Does your RO System Continuously Drain? Here Is The Simple Troubleshooting Guide

reverse osmosis constantly drains

Reverse Osmosis systems typically last for years without causing discomfort.

But even if yours does not, the great thing is that most issues are straightforward to diagnose and fix, particularly with our RO Troubleshooting Guide below.

With it, you hopefully have the ideal tool at hand to confront and solve nearly any issue without needing to call a skilled and spend some money.

RO Troubleshooting & Repair Guide – Summary

System Drains Continuously

The working of a reverse osmosis system is based on pressure. Put: Feedwater flows to the device, gets purified, and is stored in the storage tank for later use. When the storage tank is full, it activates an automated shut-off (ASO) valve to close. The valve prevents more water from getting into the system. Another valve, the test valve, prevent rejected water from running down the drainpipe.

If the shut-off valve or check valve is broken or tank pressure is too low, water may continuously flow down the drain. This means your RO system not only wastes a whole lot of water, but the noises can also become very disturbing after some time.

The solution:

Firstly, use a pressure gauge to measure the pressure in the storage tank when empty. The tank should read about 6-8 psi. In the event the pressure is too low, you will need to repressurize.

reverse osmosis constantly drains

How to Repressurize & Drain an RO Tank

1. Close the water supply to the device.

2. Close to the storage tank valve.

3. Disconnect the tank from the machine and take it out. Open the tank valve. At first, water will pour out fast, but the flow will trickle after some time.

4. Since plenty of water is still in the tank. You must pump air to the pressure valve to support a compressor or bicycle pump. With each pump, water will pour out.

5. When the tank is empty, have a pressure gauge to measure the pressure inside. You must aim somewhere between 6 to 8 psi (optimal value might say on the tank tag) for most tanks. Carefully repressurize if need be using the compressor or pump.

6. You can now reconnect the tank into your RO system. Open the feed water valve tank and allow the machine to refill.

The problem reoccurred a few days later? This implies that the bladder within the tank is ruptured and can’t hold the air. All you can do is change the entire tank.The tank pressure is within the desired range? Then it’s very likely that the shut-off valve or the check valve is a defect and has to be replaced.

Checking Pipes: Test #1

Here is the way it is possible to check if both ASO and check valve are working correctly:

1. Allow the storage tank to fill. You know when the tank is full by trying to lift it up.

2. Draw two to three water glasses from the RO faucet to decrease the storage tank’s pressure. This will cause your system to begin processing more water.

3. Close the tank valve to mimic a full tank.

4. Wait for 5 minutes.

5. Check if the water stops flowing down the drain line by listening intently or pulling the drain out of the drain saddle. If this is the case, both valves are functioning just fine. However, suppose water continues to flow down the drain. In that case, either the automated shut-off valve or the check valve is broken. If that’s the case, continue using test #2.

Checking Valves: Test #2

1. Allow the tank refill.

2. This time, keep the tank valve open and turn off the feed water valve.

3. Check if the water is flowing down the drain by listening intently. In that case, the water is coming directly from the storage tank, which means that the check valve is broken and requires changing. If no water is flowing, the ASO valve is damaged and must be changed.

No matter how hard you try, often a unit is broken beyond repair. 

Other Possible Causes

Other possible causes for a system to continually drain are:

Feedwater pressure is too low (usually below 40 psi). Increase the water pressure to the required amount, e.g., by applying a booster pump.

Your system was not installed properly, so the membrane causes the problem. Carefully reconnect all parts making sure that they’re in their proper position. Want help with how to install a RO system?

The RO membrane is in poor condition. Replace it.

A worn-out flow restrictor in the drain line is causing the issue. Replace the restrictor.

RO Storage Tank Not Filling Up

ro install

If a storage tank doesn’t fill, there’s usually an inherent pressure issue. Either tank pressure is too high or feeds water pressure too low.

An empty storage tank should read about 6 to 8 psi. You can measure this with a typical bicycle gauge, such as reduce pressure if need be.

Suppose the feed water pressure is less than 40 psi. In that case, you will need to increase the strain on your entire house or use a pump mainly designed for RO systems.

Clogged Filters Or Poor RO membrane: Clogging usually happens when a membrane needs to process hard water. You have two options: You can either change membranes more often, which can increase the costs. Or you could install an extra pre-treatment system — think water softener — that will get rid of all hardness minerals in the water before it moves through the filter system. If any of the clogged filters are causing the issue, again, replacement is essential.

  • RO Membrane not correctly seated.
  • Bent tubing
  • A feedwater tank or valve shut 

Leaking System

The majority of the time makes it easy to identify what is causing a RO system to leak. Check every connection to catch the culprit.

Leaky Faucet

A dripping faucet suggests that one or more system components are loosely fitted. To prevent the leaking, completely tighten all joints. Push the tube further into their valves, drain saddle, and the ports.

If the leaking starts from the faucet stem base, there’s absolutely no way around replacing the piece.

Leaking Air Gap Faucet

Is water coming from the hole of the air gap faucet over the sink? This commonly known issue is called an “air pit leak.” It’s caused by a blocked drain line, which generally happens when debris has collected in the drain.

