Reverse Osmosis is one of the best ways to attain the purest level of water. This water purification process has led to the increasing demand for RO water purifiers. Though an RO water purifier is the best option to defeat various water-borne diseases, it comes with its own set of drawbacks. RO water purifiers are undoubtedly the most reliable purifiers that offer the promise of clean and safe water. They can filter out the tiniest of impurities commonly found in water.
So, does that mean you should blindly buy an RO water purifier?
No, absolutely not.
Like all good things in the universe, RO purifiers have their own limitations too.
There are several reasons why you should not buy a RO water purifier. Here are the five most common ones.
1. Wastes Too Much Water
The RO system forces the tap water to pass through the RO membrane to free it from impurities. In the process, often some amount of water stays back along with the impurities. Hence, only a small amount of water is available in the purest form at the final stage. Experts mention that reverse osmosis wastes about 75% of the water, offering 25% of drinkable water.
Now the wastage depends upon the RO membrane being used and other factors. Moreover, to get 1 liter of pure water, a RO wastes about 3 to 4 liters of water. So, even if you are getting the purest form of water, it is at the cost of water wastage.
2. Removes Essential Minerals from Water
Today, there are different RO options available with modern and upgraded features. But the conventional RO water purifier purifies the water not just from impurities and heavy metals but also the natural minerals that it has. Some of the natural minerals available in water are calcium, potassium, and magnesium. These minerals are great for the skin, hair, and teeth. The RO systems often deprive the water of these natural minerals, which can again cause serious health conditions.
Of course, today, a few RO water purifiers have features to retain these natural minerals. But they can get quite expensive. Hence, an alternative way is to buy a UV water purifier that cleans the water using Ultra Violet rays.
3. RO Purifiers are Expensive
One of the major reasons for not getting an RO water purifier is its cost. They are quite costly compared to other types of water purifiers. Apart from that, you have to bear the cost of changing several parts and filters of the RO at different times, which comes with a cost. Of course, if you have taken an AMC, it will offer you some peace of mind. But you still have to bear an annual cost for the RO.
Overall, the whole idea of buying an RO water purifier just because your neighbor has got it can get quite expensive. Even if you don’t mind paying more, you should ideally avoid buying an RO water purifier as long as RO purification is not a necessity. One of the best alternatives of RO purifiers are UV+UF water purifiers.
UV+UF water purifiers are affordable, don’t waste any water, and can get rid of the most commonly found impurities in water. The best thing is, they do not remove natural minerals from water during purification.
4. Require A Lot of Maintenance
Once you have installed the RO, after a few months, start the task of maintenance. The RO membranes have to be changed periodically to keep the water purifier working properly. If the membrane has completely damaged, the RO may stop working, which can cause you extra trouble. Now the duration of the RO membrane’s expiry depends upon several factors:
- The water quality of your area, such as the concentration of heavy metals and other impurities in the water
- The number of people in the household
- The quality of the RO membrane and no. and type of filters used before the RO membrane
So, if water consumption is more, the RO will be working more, which means you’ll have to change the RO membrane and other filters frequently. Similarly, if there is a higher concentration of heavy metals and salt, this will lead reduce the life of the membrane. It is important to keep a track of the indicator to call up the experts to change the membrane before the purifier stops working.
5. Not Recommended for TDS Level Below 500 PPM
TDS stands for concentration of Total Dissolved Solids and essential minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and others, in water. RO is the only purification technology that is powerful enough to remove dissolved solids. But the problem is, there is no way an RO membrane can differentiate between harmful heavy metals like lead, arsenic, and essential minerals like calcium and magnesium. That means, during purification, it also removes these essential minerals from the water.
TDS level mainly depends on the source and quality of water. Different areas may have different TDS levels.
In an area where the TDS level of drinking water is less than 500 PPM, an RO system is not recommended as the system will completely remove the minerals from water. When an RO water purifier is used on the water with TDS more than 500 PPM, the water can retain some minerals, if not all.
The National Green Tribunal of India has even put a ban on the use of RO purifiers in areas where the TDS level of the water is below 500 PPM.
The objective of this post is not to scare you away from RO purifiers but to arm you with information that RO purifiers should not be the default choice when you want to buy a new water purifier. While RO purifiers provide the most effective purification, there are several reasons why RO water purifiers do more harm than good. So, it is always good to avoid buying an RO water purifier when it is not necessary.