Calgary’s Frequently Asked Questions About The Reverse Osmosis System

A plumber holding the filtration tanks used by common reverse osmosis systems in Calgary.
Canada provides 9% of the world’s freshwater resources and is regarded as one of the countries with the best and safest drinking. That said, we are also one of the world’s largest water consumers, which isn’t a surprise. We are blessed with endless beautiful rivers and lakes that allow us to harvest millions of cubic litres of water (most of which is used to produce heat and energy rather than for consumption!). Alberta has plentiful freshwater supplies and reliable services. Our city’s water treatment systems ensure that our residential and public supply goes through necessary treatments before it’s distributed to us from reservoirs, tanks or towers.

Calgary’s resources originate from the Rocky Mountains that flow to our watersheds like the Bow River. After four intense stages of cleansing and filtration, the city distributes it to our households. The average resident in Calgary spends about 300 litres a day, of which 60%is for personal hygiene and bathroom visits. While our government documents our domestic water strictly to prevent any dangers of contamination, we know the risks involved when consuming contaminated drinks. It could lead to weakened immune systems, poisoning and other health problems. For this reason, Calgary relies heavily on chlorine for disinfection. The problem is that we can taste it outright, and it’s not pleasant.

It’s not new to any homeowner in Calgary to be wary of what comes from their tap, particularly when the news talks about contamination in household supplies that lead to diseases and even death. Although local authorities say that it is safe to drink, many homeowners have chosen the reverse osmosis system as an alternative filtering option.

Your Calgary plumber has all the details you need about filtration processes and softeners. Whether you hate the bad taste of hard water or are worried about contaminants, Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Calgary offers various filtration options to help improve your health and lifestyle. We’ll be more than happy to inspect your plumbing system and help you choose the best filtration system that serves your needs.

What Is Osmosis?

When thinking about biology, it’s important to understand what “osmosis” is. Imagine highly concentrated water molecules moving through a cell’s partially permeable membrane to access lowly concentrated molecules. During that process, the highly concentrated molecules strike through a partially permeable membrane to pass through. Lowly concentrated molecules will also pass through the membrane, however, with fewer collisions. This will provide an equal concentration level for both parties.

For instance, a plant’s cell could have highly concentrated molecules, so any fluid that moves through the cell by osmosis will make the plant grow more solid from the inside out. On the other hand, if the molecules are lowly-concentrated, water that leaves the cell by osmosis will weaken the plant. And in order to have balance, the cell’s surrounding solution has the same concentrated solution as the cell itself.

What Is a Reverse Osmosis System?

It’s nice to scientifically reverse the process! Today, the reverse osmosis system (also known as RO) is a purification method during which a “semipermeable membrane,”⁠—a two-sided barrier—allows molecules and ions to pass on one side while blocking the passage to contaminants on the other side. The reversal ensures that contaminants are blocked off. Thus, we call it reverse osmosis because we are using external pressure to reverse the natural flow.

It’s pressure that enables the unit to separate unwanted ions and particles. For instance, when turning on the faucet, you will know it is pressure that compels the water through the semipermeable membrane. This way, it activates the purification process for reverse osmosis water.

Calgary Reverse Osmosis System Stages

The reverse osmosis system has four essential stages (layered sediment filtration) before it becomes ideal for consumption. Overall, it’s similar to the City of Calgary’s cleansing process at the treatment plants, except that we have our very own purification process at home.

  1. General Filtration: This sediment filter eliminates large particles of sediments right at the beginning before they move further into the unit.
  2. Carbon Pre-Filter: Carbon filtration is probably everyone’s favourite because, at this stage, the unit removes traces of chlorine.
  3. Main Membrane: After the carbon stage, the membrane is responsible for purification or desalination, which is considered the main stage for removing any leftover contaminants.
  4. Carbon Polish Filter: This is the final cleanse against impurities.

As clean drinking water flows through the tap, the system flushes all the previously filtered impurities down your drainage pipe. For this convenience, many Calgary homeowners have switched to reverse osmosis water.

Calgary Reverse Osmosis System - PROS

Isn’t it scary that our earth is surrounded by 70% of water, of which only 1% is safe for drinking? This is reason enough for Calgary homeowners to install a reverse osmosis system under their kitchen sink to stay on the safe side, even though Canadian water is safer than in most other countries. But it may be wise to take extra precautions for more safety as some people react sensitively to high mineral content that is required for cleansing. The reasons people in Calgary choose RO are backed by these points:

  • High-quality filtration
  • Cleaner for drinking and cooking
  • Removes chemical contaminants and impurities
  • Removes unpleasant chlorine odours
  • Reliable
  • Cost-effective and energy-efficient
  • High-end desalination technology
  • Easy to maintain

Calgary Reverse Osmosis System - CONS

RO also has its downside, but perhaps not as much as it would stop households from using it?

  • Doesn’t get rid of pesticides and other organic chemicals
  • Doesn’t remove any dissolved gases
  • Wastes gallons per day during purification process which will spike your energy bills
  • It’s expensive
  • Over time, RO membranes will decay and need replacement
  • May need water softening systems to handle the hard minerals of Calgary’s hard water. Calcium and magnesium deposits can be hard on the semipermeable membranes
  • Might not filter microorganisms
  • Tank-based reverse osmosis systems need to be flushed and cleaned to avoid bacteria growth

Frequently Asked Questions: Calgary Reverse Osmosis System

After examining the pros and cons, it’s time for your Calgary plumber to get down to some commonly asked questions regarding this unique system that seems to have people in Calgary either excited or unsure. We have answered with honest intent, but ultimately, you make the decision for yourself.

