The reverse osmosis system lasts for 10–15 years if it is properly maintained. To help your RO system last longer and work effectively, here are step-by-step instructions for home reverse osmosis system maintenance.
Reverse osmosis system maintenance checklist
- Replace the sediment filter every 12 months.
- Replace the carbon block filter every 6 to 12 months.
- Replace the RO membrane every 2 to 3 years.
- Replace the polishing filter every 6 to 12 months.
- Every 2 weeks, drain the RO storage tank.
- Clean and sanitize the RO system every year.
- Check storage tank pressure.
Simple step-by-step to follow at home
- Replacing the filter at the right time
An ordinary reverse osmosis system operates in 4 stages. Each stage uses a different filter that requires changing after a period of treating water. The common stages include:
Sediment filter—this is the first stage of the RO system. A sediment filter is designed to filter out sediment, sand, silt, and dirt. This protects particulate from getting to the RO membrane, which can clog easily.
The sediment filter requires replacement every 12 months. If you fail to replace it at the right time, particulate can reach the membrane and then get easily clogged.
Carbon block filter: carbon filters include granular activated carbon (GAC) and carbon block.
The carbon block is the second stage of the RO system. It is designed to remove contaminants such as chlorine taste and odor, organic chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides), THMs like chloroform, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) (that include gasoline, solvents, and industrial cleaners).
The carbon block filter lasts for 6-12 months. The range depends on the contaminants in your water and household usage. The more the contaminants the less the duration.
Granular activated carbon is the fourth stage (which we will discuss below).
The reverse osmosis membrane: this is the heart of the RO system and the third stage. The RO membrane lasts for 2 to 3 years.
The range depends on how you maintain both the sediment and carbon filters. If you replace both the sediment and carbon filter at the right time, the RO membrane will last longer.
RO membrane is designed to remove contaminants such as heavy metals and TDS.
Granular activated carbon: This is the fourth stage of the RO system.
Granular activated carbon is designed for polishing. It helps remove any extra taste and odor in the water.
Granular activated carbon lasts for 6 to 12 months.
Failure to replace the filter at the right time will cause your RO system to produce less water and more water wastage, leading to a high water bill.
- Draining the storage tank
Drain the water in the storage tank every two weeks. Draining water ensures you have fresh water and helps the RO membrane maintain the optimal pressure required.
Since the traditional under-sink reverse osmosis system takes time to refill, it is advisable to drain the tank before going to bed. This gives time for the tank to refill.
You can use water to clean or water plants.
- Cleaning and sanitizing the reverse osmosis system
Cleaning and sanitizing the RO system are done annually when you are replacing the filters.
This helps remove germs, dirt, and bacteria in the reverse osmosis storage tank, housing filter, and reverse osmosis faucet.
- Check storage tank pressure
The empty reverse osmosis storage tank has a pressure of 7-8 psi. You can use a pressure gauge to measure your RO system storage tank. In a year, the tank may lose 1 psi. If you find your tank under pressure, use a bicycle pump to add the required pressure.
Repeat the process once every year.
The above is a common process used in the ordinary reverse osmosis system. If you are not sure about the process, you can consult your RO system owner or check your system owner’s manual for detailed instructions.
Bonus video to watch
How long does a reverse osmosis system last?
If well maintained reverse osmosis system last for 10-15 years
How often should the reverse osmosis membrane be changed?
The reverse osmosis membrane should be changed every 2 to 3 years. This depends on your water quality and household usage.
How do I know if my RO membrane needs replacing?
If the system is producing less water and more water is draining away, it’s time to replace the RO membrane.