Is Whole House Reverse Osmosis Necessary?
Should I Install an RO System for Entire House?
If you like the water produced by your Reverse Osmosis drinking water system at your kitchen tap, wouldn’t it make sense to install a whole house Reverse Osmosis system?
Maybe not! Here's why whole house RO may not be the right choice.
A whole-house reverse osmosis system is recommended only when there is a very spcific contaminant that needs to be addressed through reverse osmosis technology.
Reverse Osmosis has its place in the water filtration and purification realm. But when it comes to whole-house water filtration, whole-house RO systems typically are not the best solution when looking for a way to have better water in a home.
We'll provide concise information about why we don't generally recommend whole house reverse osmosis and give alternative suggestions.
When Whole House Reverse Osmosis Makes Sense
Reverse osmosis filtration systems are great at removing many different contaminants from water. Reverse Osmosis water system for whole house might be the right solution when you have a high level of a specific contaminant that is most economically removed by reverse osmosis.
What is Required to Install a Whole-House RO Filtration System?
pre-treatment system, such as a water softener, before the RO system is installed
a pH neutralizing system is commonly installed as post treatment to bring the pH level back to 7
a 200-500-gallon tank to store the treated water.
a demand pump to push water from the storage tank into your home
a whole-house UV system to disinfect the water after it’s been in the storage tank
Consult with a local water treatment professional to determine if whole-house reverse osmosis is the best solution to treat a specific contaminant. But it's important to understand the overall drawbacks of reverse osmosis for a whole house setting.
Why Whole-House Reverse Osmosis May NOT Be a Good Option
Below are six reasons why we don't typically recommend a whole-house RO system.
Cost of System: A whole house Reverse Osmosis system is expensive --typically costing about $3000. That price does not include the required pre and post treatment equipment, storage tank and more. While the idea of reverse osmosis for the whole home RO system sounds good, it really can be cost prohibitive.
Expensive Maintenance: Whole-house Reverse Osmosis systems require professional installation and ongoing maintenance. Each year the system needs new filter replacements, whole-system sanitization, and more.
Unnecessary Filtering: Since the majority of the water used in our homes is NOT consumed for drinking, but used for flushing toilets and bathing, it’s typically not necessary to have high-quality "RO filtered water" for your entire home.
High Water Bills: Large RO systems use a LOT of water--roughly two gallons are needed to create one gallon of filtered water. So, you can expect your water bill to double when a whole house reverse osmosis system is installed.
More Equipment Needed: A whole-house RO system can rarely be installed alone. Proper pre and post treatment are often necessary for the delicate RO membranes to function properly. For example, 85% of homes in the U.S. have water that is high in calcium and water should be filtered before entering RO unit.
Space Requirements: Whole-house RO systems usually require a massive 200-500 gallon storage tank to hold treated water. And many times, an additional pretreatment tank is needed! Most homes don't have that much extra space in a garage or well house to hold these tanks.
Best Whole-House Water Filter Option?
When trying to determine how to achieve better water for your home and family, there’s no set answer.
In fact, there are a lot of factors to consider when deciding which filtration method or system is right for you, including:
- Size of the house
- Filter system space requirements
- Size of pipes
- Number of people living in the home
- Water source (municipal or well)
- Contaminants present
For most homes on municipal water, we recommend an environmentally friendly, compact solution.
For a cost-effective whole house water filtration and purification solution, we recommend purchasing a UV water disinfection system (to protect all your water from illness-causing microbes) AND a reverse osmosis drinking water system. If you have hard water in your home, you'll need to add a water softener to this lineup.
Best Household Water Filtration Solutions
1. Whole House Ultraviolet System: A UV system will disinfect your water from 99.99% of microorganisms including E. Coli, giardia, crypto, viruses, and bacteria. This ensures all the water entering your home is microbiologically safe for showering, drinking, and brushing teeth. UV is generally inexpensive yet gives much peace of mind. We often recommend a compact "combo system" that integrates a sediment and carbon filter with the UV system, such as the Viqua IHS22-D4 water disinfection system.
- Inclues two integrated prefilters to improve the taste and odor of your water.
- LED Status system indicator.
- All-in-one UV solution boasting added layers of water filtration and sterilization.
- Makes sure ALL the water coming into your home is microbiologically safe.
2. Under Counter Reverse Osmosis System at the Kitchen Sink: A reverse osmosis drinking water system installed at the kitchen sink can provide healthy, delicious water for drinking and cooking. This is a more economical way to enjoy all the benefits of reverse osmosis water. One of our top-selling reverse osmosis under-sink systems is the Microline TFC-400-ESP Reverse Osmosis drinking water system
In addition to the above-mentioned recommendations, if you have high levels of water hardness, you may also need to install a water softener to remove calcium and magnesium that make water hard. Hard water can cause scale to buildup in your hot water heater, pipes, and water-using appliances.
For questions about what system will provide the best water for your home, please call our team of water experts Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm CT, at (877)377-9876. They'll talk you through a variety of options to help you determine which systems best meet your needs.