Reverse Osmosis vs. Distilled Water
If you are looking at installing a water purification system, you might have come across the terms reverse osmosis and distilled water. You might wonder which system is better and the difference between the two. While both options provide pure, contaminant-free water, the methods for getting there are entirely different. There are differences between these water purification processes, and knowing these differences can help you determine which choice will give your family the best water!
Here we will break down for you the differences between reverse osmosis and distillation! Bottoms up!
First, we should spend a quick minute talking about what classifies as purified water. Purified water has undergone the process of distillation or reverse osmosis. To classify as purified, water needs to have less than 10 parts per million of total dissolved solids. Purified water is 99% devoid of all substances. While this means that no contaminants are present, unfortunately, no minerals are present. It is important to know that purified water does not have minerals when discussing the difference between reverse osmosis and distillation. Only one of these water purification processes adds the minerals back into the water.
Reverse osmosis works to purify water by using a high pressure to force water through membranes. To understand how the process works, it helps to understand the concept of osmosis. Osmosis happens naturally to create balance. So when one side has more solutes (contaminants/solids) than the other side, the liquid will flow from one side to the other. This process makes the solution on both sides of the membrane the same. Reverse osmosis happens when water enters with a large number of contaminants. Pressure forces the contaminated water through a semipermeable membrane. The membrane allows water molecules to pass through but not impurities.
Our reverse osmosis system consists of four-stage membranes and a final carbon filter. The membrane removes all impurities in the water at a microscopic level. You can even add a mineral filter to put the essential minerals back into the water with a reverse osmosis system. With essential minerals, the water is healthier and tastes crisp and refreshing. Change filters annually to keep your water pure.
Reverse osmosis systems fit under your sink and hook to your home’s main water line, allowing you to have purified water from every faucet. When people say the water is “filtered,” this often refers to the process of reverse osmosis as it is literally filtering your water.
Purification through distillation happens when you boil water. First, a distiller will boil the water, then collect the steam in a condenser and allow it to cool. As the temperature lowers, the steam will return to a liquid state allowing the drops of water to pass through a final carbon filter. The carbon filter removes any chemicals that may have boiled and condensed with the water. This process separates impurities, leaving the contaminants behind. When this process is complete, the water only has one part per million of dissolved solids. While this means no pollutants, it also means no minerals, leaving your water tasteless and flat.
Distillation is an effective method when removing dissolved solids in water, like minerals and salt. It is also effective at neutralizing certain microbes like giardia or Legionella. However, it isn’t a very effective process for removing chemicals that have a boiling point close to that of water.
While distillation is often not seen as a practical method for purifying water at home, you can purchase a countertop distiller for your home. However, each gallon takes 4-6 hours to purify, and your electric bill will go up due to the amount of power needed.
Does Reverse Osmosis Water = Distilled Water?
The short answer is no. It is easy to conclude that water purified by these methods is the same. After all, the idea is to remove contaminants and have pure water, right? However, reverse osmosis water and distilled water are not interchangeable. While both methods provide safe drinking water, distilled water and reverse osmosis water have different uses.
Distillation does not remove certain volatile chemicals (chloramines) as effectively as reverse osmosis. Distilled water is often used in places where minerals would be a problem—for example, aquarium water, steam irons, automotive cooling systems, or certain lab experiments. Water purified by reverse osmosis, on the other hand, is most commonly used for drinking water and is the standard purification method used in residential homes.
Both distilled and reverse osmosis water are forms of purified water. However, they are often used for different things and function differently. While both methods purify the water, they are not the same thing.
Here at Crystal Clear Water and Air, we support your family’s health through clean drinking water and clean air. We provide high-quality reverse osmosis filtration systems. In addition, we offer free water testing, so you know exactly what is coming out of your tap. Call today!