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Just Plumbing | Choosing the Right Reverse Osmosis System

Choosing the Right Reverse Osmosis System

If you’re reading this right now, it won’t be out of place for us to assume you’re weary of purchasing bottled water, right? I mean, it gets tiring and expensive at some point. Let’s not even talk about the environmental consequences, which are a lot of plastic waste just lying around.

On the presumption that I’m right, this means that you have a common problem with millions of individuals. Potable water is a basic human need because our bodies depend on its consumption for survival barring food, clothing, and shelter. However, water, in its natural state, is hardly ideal for consumption.

From the early days, the human race has invented ways to make water cleaner and safer for consumption. As time progressed, this technology became more efficient and sophisticated. One of these methods is the reverse osmosis system.

This water filtration system is a highly efficient solution, but there’s still a problem – figuring out which reverse osmosis system is the best for you. You can thank your stars now because this is where we come in. All you have to do is just keep reading.

How does the RO System work?

To make an informed decision on the reverse osmosis system that’s right for you, we always advocate knowing how the system works. It’s a no-brainer. You can’t make a good decision about something if you don’t understand how it works.

Just Plumbing | Choosing the Right Reverse Osmosis System

The RO system is a multi-stage filtration system that purifies water through several stages. To understand the system better, let’s define the process. Reverse osmosis is simply the movement of fluid or liquid from a point of higher concentration to a point of lower concentration. Sounds simple enough, right? In the filtration context, what that means is the feed water with a higher concentration of contaminants flows to a section with a lower volume of contaminants. Keep in mind that an RO system is completely different from a water softer.

The RO process is powered by a semipermeable membrane. That doesn’t mean it does all the filtration work through. Let’s work through the process. Depending on the filter system, it may involve 3-7 stages. How about meeting you in the middle and giving you the 5-stage process? Let’s get to it!

The first stage is the pre-filtration stage. This involves the use of a sediment filter to eliminate large contaminants like dirt, dust, small stones, certain chemicals, or sand. This stage is essential because it removes contaminants that can damage the membrane or reverse osmosis filter.

The second stage is carbon pre-filtration. This is where elements that give your water a bad taste or smell are removed. A good example is Chlorine.

The third stage is the 1-micron polypropylene filtration phase. Here, smaller contaminants that escape the sediment filter are removed from the water. They’re usually invisible to the naked eye. It doesn’t matter how much you squint and concentrate on looking at the water. You can’t see them, buddy.

Just Plumbing | Choosing the Right Reverse Osmosis System
Isometric composition of water filtration system and faucet on colored background 3d vector illustration

The fourth stage is the RO filtration phase. This involves the semipermeable membrane getting rid of dissolved solids, including arsenic, nitrates, lead, iron, salts, etc. Anything the water contains is eliminated at this stage and only the molecules that make up the fluid pass through. This is where 90% of the filtration takes place.

The final stage is post-filtration. The water is polished here, and any contaminant that escaped the first four stages is taken care of. We’ll call it the “finishing touches.”

What Category of People Need a RO System?

Now you know how the system works. We can even go as far as trusting that you can talk about it in your sleep, yeah? Perhaps you can also give an educated guess on who needs a reverse osmosis system. How about a try? Everybody? Nah. But close. People who use city/municipal water? Correct! Interestingly, this makes up about 80% of the homes in the US.

The city water board uses a treatment plant to cleanse the water. Their most significant disinfectant is Chlorine. Effective? Yes. Your water will even look very clean, but we’re talking about impurities that you can’t see with your naked eyes. Moreover, a lot of households consume water from their taps which can consistently expose their system to the harsh chemical. Scary!

You might say, “I’ll just drink bottled water instead.” Well, that’s a solution, but not a prudent one. What we recommend, however, is purchasing an RO system. This brings us to the main gist.

What to Look Out for in a Good RO System?

“Alright, I’ve decided that purchasing a reverse osmosis system is the best course of action, but I’m clueless. How do I know which one to buy?” Relax, buddy. We’re here to help. Let’s talk about how to choose the right system for you.

