Do I need an alkaline filter with my reverse osmosis water filter?

We can’t think of a single day without water. People all over the world use water for various purposes every day. Among all those, the most significant one is drinking.

There is no question that pure and clean drinking water is essential for our health. That’s why we can’t always trust the tap water.

Most of us who live in or around big municipalities usually have one water filter in the house, right? And, as RO (reverse osmosis) water filters are trending, we tend to trust them more.

That’s why you can see RO water filters everywhere nowadays. Performance of the RO purifiers speaks for themselves. 

But, it still has some tiny problems as well. And, if you, like all of us, are proud owners of reverse osmosis water filters, you need to know those cons too.

Knowing about its shortcomings will surely help you overcome those quite easily. So, let’s go.

How RO water filters use reverse osmosis to purify water?

To get a clear view of the problems, you need to first dig deeper into the RO water filters. How do they work? What is reverse osmosis?

To help you with this, we’ve recently published a post that solely discovers the working mechanism of Reverse Osmosis water filters. You should visit our post here.

If you’re in a hurry, then, no problem. Here’s the summary. The word RO in these special water filters stands for reverse osmosis.

So, let’s learn about reverse osmosis first. In this process, tap water is forced to flow through a semipermeable membrane to produce clean water.

Now, what’s a semipermeable membrane? It’s a special membrane that stays between the tap water and clean water and clinically separates them.

What’s so special about this membrane? The specialty lies in the characteristic of the membrane. At ideal conditions, this membrane only lets water molecules pass.

So, you see as the membrane only lets water pass, all the other metal ions get separated from the water. Only water molecules get to stay.

In this fashion, RO water filters serve us clean and pure drinking water. So, let’s briefly summarize the whole process-

Firstly, the tap water enters the reverse osmosis chamber after passing the initial rounds of filtration.

Then, the filter initiates a large amount of hydraulic pressure on the incoming tap water.

Now, the forced water molecules face the semipermeable membrane which only permits water molecules to pass.

As a result, more water molecules from the tap water region enter the clean water one through the membrane.

Now, due to the nature of the membrane, no mineral contents can pass and stays on the tap water part.

Consequently, the tap water region holds all the minerals contents and creates, what we call, the wastewater.

That’s how the reverse osmosis water filters purify our drinking water.

Can the reverse osmosis water cause any health concern?

So, you see, ideally, after reverse osmosis, you will only get clean and pure water devoid of any mineral contents. Again, this is the ideal case.

In a real-world scenario, no membrane can be that effective. But, still, they can reach a level of up to 80 to 90 percent accuracy.

The amount might decrease as the membrane quality depreciates after repetitive usage. On this note, you can visit our post to see how often the water filter cartridges should be replaced.

So, you can say, if you use a RO water filter, you can remove most of these mineral ingredients from your drinking water.

The amount that still stays after the filtration is negligible. As a result, the water that you get after reverse osmosis nearly holds no mineral minerals at all.

The answer might vary from one brand of filter to another. Most RO water filters don’t come with an additional unit to add minerals to the water.

So, if you have a RO filter with no additional alkaline chamber, you will get water that contains a very small amount of mineral elements.

Water from RO water filters can be slightly acidic as well. This can add to your difficulties if you’re already suffering from gastric acid reflux issues.

What’s the necessity of keeping the pH level around 7?

From the previous section, we came to know that RO water filters efficiently get rid of all other particles from the water. This is excellent if you need pure and clean water, right?

There is a little problem though. You might think that pure and clean water devoid of any other particles is good for your health. But, you’re correct on that.

Why? So, let’s explain it step by step. Can you name the liquid which we consume the most every day? Naturally, the answer would be water.

About seventy percent of our body consists of water. So, there’s no question that drinking pure and clean water is of utmost priority.

As we consume water the most, if it contains some other materials than we would be consuming that as well, right?

That’s why we tend to value mineral waters higher than water that doesn’t contain any mineral content at all. The minerals are highly important for our body.

Fortunately, the tap water, on average, contains the required amount of ionic particles that our bodies need. So, yeah, you can easily guess we need these minerals to be present in the water.

