Pouring fresh water on drinking glass over nature sunlight morning background

According to the Las Vegas Valley Water District, Las Vegas has very hard water, with a rating of 16 grains per gallon. To help put this in perspective, water rated 7 grains per gallon or more is considered hard water.  

Grains per gallon refers to the amount of minerals in the water, such as magnesium and calcium. As the number goes up, the volume of dissolved minerals increases. While hard water is not harmful to drink, it is bad for your home’s plumbing, fixtures, washing machine, and dishwasher. 

Fortunately, you have different options for dealing with hard water and improving the water quality in your Las Vegas home, including reverse osmosis, water filtration, and water softening systems. 

Request a free quote for soft water systems for hard water from Rain Water Conditioning of Las Vegas today. 

Why does Las Vegas have such hard water?

Most of the water in Las Vegas comes from Lake Mead. Lake Mead gets its water from the Colorado River. The Colorado River gets its water from the snow that melts off the Rocky Mountains. As you can imagine, as the water makes its long journey to Lake Mead, it is going to pick up a lot of minerals and calcium. 

What is reverse osmosis?

Reverse Osmosis (RO) is a type of water purification that removes impurities from the water, including:

  • Heavy Metals
  • Nitrates
  • Salt
  • Bacteria
  • VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds)
  • Viruses
  • Sediment
  • Arsenic
  • Pollutants
  • Fluoride
  • Chlorine
  • Parasites

RO systems are also designed to remove calcium and minerals from hard water.

How does reverse osmosis work?

Reverse osmosis passes water through a RO membrane and a series of filters. There are different configurations depending on the brand and setup. In general, the water will be purified through a series of four processes:

  1. The water enters a 5-micron sediment filter to remove any sediment.
  2. The water then enters a pre-carbon filter to remove chlorines as the RO membrane is sensitive to chlorine.
  3. Once the water leaves the carbon filter, it is passed through the RO membrane, which removes impurities. The pure water molecules pass through the membrane and into the storage tank. The impure water molecules will not pass through the membrane; they are reversed and flow down into your home drain connection. 
  4. When the RO faucet is opened, or the icemaker calls for it, water travels out of the bladder storage tank and through a final post-carbon polishing filter. This sweetens the water for consumption and produces clearer, harder ice cubes.

Some RO systems can have a few more processes before the water leaves the system. The first one is exposing the water to UV light to kill any viruses and bacteria that were not already removed. Then, the water is passed through another carbon filter to remove unpleasant tastes and odors. 

What is water filtration?

Water filtration helps remove some contaminants from drinking water by passing the water through a carbon filter, such as:

  • Dirt
  • Rust
  • Heavy Metals
  • VOCs
  • Arsenic
  • Chlorine
  • Parasites
  • Sediment

Water filtration also removes odors and unpleasant tastes. 

Reverse Osmosis vs. Filtration

The primary difference between reverse osmosis vs. filtration is an RO system not only filters the water but also purifies the drinking water by removing minerals, calcium, viruses, bacteria, salt, nitrites, and fluoride. Another key difference is water filters do not remove calcium and minerals, so you will still have hard water even after passing it through a water filter. 

Can I use a water softener with a reverse osmosis or water filtration system? 

A water softener system removes calcium, minerals, and a small amount of heavy metals. Water softeners are well-suited for dealing with Las Vegas’ very hard water. However, it does not purify the water, nor can it fully remove all heavy metals. 

As such, you can connect a water softener system to a reverse osmosis or water filtration system to purify or filter your drinking water. An added benefit when using a reverse osmosis system with a water softener is it removes most of the sodium left in the water after it has been softened. 

Can I use a water filtration system with an RO system?

Some people do use a combination whole-house water filtration system with individual RO systems at specific faucets. The primary benefit of this configuration is all the water coming into the house is filtered. Then, the water connected to the RO systems is further purified for drinking or cooking. 

Which system is better for my Las Vegas home?  

The system you choose depends on your specific water needs. The first thing you should do is have your water tested to determine exactly what is in it. Once you know what is in your water, you can better decide which type of system would be best for your Las Vegas home.

You should also consider the following questions:

  • What do you want to do with your purified or filtered water? 
  • Do you only want purified or filtered water for drinking?
  • Do you want all the water in your home purified or filtered?
  • Do you want soft water?

In addition, you need to decide if you want a whole-house setup, an individual faucet setup, or a combination of both. For instance, you may want a whole-house water softener, and then individual RO systems or filtration systems installed for your kitchen and bathroom sinks. 

On the other hand, you may want a whole-house water softener and whole-house RO system or filtration system. This way, all the water in the entire house is softened and has been either purified or filtered. 

Final Thoughts

When deciding between a water filtration or RO system, it is essential to remember the following:

  • Water filters only filter the water but do not remove all contaminants. 
  • Water filters do not remove calcium and minerals from hard water. 
  • RO systems purify the water by filtering it and removing all impurities.
  • RO systems also remove calcium and minerals from hard water.

Still unsure whether you should choose a water filtration or RO system for your Las Vegas home? Get advice from one of our water experts at Rain Water Conditioning of Las Vegas. 

Stop by our showroom, where we will review the features of each system and their benefits and provide you with a free, no-obligation estimate.

Contact one of our water experts today for assistance in choosing the best water treatment system for your Las Vegas home. 


Water Quality FAQs. (2022).

Hardness of Water. (2018).

Truini, J. (2022). How Does a Water Softener Work? (And Why You Might Want One).

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