If properly maintained, an RO system supplies you with clean, healthy, and good tasting drinking water.
Furthermore, a unit that is kept in terrific shape can last for several years, more than a decade. Fail to do so, however, and you might end up with contaminated water.
The good news is that the necessary maintenance is low. Additionally, regular nozzle and filter replacements and system sterilizing/cleaning can be done by the average homeowner without becoming an expert plumber. Want to learn more?
Reverse Osmosis Maintenance Schedule
Reverse Osmosis System Maintenance: Filter Changes
The most crucial element of maintaining your reverse osmosis system would be to change pre and post-filters regularly.
This depends first and foremost on the state of the feed water and your water intake. For instance: Hardness or high sediment levels as frequently found in well water may increase significantly lower these pre-filter components' lifespan. And, clearly, the more water you use for cooking and drinking, the earlier your filters will wear out.
As a rule, pre-filters should be changed at least every 6 to 12 months. A carbon post-filter can last as long as two years. Furthermore, cheap filters may require more frequent replacements since they tend to wear out faster. For more information, we advise that you refer to the user manual.
On a side note: You must get the right filters on your unit. Just about all manufacturers sell replacement components, including filters, so visit their site first. If you purchase from another source, double-check the quality is up to standards.
One thing is for sure, failing to change filters in a timely fashion will.
Reduce the overall purity of the output water.
Favour growth and accumulation of waterborne pathogens (fouling) from the filtration system. These bacteria, mould, mildew, etc., may pose a health risk.
Result in a drop in output water quantity, so pressure and flow.
Cause higher wastewater generation, which ultimately increases your water bill.
Bottom line: Be sure you keep on schedule and change filters (and the membrane) in due time.
By the way, all four aspects listed above could be obtained as clear signs that filter replacements are overdue. What is more, you could notice an unpleasant taste or odour from your water.
Stage 1 of the vast majority of RO water filter systems uses a sediment pre-filter. The objective is to shield the delicate RO membrane in the center of the system from clogging -- clogging from rust, silt, dirt, and other sorts of debris that get trapped in the filter.
It would be best if you changed the sediment pre-filter every 6 to 12 months.
Usually, at Stages 2 & 3, carbon pre-filters become involved. Activated/catalytic charcoal or carbon is terrific for eliminating chemicals from water, especially chlorine, and other disinfectants, which would contrarily affect the reverse osmosis system's operation. Thin-film composite (TFC) membranes are especially vulnerable to free chlorine.
Block or granular -- carbon pre-filters need replacing every 6 to 12 months.
Did we mention a carbon filter also significantly enhances water aesthetics?
And finally, we’ve got a carbon post-filter (stage 4 or 5). It has the purpose of presenting your water with a refining touch before it comes from the faucet. The carbon eliminates any residual tastes and odours leached into the water while being stored in the pressure tank.
Carbon post-filters should be replaced about every 12 months. Some could also be good for up to two years.
How to Replace Filters
Before you try to change your system's filters, make sure to look at the product manual. It probably includes particular step-by-step directions for filter/membrane replacements and additional maintenance functions.
This will provide you with a basic idea of this procedure (remember that every model is somewhat different):
1. Turn off the storage tank valve and water supply.
2. Depressurize the system.
3. Remove membrane/filters from their housings.
4. Insert new components and screw the housings back on.
5. Turn on the water supply and open the tank valve.
6. Open the RO faucet and allow the system to flush for a few minutes.
7. Check for leaks.
8. Close the faucet to allow the tank refill.
9. Discard one or two full water tanks before use (may not be necessary depending upon your system).
RO Membrane Replacements
What about the RO membrane?
A semipermeable Reverse Osmosis membrane that's in good shape removes up to 99 per cent of remaining contaminants from the water, including arsenic, lead, fluoride, chromium, 98-99% of waterborne pathogens, and much more. TDS fall to almost 0.
RO membranes serve longer than the several filters, not infrequently around 3 or 5 years, assuming you change pre-filters according to the schedule. In specific applications, a new RO membrane is needed every 1 or 2 years.
The safest way to know if your membrane needs to change is by using a TDS meter. If the decay of output water TDS falls below 80 per cent, it's time to get a replacement.
Again, to discover how you can change your system's RO membrane, you need to refer to the manual.
System Sanitizing & Cleaning
Sanitizing and Cleaning a reverse osmosis system is not essential in all cases. However, the entire process is neither too complicated nor time-consuming, which is why we suggest that you follow through with it to be on the safe side.
How frequently to sanitize/clean? With every filter replacement -- ideally after a year, maybe twice if required to be.
As always, for specific guidelines, refer to the operator's manual. Instead, follow this link to find out how to clean and sanitize a reverse osmosis system. In summary:
1. Turn off the water supply.
2. Depressurize the system.
3. Remove all filters membrane in their housings. Scrub the inner side of the accommodations with warm dishwater. Rinse afterwards.
4. Add unscented household bleach or another appropriate sanitizer to the housing of filter stage one.
5. Screw all housings back on.
6. Turn on the water supply.
7. Open the RO faucet until the water comes out. Then close it.
8. Check for leaks.
9. Let the storage tank fill to enable the bleach to keep in the system for a minimum of 30 minutes to a few hours.
10. Flush water out.
11. Allow the tank to refill another time and flush out.
12. Turn off the water supply.
13. Depressurize the system.
14. Install filter elements.
15. Turn the water supply back on.
16. Open the RO faucet and let the machine flushes for a few minutes.
17. Check for leaks.
18. Close the faucet to allow the tank to fill.
19. Discard one or two full water tanks before use (may not be necessary depending upon your system). Done!
Meanwhile, you may soak the membrane in various chemical solutions, based on its type and recommended by the manufacturer. This helps to eliminate organic matter and eliminate stuff like mould and mildew -- believe fouling. Additionally, it will prevent scaling. Both are important for optimal water output, operating pressure, and water quality.
Checking Storage Tank Pressure
Ample storage tank pressure is essential for your RO system to operate correctly. Therefore, you should check it about once a year. Any minimal pressure gauge will work well for this.
A tank may lose around 1 PSI each year.
What's essential is that you measure the pressure once your tank is vacant. It should read somewhere around 6 -- 8 PSI. If your tank is under pressurized, you can use an easy bicycle pump to repair it.
Reverse Osmosis Service
While most people decide to maintain their reverse osmosis system themselves, you have the choice to employ a local water treatment professional to do the job for you.
A range of companies offers After-sales services, so reach out to 2 or 3 and inquire about better comparison costs.