Maintaining an RO system is not hard. For the most part, you just need to replace the filters and membrane every once in a while.
With proper maintenance, a reverse osmosis system can easily last 10-15 years.
Proper RO maintenance also ensures the system continually produces contaminant-free water that’s safe and healthy for your family.
Here’s everything you need to know about maintaining your reverse osmosis system.
An RO system consists of three main filtration sections: pre-filtration, reverse osmosis, and post-filtration.
Pre-filtration typically consists of three filters: a sediment filter and two carbon filters.
Because these filters are the first ones in line, they tend to collect a lot of impurities, and unlike the RO membrane, they are not flushed.
So over time, they can become clogged, which greatly reduces filtration performance.
This affects water quality and can also damage the sensitive RO membrane.
Most RO systems have pre-filters that last 12 months. Cheaper systems use lower quality filters that last six months.
However, if you receive well water in your home, the filter life will be half the stated period.
If the normal replacement period is 12 months, replace the filters after every six months instead.
That’s because well water contains a higher number of sediment and dissolved solids. So the filters work harder and capture more impurities; hence, they don’t last as long before clogging.
Replacing the RO membrane on time is essential for keeping the water clean and safe.
An old membrane has lower filtration performance. It will allow more and more impurities through, including potentially dangerous microbes.
The average lifespan of most RO membranes is 2-3 years. Cheaper systems might have a 1-year membrane.
If levels start to go up, you know it’s time to replace the membrane.
Cleaning and Sanitizing the RO System
Clean the filter housings every time you replace the pre-filters. The only exception is if you have a Home Master RO system.
Home Master filters have a modular design. You replace the filter housing and cartridge at once.
For other systems, cleaning the filter housings removes any dirt, mold and other impurities that may have settled in the moist environment.
To clean the filter housings, just rinse them with warm water and dish soap. Rinse twice more with water only then put in the new filter cartridges.
Every year, you should also sanitize the system. This is a more thorough cleaning process that targets microbes and contaminants inside the tubes, the membrane housing, and other components.
To sanitize the RO system, you’ll need to run a bleach solution through the system and leave it to soak for a while before rinsing and flushing the system.
If you replace your filters once a year, you can do the cleaning and sanitizing at the same time.
If you replace them 2-3 times a year, clean the housing during every replacement but sanitize only during one of the replacements.