The Number of Filtration Stages

Just Plumbing | Choosing the Right Reverse Osmosis System

Remember when we said reverse osmosis systems come in varieties? Well, there are the 3-stage, 4-stage, 5-stage, and 7-stage filter systems. When it comes to this equipment, the greater the number of filtration stages, the higher the purity level of the water will be. The reason for that is the more filters the water passes through, the more contaminants it will remove.

So this means a 7-stage RO filter will be more efficient in removing impurities than a 5-stage or a 3-stage system. However, that doesn’t mean that a 3-5-stage system isn’t the right system for you. Sometimes, a 7-stage system may be overkill.

Affordable Replacement Filters

It’s common knowledge that the filters in RO systems should be changed once or twice a year, depending on how frequently you use them. You should ponder on this because not every RO system has replacement filters that are affordable. So buying one with expensive replacement filters means you’ll be spending a significant amount once or twice annually to maintain your system. You wouldn’t want that, would you?

Easy-to-Change Filters

Which would you prefer? An RO system with filters that make life hell when replacing them? Or a piece of equipment with filters that are stress-free to replace? Of course, you’ll go for the option that reminds you of a walk in the park. That narrows down your list of options a bit, don’t they? You don’t want to acquire a system that causes a mess when you’re swapping filters.

What to Consider Before Purchasing an RO System?

The Cost

Your budget matters! So we recommend going for what you can afford. The cost of an RO system ranges from $750-$7,500, depending on how big or small your home is. A low-income earner will have a hard time acquiring a high-end reverse osmosis system. This is even without counting the maintenance costs of the equipment. Though many high-quality products are expensive, there are still some pocket-friendly options that offer good value.

The Volume of Water Consumption in the House

Before you make payment for that RO system, we should ask, “Have you factored in how much water you consume daily?” The more water you consume, the greater the capacity of the reverse osmosis system you need to buy. The average home in the US consumes about 82 gallons daily. Such a household could make do with a 100-gallon capacity RO system. Easy math!

Imagine purchasing a RO system that doesn’t produce enough purified water for the home. Defines a fiasco, right? That would be a total waste of money unless the plan was to simply buy the system for your drinking water.

The Manufacturer

Just as with every other product, the brand manufacturing matters. We’re sure you can relate to instances where you’ve made a purchase decision simply based on the reputation of the brand. Talk about commercial appeal. There are certain brands that have more sway than others on the market. The reasons are not far-fetched. If you’re thinking along the lines of industry experience, reputation, and quality of the product, you’re spot-on.

Just Plumbing | Choosing the Right Reverse Osmosis System


Buying from a good brand eliminates warranty issues. The purchase should come with a warranty policy of at least 12 months from the time of purchase. This could include workmanship, performance, and the equipment itself.

Benefits of Using an RO System

At this point, we’re confident that you now know how to pick the best RO system for your needs. So let’s squeeze in a few reasons getting a reverse osmosis filtration system is a great idea.

Saves Money

We believe you love saving money from purchases. Who doesn’t? Ignore the cost of acquisition and maintenance; an RO system is a bargain. You may ask why. We’ll gladly give you an answer. In the long run, purchasing water is more expensive than using the reverse osmosis system. The former will involve buying packs of bottled water frequently, while the latter entails replacing water filters once in 6 months or a year.

Gives you Access to Better Quality of Water

Everyone who has used the RO system can attest to its thorough filtration. So your water quality will be much higher than what it used to be. Well, what else were we expecting from a system that uses multiple filters? This means healthier water for drinking, cooking, and laundry.


The RO system is compact, so it just consumes a small amount of space. This means it can be installed in small homes.

Maintenance is Easy

If you got your system already, congratulations are in order. All it takes to keep it running smoothly is a change of water filters every six months. The RO filter should be replaced yearly. It doesn’t get easier than that.


Who fancies a brief recap? We know we do. Choosing the right RO system entails knowing what to look for in the equipment and the factors to consider before making a purchase decision. This way, you can buy an RO system that’s within your budget and home capacity.