Are you thinking of buying a reverse osmosis water system for your home? Concerned about the price? Worry no more; in this post, we’ll discuss the cost of an RO system and the factors that affect the price.
Reverse osmosis systems aren’t cheap, and it’s good for you to identify with what you’re signing up for. They are, however, worth every penny since they come with lots of benefits.
There are a lot of RO systems in the market today that come with varying price tags. This article will help you know the amount you should expect to part with when going for one.
What's in this Guide?
Reverse Osmosis Cost Factors
The following factors influence the cost of RO systems:
There are 3 types of Ro systems which include;
- The standard under-the-sink system
- Countertop system
- Whole house system
These types come with varying price tags. The standard under sink version comes with a price range of $150 – $600, countertop $60 – $450 and whole house $500+.
Reverse osmosis water systems vary in price depending on their sizes and complexity. For instance, if going for an under-the-sink system that connects to a single faucet, you’ll only part with a few dollars. If you want a whole house system, you’ll have to part with several thousand dollars.
- Filtration stages
The filtration process contains 3 to 7 stages. The more the filtration stages a system features, the more you’ll pay for it.
Some brands are more expensive than others. You might actually get surprised to find that a system with similar features costs more in one brand and less in another. What’s different might only be the style and design.
- NSF certifications
NSF certifications act as an assurance that the RO system reduces/removes specific contaminants. There are certificates for different contaminants. The more the number of certifications a system comes with, the higher the price and vice versa.
- Additional features
Features such as a pump, remineralization stages and modular design for convenient filter replacements bring about price variations. The more the features, the higher the price.
Standard RO/under-Sink System Prices
The price of a standard RO system depends on the filtration stages and the additional features included. For instance, the price of a unit with a booster and iron pre-filter is higher than for one without.
That said, standard RO systems cost anywhere from $150 to $450.Commercial standard RO systems cost start at around $500 and may even exceed $1,000.
Keep in mind that just because a unit comes at a lower price, it doesn’t mean that it won’t work best. Some lower-priced models purify water just like the higher-priced ones.
However, before you go for that cheaper model, ensure that it comes with NSF certifications. Cheaper models also tend to wear out faster and may not come with extra features.
- Installation Cost
If you are a handy person, it’s possible to install a standard RO system using basic DIY skills. If looking forward to saving some extra bucks or operating with a tight budget, this might be a great option.
If DIY isn’t your thing, get a professional plumber to install the system for you. It should cost you from $150 to $300.The price might be a little higher if modifications or significant changes need to get done to your plumbing.
- Maintenance Cost
Maintenance of standard RO systems involves changing of filters. It can be done periodically or annually. Standard RO systems come with filters that you need to replace after every 6 months. Some last for up to 1 year as well.
The maintenance cost range from $60 t0 $200 depending on the filters’ brand. If the system has more filtration stages, you’ll pay more for maintenance.
Whole House RO System Cost
Whole house systems produce enough purified water to cover the demands of your household. They are larger than under-sink or countertop systems and use a technology that is more powerful and complex. This makes their prices fall on the high end.
These systems are, however, not common. This is because of the huge effort required to install and maintain them.
To get a small whole house or a light commercial RO system, you have to part with at least $500.Bigger systems cost from $5,000 to $10,000+ depending on the amount of water you need to purify per day.
One important reminder is that you need to be extra careful when purchasing these high-end products. Some come with useless features without benefits, and others compromise on important features to maintain their style.
Make sure that you get what you paid for. You shouldn’t part with all that money only to end up with a system that fails to perform as expected.
- Installation Cost
Setting up a whole house RO system is complicated and requires a professional. There are specific materials needed to install the entire unit and a significant amount of labor.
It’s actually hard to come up with an exact figure since it’s never standardized. Every plumber or manufacturer will charge differently.
The minimum you should expect to pay for installing a whole house reverse osmosis system is $500.However, it can exceed $1,000 depending on the materials used and the plumbing work involved.
The maintenance cost of a whole house RO system depends on the frequency of membrane and filter replacements. The number of times to replace the filters depends on how heavily you use the system and the source water quality.
If the water is very hard or high in chlorine, you will need to replace the filters more often.
Filters can last for 6 to 12 months.RO membranes can last around 3-5 years. Therefore, most maintenance involves replacing the filters annually or periodically.
Expect to pay anywhere from $200 to thousands of dollars for the whole house/commercial units.
Countertop RO Systems Cost
Countertop RO systems are the simplest but functional RO filtering units. Just like the name suggests, they’re designed to sit on the counter.
They come at a fairer price when compared to under–sink and the whole house systems. Most countertops come in a range of between $100 to $1,000 depending on the brand, number of filters and water capacity.
Top-rated brands are the most expensive, but you can also find a few low-end models at less than $100.
- Installation Cost
Countertop RO systems are easy to set up and don’t require permanent installation. They also don’t use a lot of hardware and are designed to sit on the counter. You can install one on your own.
To install one successfully, attach the unit directly to a standard kitchen faucet, and you’re good to go. It’ll only take you a couple of minutes.
Since no plumbing experience is required, you don’t have to worry about installation costs. You won’t spend a dime.
- Maintenance Cost
Countertop RO systems are equally low to maintain as they are cheap to purchase. Remember that these units don’t come with lots of hardware or parts. Most have 3 to 5 filters, and all you need to do is replace the filter membrane and the cartridges.
The filter for these systems requires replacement at least twice a year since most have a lifespan of 6 months.RO membranes last 2 to 5 years. (source)
The annual maintenance cost ranges from around $60 to $80, depending on the number of stages. If it’s a 4-stage system, expect to part with at least $60.A 5-stage system will cost you about $100.
In the process of filtering, water systems produce wastewater that contains all the bad stuff. This, however, only plays a role in high-volume applications. It will increase your water and sewer bill.
Modern whole house systems waste around 2 gallons of wastewater for every gallon of purified water. This will cost you around $2 to $3 per month on the water bill.
If looking forward to taking clean and pure water every day, a quality RO system is a good solution. When going for any of the systems listed above, look beyond the price tag. Factor in the installation and maintenance cost of the unit you want to buy.
Estimating the price will enable you to figure out the amount you’ll be spending, should you get the system. And although you might get tempted to get a lower-priced unit, be careful. Most come with filters and low-quality parts that might wear out faster.
Paying more for a high-quality product shouldn’t scare you as well. You’ll most likely get value for your money. Some even come with a lifetime guarantee.