Is Reverse Osmosis best for me?
Firstly let me educate you about Reverse Osmosis. There are various options for reverse osmosis, there are 5 stage units up to 7 stage units.
Each stage is a different filter stage for filtering your water. In most cases the first stage is a 5 micron sediment filter to catch any sediment in your water. The second stage is a Granular Activated Carbon Filter (GAC), which is for removing chlorine and some heavy metals. The third stage is another sediment filter of 1 micron which will catch much finer sediment or bits of carbon from the carbon filter, this is to protect the fourth stage filter which is the membrane filter from being clogged with any sediment.
The membrane is designed to remove everything from the water except the bonded H2O molecule which makes up water itself. The result is a water which is considered a dead water, no vitamins and minerals of any kind are left behind. The fifth stage is a unit designed to put back all the minerals and vitamins which were removed, this unit is known as a mineral enhancer.
A reverse osmosis unit also uses a tank and a pump. When the water filters through the membrane stage much water is wasted, this is because the membrane is so fine that only so much water can go through it at a time yet it requires strong pressure for water to be pushed through. This results in a mind boggling 80% of the water being flushed down the drain and not used at all. What water is filtered is fed into a pressurised tank to build enough pressure in the system for you to have good flow out of your tap. Some systems come with an electric pump to help improve the pressure so you don't wait for hours to fill you kettle.
So now you know how a reverse osmosis system works and all what is involved in getting the quality of water you want. This system will only be recommended to someone who is not on our regular municipal water which has been treated by the city. Reverse osmosis is very costly in the long term and also wastes a lot of water. It can cost you up to R1200 in filters alone every year and R500 in filters alone every 6 months. It requires regular maintenance and servicing to ensure it is performing well and not wasting more water than it needs to. There are far simpler options available for the majority of us who are on a municipal supply.
"RO is complete overkill unless you have brackish water."
Let me tell you how a regular system works and what is involved to give a very high quality of water at a fraction of the cost long term. The most common is a single housing unit which has either a Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) Filter or a GAC and KDF filter cartridge. Both types of filters will give you the same result yet the one containing KDF will last twice the lifespan as the GAC only cartridge. Both these cartridges will give you water which is free from chlorine, heavy metals such as aluminium, lead and mercury, any herbicides and pesticides and any sediment in the water. Both cartridges will also remove any bad tastes and smells and is leaving behind all the minerals and vitamins which is why we are drinking water in the first place. Another option is a double housing unit which contains a 5 micron POE sediment filter along with either a GAC filter cartridge or a GAC and KDF filter cartridge. The sediment filter comes before the GAC filter to capture any sediment in the water before it may prematurely clog up the GAC filter and shortening its life span. I will recommend either of these units to anyone who is on our standard municipal water supply. They will give you the quality of water you want and are far more cost effective to maintain long term. The sediment filter needs to be changed every 6 months along with the GAC filter cartridge at as much as R200 per change. The GAC and KDF filter cartridge can last as long as 2 years at a cost of between R800 to R1800 depending on the supplier.
So as you can see you are most probably not in need of a Reverse Osmosis system where a regular system will work just fine and cost you a fraction of the price. Yes I suppose there is a great peace of mind which comes with having an R.O system as you know 100% you are getting a quality of water with absolutely no impurities in it what so ever. But is it worth wasting 80% of the water used in an R.O system along with the high maintenance costs??