridge containing purified alkali chemicals like Calcium carbonate, over which the purified RO water flows through before being delivered in the RO water purifier tap. This neutralises any acid in the RO water and will improve the taste of the RO water.
Essential Minerals can be added to RO water
RO water is like pure distilled water that is 100% water without any dissolved salts. All RO water purifier manufacturers are aware of this, so some RO water purifiers have a Cartridge called a remineraliser cartridge, filled with purified alkali essential mineral salts of Calcium and Magnesium, through which the pure RO water passes through. Thus the pure RO water dissolves some of the essential minerals from this remineralisation cartridge or an alkalizer to give alkaline RO water. The alkaline RO water is good for health.
Another method of adding mineral salts to purified RO water is to use a portion of the RO reject water to pass through an ultrafiltration cartridge and then blend it with the pure RO water through a blending valve. This is not a recommended method in areas where there are known contamination of poison chemicals like Arsenic, because the purified reject water used to reharden the RO water may contain Arsenic. So water purifier manufacturers who use this method of rehardening makes sure that your raw water does not have Arsenic or other such dissolved poison chemicals. Passing the RO water through the final remineralisation cartridge is the preferred method.
Water wastage in RO water purifier, how much water is wasted in RO water purifier
RO water purifiers waste some water while purifying the water. Reverse Osmosis process divides the incoming water into two streams - purified water stream and the reject water stream in which all the impurities that were in the original water is rejected. This process of separation and rejection of the impurities in water is done by the RO membrane.
The quantity of water wasted by an RO water purifier is about the same as the amount of pure water it produces. We say the RO has 50% recovery when it gives half the incoming water as pure water and the other half is wasted. The most inefficient RO will give at least one third of the feed water as purified water, which means the wasted water will be double the produced purified water. We are talking about the most inefficient RO water purifier here. Even this is not a big waste of water considering the benefits of the pure water you get. If the water wastage is a big problem, then the reject water tube of the RO water purifier can be put into a bucket and the water collected to use it for purposes like washing floors and watering garden.
Some RO water filter purifier manufacturers say no wastage of water in their RO water purifiers. What they do is to have a sperate tank into which the reject water of the RO water purifier is stored. You then use this water for purposes like cleaning the floor, watering plants, etc. You can reuse RO waste water by putting the reject RO waste water plastic tube into a bucket, instead of directing the RO waste water tube to the drain. The bucket will get filled as you use purified RO water and you can use the water in the bucket for other purposes where purified water is not necessary.
Maintenance cost of RO water purifier in India, annual maintenance contract of RO water purifier in India
The maintenance cost of RO water purifiers involves the changing of all the cartridge elements in the RO water purifier like the pre water filter cartridges, post carbon filter and remineralizer cartridge. It is advisable to change all cartridges in a RO water purifier including the membrane, once every year. RO water purifiers are the best water purifier with low maintenance cost considering the best quality of water you get.
When you buy the RO water purifier, the water purifier company that sold the water purifier to you, will usually offer an annual service contract to maintain the RO water purifier you bought from them. Normally the annual maintenance contract of RO water purifier in India is between 5 to 10% of the value of the RO water purifier, to be paid when they come to do the annual maintenance of the RO water purifier.
To reduce cost of maintenance of RO water purifiers it is advisable to put a large sediment filter prior to the intake of the RO water filter purifier. This is required to filter out the dust and mud particles that are in almost all water supply in India. Wall mount RO water purifiers have small pre filter cartridges which tend to get blocked quickly and limit the flow of water to the RO pump in the RO water purifier. This will reduce the efficiency of the RO water purifier. So a cheap external 10 inch pre-filter costing about Rs.300- to Rs.400- from the large selection of 10 inch pre-filters on Amazon.in, is highly recommended for any RO water purifier in India, especially for wall mounted RO water purifiers. This 10 inch pre-filter can be mounted away and hidden from the main purifier in a convenient location.
How to buy Water Purifiers in India
The best way to buy Water Purifiers in India is to first look at all models of Water Purifiers available online at the leading online Retailers in India. For example on the online webpage of All Water Purifiers available in India on Amazon.in, you will find the full range of Indian Water Purifiers complete with their best discounted price and full specifications. This is great information, and you can decide on which model of water purifier to buy. With the model of water purifier you want to buy finalised, you can go to local shops to try and find the model of water purifier you have chosen and see if you can get at similar price of that at Amazon.in. In most cases the price from Amazon will be cheaper, because they buy in bulk from the manufacturers direct and they sell huge volumes because they are the world's largest and most trusted online retailer. If you buy from Amazon, they will arrange to have the water purifier installed in your house, usually free of charge.
Warranty and other facilities offered through Amazon are usually better than what you can get from local agents of water purifiers.
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