How We Save Money with Reverse Osmosis

Save Money with Reverse Osmosis

One thing my wife and I don’t like is the taste of tap water. While we are extremely grateful that we don’t have to worry about ingesting some parasite with each sip, the taste of chlorine isn’t a perfect alternative. So, we installed a reverse osmosis drinking water filter system. Now we have water that is healthy, tastes great, and save money with reverse osmosis.

If you have been looking for ways to drink save money on drinking water, I definitely encourage reverse osmosis. Until we moved into our house, we used filtered pitchers like Brita or the drinking water filter that came with our fridge.  While they will improve the overall quality of your water, I still have several objections to them for health and ongoing costs. That’s why we switched to reverse osmosis when we moved into our own home.

Why Reverse Osmosis?

We like reverse osmosis because it removes just about everything bad from water. One downside is that it also removes a lot of healthy minerals too, which is why we added a remineralization filter. It’s the preferred filtration method of many bottled water manufacturers because of the purity. And, we don’t have to pay bottled water prices.

When you think of filtering water at home, you probably think of a Brita filter or your fridge filter where the water passes through granulated carbon. As I mentioned before, they do remove the taste of chlorine and reduces or removes some nasty contaminants like chlorine, copper, lead, mercury, cadmium, and residue from fertilizers and pesticides.

Reverse Osmosis Removes (Almost) Everything

The first drawback with these filters is that the water quickly passes through the carbon filter and the filters are small. Water needs to spend as much time as possible in the filters to remove as many contaminants as possible. Plus, carbon filters have a really hard time removing ionic compounds like fluoride, nitrates, arsenic, pharmaceutical residue, and radionuclides.

Depending on your water quality, reverse osmosis can generally remove 95% to 99% of the bad stuff in your water. Basically, anything that’s left is .00001 microns or smaller.

Reverse Osmosis Can Be Cheaper

Reverse osmosis is definitely cheaper than exclusively buying bottled water or have the Culligan man bring those 5-gallon jugs each week. You need to replace the carbon filters of a reverse osmosis unit every 6-12 months. You will know by the taste and flow volume.

It costs about $60 a year to replace everything except the RO membrane. The membrane needs to be replaced every 2-3 years and that costs $42. It’s slightly more expensive than you standard Brita or fridge filter, but, the quality is a lot better.

After all, reverse osmosis is what desalination plants in the middle east use to remove the salt from ocean water so that it becomes drinkable.

Meet the iSpring RCC7AK

Before I decided to go with reverse osmosis, I did a lot of research (even started a second blog to help chronicle my research) to choose the best system for our needs. While there is no perfect system, I went with the iSpring RCC7AK 6-Stage Under-Sink Reverse Osmosis unit.

save money with reverse osmosis

Everything you get with Reverse Osmosis

It was the best combination of price and performance. For about $200, we got our system and have been using it for 9 months now and have been pleased.

What It Filters Out

save money with reverse osmosis

This is a partial list of what a reverse osmosis system can filter out.


Between the carbon filters and the reverse osmosis membrane, it filters out a lot of contaminants we don’t want to drink.

I also conducted my own tests with a TDS Meter to make sure it was actually filtering our water. The two images below are a pre-filtration and post-filtration reading.

Save Money with Reverse Osmosis

Our water straight from the tap has a TDS ready of 309.
That means there are 309 ppm of good & bad particles in our water.

Our reading straight from the tap is 309 ppm. A TDS meter measures the total dissolved solids. These are a combination of good particles and bad particles.

Save Money with Reverse Osmosis

After the water passes through the membrane, there are 40 ppm remaining.

After the water passes through the entire iSpring RCC7AK, the reading is only 40 ppm. That reading would probably be a little lower, but, we opted for the optional alkaline filter that puts healthy minerals back into the water such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium back into the water. These minerals also help give the water “taste” and the bottled water companies also put minerals back into the water afterward.

What is the different between a 5-stage and 6-stage reverse osmosis unit?

If you have looked at kitchen sink water filters in the past, you have probably seen them advertised as 3-stage, 4-stage, 5-stage, 6-stage, or 7-stage filtration systems.

Each “stage” is a filter. Your Brita filter or fridge filter will only be a single stage filter because the water passes through one carbon filter before you drink it. Having multiple stages means each subsequent filter removes more contaminants from the water. It’s how our filter dropped the TDS reading from 309 ppm to 40 ppm at our own house.





Save Money with Reverse Osmosis

This shows what each filter stage does to the water.
Source: iSpring

The above screenshot is for a 5-stage iSpring RCC7. This is a good system too and slightly cheaper. We opted to spend the extra $20 for the 6th stage alkaline filter to ensure our water was remineralized.

Side note: There’s a large debate on whether or not you need this filter or if you can get the minerals from your food. We decided better safe than sorry.

It’s Easy To Install

Another concern of ours was ease of installation. It took us about one hour to do the total install. We do have some plumbing experience from doing DIY repairs for our kitchen and bathroom faucets.

Save Money with Reverse Osmosis

We mounted our faucet to the right of our sink. That way dirty dishes wouldn’t get in the way.

You do have to install a separate faucet that requires drilling through your countertop if there isn’t a predrilled hole.

This is one reason we didn’t install this system when we rented. The next tenant might not want to use our system.

