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How to Sanitize a Reverse Osmosis System

Updated: Sep 29, 2023

How to Sanitize a Reverse Osmosis System | Tampa Water Softener Service
How to Sanitize a Reverse Osmosis System | Tampa Water Softener Service

A reverse osmosis (RO) system is an effective way to remove contaminants from water in your home. However, like any water filtration system, an RO needs regular maintenance and sanitization to keep it working properly. Over time, bacteria, viruses, and biofilms can build up within the system, potentially causing health issues if consumed.

Sanitizing your RO system kills harmful microorganisms and prevents them from growing back quickly. This ensures the water coming from your taps stays fresh and safe to drink. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to safely sanitize your reverse osmosis system.

When to Sanitize Your RO System

You should sanitize your RO system:

  • Every 6 months as routine maintenance.

  • After long periods of non-use like vacations or seasonal homes.

  • If there are any changes in taste, odor, or color of the filtered water.

  • After replacing any filters or parts within the RO system.

Sanitizing every 6 months helps remove any biofilm growth and keeps your system operating at peak performance. It only takes about 30 minutes to sanitize, so it's easy to add to your maintenance routine.

What You Need to Sanitize an RO System

Before starting, ensure you have the following supplies:

  • Sanitizing solution - Use a non-toxic food-grade sanitizer made for RO systems. Common options are citric acid or hydrogen peroxide.

  • Eye protection - Wear safety glasses when handling sanitizer.

  • Gloves - Sanitizing solution can irritate skin. Wear gloves to protect your hands.

  • Bucket or container - You'll need something to hold and mix the sanitizer solution.

  • Measuring spoons or cup - To properly mix the sanitizing solution. Follow instructions on packaging for exact ratios.

  • Replacement filters - Install new pre-filter and membrane after sanitizing the system.

Step-by-Step Guide to Sanitize an RO System

Follow these steps to thoroughly sanitize your reverse osmosis system:

Turn Off Water Supply and Release Pressure

Locate the shut-off valve for your RO system and turn it to the closed position. This prevents water from entering during the sanitization process.

Next, open the faucet with the RO water line and allow all pressure to drain from the storage tank. Water should stop running once the tank is empty.

Remove and Clean Filters

Open the RO system housing and remove both the pre-filter and membrane. Rinse them thoroughly under warm water to wash away any loose sediment or buildup.

Soak the filters in a tub of warm water and sanitizing solution for 15-20 minutes. This ensures any bacteria are killed. Rinse again before reinstalling.

Mix and Run Sanitizing Solution

Mix up sanitizing solution according to the manufacturer's directions. Citric acid or hydrogen peroxide are commonly used.

Pour the solution into the empty RO storage tank. Close up the housing and turn on the water supply again so the sanitizer can run through the system.

Flush the System

Let the sanitizer fully run through the RO for at least 15-20 minutes. This allows time for the solution to work and penetrate biofilms.

After time is up, open the faucet again to drain and flush any remaining solution from the system. Flush with cold water for 5 minutes.

Install New Filters

Discard old filters and insert new pre-filter and membrane as the final step. Make sure they are seated firmly in place.

Close up housing, turn on water supply, and let cold water run for 5 minutes to flush new filters. Your RO system is now sanitized and ready for use!

Schedule Regular Maintenance

Be sure to sanitize your system every 6 months as part of routine maintenance. Keep replacement filters on hand for easy upkeep. Monitor the initial taste and flow from the RO faucet after servicing.

Benefits of a Sanitized RO System

Taking the time to periodically sanitize your reverse osmosis system provides many benefits:

  • Improves water taste - Removes foul tastes or odors caused by bacteria buildup.

  • Maximizes filter life - Prevents early clogging by washing away loose sediment.

  • Boosts water flow - Removes biofilms that can impede water production rate.

  • Ensures safety - Kills any viruses, cysts or pathogens living in system.

  • Lowers operating costs - Extends membrane life by preventing fouling.

Regular RO cleaning gives you peace of mind knowing the water is free of harmful contaminants. Be diligent with sanitization every 6 months and filter changes to keep your system operating at peak performance.

Professional Sanitization Services

If you want to leave sanitizing your reverse osmosis system to the professionals, contact Aqua-Wise Water Treatment Solutions. Our certified technicians can thoroughly clean and sanitize your RO using advanced techniques. We also replace filters, inspect seals, and ensure your system is optimally maintained.

Schedule your RO sanitization service today by calling 727-236-7161. Investing in regular maintenance keeps your system properly functioning and your drinking water clean.


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