Individuals, companies, or even entire nations without ready access to fresh water but with large quantities of salty or briny water at hand can utilize a reverse osmosis water filter to eliminate impurities and turn even the harshest seawater into drinkable liquid. Unlike regular osmosis -- in which a concentrated amount of chemicals in water, such as salt, will leech into surrounding fresh water -- reverse osmosis water filters act to put extreme pressure on salty water and leave only pure, fresh water. For some desert nations, especially those in the Middle East, a massive industrial reverse osmosis water filter system can filter millions if not billions of gallons each day, but home filters are available for individual use. These types of filters are very different from aquarium filters, such as the Eheim 2213 filter or Fluval FX5. Check out home improvement or retail stores for individual models, or look online directly manufacturer's catalogs.
Home reverse osmosis filter systems operating by attaching to the plumbing underneath a sink, taking the incoming water into a large storage tank, and then eliminating the impurities. Although a reverse osmosis drinking water filter is most commonly used as a means of improving the taste of metallic or slightly salty tap water, the economic benefits compared with purchasing bottled water are considerable. A whole house reverse osmosis water filter may cost two hundred fifty dollars; that much would pay for the equivalent of only three months' worth of bottled water. Most home filters can process up to fifty gallons of drinking water per day, more than enough for even the largest of families.
For extensive camping, hiking, or hunting trips without steady supply to fresh water other than stream or pond water, a portable reverse osmosis filter can turn water that would otherwise be unpleasant or even dangerous to drink into safe, fresh water in under an hour. These miniature models produce two gallons of water per hour; a Crystal Clear Supply portable unit filters ninety eight percent of dissolved materials from the membrane of the storage unit. The abundance of harmful elements -- from poisons like chlorine and arsenic to heavy metals like lead and copper -- found in standing water is a major reason why a Crystal Clear unit is essential for any outdoors type. Portable filters run on battery power and require a considerable amount of power -- it may be necessary to change the batteries after as little as a week of use. Similarly, the filters are smaller and may require cleaning as often as once per month.
Not all filters have to be directly hooked up to a faucet system. A countertop model osmosis water filter from Watts gives a smaller quantity of drinking water but takes up less space in crowded kitchens. The Watts design operates with a central storage tank that utilizes carbon blocking to concentrate the impurities in the bottom layer of water, which is then drained out and disposed of. The design has a built on tap, so that it does not need to be unplugged and taken apart each time someone wants a drink. Not only is the Watts model efficient, but the company heavily promotes the "green" aspect of their product by comparing it to bottled water usage. They claim that if only ten percent of all bottled water consumers switched to a portable filter, the equivalent of one hundred thousand trucks transporting the water and consuming millions of gallons of fuel each year would be taken off the roads; while the quantity of oil used to make the bottles would be reduced by two hundred million pounds.
Many major corporations make filters to suit individual needs. A GE osmosis water filter provides capable bathing and cleaning water as well as drinking water, using an attachment to purify the hard water or water with high concentrations of calcium that leaves stains on drinking glasses or clothing. Attaching a Full Flow filter to a shower reduces the impact of chemicals on the skin and hair, as well as protecting the eyes and nose from any damage. Similarly, GE manufacturers a premium model for high intensity use -- such as restaurants, office rooms, or large kitchens -- that can filter particles that are a quarter of a million times smaller than a human hair. Officially filtering 99.999% of all additives, a GE industrial filter unit is one of the most powerful models on the market.
Extensive use will cause jamming or breakdowns of even the most advanced products, and reverse osmosis water filter replacement is necessary fairly often depending on usage. Most products recommend changing a filter every six months; smaller units may need to be replaced on a monthly basis. Even when portable units are not used for an extensive period of time, it is still necessary to replace filters, as dust or grime accumulation will counteract the filtering process and create unhealthy water.