Troubleshooting Reverse Osmosis: 6 Things to Consider | American domestic water and air (2023)

Reverse osmosis systems have many moving parts that work together to ensure you get clean, safe drinking water. A problem in one component can disrupt the efficiency of the entire system. Fortunately, you can fix any problems with your reverse osmosis system quickly by using reverse osmosis troubleshooting.

Reverse osmosis systems can last up to 15 years. However, this does not mean that your reverse osmosis plant is immune to breakdowns. In this guide, we'll take a look at some of the issues that can reduce the efficiency of your RO system. Read on to learn how to troubleshoot RO issues.

Troubleshooting the reverse osmosis system: common problems

Troubleshooting Reverse Osmosis: 6 Things to Consider | American domestic water and air (1)

If you own a reverse osmosis system, be aware of the following reverse osmosis system issues. But first you have toclick herelearn how the RO system works.

  • constant drain system
  • The RO tank is not filling
  • Taste and smell the water.
  • leakage system
  • Slow or small water flow
  • high pitched

Now let's take a look at the possible causes of these problems and the solutions.

  1. Constant drain system

The reverse osmosis system works on the basis of pressure. The water flows to the filter unit where it is cleaned and stored in the reverse osmosis tank for use when needed. When the RO tank is full and the tank pressure reaches two-thirds of the supply line pressure, this will be the caseautomatic valve (ASO)will close. This prevents more water from flowing into the system. Another valve, known as a check valve, also prevents wastewater from entering the drain line.

If the rejected water continues to flow through the drain line, there may be a problem with the ASO valve or check valve. And that can lead to wasted water.

Here are the possible causes of the problem and how to fix it.

  • ASO valve:A broken ASO valve allows more water to enter the reverse osmosis system, even when the storage tank is full. To solve this problem, disconnect the valve to relieve all pressure and replace it with a new one.
  • Check valve:If the check valve ruptures, it will prevent the RO system from reaching shut-off pressure. So more water will flow through the drain pipe. To solve this problem, replace the non-return valve with a new one.
  • Current limiter:If the flow restrictor in your system is worn out, a large amount of repelled water can flow through the drain lines, causing a lot of noise. To solve the problem, replace the worn limiter with a new one.
  1. The RO tank does not fill

If you find that your reverse osmosis tank is not filling up, you need to find the source of the problem and fix it. These are some of the reasons why your RO tank is not filling up.

(Video) Reverse Osmosis System Troubleshooting

  • Low feed water pressure:In order for the system's semi-permeable membrane to filter water, a pressure of at least 40 pounds per square foot is required. square inches. If the feed water pressure is below that, the reverse osmosis membrane will not filter much water.

To solve this problem, install a booster pump to increase the pressure in your RO system. You can also check that the water supply valve is fully open so that enough water can enter the system. Also make sure that the water supply lines are not bent.

  • RO-tanktrykubalans:Most reverse osmosis tanks require a standard pressure of 6 to 8 pounds per square inch to operate effectively. If the pressure is too high, the water leaving the RO filtration unit will not enter the storage tank.

You can solve this problem by first measuring the tank pressure with a pressure gauge. If the pressure is too high, release a little. If the pressure is too low, you can inflate some air with a compressor or bicycle pump.

  • Clogged pre- and post-filters:If the pre-filters in your system are clogged, less water will flow into the semi-permeable membrane. This will also reduce the amount of water that flows into the storage tank.

To solve this problem, regularly replace your pre- and post-filters to improve the efficiency of your RO system. It also helps protect the delicate reverse osmosis membrane from damage.

  1. Taste and smell in water

Pure water is tasteless and odorless. If the water coming out of your faucets has an odor and taste, it means your reverse osmosis system has a problem. The foul taste usually comes from contaminants that build up on the filters over time.

The water from the wells also contains dissolved gases that are responsible for the stench. If the carbon filter in your system is faulty, it will not remove the dissolved gases. For example, the water that comes out of your taps will always smell. You can prevent this by installing a new carbon filter.

