Reverse osmosis (RO) is a water filtration method that uses a semipermeable membrane to remove impurities, contaminants, and dissolved solids from water. There are several types of reverse osmosis water filtration methods, each with specific characteristics and applications. Before you arrange for installation by a plumber, read about some common types below.

Types of Reverse Osmosis Methods

  • Conventional Reverse Osmosis (RO): This is the most common type of reverse osmosis system. It utilizes a semipermeable membrane that allows water molecules to pass through while blocking larger molecules, ions, and contaminants. The process involves applying pressure to the feed water to overcome the osmotic pressure and separate the purified water from the concentrated solution.
  • Thin Film Composite (TFC) Reverse Osmosis: TFC membranes are the most widely used membranes in reverse osmosis systems. They consist of a thin active film layer made of a polyamide material that provides excellent salt rejection and durability. TFC membranes are effective in removing a wide range of contaminants and are commonly used in residential and commercial RO systems.
  • Cellulose Triacetate (CTA) Reverse Osmosis: CTA membranes are another type of semipermeable membrane used in reverse osmosis systems. They are made from a cellulose-based material and are more chlorine-tolerant than TFC membranes. CTA membranes are suitable for applications where chlorine is present in the feed water, such as municipal water supplies.
  • Brackish Water Reverse Osmosis (BWRO): BWRO systems are specifically designed for treating brackish water, which is water that has higher salinity levels than freshwater but lower than seawater. These systems employ RO membranes with higher salt rejection capabilities to effectively remove dissolved solids and contaminants from brackish water sources.
  • Seawater Reverse Osmosis (SWRO): SWRO systems are designed to desalinate seawater and make it suitable for various applications, including drinking water production, industrial processes, and irrigation. SWRO membranes are specifically engineered to handle the high salinity and fouling potential of seawater. These membranes typically have higher salt rejection rates than those used in brackish water systems.
  • Hybrid Reverse Osmosis Systems: Hybrid RO systems combine reverse osmosis with other water treatment technologies to optimize performance and efficiency. For example, some systems may incorporate pre-filtration, carbon filtration, or ultraviolet (UV) sterilization stages before the water passes through the RO membrane. These hybrid systems aim to enhance contaminant removal, extend membrane life, and provide additional treatment options.

When choosing a reverse osmosis water filtration method, it is important to consider factors such as feed water quality, desired water output, maintenance needs, and the expertise of the manufacturer or supplier. Speak to a professional plumber to learn more.