Frequently we have customers who ask us to explain some of the key differences between reverse osmosis systems and the berkey water filter systems. While there are many reverse osmosis systems on the market, in general they are similar in results and quality. Below we've broken out some comparison points between the two.
Beneficial Minerals in the Water
Reverse Osmosis systems strip out the beneficial minerals from the water making it an acidic, "hypotonic" solution. A hypotonic solution is a de-mineralized solution. This ultimately has impact on the body because when a hypotonic solution comes in contact with a hypertonic (mineralized) solution, equilibrium is sought. The hypertonic solution in this case is your body's fluids which are full of minerals. Continuous drinking of a hypotonic solution results in minerals being transferred from your body's blood and lymphatic system to this de-mineralized water and being flushed from your body. Over time, in an effort to re-mineralize itself, your body will begin to rob it's organs and bones of these minerals. This continuous cycle will have a negative impact on bodily function unless there is sufficient minerals being taken in through food and supplements to counterbalance.
The black berkey filters that come standard with all our berkey water filter systems are purposefully designed to leave the beneficial minerals in the water to avoid this dangerous cycle of body demineralization.
On a related note, the large majority of the population does not get sufficient minerals from their food because it is nutritionally depleted. No matter what your source of water, or filtration choice, we recommend a high quality multi-vitamin on a daily basis. We stress high quality because many supplements on the market are created with low quality ingredients and are not designed synergistically, and thus are not absorbed or utilized by the body beneficially.
Pathogenic Bacteria Removal
Reverse osmosis systems do not remove pathogenic bacteria like e-coli and giardia. This is the reason why many reverse osmosis systems include an ultraviolet (UV) light designed to kill the bacteria. Sometimes however, if the water has a high turbidity, shaded spots in the water can prevent some of the bacteria from being exposed and killed. Also, if the UV light is installed prior to the bladder tank, it can allow for bacteria to colonize in the bladder tank itself. If this tank is not sterilized often, it becomes a source of bacterial contamination. One other important note is that the remains of dead bacteria remain in the filtered water of RO systems that use a UV light.
The berkey water filter removes the pathogenic bacteria to a log 7 degree and keeps it out of your drinking water. Log 7 equates to a 99.99999% bacteria removal rate.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Reverse Osmosis systems can have up to four filter elements, with each needing to be changed at differing intervals from four months up to two years. This replacement requires that the water pressure be shut off and part or all of the system be disassembled for maintenance. Additionally, the bladder tank should be washed with a chlorine solution at no longer than six-month intervals to kill any colonizing bacteria.
The black berkey water filters last 6000 gallons per set of 2 and typically 5 years or more before replacement is needed. The fluoride filter needs to be replaced every 2 years or 1000 gallons. As for maintenance, we recommend washing the lower chamber of the system with soap and water once per month.
A typical reverse osmosis system costs 20-65 cents per gallon.
The berkey water filter costs less than 2 cents per gallon and since it does not require electricity, berkey filters do not have added energy costs.
Typically, the taste for the reverse osmosis systems is very good.
Similarly, the taste of berkey water is also very good unless there is an abundance of ionized minerals in the source water. Our customers tell us daily how much they enjoy the taste of their berkey water.