Replace clogged filters regularly (every 6 to 12 months) to remove bad taste from the water. If bacteria build up on filters, they can pose significant health risks. That is why you should also disinfect the reverse osmosis installation more often.

  1. Wonderful reverse osmosis installation

Leaks are a common problem with most reverse osmosis systems. The good news is that you can quickly find leak points by inspecting the connections in your system. These are some of the endpoints that are leaked in most cases.

leaky faucets

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If water is dripping from the faucet, some parts of your reverse osmosis system are poorly connected. A common leak problem with most faucets is"leakage air gap".It occurs when water seeps through the hole in a faucet with an air gap.

An air gap is a vital part of the reverse osmosis system. Prevents water from flowing back into the reverse osmosis unit. Instead, the air gap directs excess water to the drain lines.

When a large amount of debris builds up in the drain line, it clogs and creates a back pressure that pushes the water out through the air gap. Unfortunately, reflux can flood your kitchen sink.

To solve this problem, remove any accumulated debris from the drain line so that the water can flow smoothly. You can use a wire brush or pipe cleaner to clean the drain line, starting at the end that connects to the system's drain saddle.

You should also clean the system drain saddle and make sure it is properly aligned with the drain hose. The drain saddles can sometimes float away from the drain pipes.

To completely prevent air gap leaks, the drain line should be treated regularly with a natural cleaner that can dissolve solids that block the drain line. Also avoid dumping large pieces of food down the drain pipe.

Leaking filter housing

Leaks in the filter/diaphragm housing are usually related to the o-rings. If the rubber on the o-ring is worn or out of place, the housing is most likely leaking. In particular, recycled O-rings can also stretch when you remove the housings to replace the filters. And it can also cause leaks.

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To prevent the filter housing from leaking, check the condition of the O-ring, whether it is broken or misplaced. But first close the system supply valve to prevent more water from flowing into the system. Close the valve on the reverse osmosis tank as well.

After closing the valves, carefully unscrew the filter housing to see if the o-rings are bad and seated properly. Make sure the o-rings are in place before screwing the housing back on.

Screw the housing back on and open the feed water valve. If you still have a leak despite replacing the o-rings, the housing is most likely damaged. So you need to replace it with a new one to stop the leakage.

  1. Water slowly or little water

Nothing is more disgusting than turning on the tap to enjoy a glass of drinking water, only to find the glass half full. The problem is common with reverse osmosis systems that have been in operation for many years. So what are the possible causes of this problem?

The main cause is a damaged tank air bladder that separates the air chamber and the water chamber. If the bladder is leaking, it cannot produce enough force to pump the water out of the tank. Therefore, it will supply some water to your faucets. You must replace the tank to solve this problem.

Here are the other possible causes of the problem.

  • Closed tank valve or feed water valve
  • Clogged pre- and post-filters
  • Bent pipe restricts water flow
  • Tom storage tank
  • Clogged current limiter
  • Reverse osmosis membrane clogged
  1. high pitched

Is your reverse osmosis system making noise? There may be a lot of noise coming from the air gap valve or discharge line when you first use the system. You don't have to worry about that, because the air is taken from the reverse osmosis system.

But if the loud gurgling noises continue for many days, it could be that too much water is running down the drain line. Perform the drain test to determine the amount of water flowing through the drain lines.

(Video) How To Replace Your Reverse Osmosis Filters and Membrane - APEC Water Installation Part 6

Restricting the water flow along the drain pipe or seat can also cause a lot of noise. Therefore, make sure that all pipes are straight. If sound is still present, inspect the entire system and correct any errors.

Last word

If the efficiency of your reverse osmosis system is low, use this reverse osmosis troubleshooting guide to troubleshoot any reverse osmosis system problems. In general, you should regularly maintain the entire reverse osmosis system to avoid such problems. In addition, it makes RO troubleshooting quick and easy.

