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RO vs UV vs UF – Difference Between Water Purifying Technologies

Last updated on April 28, 2020

2.5 % of the water on earth is freshwater flowing through our rivers, waterfalls, streams and under the ground. Excluding the Glaciers, less than 1 percent of freshwater is available for drinking and use. And unfortunately, this minuscule percentage of freshwater is contaminated

making availability of drinking water scarce everywhere, including our country. And with growing water problems day by day, perfect water purifying technology is the need of the hour.

There are a lot of companies in the market which are implementing different technologies to bring out the best water purifiers to the customers.

So which one to choose?

Should we choose one according to the big brand name or should we judge according to the technology appropriate for us?

The answer is obvious. It's the water purification technology that should be taken care of while buying a new water purifier. Water from different sources has different TDS(Total Dissolved Liquid) levels. And different TDS level water requires different purification technology.

In further discussion, we are clearing all your doubts regarding the three most popular water purification technologies to break some age-old myths about the water purification process.

Join in the section till the end where we break down the best-suited technology satisfying water necessities of you and your family.

*But before going forward, it is necessary that you know the TDS level of the water available to you. You can easily do that by checking it with the help of a TDS meter or you can get it checked at a store selling water purifiers.

*There is a comparison table at the end for a quick review.

Let’s know about these three in detail:-

RO – Reverse Osmosis

Most of us have heard about this technology as most purifiers in the market are RO purifiers.

It is the most intensive technology of purification and is the best one to clear out the most contaminated water.

Working

RO purification technology works on the principle of osmosis in which the solvent molecules pass through a semipermeable membrane from a lower concentration solution to a higher one.

Here how this technology purifies water:-

  • Unfit water passes through a three-layered reverse osmosis membrane sheet under high pressure with the help of a pressure pump.
  • The pore diameter of this membrane is about 0.0001 micron.
  • The pressure pump boosts tap water speed to add the right amount of pressure.
  • The membrane sheet rolled around a pipe is known as a core tube.
  • Water molecules get separated from the impurities under high pressure. This filtered water gets collected into the core tube.
  • From the core tube, water goes into the purified water chamber and is ready for drinking.

Upside Aspects:-

As we know, with the help of RO water purification technology most contaminated water can be purified. This technology can remove impurities up to  90 %, including heavy metals, minerals, microorganisms and salts leaving demineralized, transparent, odorless and sweet tasting water behind.

And yes! This technology can even turn seawater into fresh drinking water.

In fact, RO technology was invented and developed for desalination of seawater at the University of California and the University of Florida during the 1950s. Since then, this RO technology is used in the water purifiers of ships and submarines to provide “Drinkable” water.

RO water purification technology is even used to treat wastewater after the ultrafiltration step. Hence, there is no doubt that this purification technology can provide the purest form of water.

Downside Aspects:-

  • But do we need such purity of water for our bodies? NO!Note that this form of water is devoid of all the minerals and essential salts.Our body needs minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, etc for proper functioning and staying healthy. And this necessity is fulfilled with our daily water consumption.Now when the TDS level of water goes below 100, water is just “drinkable”. It is unfit for daily consumption.RO water purifiers can bring down this level to 20!Some companies sell packaged drinking water using RO purification technology and claim their product to be “mineral water”. Which they are definitely not.Make sure you are choosing RO water purifiers only when the TDS level of the water available to you is above 900.
  • RO water purifiers need high maintenance and electricity. The pressure pump uses a lot of electricity to increase water pressure.
  • The membrane sheet gets accumulated with impurities and with constant water pressure, it could burst. So this chamber should be checked from time to time.
  • A substantial amount of water is lost while the purification process which is about 70-75 %. That's like losing 2 to 3 Litres to get 1 Litre of pure water. 

 A lot of water to throw away! Isn't it? And water is an abundance no more.

UV- Ultra Violet

UV water purification technology uses UltraViolet rays to kill bacteria and viruses present in water.

Working:-

  • Water is passed through a chamber called UV chamber.
  • An LED lamp in this chamber emits UV radiation of 254 nm.
  • Bacteria and Viruses get killed under these radiations or lose their replicative ability.

There is no upside or downside of a UV based water purifier to be discussed elaborately. Just some points to be taken care of before use.

Important Aspects:-

  • UV technology also works on electricity.
  • UV technology is always used in combination with other purification technologies in a water purifier.So make sure to choose the right combination according to the TDS level of water.
  • The material of the UV chamber plays a vital role in the purification process. Some companies use aluminium chamber instead of a stainless steel chamber. After some time, these types of chamber loses aluminium oxides which get dissolved in water and could be dangerous for health. Make sure to check the chamber material. It should be made up of anodized aluminium or stainless steel.
  • Everything decays with time, so does the UV lamp. This lamp is protected from water by a covering of a quartz jacket around it.This lamp faces problems like scaling and accumulation of dirt which causes it to be less effective by time.An indicator is provided with the chamber to ensure whether it is working or not.

UF- Ultrafiltration:-

This technology ensures safe drinking water for you and your family without adding chemicals or ripping off the minerals.

This technology has been used and preferred by some renowned research centres in our country and is extensively used in laboratories for its ability to retain the natural chemical properties of water.

Working:-

  • You must be aware that plants absorb water from the soil with the help through roots. More precisely root hairs. Such fine pores retain natural properties of water excluding dirt, bacteria, viruses, etc. A UF water purifier works on the same principle.
  • Water passes through a hollow fibre membrane which has a pore diameter of 0.01 micron.
  • This pore size is ideal for removing impurities keeping the minerals intact.
  • It requires no electricity for its working.

Upside aspects:-

  • As specified above, it requires no electricity to work. Plus UF purifiers require the least maintenance as compared to other water purifiers.
  • It is much more affordable than other water purifying technologies.

Downside aspects:-

There is no downside to a UF filtration technology. Still, there are some points to be taken care of:-

  • Check the TDS level of the water. If the TDS level of the available water is above 100 and up to 300. You can choose UF water purifiers.
  • If the TDS level is above 300 and below 900, you can choose a combination filter of UF + UV.
  • Like other types of purifiers, the hollow membrane chamber should be checked and changed from time to time.

After analyzing all the water purification technologies and knowing about them in detail, UF technology can be considered the safest one. It is quite effective.

UV combination purifiers should be chosen no matter what the TDS level is. This ensures safer drinking water which is bacteria and virus free.

COMPARISON TABLE:-

Cleaning ability:-

Ability to remove bacteria and clean dirty  water.

Kills  microbes of  water.

Removes dirt, microbes and turbidity from water. 

Requirement of electricity for working:-

Required

Required

Not required

Working on TDS Levels:-

Above 900

Works on any TDS level of water

Up to 900

Maintaining the right amount of dissolved salts :-

Removes them

Keeps intact

Keeps intact

Price of water filters:-

High

Moderate

Low

Maintenance of filters:-

High

High

Low

CONCLUSION:-

Deep insights about these technologies specify that it is important to consider the TDS level of water before choosing a water purifier blindly.

Water is a commodity which when managed properly ensures perfect health and vigor.

So choose the right water purifier with the right technology wisely.

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