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Reverse Osmosis or Carbon Filtration: Which is Better?

Bucks County Water Treatment Experts

If you’re among those North Americans concerned with water quality, you’re not alone. Drinking water quality has been a growing concern and the major question we receive at Blue Heron is, which method of water filtration is better in Bucks County, PA?

The two main types of filtrations are reverse osmosis and carbon filtration. These work differently to deliver similar results, but there is a clear winner if you’re looking for quality water as a final result.

Here, we’ll discuss some of the finer points between the two systems, and let you decide for yourself whether osmosis or filters are best for your home.

What is Carbon Filtration?

Carbon filters have been used since 1804 with the creation of the charcoal wool sponge. We’ve come a long way since then, but the basics remain the same. A carbon filter cleans your water by sieving it through an activated carbon block. This carbon holds back chemicals like iodine and chlorine, which are attracted to and bind with the carbon, leaving them behind as your drinking water reaches your tap.

Running water through a carbon filter can alter the taste, smell, and color of the water. They can be used in appliances that connect to your kitchen faucet, refrigerator water dispenser, or self-serve water pitchers.

Carbon filters can be purchased in a variety of qualities, with the low end removing less of the chemicals you’d like to see gone, and the high end removing more toxins from your water.

What is Reverse Osmosis Filtration?

On the other hand, reverse osmosis uses a membrane to separate these unwanted particles from your drinking water. The semi-permeable membrane lets water molecules through, but not sediment particles that come along with it.

While reverse osmosis offers a more refined approach to water purification, it needs extra help to clear everything from your drinking water. Many reverse osmosis processes include multiple steps, some have a carbon filter stage which post-filters the water to clarify it further, ensuring taste and smell are clean.

How do You Choose?

If you live in Bucks County, PA you want to be sure you’re choosing a water quality system that keeps your drinking water clean and safe.

While reverse osmosis filtration requires more steps to reach the same outcome, it delivers a better-quality product.

While your standard carbon filter removes about 85% of the particles in your water at 0.5 to 1 microns in size, reverse osmosis technology can remove particles as low as 0.001 in size. This means it captures far more unwanted particles to clear your water.

There are also some toxins and chemicals which reverse osmosis will catch that carbon won’t, such as:

  • Arsenic
  • Viruses
  • Fluoride
  • Solids that have been dissolved

Some of the impurities carbon does remove aren’t removed as fully as when you use the reverse osmosis filtration, including:

  • Bacteria
  • Parasites
  • Heavy Metals
  • Turbidity

Overall, the choice between reverse osmosis and carbon filtration is a personal one, and may depend on the age and design of your home if you’re looking to implement it into your plumbing.

Price Comparison

Depending on which company you work with, and how large a filtration setup is required, you can obtain a carbon filter installation for somewhere around $100. This differs drastically from the $1000 and up price tag often associated with a reverse osmosis setup.

While the cost is very different, the outcome and additional water quality steps warrant the higher price point of the latter. As you decide on which to add to your home, price may be a factor, but we suggest looking at the bigger picture, including how often a carbon filter may need to be changed.

A carbon filter costs about $70 for a pack of ten, while a reverse osmosis filter will run around $60 to $100 to replace.

Carbon filters need to be changed every 6-months, while reverse osmosis filters once a year. Filters aren’t a permanent solution and need to be replaced to ensure water quality remains high. However, you will notice the taste, smell, and clarity of your water improve as you change the filters.

Contact Blue Heron to Learn More

At Blue Heron helping our communities create safe and affordable drinking water is important to us. We are constantly striving to find new and better ways to improve your water systems.

If you live in Bucks County, PA and want to learn more about our water filtration and other services, get in touch with us today.

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