Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 How Much Does Reverse Osmosis Installation Usually Cost in Chicago?
- 2 What Are the Most Common Water Contaminants in Chicago?
- 3 Can Residents in Chicago Benefit From Reverse Osmosis Treatment?
- 4 How Often Should Residents in Chicago Replace Reverse Osmosis Prefilters?
- 5 Do You Need a Water Softener With Your Reverse Osmosis System in Chicago?
How Much Does Reverse Osmosis Installation Usually Cost in Chicago?
Most Chicago residents can expect to pay around $600 to have an RO system installed in their home, though the actual cost can vary greatly depending upon your unique situation. When calculating the final bill for installing a reverse osmosis system, the three largest factors we consider include whether you want a point of use or whole house system installed, which type of filtration process your system of choice uses, and whether the system you select has other features that make installation a bit more difficult on our end.
Cost Factor: Point Of Use vs. Whole House System
Households use two main RO systems – point of use and whole house systems. Point of use systems are also called standard use systems, and these devices connect to one faucet in your home, and most people decide to connect it to their kitchen faucet. These RO systems usually sit on your countertop or under your sink, and they allow filtered and treated water to flow from your select faucet at home. Point of use systems are a great choice for those who live in areas that produce water mostly free of contaminants and have relatively soft water, as the rest of the household’s water will not be treated. Point of use systems usually cost between $150 to $500, and they are much easier and quicker to install, so that you can expect a much lower installation cost overall.
On the other hand, whole house systems connect to your main water line and filter and treat all of the water that enters your home. Because these systems treat your entire home’s water, they cost significantly more, often between $800 and $3,000, depending upon which device you choose. Their installation fees tend to be higher because they are more difficult and time-consuming to install. These systems tend to be better suited in homes that receive hard water or water with a higher concentration of contaminants, as it allows all of your faucets to receive treated water.
Cost Factor: Type Of Filtration System
Most reverse osmosis systems work similarly in that they use a highly concentrated solution to pull water through a permeable membrane that allows water molecules through but not contaminants. However, many higher end RO systems go above and beyond this mechanism, employing several layers of filters and even extra filtration steps, such as UV lights, to kill bacteria.
Some features that water filtration companies include in their products may not be necessary to you and will just add costs with minimal benefit. Your plumber can help you decide which system is right for you that will adhere to your budget and give you exactly what you need. Systems that go above and beyond and have myriad additional features tend to take more time and labor to install, so they also come with a higher installation price tag.
Cost Factor: Other Additional Features Included
Some newer RO systems also include other components that make the machine run more efficiently, using less electricity and wasting less water, such as a pump that pushes the water through the membrane at a faster rate. Others may include pH balancing technology to make water more alkaline. Either way, RO systems that include these additional features will complicate the installation procedure and increase the cost to have your system hooked up to your home’s water supply.
What Are the Most Common Water Contaminants in Chicago?
Although the City of Chicago’s water supply meets all of the state and federal regulations for drinking water particles, many experts state that simply meeting these guidelines doesn’t necessarily mean that the water is clean and safe to drink. One such agency, the Environmental Working Group, found that from 2012 – 2017, 12 contaminants within Chicago drinking water exceeded their own set of health guidelines. Some of these contaminants included chloroform, nitrate, radium, and trichloroacetic acid.
Other contaminants detected in their tests included barium, chromium, testosterone, and vanadium, many of which don’t have a legal limit. Fortunately, nearly all of these contaminants can be filtered out with a reverse osmosis system, and RO tends to filter out a wider variety and concentration of contaminants. Activated carbon filters, like those found in pitcher filters, and ion exchange systems can treat water to a certain degree, but they often fail to remove certain types of contaminants altogether or cannot remove enough specific contaminants to make water taste clean.
Of course, RO systems have a higher startup cost than these other filtration methods, but many find that the investment in these systems is worth every penny.
Can Residents in Chicago Benefit From Reverse Osmosis Treatment?
People living in almost any area in the United States can benefit from having an RO treatment system installed in their home or business, but this is especially true for those who live in large cities like Chicago. Chicagoans should consider getting an RO system for several reasons, including the fact that they are the best technology available at filtering out potentially dangerous contaminants in city or well water, as mentioned above.
Additionally, RO systems can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year, despite the relatively high startup cost. In many areas of the United States, it costs between $0.75 and $1.50 per gallon of bottled water, which can add up quickly, especially among larger families that use dozens or hundreds of gallons of water per day. On the other hand, tap water that runs through an RO system often costs $0.15 per gallon or below, depending upon where you live. Families can often break even on their investment in an RO system relatively quickly by how much they save per gallon compared to bottled water.
Bottled water also has major environmental effects. It takes substantial energy and materials to create bottles that are often improperly recycled or end up in landfills, lakes, and anywhere else. Reverse osmosis systems reduce or eliminate the need to use single-use plastic bottles, and they are usually energy-efficient devices, making them an excellent choice for the environmentally conscious.
How Often Should Residents in Chicago Replace Reverse Osmosis Prefilters?
In most cases, residents of Chicago should be just fine with changing their RO prefilter once or twice per year. Those who receive water that isn’t supersaturated with contaminants can usually get away with one filter change per year, but those who have more muddled water may need to up it twice per year.
You can tell it’s time for a filter change if you notice a difference in quality with your drinking water, including more sediments than normal or bad odors or taste. Suppose your home’s water begins running more slowly out of the tap. In that case, this can also indicate it’s time for a filter change, as a compromised filter will let less and less water through because it becomes so saturated with contaminants.
Many RO systems make it easy for homeowners to change the filters themselves, saving on labor costs, but more complex devices may require you to enlist the help of a professional. Whether you can change the filter yourself or not, we always recommend yearly inspections or check-ups by an expert, as this can allow us to detect small issues and remedy the situation before they get out of hand. This can also increase your device’s lifespan, potentially saving you thousands of dollars down the road by reducing the odds that you will need a completely new system anytime soon.
Do You Need a Water Softener With Your Reverse Osmosis System in Chicago?
We usually recommend that Chicago residents have a water softening system in conjunction with an RO system in their homes. RO systems tend to run much less efficiently if they are constantly subjected to hard water. Hard water is simply water with a high concentration of hard water ions, including calcium, magnesium, and others that leech into a water supply from soil or rocks.
Hard water isn’t dangerous to consume or use around the house. Still, it can lead to several inconveniences, such as dry skin and hair, stained laundry, cloudy dishes, reduced water efficiency, and mineral buildup within pipes and fixtures. Hard water can negatively impact the performance of your RO system by causing a mineral buildup within it, especially around the filter, which makes it work less efficiently and may lead it to needing more repairs than it otherwise would.
Water softeners, like RO systems, may have a high startup cost, but they too can help you save money in the long run by allowing your home to transport and use water more efficiently. When you combine the power of these two devices, you can save several hundred or even thousands of dollars per year in lowered water bills and plumbing repair problems.