Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration Systems

Instant Plumbing are calgary residential plumbing and water experts.

Did you know that even the finest quality tap water contains things you don’t want. Why not treat yourself to the purest, best-tasting water available?

The Universal Solvent

Water is known as the universal solvent because given time, it is capable of dissolving more substances than any other liquid. This is the very property that makes water so important to every living thing on Earth, making possible the transport of nutrient chemicals and minerals through both living tissue and the environment.

Consequently, in the course of the natural hydraulic cycle, water in our environment is never water alone. Raindrops themselves form around dust particles in the atmosphere; once precipitation reaches the ground, it starts eroding everything it touches, accumulating dissolved solids along the way. We measure this as Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in milligrams per litre (mg/l).

Safety vs Purity

The goal of municipal water treatment is to maintain minimum standards of public health and safety, not necessarily to guarantee absolute water purity. In water treatment, chemicals like chlorine, chloramine and aluminum sulphate are used to disinfect and clarify the water very effectively, but what ultimately comes out of your tap is still more than mere water. This is why you can often perceive a change in tap water’s taste from one region to another.

Treated tap water can still contain trace amounts of pesticides, creosote, pharmaceuticals, lead, mercury, iron oxides, and plenty of minerals.

Calgary has fairly hard water with a high level of Total Dissolved Solids. This is by virtue of how we get it– namely overland drainage from a mountain watershed. Our tap water’s TDS ranges seasonally between 190–270 mg/l, and while that’s considered quite safe for consumption, we can do better! Reverse osmosis filtration can take that TDS rating way down to 10 mg/l.

Reverse Osmosis

A reverse osmosis water filtration unit basically undoes the contamination process, first with filters to remove particles down to 5 microns, then a selectively permeable membrane that allows H2O molecules to pass through while anything else is sent down the drain. The result is pristine, better tasting water; in fact this is the same purification process used for most bottled water.

Your houseplants will like the RO water (just ask them), and it’s also great to use with your steam iron and portable humidifiers; you won’t need to buy bottled demineralized water for these anymore.


We recommend reverse osmosis systems by PuROTwist for their excellent quality and ease of servicing & maintenance. Installation is usually under an hour and a half, and the unit installs under the kitchen sink or in the basement. Use it as a point-of-source for potable water applications like drinking, cooking, ice cube makers, watering plants, etc.

It comes with its own faucet and can filter 50-75 gallons per day. The storage bottle is about the size of a two-gallon pail, and the filtration unit is about the size of four typical water bottles. The cost is $685 for the RO system itself, plus $158 for a basic direct mount under the sink (other mounting scenarios are on an as-quoted basis).

Soft Water? Better Still!

A water softener is beneficial to every device and surface in your home that uses water; naturally, this includes reverse osmosis systems. They are frequently installed at the same time, and work very well together.

Calcium and magnesium (the metal ions in hard water) are particularly tough on the RO membrane– they cause the soft, supple membrane to become hard and brittle, and eventually prone to cracking. Accordingly, a water softener is a great companion system, as it greatly reduces the amount of calcium & magnesium the filtration system has to contend with.

With hard water, the membrane will need replacing within three years, but soft water can extend this part’s life up to three times longer. The minuscule sodium content contributed by the softener is easily removed by the RO system.


We recommend the function of an RO unit be tested annually– especially if it’s handling hard water– and usually, all that’s required is the occasional filter change. If serviced regularly, these systems are quite trouble-free in the long term, making hundreds of gallons of clean water for pennies per day.

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George Pinel
George Pinel

These blog posts are brought to you from George Pinel & the Instant Plumbing team.

One Response

  1. Reverse osmosis ( RO ) is a water purification process that uses a partially permeable membrane to remove ions, unwanted molecules and larger particles from drinking water. In reverse osmosis, an applied pressure is used to overcome osmotic pressure, a colligative property that is driven by chemical potential differences of the solvent, a thermodynamic parameter. Reverse osmosis can remove many types of dissolved and suspended chemical species as well as biological ones (principally bacteria) from water, and is used in both industrial processes and the production of potable water. The result is that the solute is retained on the pressurized side of the membrane and the pure solvent is allowed to pass to the other side. To be “selective”, this membrane should not allow large molecules or ions through the pores (holes), but should allow smaller components of the solution (such as solvent molecules, i.e., water, H

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