A reverse osmosis system is a great way to remove harmful chemicals and contaminants from your water supply. However, there are certain limitations that your system has that you should be aware of if you have copper pipes or copper tubing. When you use copper pipes with a reverse osmosis system, you can undo some of the benefits of your system. Here’s what you need to know about reverse osmosis water systems and their effect on copper pipes.
What Is Different About Reverse Osmosis Water?
First, you should understand how reverse osmosis water is different from regular water. Water can contain a broad range of dissolved substances in it, and the more that it has inside of it, the less it will try to absorb as other contaminants are introduced. The way that you can measure how many contaminants are present in water is total dissolved solids, or TDS. Water that has high TDS levels will not be able to absorb as many chemicals and substances as water that has a low level of TDS. This means that, in some situations, the water running through your pipes might try to absorb some of what is coming through the pipes.
Reverse osmosis water is very pure, as it has been through the rigorous reverse osmosis process. Your reverse osmosis system will produce water that has low levels of TDS, and in many cases, it is up to a 95% reduction. However, as we mentioned above, if the level of total dissolved solids is too low, the water might absorb certain metals. This is why paying close attention to the metals used in the pipes, fittings and faucet is so critical.
Why Don’t I Experience Leaching Now?
Many homes, even those that have older plumbing, don’t experience much leaching because the municipal water that comes into their homes has high TDS. The water will not absorb metals from the pipes because it does not have the “space” to do so. However, when you have a reverse osmosis system, copper pipes are different.
What Happens with Copper Pipes and a Reverse Osmosis System?
Copper is a metal that can very easily leach into water that has low levels of total dissolved solids. This is dangerous, as high levels of copper can lead to copper poisoning in humans. Even worse, the low TDS water can lead to pitting in your copper pipes. Over time, this can lead to small pinhole leaks that are costly to remedy.
Instead of using copper pipes, you should use polyethylene tubing for reverse osmosis water. It will be resistant to any leaching, and it is also very easy to install behind walls and in crawlspaces without needing to worry about leaking. If you are not sure what type of piping you have or the best way to use your reverse osmosis system, we can help to assess your plumbing and come up with the best workarounds.
What Are the Side Effects of Too Much Copper in Drinking Water?
When you have leaching from your copper pipes into your reverse osmosis system, your water will have high levels of copper. A healthy diet only requires 2-3 milligrams of copper per adult per day. 90% of that will come from food, and in general drinking water will account for 10% or less of it. If you consume water with high levels of copper in it, you can experience gastrointestinal side effects, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headaches and more. If you have long-term exposure over a period of months or years, it could even lead to permanent liver damage and death.
If you aren’t sure if there is already leaching present in your water, Atlantic Blue Water Services can test your water to show precisely what is in it. If you are concerned that you are already experiencing the impacts of consuming water with high levels of copper in it, you can be tested by your doctor to determine how much is present.
What Should You Do If You Have Copper Pipes and a Reverse Osmosis System?
Atlantic Blue Water Services can help to determine the best path forward if you have copper pipes and want to use a reverse osmosis system. It’s also important to make sure that you do not have copper in your fixtures and other parts of your plumbing. If you want a whole-house system, you will need to explore options for re-piping your home.
Call Atlantic Blue Water Services for Reverse Osmosis Systems That Get Results
Atlantic Blue Water Services is here to help homeowners, home sellers, home buyers and business owners in need of a quality water test in Pikesville, MD. Call us today to schedule your water testing at 410-840-2583.