Remineralization of Reverse Osmosis Water
Throughout the United States, people use reverse osmosis water systems to ensure clean, fresh, and great-tasting water for cooking and drinking. Reverse osmosis effectively removes harmful or unpleasant contaminants from water supplies. Dissolved minerals in water, either from municipal sources or private wells, can create foul odors and flavors. Despite these potential drawbacks, a growing number of people prefer a small level of dissolved minerals in their drinking water. Referred to as “alkaline water”, water with minerals may provide certain health benefits. How can you remove the dangerous contaminants from your drinking water, but return minerals filtered out? The key is remineralization of reverse osmosis water using a specialized water treatment system.
Dissolved Minerals: Basic Water Chemistry
When you pour a glass of water from the tap, you may be surprised to learn that a wide range of invisible substances can be found in that water. Many water contaminants are too fine to be seen with the naked eye, yet their presence can have dangerous effects to health. Other contaminants, particularly the dissolved minerals, may create unpleasant flavors or odors in the water.
Dissolved minerals in water also contribute to the chemical properties of water. The pH scale is used by chemists to categorize substances according to their acidity or basic (alkaline) levels. On the 14-point pH scale, pure water is at 7 or neutral. Acidic fluids range from 0-7 on the scale, while alkaline fluids occupy the 8th through fourteenth points on the scale. Dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium chlorides make water slightly alkaline (roughly 8-9 on the pH scale).
Alkaline Water: What Are The Possible Health Benefits
Over the past 10 years, a growing number of people have turned to alkaline water as a means of supporting healthy lifestyles. While the scientific community does not yet agree on the benefits of drinking alkaline water – water that is between 8 and 9 on the pH scale – this water has the potential to influence certain body processes. Some of the purported health benefits of alkaline water include:
- Reduction of an enzyme that leads to acid reflux.
- Lowering high blood pressure.
- Reducing cholesterol levels in the blood.
- Helping diabetics to manage their blood sugar.
- Reducing the viscosity of blood after exercise, allowing it to flow more efficiently.
- Improving oxygen delivery to body tissues.
- Immune system support.
- Improved skin and hair health.
- Anti-aging properties.
Research is ongoing, giving scientists a clearer picture of the effects drinking alkaline water has on the human body. As with any emerging health development, there may be unhealthy or dangerous side effects. By drinking too much alkaline water or water that is too high on the pH scale, individuals may develop:
- Skin irritations
- Muscle tremors
- Tingling in the face, hands, and feet
Too much alkalinity can create an imbalance in the body’s natural pH level, leading to a condition known as metabolic alkalosis. In severe cases, alkalosis may lead to hospitalization, coma, or even death.
Reverse Osmosis: Effective Removal of Contaminants from Water
To prevent contaminants from harming you and your family, a reverse osmosis filtration system is highly effective. These systems are typically installed at a point of use, such as under the kitchen sink, delivering purified water to the faucet for drinking or cooking.
Reverse osmosis is a mechanical process that mimics a natural cellular process. In reverse osmosis, water is pumped under pressure through a semipermeable membrane equipped with tiny pores. These pores – as small as 0.001 micron or one-millionth of a millimeter – trap contaminants while allowing water molecules to pass through. A reverse osmosis water filter stops contaminants like:
- Dissolved minerals
- Petroleum residues
- Heavy metals
- Chlorine and chloramines
- Sediments and silt
- Bacteria, protozoan cysts, and some viruses
Contaminants trapped by the reverse osmosis membrane are flushed away as wastewater. Advanced systems use multiple filter stages to improve taste, odor, and clarity of the water as well. A single RO system can produce enough clean drinking water for a family’s daily uses, including drinking and cooking. These systems remove up to 99.9% of contaminants in drinking water supplies such as municipal sources or private well water.
Putting Minerals Back in Water: Remineralization
If a small amount of dissolved minerals in water is beneficial, how can a reverse osmosis system remove them yet produce the alkaline water more and more people drink? The solution is a remineralizing reverse osmosis water filtration system.
When water passes through a regular RO water filtration system, the minerals are stripped away and the water becomes “demineralized”. Some people object to the “flat” flavor and odor of the water. Limited scientific studies even suggest that drinking too much demineralized water can be bad for your health. By remineralizing reverse osmosis water, taste and odor are improved. This encourages hydration because the water has a more pleasant flavor.
These systems work just like a regular RO filter, but there is an additional step as the purified water passes through the filter stages. The final stage in such a system is a pH-enhancing alkaline mineral filter. It adds back beneficial minerals to the water, increasing the pH to alkaline levels of 8-9. Depending on the type of system, different types of minerals are added back to the water, including:
- Trace elements (sodium, potassium, phosphorus)
All reverse osmosis water filtration systems require minimal maintenance. The individual filter stages and RO membrane must be replaced periodically according to manufacturers recommendations. In a remineralizing reverse osmosis water system, the remineralization filter typically gets replaced every six months. Swapping out filters is relatively simple, requiring only a few minutes of time. With this basic upkeep, a reverse osmosis water filtration system can protect you and your loved ones from harmful contaminants in your drinking water. Whether you get your water from a municipal source or a private well, a remineralizing reverse osmosis water system ensures clean, healthy, and great-tasting water for drinking and cooking in your home.