Related posts


Why is my reverse osmosis not producing enough water? ›

If clogged or partially open, the reverse osmosis system cannot build up enough pressure to work efficiently. Eventually, check the system's water supply lines to ensure that they are in the right condition. If bent or kinked, the lines will prevent water from flowing into the tank.

Why isn't my reverse osmosis system working? ›

Check the tank to see if it's full of water or not. If it's full, open the faucet and check the flow rate. If nothing is flowing, check to make sure the valve is in the open position (handle in line with the tubing). If everything looks right, check to see if any pressure is in the tank with a tire pressure gauge.

How do I know if my RO membrane is clogged? ›

The number one indicator is when the RO system simply stops producing water or the flow of the RO water is weaker than it used to be. Next, if your RO system is running constantly that is another sign that it is time to replace your membrane.

How do you get air out of RO lines? ›

Open your new reverse osmosis faucet and allow all the water to run out. This will empty the tank and should remove all the excess air from the system.

What should the tank pressure be on a reverse osmosis water system? ›

In a full/heavy tank, air pressure should be 30-40 psi. To be accurate, air pressure should be 2/3 of incoming water pressure. When the tank is full, and if feed water pressure to the RO system is 60 psi, then a full tank should have 40 psi.

How much water pressure is needed for reverse osmosis? ›

The ideal pressure for operating an RO system is 60 PSI. Pressure below 40 PSI is generally considered insufficient, and should be boosted using a pressure booster pump.

What is the lifespan of a reverse osmosis system? ›

How long do reverse osmosis systems last? A well-maintained reverse osmosis system can run efficiently for 10 to 15 years, providing you with clean, safe drinking water throughout its lifespan. However, it is imperative to replace each of its filters and the RO membrane as prescribed by the manufacturers.

How do you unclog a RO filter? ›

Steps to clean RO Filters
  1. Cut the water supply to the storage tank.
  2. Empty the storage tank.
  3. Allow the system to be free for some time and then remove the filter housings.
  4. Remove the Reverse Osmosis membrane and filters and then replace the filter housings.

How do you unclog a RO membrane? ›

Fill the cleaning tank with RO permeate or DI water. Turn on the agitator or tank recirculation pump. Slowly add (your selected RO cleaning product) to the cleaning tank based on the CIP total volume and the product strength needed and allow it to mix thoroughly. Check solution temperature.

Should reverse osmosis water be cloudy? ›

This is generally caused by trapped air within the RO system. However, it will not affect the quality of your water. The cloudiness should disappear within a minute after water sits in a glass. This is a normal occurrence with a newly installed RO System or after a filter change.

What if the water pressure is too high in the RO system? ›

If tank pressure is too high, then water coming from the filters won't enter the RO holding tank. The ideal tank pressure is 8 psi. You can attempt to re-pressurize your RO tank with a bicycle pump, but be sure to drain all of the water in the tank first. Be aware that RO pressure tanks wear out with time.

Can you add air to a full RO tank? ›

If your reverse osmosis tank has lost its pressure, you can easily add pressure back to the tank with a bicycle pump. The air valve on an RO tank is called a Schroeder valve, and its the same valve you'll find on your bicycle tire.

How much pressure should a 4 gallon reverse osmosis tank have? ›

PRE-CHARGED PRESSURE @ 5 PSI (Tank - 3, 4 & 14)

What is ideal water tank pressure? ›

Your well tank's pressure should be set at 2 psi below the pressure switch's cut-on point. This differs depending on your tank's pressure settings. Most well tanks come set at 30/50. The cut-on pressure for the well pump is 30 psi, so the pressure of the tank should have a pressure of 28 psi.

How much water does reverse osmosis reject? ›

While RO systems can improve water quality, these systems can also generate a significant amount of water waste to operate. For example, a typical point-of-use RO system will generate five gallons or more of reject water for every gallon of permeate produced.