What Contaminants Do Efficient Reverse Osmosis Systems Remove?

RO is capable of removing bacteria, viruses, sodium, chloride, chromium and lead. It may also decrease the levels of fluoride, arsenic, radium, sulphate, calcium, magnesium, radium, potassium, nitrate and phosphorus.

Who Uses Reverse Osmosis Water?

Calgary residents use a reverse osmosis system in residential and commercial units, where home and business owners want the extra assurance that their drinking water has gone through a reliable purification process. Many water companies that supply Calgary offices and homes with water coolers or dispensers use reverse osmosis as their main filtration system.

Is the Reverse Osmosis High Maintenance?

Not at all. Depending on your type, there can be three to five stages of filtration, of which the carbon filter needs replacement every six months, whereas the other filters should be replaced once every year. Also, because Calgary uses a high level of chlorine for disinfection purposes, it can be damaging to the membrane over time. Your Calgary plumber recommends monitoring it closely and exchanging it at least once every two years. While these are the major maintenance tasks, you should sanitize each storage tank and pipe periodically.

Can Reverse Osmosis Systems Cause Hypertension and Other Health Problems?

There have been controversies about reverse osmosis removing beneficial minerals, salts and other nutrients from drinking water. Reverse osmosis water being so clean and pure has, in fact, had a negative impact on some consumers. It’s true that our bodies need beneficial minerals, including calcium and magnesium. Before reverse osmosis systems existed, we drank from the tap or solely relied on pitcher filters that merely reduced the heavy mineral content and some strong odours. But reverse osmosis entails many additional cleansing steps to also enhance the taste. Some claims were made that even if there were some impurities coming through our supply lines, they are supposed to help our immune systems create antibodies to fend off bacteria. We recommend that Calgary homeowners talk with their physicians about whether reverse osmosis is designed for them.

Serious side effects occurred in some people after switching to reverse osmosis water. Calgary residents may become wary when hearing about people developing cardiovascular disorders, osteoporosis, muscle disorders and fatigue because they used to rely on tap water rather than supplements.

If you find yourself on edge about installing an RO system, your Calgary plumber is happy to arrange a consultation service.

Which Do I Choose: Water Softener Or Reverse Osmosis Water?

Calgary utilizes both options, but it’s important to distinguish the two. Softeners are designed to reduce hardness, whereas the reverse osmosis system is a filter that purifies water, so it’s better tasting and free from all contaminants. However, when your drinking water is softened, you’ll consume a lowered level of calcium carbonate and magnesium content. But softening is not a treatment that involves filtration or purification. It’s just an ion exchange, during which hard minerals are exchanged with sodium or potassium. Although it’s lower in minerals, it will have a high sodium content. Some people have referred to it as feeling silky or even slimy.

Because hard water coming through showers can negatively impact people with skin conditions, softeners help eliminate these issues.

Pro Tip: Thanks to new technology, many softeners now have a pre-filter—carbon or sediment—designed to remove impurities and other undissolved particles. For better results, they also get rid of chlorine and hydrogen sulphide.

Feel free to give our local plumbing technicians at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Calgary a call to learn more about our softening and reverse osmosis systems. We’ll find the most economical solution and space-saving designs for you.

Why Do RO Systems Waste So Much Water?

Unfortunately, cleansing and filtration systems need lots of water to operate. During that process, a lot of waste is created and flushed away by a flow restrictor. Similarly, to your toilet, it uses over one gallon to flush. The flow restrictor supports the semi-permeable membrane, using pressure and fluid to remove any waste.

How Much Does An RO System Cost?

The filtration system itself ranges between CAD$500 and CAD$800. We invite you to call your experienced Calgary plumber about the different types and installation services. We’ll be happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding this.

Do I Need A Calgary Reverse Osmosis System?

While debates are still happening, it doesn’t stop people in North America from utilizing this system because, ultimately, removing harmful contaminants keeps us safe from diseases and infections. It gives those who seek extra security some peace of mind. We’ll help you weigh out the pros and cons of getting a RO unit; so rest assured that Canadian water is one of the safest in the world, with some of the most reliable resources and waste management. The Calgary reverse osmosis system will add that extra security to your daily consumption. We recommend consulting a physician for other health-related questions that include mineral deficiencies.

Are You Interested in a Calgary Reverse Osmosis System?

Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Calgary cares about clean systems that enhance lifestyles, whether you seek to combat hard water or need a consultation about filtration systems. We are available to answer any questions that you may have about Calgary’s supply systems or general plumbing services that include your supply line or drain line. As a locally owned and operated plumbing company, we are committed to providing you with excellent workmanship and customer care. Count on our expert plumbing diagnosis and inspection services to get down to any root problems.

Grab your phone and contact our friendly team today to schedule an appointment with a residential reverse osmosis unit specialist or learn more about our wide variety of plumbing services, including sump pump installations and exceptional plumbing repairs.

We proudly serve many communities throughout Southwest Calgary and nearby areas, such as Haysboro and Lincoln Park.