What is a Whole House Reverse Osmosis System?

Americans spend a lot of money – and quite a lot of time – making sure they have clean, tasty drinking water at their disposal.

This article is about one of the more effective and comprehensive ways of getting pure water for your household: a whole house reverse osmosis system

What Is Reverse Osmosis?

Reverse osmosis is a popular, effective method of water purification.

A reverse osmosis water filter removes impurities – salts, fluorides, pesticides, lead and other harmful materials – from your household water. It achieves this by passing the water through a semi-permeable membrane, followed by specialized additional filters.

The membrane is super effective at purifying drinking water. It can filter out molecules and ions, along with larger particles.

This isn’t a new and untested technology, mind you. Reverse osmosis has been in use by governments since the 70s. Even the military use portable versions. It’s steadily gained popularity ever since its introduction and is now among the choices for homeowners.

What Is A Whole House Reverse Osmosis System?

The story’s in the name! Many people choose to install a reverse osmosis water filter in only one faucet in the house. A whole house system means that all your faucets will dispense the purified water.

This type of reverse osmosis system is also known as a POE (point of entry) filter. It’s usually installed in the garage, discreetly tucked away.

The Stages Of Reverse Osmosis

A basic reverse osmosis water filter – or 3 Stage Reverse Osmosis – has the following features:

1. A sediment filter. This picks up particles such as calcium carbonate and rust.
2. An activated carbon filter. This traps chemical agents and chlorine, which could otherwise damage the delicate reverse osmosis membrane.
3. The main event: the reverse osmosis membrane. This takes care of a multitude of potentially harmful impurities in your water.

Now, 3 Stage Reverse Osmosis is effective technology on its own – but many homeowners have decided to take the extra step and splash out (no pun intended) on 5 Stage Reverse Osmosis. This includes all the filters mentioned above, plus:

1. Another sediment filter – this one with smaller pores to pick up even tinier particles.
2. A second carbon filter, this one placed after the osmosis membrane, to pick up any chemicals the membrane might not have picked up.

Advantages Of A Whole House Reverse Osmosis System

1. Pure, healthy water.

Reverse osmosis’ main advantage is simply the high quality of the water it produces. The multiple stages of purification mean that you can be confident of untainted, beneficial water.

2. Money saving

If you sit down and calculate how much bottled water costs you every year, you could be in for a nasty shock. Gallon for gallon, a whole house reverse osmosis system provides far cheaper hydration.

3. More environmentally friendly

On that note, the amount of plastic which gets thrown away due to bottled drinking water is quite frankly obscene. A reverse osmosis filter system cuts out all that waste.

4. Convenience

A whole house reverse osmosis water system means that pure water is always available. You don’t have to go to a specific bathroom, or down to the kitchen, to get a beneficial glass of water or to clean your face without worrying about toxins.

Furthermore, a whole house system means that the water you use for your showers and laundry will be clean and pure. This means softer laundry, less irritation on the skin and easier cleaning – no build-up in the washing machine or the shower!

5. It tastes better!

This may not be the most important advantage, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. A good-tasting water means that it’ll be a lot easier to get your family well-hydrated (and putting down the soda!).

Delicious water also means tastier food. Think of how much water goes into a normal meal for your family – it boils the potatoes, makes the base of soup stocks, and steams the rice. Taking out the impurities means a fresher, cleaner taste to your cooking.

How Long Will A Whole House Reverse Osmosis System Last?

If kept well-maintained (see below) your  reverse osmosis system for home can last you for over a decade.


How do you look after a whole house reverse osmosis system? Well, that’s pretty easy – but it’s important to keep on top of. The membranes and filters in your filter system will need to be replaced periodically. Your sediment and carbon filters will need to be replaced every 6-12 months. The high-tech semi-permeable membrane needs changing less often – every 2-3 years.

The exact time frame for replacement will depend on how much water your system is dealing with and the quality of the water before it goes through the reverse osmosis filter system. Ask the manufacturer before installation.


A whole house reverse osmosis system will cost around $12,000 to around $18,000, depending on the system, the manufacturer, and your personal circumstances.


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