Save Money with Reverse Osmosis

The water storage tank and filters both fit under our sink. And, there’s room to spare.

As you can, the filters and storage tank fit underneath our sink. Reverse osmosis doesn’t filter “on-demand” because it takes about one hour to filter a gallon of water. You do need to allow room for the tank underneath your sink.

You will also have to drill a small hole into your pipes to get rid of the discharge from the RO membrane. One downside of reverse osmosis is that for every gallon of filtered water there are 1 or 2 gallons of “waste” water with the contaminants that are removed from the membrane.

Do We Save Money with Reverse Osmosis?

It is arguably cheaper in the short-term to simply use a Brita filter or fridge filter, but, the overall quality isn’t as good. You get what you pay for.

Here’s a breakdown of how much the different water filtration systems cost.

Option 1: Brita 10 Cup Everyday Water Pitcher
 Initial Cost: $23.49 (Amazon) for pitcher and one filter

Replacement Filter Cost: $5 per filter ($30/year) every 2 months or 40 gallons


Option 2: Fridge Filter

*Each fridge requires a different size filter. I chose the first option on Amazon, the EveryDrop by WhirlPool

Initial Cost: $39.99 plus cost of refrigerator

Replacement Filter Cost: $39.99 ($80/year) every 6 months or 200 gallons

Option 3: iSpring RCC7 Reverse Osmosis

Initial Cost: $186.19 for 5-stage RCC7 (without alkaline filter) or $208.49 for 6-stage RCC7AK (with alkaline filter)
This includes filters for your first year and all necessary equipment.

You can also buy an optional icemaker kit so your fridge can use reverse osmosis water to make ice for $19.39.

Recurring Cost: $31.79 for 5-stage system (without alkaline filter) or $64.62 for 6-stage RCC7AK with the alkaline filter. Both costs are per year. Every 2-3 years, you will need to replace the reverse osmosis membrane which is $42.45.


Reverse osmosis is still more expensive than other home filtration methods, but, the results are a lot better. In my opinion, the slightly higher costs are worth the tradeoff. Especially since clean water is essential to a healthy lifestyle.

Even if you don’t decide to do reverse osmosis, any water filtration method that you pursue at home is cheaper than exclusively buying bottled water.

My Recommendations for Reverse Osmosis Filters

While I encourage you to do your own research regarding drinking water quality and your individual health needs, the two reverse osmosis systems I recommend are either the iSpring RCC7 5-stage or the iSpring RCC7 6-stage.

I personally own the iSpring RCC7AK 6-stage and recommend it to others.
(I might earn some affiliate income if you purchase a system from the below links)

iSpring RCC7 5-stage

This system is plenty for a family for your cooking and drinking needs.

iSpring RCC7AK (What I Use)

I recommend this option if you want to automatically remineralize your water to ensure you get the essential nutrients you need with each sip of water.

It’s the same filter system as the 5-stage, except the alkaline filter that the water passes through before reaching your glass.

10 Comments on "How We Save Money with Reverse Osmosis"

  1. When we lived in the suburbs there were some concerns about the safety of the water, so we installed a whole house activated carbon system for the water and an under-the-sink reverse osmosis system for the drinking water. Well worth the cost. The water was clean and tasted great, and no more worries about potential contamination.

    • We wish we could dig a well, but, we didn’t want to spend $10,000 upfront.
      The carbon whole house filters are great too. That was my first selection, but, our water closest is relatively tight with a softener and water heater already. So the whole house filter was more hassle than what it’s worth especially since we were going to do the under-the-sink reverse osmosis as well.

      We do plan on getting a shower filter to get the chlorine out of that water.

  2. I’ll have to share this with my wife. I really don’t have a strong palate when it comes to water. My wife hates tap water while I don’t mind it. So she does Brita exclusively but has been trying to get me to buy some monthly water bottle coolers. So I’ll have to share this with her. Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Please share! Tap water is horrible for several reasons including taste and chemicals. The Flint water quality news reports that broke out last year helped put water quality in the national spotlight for a brief moment.

      No matter how you end up filtering your water (Brita, Zero, water coolers, reverse osmosis, distillation, etc.) it’s probably better than just drinking straight from the tap. Even if there is a small monthly fee.

  3. Hmmm very interesting, I actually hadn’t heard of this option. We use a Brita filter but you make a great case here for reverse osmosis instead. I like the list you shared of everything it filters out. You can’t argue with that!

    • Most people don’t realize that reverse osmosis is an option. The technology has come a long ways in recent years and also has become very affordable. My personal recommendations are reverse osmosis or a whole house activated carbon filter system because they are so much more effective. They do require more space and have a higher initial cost, but, are a good investment if you want to improve the quality of your water.

  4. Eye opening. I’ve heard of revers osmosis, but never really looked into it. I have to do a little studying. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  5. Kitty Walker | April 6, 2018 at 9:45 am | Reply

    Fantastic job, Josh, researching and outlining a great in-home model. Unfortunately, though we are in great need of such a system, neither my wife nor I are “handy.” Nor are there funds to contract such a project. At least I know what is possible.

    • Thanks Kitty. Before we got RO, we had a handheld pitcher for some time until we could set aside the cash to buy a system. We also lived in a rental house before that so a portable filter pitcher was our only option.

      We’ve had our system for over a year and are pleased with it. No regrets and still highly recommend!

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