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Reverse Osmosis Water: What is It and How Does It Work?

January 24, 2024
Maureen Beard
Read Time
3 minutes

More homeowners are investing in reverse osmosis water systems to protect their family’s health from pollutants in tap water. These pressure-membrane water filtration systems remove many impurities and contaminants most water filters cannot remove. But do you know what reverse osmosis water is or how it works? Probably not.

Here at Leaf Home Water Solutions, we believe it’s important you understand how reverse osmosis technology works. So you know exactly what’s in your water (or not!). And which water filtration solution is right for you.

What is Reverse Osmosis?

Reverse osmosis is a water purification process that removes unwanted molecules, contaminants, solid substances, and minerals from water using pressure to push through semi-permeable membranes (synthetic lining). It improves water quality for home usages such as drinking and cooking.

How Does Reverse Osmosis Work?

Understanding how osmosis works helps us understand the reverse osmosis process.


Osmosis is a natural process in all cell-based organisms – animals, plants, and people. During osmosis, water passes through a membrane from a less concentrated solution to a more concentrated one. Simply put, the pure water passes through a filter to the contaminated water to equalize the concentration. Not what we want in our drinking water.

Reverse Osmosis

During reverse osmosis, pressure is applied to a highly concentrated solution to pass through a membrane to a lower concentration solution. The reverse process requires concentrated water to pass through a filter which blocks contaminants larger than water from passing through. The result is the cleanest possible drinking water.

Reverse osmosis water systems will vary depending on the brand and design. Each type involves four stages of filtration: sediment filter, pre-carbon block, reverse osmosis membrane, and post-carbon filter.

  • Sediment Filter: removes large particles such as dirt, sand, and rust to prevent clogging.
  • Pre-Carbon Block: prevents contaminants not removed by reverse osmosis alone from passing through and chemical compounds, such as chlorine and chloramines.
  • Reverse Osmosis Membrane: removes molecules heavier than water, including sodium, lead, fluoride, and dissolved minerals.
  • Post-Carbon Filter: polishes the water and stores fresh water in a small tank until used. Bu

Common Contaminants Removed By Reverse Osmosis

High-performing RO systems can remove many common contaminants found in feed water, including:

  • Organic bacteria
  • Salts
  • Particles
  • Dyes
  • Colloids: Oil and fat-based molecules
  • Heavy metals
  • Pyrogens: Protein-based substances introduced by bacteria that can cause fevers when consumed by humans

Benefits of Reverse Osmosis Water

Reverse osmosis can rid water of up to 99.9% of all contaminants, sediments, and particles as small as .001 microns. While tap water may be clean when it leaves the plant, it can pick up pollutants and dissolved solids, resulting in hard water.

Reverse osmosis water can be a healthier and safer choice for you and your family. Reducing particles, bacteria, and dissolved minerals, as well as hard-to-detect contaminants such as lead and arsenic, can help minimize health risks associated with drinking contaminated water, including:

  • Low fertility
  • High blood pressure
  • Nerve damage
  • Anemic conditions, especially in children
  • Increased carcinogen creation

Additional Benefits:

  • Safe, environmentally friendly alternative to bottled water
  • Longer lasting appliances
  • Reduce unpleasant odors and tastes
  • Brighter, softer clothes

Choose A Quality Water Filtration System

Start with a trusted brand to get the benefits of a high-quality reverse osmosis water system. We design our water solutions to provide safer, cleaner water for your home. Whether you are looking for a whole home water filtration system or a space-saving, modern design, LHWS offers custom solutions in a compact, user-friendly design. In addition, our white-glove installation standards include a free digitized in-home water test to determine precisely what is in your water and the best solution.

Schedule Your Free Water Test Online Or Call Us At 1-888-701-5497.