Every household and business wants access to clean, great-tasting water, and a reverse osmosis (RO) system is among the most efficient and cost-effective ways to make that happen.

Here’s a closer look at what reverse osmosis is, how it works, and how it can benefit your home or place of business.

What is reverse osmosis?

Reverse osmosis is a water filtration process that forces water molecules through a fine, semi-permeable membrane at a high pressure. During this process, contaminants and impurities are trapped in the pores of the membrane and clean water is fed into a tank and stored for later use.

How does a reverse osmosis system work?

A reverse osmosis system consists of pre-filters and post-filters that come into play on either side of the membrane. These filters serve an additional purpose in producing clean, great-tasting water before it makes it way through your faucet. Here’s a quick step-by-step breakdown of reverse osmosis:

  1. Water from the supply line with a higher concentration of contaminants is sent through the pre-filtration stage (common types of pre-filters shown below).
    • Carbon filter: Reduces the amount of chlorine, VOCs, and other water contaminants that can damage the RO membrane.
    • Sediment filter: Reduces dirt, sand, and other particles that can clog the RO system.
  2. Water is sent through the reverse osmosis membrane where additional impurities are trapped, removed, and flushed down the drain.
  3. The clean water – now with a lower concentration of contaminants – is then sent to a storage tank where it is held until needed. Most storage tanks hold between 2-4 gallons of water.
  4. As the clean water is accessed, it flows from the storage tank through a post-filter for further “polishing” to remove any additional tastes or odors before making its way to the faucet.

The key benefit of the storage tank is that it allows you to have instant access to clean, great-tasting water at any time – rather than having to wait for the reverse osmosis filtration process to take place every time you turn on the faucet.

What are the benefits of reverse osmosis?

The reverse osmosis process provides a number of significant benefits for you and everyone in your household or business. In efficiently reducing contaminants and impurities, it produces delicious water that also promotes better overall health for your family, coworkers, or customers.

Here are some of the most significant benefits of reverse osmosis.

Reduced contaminants

Reverse osmosis can reduce a wide range of contaminants in your drinking water, including:

  • Nitrates
  • Pesticides
  • Bacteria
  • Toluene
  • Chlorine
  • Lead
  • PCBs
  • Dichloropropenes
  • Trichloroethanes
  • Insecticides
  • Ethylbenzene

Reduced sodium

A reverse osmosis system eliminates around 97% of total dissolved solids (TDSs) from water, including salt and sodium.

Great taste

Reverse osmosis removes unpleasant tastes and odors from drinking water. In fact, most bottled water companies use RO in their water treatment process. Installing a reverse osmosis system in your home can essentially provide you with “bottled water without the bottle.”

Easy installation and maintenance

Reverse osmosis water filter systems are long-lasting and easy to maintain, with most systems functioning effectively for 10-15 years with proper care. It’s also recommended that pre-filters and post-filters are replaced every 12-18 months, with the RO membrane being replaced every 2-4 years depending on water conditions and usage.


While a reverse osmosis system sounds like it might require a significant amount of space in your home or business, it is quite minimal in size, with most units fitting conveniently under the kitchen sink.

Automated process

Perhaps the best feature of reverse osmosis is that once your system is installed, it requires no additional effort on your part (with the exception of regular maintenance). Reverse osmosis filtration can be used to create filtered water anywhere and at anytime, from homes and restaurants to hotels and breweries.

Affordable and cost-effective

Not only does a reverse osmosis system come with an affordable up-front cost, but it also saves you money over time on bottled water and utility bills.

Better for you

As a water treatment system, RO provides you with cleaner water that is healthier to drink and use in making coffee or tea, cooking, and feeding to pets.

Experience the difference of great water with Culligan

Reverse osmosis systems and bottled water coolers are two of the most cost-effective methods for enjoying great-tasting water wherever you are. Culligan Water’s RO systems reduce or eliminate nearly 50 different types of chemicals and impurities from your water, filtering out impurities smaller than one micron.

A limited lifetime warranty is included with all of our Culligan reverse osmosis systems, which are built for long life and backed by years of dependable service.

Through the highest quality products and services, a complete range of expertise, and convenient support from our dedicated team, Culligan is helping homes and offices everywhere experience the difference that cleaner, better tasting water can make in their lives.

Contact us today to start giving your people the water they deserve.