In general, due to the presence of minerals, our normal tap water has a pH level that is slightly higher than 7. So, tap water can be slightly alkaline in most regions.

But, as the tap water passes through the reverse osmosis layer, it gradually loses most of its mineral contents. And, in turn, its pH decreases.

Wondering what this means? If the pH level falls below that means the water is acidic. You can visit our post here where we’ve unraveled every detail about what pH level means in drinking water.

Now, continuing from the previous paragraph, if you drink acidic water regularly, it will cause some reactions to the body. This is popularly known as acidity.

So, you see maintaining the pH level of drinking water is crucial for your health.

How do alkaline filters work to keep the pH at the desired level? 

Pure water, without any other particles in it, is a completely neutral element with pH 7. That means it’s neither alkaline or acidic.

But, the municipal water that we use every day is again not completely pure. As a result, it comes to us as a solution of water and other substances.

The presence of these substances can sometimes make the water acidic or basic. But, in most cities, the pH level of water stays around 7.0.

The problem appears when we use the reverse osmosis filters. Due to the semipermeable membrane, only water molecules can pass through. As a result, the normal balance is gone.

In turn, the water can get slightly acidic. As the RO filter ages, the quality falls further. As a result, to keep the water at its natural pH level, you need to use an alkaline filter.

So, how do these filters work actually? To understand it, let’s look at the chemical composition of water. A water molecule consists of an Oxygen atom bonded with two Hydrogen atoms.

When two electrodes with opposite charges are placed in water, some of the molecules will decompose into two ions- Hydrogen ions (H+) and Hydroxyl (OH-) ions.

If a solution has more hydrogen ions (H+) than Hydroxyl (OH-), then we call it an acidic solution. For a basic or alkaline solution, this goes the other way around.

In pure water, the number of these ions is balanced. As a result, water, in its cleanest form, is neutral. However, due to reverse osmosis, the concentration of H+ ions increases.

As a result, the water becomes slightly acidic. To balance it out, the alkaline filter ionizes the water and produces OH- and H+ ions.

After this, it separates the water flow into two distinct solutions. One part contains more H+ ions and becomes acidic; the other one contains OH- ions and becomes slightly alkaline.

So, in this way, the alkaline filters maintain the water at the right pH level for you. As they ionize the water to a certain extent, they are sometimes known as ionizer filters as well.

Is alkaline water good for my health?

Before this section, we focused only on the aspect of producing alkaline water. But, do they add any nutritional value?

The answer depends on yourself. How? So, let’s discuss that prospect. In a 2014 survey, it has been apparent that about 15 percent of the total US population suffers from GERD.

What’s GERD? It stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease, which is commonly known as acid reflux or acidity. 15 percent, that’s a huge number.

That’s only counting the number of people who take medications based on the disease. But, you can be sure the number is much higher than that.

Maybe this is not as deadly on the same scale as the cardiac diseases. But, it poses a great threat to our bodies over time.

For example, GERD causes heartburn and slowly damages the wall of the stomach. So, the damage may not be apparent immediately, but it will cause problems to your health over a longer period.

To keep this in control, many take frequent medications like consuming antacids. Some also mix Calcium Bicarbonate to the water to make it alkaline to neutralize the acidity.

So, you see alkaline water can be very helpful to fight against stomach acidity issues. Also, if you don’t have problems like that, still you should consider drinking water from ionizers.

Final Verdict

To summarize, alkaline water can be a big boost for people with a negative gastric diagnosis. That’s why ionizer filters are growing in popularity day by day.

On this note, we want to clear that you should first test the pH of the drinking water before going for an alkaline filter.

If the pH value is between 7.1 to 7.5, then you don’t need any ionizer filter at all. To understand more about pH levels of drinking water, you should visit our post here.

Now, also if you’re looking for an ionizer water filter, you should visit our post here. In this post, you will get to know about some of the top water filters that come with an ionizer within.

So, what do you think? Did you find this post useful? Or, do you still have some questions about some aspects of alkaline water filters? Let us know in the comment section.

Also, feel free to contact us on our Contact page. Hope you have a good day, cheers!!!

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