Reverse Osmosis System Maintenance

When it comes to ensuring the longevity and effectiveness of your reverse osmosis system, regular maintenance is the key. Our statistics show that regularly maintained reverse osmosis systems can last for more than 10 years! But what steps do you need to take to ensure that your RO system does not give up the ghost after only a year or two? 

In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into reverse osmosis system maintenance, tell you how to do it, what are the pros and cons of doing it yourself vs getting a water treatment company to do it for you, and how local businesses can maintain their reverse osmosis equipment.

Figure 1 A typical RO System

Why Do You Regularly Need to Maintain Your RO System?

RO water systems act as barriers between germs plus toxic heavy metals and your health. The tap water that you use usually does not undergo treatments to cleanse it from suspended materials, bacteria, and dissolved solids. An RO system works to purify your water from these dangerous materials and make it healthy and safe. 

Additionally, you will be less susceptible to diseases like: 

  • Diarrhea
  • Water-borne diseases
  • Viral and bacterial infections

Key Components of Reverse Osmosis System Maintenance

Let’s take a closer look at some of the key components of reverse osmosis (RO) system maintenance:

Filter replacement

 Your reverse osmosis system uses several different types of filters to remove impurities from your water. These include 

  • Pre-filters such as sediment and carbon filters
  • Post filters such as polishing filters. 
  • Filtration membrane – the most delicate part of your RO system which does the most filtration work. 

Replacing these filters regularly is essential for maintaining the effectiveness of your reverse osmosis system.

Storage tank pressure checks

The storage tank in your reverse osmosis system holds purified water until you’re ready to use it. Over time, the pressure in the tank can decrease, which can affect water flow. Checking the storage tank pressure regularly and repressurizing it if necessary, can help ensure that your system continues to provide an adequate supply of purified water.

Figure 2 Industrial RO Systems with Storage Tanks

System sanitization

Sanitizing your reverse osmosis machine simply means cleaning all components of the system, every nook and corner, to remove any buildup of bacteria or other contaminants.

This water filtration animation explains how an RO system works.

What Does Reverse Osmosis System Maintenance Consist of? 

First, let’s talk about what reverse osmosis equipment maintenance entails. Regular maintenance of your reverse osmosis system typically involves the following:

  • Replacing filters
  • Checking storage tank pressure
  • Replacing RO membrane
  • Sanitizing the system. 

But how often and when do you need to clean these components? Let’s find out. 

How Often Should Reverse Osmosis Water System Maintenance Happen?

The frequency of reverse osmosis water system maintenance depends on several factors, including water usage and the quality of your source water. 

To help you keep track of when to perform these tasks, we’ve put together a handy reverse osmosis system maintenance checklist:

Component 

Maintenance Schedule 

Pre-filters 6-12 months
Post-filters 1-2 years
Reverse osmosis membrane Every 3-5 years
Clean and Sanitize Storage Tank  At least once a year
Checking Storage Tank Pressure At least once a year, using a low-pressure gauge. 

Signs That Your Reverse Osmosis System Needs Maintenance

Reverse Osmosis machines are smart. Once their performance starts degrading due to inadequate maintenance, they’ll start showing symptoms like an ill patient. These are the signs that indicate your system needs attention: 

  • A decrease in water flow
  • Changes in water taste or odor
  • Leaks

If you notice any of these signs, it’s high time to get the maintenance process underway. 

Doing it Yourself vs. Consulting a Water Treatment Company

Cleaning and maintaining a reverse osmosis (RO)system can be an arduous task, and if you don’t think you’re up for this chore, or if you can’t find the time to do so, consulting a water treatment company is almost always the best option. But as with all things, both of these options – doing the maintenance yourself or asking a water treatment company to do it for you – have their merits and demerits. 

What will happen if you do the maintenance part yourself? Doing it yourself can save you money in the short term and give you a sense of accomplishment. However, it can also be time-consuming and requires some technical know-how. This is especially true if you have an under-sink Reverse osmosis water filtration system that comes with its own faucet, commonly known as an RO faucet. Maintaining a reverse osmosis system consisting of a RO faucet might be too technical for common folks. 

Figure 3 Under-sink RO System

If you’re not comfortable performing these tasks yourself or don’t have the time to do so, consulting a water treatment company may be a better option.

At the same time, consulting professionals have their own perks. Water treatment companies have the expertise and equipment to perform reverse osmosis system maintenance quickly and efficiently. They can also provide preventive maintenance and service options to ensure that your system continues to operate at peak performance. While this option may cost more upfront, it can save you time and hassle in the long run. 

Doing it Yourself

Consulting a Water Treatment Company

Pros

Can save money in the short term Expertise and equipment to perform maintenance quickly and efficiently
Sense of accomplishment Preventive maintenance and service options to ensure peak performance

Cons

Can be time-consuming May cost more upfront
Requires some technical know-how

Reverse Osmosis Systems for Commercial Applications

RO Systems also find numerous applications in the industrial landscape, where they are often used for municipal water purification, desalination of seawater, and wastewater treatment. If you’re using a reverse osmosis system for commercial applications, regular maintenance is even more important. 

In addition to the checklist we mentioned above, commercial systems may require additional maintenance such as: 

  • Cleaning and flushing the membranes.
  • Monitoring water quality. 
  • Checking water flow. 

The maintenance of a commercial reverse osmosis system is better suited to a professional company, particularly one which has rich experience in the maintenance of different water treatment systems. 

Conclusion

All in all, regular maintenance is essential for ensuring the longevity and effectiveness of your reverse osmosis system. We have listed the steps you need to follow if you are planning on doing this yourself. If you need further advice and assistance, please contact our engineers.

Of course, whether you choose to do it yourself or consult a water treatment company for help, make sure to follow a regular maintenance schedule and pay attention to any signs that indicate your system needs attention. By doing so, you can enjoy clean and safe drinking water for years to come.

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