Now, an air gap’s role is to ensure that water can’t flow back into the RO system. During regular operation, water runs out of the storage tank to the faucet and drops through a little pocket of air, the air gap.

When the drain line begins to clog it up creates back pressure that causes water to flow from the gap and throughout your countertop.

All you have to do to resolve this is to clear the drain off so water can flow freely. Have a pipe cleaner or wire brush to clean out the one end of the drain connected to the drain saddle. Also, clean the saddle itself, as the material will grow in there.

Also, drain saddles tend to change so that the holes are not correctly lined up anymore, limiting the water flow. Be sure the drain saddle and drain line gap are adjusted.

How to Prevent An Air Gap To Escape In The Future?

Eliminating the possibility of an occasional escape is nearly impossible. But you can take the required measures to decrease their frequency very significantly:

  • First of all, avoid flushing big chunks of food and other stuff down the drain.
  • Additionally, regularly treat your drain with a natural cleanser to dissolve any barriers.

Leaking House Filter

A misplaced or drained rubberized O-ring is probably responsible for causing a filter/membrane home to leak. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Close the feed valve so no more water can flow in the system.

2. Shut off the storage tank valve.

3. Unscrew the leaking filter casing.

4. Inspect the O-ring(s). Replace if cracked or usually in poor condition.

5. Be sure O-rings are appropriately placed and sit tight.

6. Screw the filter casing back, and hand tightens. Use the home wrench to pull another quarter turn or so.

7. Open the tank and feed the water valve.

8. If the filter housing remains leaking, it might be damaged and requires replacement. You can check for this by shifting it with one of those other housings.

It’s also quite normal for the membrane housing cover to get loose over time displaces the O-ring. Routine retightening is a simple fix.

Slow/No Water Flow From Faucet & Low Pressure

reverse osmosis constantly drains

You had your RO system for several years. Like every other day, you’re going to enjoy a fresh glass of purified drinking water. For some reason, but the glass fills half complete, and the water flow goes down to a trickle.

No flow or little from the faucet means you have a low quantity of water or low pressure.

The root of the issue is probably a malfunctioning storage tank. The tank is an air purifier that, as more water runs to the tank, raises pressure. If the bladder leaks, it can’t build up sufficient force. Because of this, you aren’t getting water delivered to a faucet in precisely the same amount you’re utilized to.

What Can You Do About This?

First, lift the tank to find out if it is full. A full tank weighs around 28 pounds rather than an empty one considering nearly nothing. If the tank feels heavy, the flaw is most likely in its inside.

Next, you want to gauge the pressure of the tank when empty. An empty tank should read between 6 to 8 PSI.

If your tank’s pressure is lower, you will need to repressurize it.

The problem reoccurred a few days later? This means that the bladder within the tank is ruptured, and you will need to replace the entire tank.

Other Possible Causes

Slow faucet water flow may also be an indicator for general low feed water pressure (under 40 psi). A permeate pump or booster is the best option here. Other reasons that could be causing the problem are:

Clogged Filters or Poor RO membrane

Clogging usually happens when a membrane must process hard water. You have two choices: You can either change membranes more frequently, which can increase the costs. Or you could install an extra pre-treatment system -water softener – that will get rid of all hardness minerals in the water before it flows into the filter system. If any of the clogged filters are causing a decline in circulation, again, replacement is essential.

RO Filteration not working correctly seated.

Bent tubing

It might lead to pressure loss, which consequently causes a downward water movement. Inspect the tubing and sew all lines which are bent.

Feedwater valve or tank valve shut.

Empty storage tank if need be.

Water Tasting Bad

reverse osmosis constantly drains

Water tastes terrible and/, or odour generally starts from a biofilm gathered in one or more filtration phases. This can happen after a few months or years of use and may also result in cloudiness.

Hence, what you ought to do is replace any clogged filters or a fouled membrane immediately. And from now on, remember to replace stated components in a timelier fashion (filters at least every 6 to 12 weeks).

Remember: If you let germs grow on your reverse osmosis system, they could pose a significant health threat.

Additionally, we recommend you wash out the system occasionally (refer to manufacturer directions). This might also include sanitizing the storage tank.

Alternatively, you may invest in a unit that comes with a modular filter design. This allows you to dispose of the whole filter/membrane housings. Each replacement is demonstrated to be the best method to avoid the accumulation of harmful pathogens. The drawback is that this sort of system is more expensive to buy and maintain.

Unused Water

Bacteria grow in stagnant water with time, which may be the source of terrible taste and smell. When you haven’t used your RO system for some time, it’s a fantastic idea to flush the whole unit, specifically the storage tank, once or twice before you begin using the water.

Noisy Air Gap Drain or Faucet 

When you put your system into use for the first time or recently replaced one of the filter cartridges, you may hear strange noises coming from the drain line or air gap faucet.

This is nothing to worry about. It’s brought on by air being pushed out of the machine.

However, the issue shouldn’t persist for at least a few days. If the sound doesn’t subside and it is something that is bothering you, be sure all tubing is set straight. The sound is also produced by a barrier in the drain saddle or tube. If that does not help, it is time to examine the complete system for gaps and correct any errors.

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