How many gallons of water does it take to make a gallon of reverse osmosis water? ›

How much water does an RO system use? Generally, the reverse osmosis process takes 4 gallons of water to make one gallon of purified water. The amount of water used is based on the water supply and the RO system itself.

How many gallons per day can the reverse osmosis pump? ›

A Reverse Osmosis system will typically operate under water pressure ranging from 40 to 100 psi and will generate 10 to 75 gallons (45-340 Liters) per day for point-of-use systems.

Should RO always be switched on? ›

If you use the pump, it will have extra water pressure. You must turn it off when not in use. Further, UV water purifiers is best for home. Faucet-mounted purifiers – You can turn them off even though you do not need electricity.

How often do RO filters need to be changed? ›

RO filters replacement should ideally be done every 12 months. This is to ensure optimal effectiveness of your whole reverse osmosis system. Failure to do this would result to contaminants being still present in your drinking water.

Do reverse osmosis systems need maintenance? ›

Reverse osmosis (RO) systems are great to have under your sink to provide you high-quality water to drink, cook with, or run to the ice machine. To make sure the system continues to remove dissolved solids and that the quality of that water stays remains high, RO systems require periodic maintenance.

Does hydrogen peroxide damage RO membranes? ›

Oxidation. Chlorine, chloramines, ozone, hydrogen peroxide, and other chemicals are oxidizers and will attack the structure of the membrane's concentrate layer. This does damage some layers, such as the thin film composite layer, more than others.

Can reverse osmosis filters be cleaned? ›

Put ½ cup of bleach (chlorine) into the Stage-1 housing. Screw this empty housing back onto the RO head, with bleach inside. (When you turn on the feed water later, the bleach in this housing will flow through the entire RO system and tank, and sanitize the system that way.)

What can harm an RO membrane? ›

7 things that can harm your Sea Water RO Membrane
  • Chlorine: Even a small amount of chlorine if present in the feedwater, can destroy RO membranes. ...
  • High temperature: Very high temperature can cause permanent damage to the membrane and support structures. ...
  • Low temperature: ...
  • Rust: ...
  • Oil: ...
  • Silt, Mud, Sand and Algae: ...
  • Drying out:
Jan 6, 2023

How do you increase RO capacity? ›

Another way to increase your tank capacity is to add an RO booster pump. Reverse osmosis systems require at least 50 psi to perform optimally. If your feed pressure is below that, your system will produce water much slower, your waste will increase, and the filtration will not be as thorough.

How do you increase reverse osmosis recovery? ›

The RO recovery rate can be increased if the water entering the unit is free from low solubility impurities, either because they have been removed by pre-treatment or due to the feedwater not containing them in the first place.

How often should I flush my RO membrane? ›

Based on the frequency of flushing, how much water you produce, and the quality of that source water, you will need to change your RO membrane every 3 - 5 years.

How many gallons does an RO system produce per day? ›

A Reverse Osmosis system will typically operate under water pressure ranging from 40 to 100 psi and will generate 10 to 75 gallons (45-340 Liters) per day for point-of-use systems.

How much water does an RO waste in a day? ›

For every 1 liter of filtered water, an average RO purifier wastes around 3 liters of water. That indicates that just 25% of the water gets cleansed and 75% of the water is wasted. The amount of water wasted varies depending on the type of RO purifier used.

Do you need to add electrolytes to reverse osmosis water? ›

No, not necessarily. Although the minerals in water are important for health, avoiding chemicals, bacteria and contamination are also very beneficial too. The solution isn't to avoid reverse osmosis but instead adding minerals to the water.

What happens if you drink too much reverse osmosis water? ›

Recent studies suggest that RO water may be a risk factor for hypertension and coronary heart disease, gastric and duodenal ulcers, chronic gastritis, goitre, pregnancy complications and several complications in new-borns and infants, including jaundice, anaemia, fractures and growth disorders.


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