If you consider investing in a reverse osmosis system, you’ll love everything about it except that it wastes a lot of water.
And although most RO systems are highly efficient, more than traditional units, they still waste water.
The waste water features high TDS levels and is thus not suitable for bathing or cooking. However, you can recycle it to wash your car and pets and clean the dishes, among others.
Is it okay to drink RO waste water? What happens if we drink RO waste water? Continue reading to get the answers to these questions and more.
What's in this Guide?
Is it Okay to Drink RO Waste Water?
Although whether to drink RO waste water or not is a personal choice, it’s not advisable to take it. Remember, this water is rich in contaminants that have been filtered out from your tap or well water.
Why would you even want to drink this water in the first place? In fact, it can even have a very nasty taste to it!
RO water is highly concentrated with salts. This means that drinking the water is like drinking salty water.
If you drink salty water, you’ll get thirstier and pump more salts in your blood, which can be fatal. Your thirst won’t be quenched by drinking the waste water (which is usually rich in TDS and salts).
Your kidneys won’t process the salty water, and you’ll eventually end up with renal ailments.
What Happens if We Drink RO Water?
If you consume RO waste water for a long time, you’ll definitely get unhealthy. Remember, this water contains all the dissolved gases, salts, and microbes in a highly concentrated form than the inlet water.
It’s therefore highly likely that you’ll get sick from the minerals or microbes. The former will less or more depend on the nature of the minerals.
Also, if the inlet water is rich in heavy metals, drinking the waste water can be hazardous.
Should You Use RO Waste Water for Bathing?
RO waste water is very high in hardness (with high TDS levels) and is hence unsuitable for bathing. It can cause skin problems like redness, irritation, and itching.
Soap will also not lather meaning that you won’t enjoy a smooth bathing experience. And should you wash your hair with it for a long time, it might actually start falling.
Start using the waste water for bathing, and your bath fittings and flooring will have it the hard way. Stains and salt deposits will be the order of the day.
Does Reverse Osmosis Waste a lot of Water?
The amount of waste water produced by a system depends on how you use it. For instance, if you use the system for your drinking water only, the water waste will be minimal.
Traditionally, an RO system wastes 4 gallons for every gallon of water produced. The good news is that newer systems have better pure to waste water ratios.
Nowadays, it’s common to come across a system with a filtered to waste water ratio of 2:1, meaning that for every 2 gallons of pure water produced, only a gallon goes down the drain.
How to Minimize RO Waste Water
The following are ways to minimize the amount of water wasted every day.
- Get a Modern RO System
Modern RO systems feature a better filtered to waste water ratio. Some units achieve this by sending the waste water back to the system for a 2nd or 3rd time, and others by reducing the amount of water leaving the RO chamber during filtration.
- Get a Booster Pump
If living in a place that experiences low water pressure, chances are, your RO system wastes a lot of water.
RO systems require high water pressure to force the water through the membrane. If the pressure isn’t strong enough, the force to push the quickly water won’t be enough.
Note a slow water filtration process leads to more waste water.
Installing a booster pump will allow you to adjust the incoming water pressure to a proper flow.
- Exercise Regular System Maintenance
If your reverse osmosis system is wasting a lot of water, you most likely need to replace the RO membrane, filters, or both.
Clogged membranes and poorly functioning filters can increase water waste. When blocked, the filters slow down the water flow resulting in more water waste.
Drinking RO waste water is not recommended as the water contains a lot of dissolved solids. Drink it for a long time, and you’ll definitely get unhealthy.
Instead, recycle the RO water and use it to water your plants, mops the floors, wash your car, and pre-rinse your laundry, among others. This way, the waste water won’t be wasted at all.