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More companies are turning to reverse osmosis filtration for cost-efficient water treatment. This environmentally friendly solution provides access to clean water for industrial and commercial use. Iconic Water has been providing and installing such systems for years in Perth, offering high-quality water treatment for many Australian businesses.

If you want to learn more about a reverse osmosis water filter, how does it work, and what its benefits are, keep reading! Our handy guide will tell you everything you need to know about this water purification system.

How Does Reverse Osmosis Work?

Reverse osmosis works using a high-pressure pump and sediment filter. The increased pressure forces the water and any dissolved materials through a semipermeable membrane. As the membrane resists the pressure on one side, potable and purified water passes through. The impurities and dissolved materials remain on the other side and are continually flushed away.

The remaining flushed impurities are called reject solutions and are not safe for consumption. This solution is flushed down the reverse osmosis system’s drain. The remaining purified water is called permeate and is perfectly safe for various uses.

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Reverse Osmosis water filter: How does it work?

The Four Stages Of Reverse Osmosis

A reverse osmosis filter system generally has four stages, each one removing particles and contaminants of increasingly finer size. All these stages are necessary to have pure water for your desired site. Here’s a quick breakdown of how each one works.

– Sediment Filtration

This initial filtration stage is used to filter out sediment, silt, dirt, and other large particles. This is crucial as it prevents sediment from reaching the reverse osmosis membrane and damaging it.

– Carbon Filtration

The second filtration stage uses a carbon filter to remove chlorine and finer contaminants from the water. This will preserve the reverse osmosis membrane and prolong its lifespan.

Reverse Osmosis Membrane Filtration

The third filtration uses the reverse osmosis membrane to let clean water pass through, while any remaining traces and contaminants are flushed away.

Polishing Filtration


The filtered water passes through a final “polishing” filter made from carbon. Polishing filtration removes any last traces of odour or taste – leaving pure, crystal-clear, and 100% water for immediate use.


How Does A Reverse Osmosis Membrane Work?

The secret to a reverse osmosis membrane’s effectiveness is its semipermeable nature. This means that some atoms or molecules pass through but larger particles and contaminants cannot.

The high pressure of the pump pushes the impure water against the membrane. Large contaminants – such as the majority of salts, algae, and bacteria – remain on one side of the reverse osmosis membrane, while smaller water molecules pass through.

What Are The Benefits Of Reverse Osmosis (RO)?

Why are so many companies turning to RO filter systems to treat water? Here are some of the benefits of installing a reverse osmosis filter system.

It Produces Clean, Contaminant-Free Water

Reverse osmosis relies on at least four stages of filtration and treatment to repeatedly purify water. The result removes as much as 98% of all chemicals and minerals, including toxic metals like mercury and lead. This makes RO filtration one of the best ways to treat contaminated water sources such as brackish, ground, and surface water.

It’s Better For The Environment

Reverse osmosis filtration is environment friendly, as it quickly captures and disposes of contaminants without using chemicals. RO systems also produce pure water without using ion-exchange beds or resins. The disposal of these two materials has a huge environmental impact compared to the RO membrane filter system.

It’s Safer To Operate

Traditional resin-based ion exchange treatment uses very strong acids or caustics to clean up resin fouling. Because fouling happens when the resins absorb certain contaminants, you will constantly need these harsh chemicals to maintain your system. Exposure to these agents can cause health problems to personnel, such as skin and respiratory irritation.

Because RO systems don’t use these chemicals, it eliminates the health risks to your staff, creating a safer working environment.

It’s Easy To Maintain

Reverse osmosis systems are self-contained and need very little operation interaction. Unlike other systems that require active maintenance, an RO system only needs daily monitoring from your personnel. Pre-filter changing is also easy to do in mere minutes.

Replacing all the membranes of a reverse osmosis filtration system can be done in a few hours. That’s a massive time difference from the days it would take for resin-based ion exchange systems. This pared-down maintenance and operation can save you a bundle on your bottom line.

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How Does A Reverse Osmosis Filter Work & Other FAQs

Are all reverse osmosis filter systems the same?

No. There are many different RO filter systems available on the market, and they may vary in the:
  • Quality and materials used for system parts and components
  • Number of filtration stages
  • Quantity of water that can be filtered every day
Do reverse osmosis filter systems come with a water softener?

No, they do not. However, we can customise your RO filter system with a separate water softener to maximize your filter usage. While RO filter systems can remove some minerals in hard water, using it as the primary way to remove minerals will shorten the lifespan of the membrane. Having a water softener will also prevent damage to other equipment that may be eroded by mineral buildup, such as plumbing fixtures and fibreglass.

Is the reject solution safe for other uses?

Yes. While the reject solution from RO systems is not safe to drink, it can be used for other purposes such as landscaping or cleaning site surfaces and vehicles.

Consult Iconic Water To Get The Best Water Filtration Systems

Get a steady supply of clean water that’s safer to produce and use for your business. Iconic Water is one of Australia’s largest and most trusted water system installers. We use only high-quality products to create cost-efficient systems for our customers.

Interested in installing an RO water filter system on your site? Contact us today! We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have about how a reverse osmosis system works. We can also give you free quotes on the best custom system for your needs!