What Is a Reverse Osmosis Faucet?

Heather Asiyanbi - 11/1/18 11:00 AM

Drinking clean, crisp water out of your tap every time you turn it on is possible when you install a reverse osmosis faucet and system in your home. Instead of paying for gallons of filtered water, a reverse osmosis system (RO) can remove salt, any metallic tastes and chlorine odors.

What Is a Reverse Osmosis System?

Before we explain the specifics of a reverse osmosis faucet, you’ll need to understand the basics of RO.

Reverse osmosis systems work by putting water under very high pressure and pushing it through a semipermeable membrane. Clean water (the permeated water) passes through the membrane while the leftover water (the brine stream) is sent towards a drain. Sometimes, this leftover water is sent through the membrane again.

This semipermeable membrane is able to remove 95 to 99 percent of salt and other contaminants, leaving you with clean, fresh drinking water.

An important note: reverse osmosis systems utilize cross filtration. This means that contaminants are not trapped in the filter and instead are flushed away with water. You’ll never have to worry about a buildup of salt on your filter.

What Is a Reverse Osmosis Faucet?

Now that we know how reverse osmosis systems work, what exactly is a reverse osmosis faucet?

Not surprisingly, it’s the faucet that comes with your RO system. Many systems come with a faucet, which guarantees everything will match, but you can find your own RO faucet for more customization. These faucets provide cleaner water, which is good for your health and your wallet (if you’re used to buying bottled water).

Browse Reverse Osmosis Faucets

The Air vs. No Air Gap Debate

When you’re installing your RO system, you’ll need to decide if you want an air gap faucet or not. The air gap reverse osmosis faucet is the best choice if you’re installing your system under your kitchen sink.

An air gap faucet has a 1/4-inch inlet tube which drips brine water across a little air gap into a 3/8" outlet tube, which is connected to the sink drain. It is possible for RO systems to create a vacuum in the discharge line (the line containing all your brine water). If this happens while the sink drain is plugged or filled with water, the contaminated sink drain water could be sucked into your discharge line, which an damage your water lines.

With an air gap in place, though, only air will be sucked into the discharge line, which the system would purge when the vacuum releases with zero damage to your water lines.

While this is a great safety feature,  it has some drawbacks. You will need a larger hole cut for the air gap faucet than a standard sink and you'll need to install additional hardware is needed. These kitchen faucets can also be noisier than their counterparts.

On the other hand, you could install a no air gap faucet. These are great if your pump is in a remote location.

If brine water isn’t being flushed into a drain, you don’t have to worry about a plugged up drain causing problems. You can either install an external air gap device or a check valve to prevent any possible problems.

Air gap faucets aren’t necessary (unless you live somewhere with plumbing regulations requiring it), but they are an easy way to take precautions against future plumbing issues.

In summary, reverse osmosis faucets and systems are perfect for homes where current drinking water is less than suitable. For the healthiest, cleanest water possible, invest in a reverse osmosis system for your kitchen and even your entire house.

Topics: Kitchen- Faucet- Featured Products

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