What Is Reverse Osmosis?
Reverse Osmosis (RO) is a process where you demineralize or deionize water by pushing it under pressure through a semipermeable Reverse Osmosis Membrane. To fully understand Reverse Osmosis, you need to understand Osmosis.
In nature, osmosis is a process where the pure water in the weaker solution migrates to what seems like a stronger one. For example: when plants absorb water from their soil and our kidneys take up fluid from inside of us--we both do this with naturally occurring chemicals!
Below is a diagram which shows how osmosis works. A solution that is less concentrated will have a natural tendency to migrate to a solution with a higher concentration. For example, if you had a container full of water with a low salt concentration and another container full of water with a high salt concentration and they were separated by a semipermeable membrane, then the water with the lower salt concentration would begin to migrate towards the water container with the higher salt concentration.
A semipermeable membrane is anything that will allow some atoms or molecules to pass but not others. An example would be a screen door. It allows air molecules to pass through but not bugs or people, or anything larger than the holes within the screen. Another example would be a food strainer. Water and liquid pass through but not the food that you emptied in. The holes are large enough to let water through, but small enough to prevent the pasta or whatever you are cooking from passing through.
Reverse Osmosis is just the reverse process of Osmosis. Osmosis occurs naturally where Reverse Osmosis requires energy applied to the saline solution. A reverse osmosis membrane is semipermeable and allows the passage of water molecules but not many of the salts, organics, bacteria, and pyrogens. You do need to “push” the water through this membrane, however, by applying pressure that is greater than the natural osmosis pressure in order to push the water back the other way. This allows pure water through while holding back all the contaminants one might find in the water otherwise.
Contaminants Reduced By Reverse Osmosis
- Particulate matter, turbidity, sediment, etc.
- Colloidal matter
- Total Dissolved Solids (Na, Ca, Fe, Mg, Mn, CO3, etc)
- Toxic Metals (Pb, Cd, Ba, Hg, etc.)
- Radioactive elements (uranium, radium, radon)
- Microorganisms (giardia, oocysts)
- Pesticides and Herbicides
- Heavier organic molecules (MW>300)
- Silica (SiO2)
The Kinetco Reverse Osmosis System
The Kinetico K5 Drinking Water Station offers the latest and most flexible RO technology available today. These systems conveniently mount under the sink, in the crawlspace, garage or basement, and they feed a separate faucet at the sink and can also feed the refrigerator and up to 5 other chosen locations. The K5 system has an exclusive five-stage water purification process.
These stages are given below:
- A 5-micron sediment pre-filter: Removes any fine particulate and is combined with carbon filtration for chlorinated supplies.
- The RO membrane module: The K5 utilizes a 75- GPD thin film composite (TFC) membrane for the maximum contaminant removal efficiency.
- A non-corrosive storage tank: Permeate water is stored in a special Water-on-Water storage tank made of all inert materials.This allows RO water to be available at all times.
- The patented MACguard Filter™: The MACguard™ filter module is a densely compacted carbon block, which reduces VOCs in the permeate water as well as any residual chlorine, and unpleasant tastes and odors.
- A special lead-free faucet: The system has a designer faucet which is certified lead-free. The K5 drinking water station also boasts additional features giving it a 99.9% rating in Consumer Reports.
Features Of The Kinetico K5 System
Once the storage tank is full, the system automatically shuts off. In doing so, the pressure is relaxed against the membrane.
This patented feature is unique to Kinetico. The Everclean™ rinse is a membrane flush using purified water. This greatly lengthens the life of the RO membrane.
The Kinetico K5 is the only RO system available that offers unique Flex-Filtration. The K5 has additional ports in the system for specialized filter cartridges for specific water quality issues. This includes these special filters:
- Arsenic Guard (removes As(III))
- Mineral Plus (adds healthy minerals)
- VOC Guard (reduces chemicals)
- Perchlorate Guard
- Chloramine Guard
The MACguard Filter
The MACguard Filter™ meters the water that is purified by the system. With the K5 system, after 500 gallons are consumed, it automatically shuts off. This protects from filter overloading, allowing contaminants to enter their drinking water.
This unique feature is a visible filter life indicator allowing the owner to
visually estimate the remaining life on the filters.