Reverse osmosis (RO) systems provide clean, filtered water by forcing water through a semipermeable membrane that removes contaminants. However, like any complex system, reverse osmosis systems can develop issues that affect water quality and flow. In this article, we’ll explore common RO problems in Tampa Bay, Florida and how to diagnose and resolve them.
Low Water Pressure
Low water pressure is one of the most frequent complaints about RO systems. There are several possible causes:
Over time, sediment from incoming water can accumulate on the RO membrane surface. This restricts water flow and reduces pressure. To restore normal pressure, the membrane needs thorough cleaning. Refer to your owner's manual for specific cleaning instructions.
Mineral Scale Accumulation
Hard water contains dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium. As hard water passes through the RO membrane, these minerals can come out of solution and form scale on the membrane surface. Scale buildup impedes water flow.
Over several years of use, the RO membrane can wear out and become less efficient at blocking contaminants. This results in lower water production and pressure. Replacing the membrane restores normal operation.
Most RO systems have a prefilter that traps sediment before water reaches the membrane. As this filter gets clogged with particles, it chokes off water flow to the membrane. Follow your owner's manual to replace prefilters on schedule.
Foul Taste or Odor
Unpleasant tastes or smells coming from the RO water are another common issue. Potential causes include:
Contaminated Storage Tank
RO water is held in a storage tank before flowing to the faucet. Bacteria or mold in the tank can impart bad tastes/odors. Sanitize the tank with a tank sanitizing solution. Then drain and flush the tank.
Worn Carbon Filter
Most RO systems have a carbon post filter that removes tastes and odors. Over time, the carbon becomes saturated and stops working efficiently. Replace the filter per the manufacturer's schedule.
Leaking Faucet Seal
If rubber seals in the RO faucet leak, water can become contaminated as it exits the spout. Disassemble the faucet to inspect and replace any worn gaskets or seals.
Nearby Contaminant Source
Volatile chemicals from household cleaners, gasoline, paints, etc. stored near the RO system can outgas and get absorbed by the RO water. Avoid exposing the RO system to chemical fumes.
Cloudiness or turbidity in RO product water can have different causes:
If the thin RO membrane develops a hole or tear, contaminants will pass through into the product water. This turns the water cloudy. The only remedy is membrane replacement.
Air in System
Sometimes air bubbles get introduced into the RO plumbing system. This creates white, foamy water. Allowing the faucet to run for a few minutes usually clears out the air.
Bacteria entering the RO storage tank can multiply and cloud the water. Sanitize the tank and replace any faulty seals to prevent bacteria from re-entering. Maintaining proper water tank pressure also inhibits bacteria growth.
Leaks not only waste water but also can damage flooring, walls, and cabinetry. Common leak points on RO systems include:
If the tubing connecting the faucet shank to the RO system leaks, water will drain out from under the sink. Carefully detach the faucet and reseat the quick-connect fitting or tighten the compression nut.
Low pressure push-fittings between tubing sections can vibrate loose over time, causing drips or leaks. Inspect along the entire water flow path and push/tighten any loose fittings. Avoid unnecessary bends in tubing.
Storage Tank Valve
Water tanks have an inlet/outlet valve that can leak from worn O-rings or loose connections. Unplug power to the tank, relieve pressure, and inspect/tighten valve fittings. Replace valve if necessary.
Loose Housing Seal
If the seal around the RO housing top cap becomes worn or loose, water may leak out. Drain the housing and firmly hand tighten the cap. Replace cap O-ring if hardened or damaged.
Low Production Rate
Normally an RO system will produce a certain number of gallons per day based on your home’s water pressure, prefilter condition, and membrane size. If the daily production rate seems lower than normal, it’s likely due to one of these factors:
Clogged prefilters restricting water flow
Mineral scale or sediment accumulation on the membrane
Worn membrane unable to filter water efficiently
Low water pressure from feed water supply
Leak allowing water to bypass the membrane
Inspect your RO system following the troubleshooting tips outlined above. Often, the solution involves filter or membrane cleaning/replacement or fixing leaks. You can also contact Aqua-Wise Water Treatment Solutions to diagnose RO issues and get professional service recommendations.
Professional Help is Available
While some basic troubleshooting steps you can perform yourself, certain RO repairs like membrane replacement or housing leaks may require a water treatment professional. The experienced technicians at Aqua-Wise Water Treatment Solutions provide full-service RO repair, maintenance and installation in the Tampa area.
We can help resolve any RO system problems and optimize performance. Aqua-Wise offers a range of maintenance plans and warranties as well. Contact us today to discuss your reverse osmosis needs!
Financing Options Available
We understand repairs or system replacements represent a significant investment. That's why Aqua-Wise offers flexible financing plans to help spread out payments over time. Contact us to learn more about financing options that fit your budget.
Schedule a Free Water Test!
If your water seems cloudy, tastes/smells bad, or you need professional RO troubleshooting, take advantage of our free water testing service. Our technicians will come to your home, analyze water from your taps and plumbing system, and recommend solutions to improve water quality.
Reverse osmosis systems provide clean, healthy water for your home when operating properly. By following the troubleshooting tips in this article, you can resolve many common RO issues yourself or know when to call a professional. Don’t hesitate to contact the experts at Aqua-Wise Water Treatment Solutions if you need RO system repairs, maintenance or replacements in the Tampa Bay area. We're here to help!
This article was written for informational purposes only and is not intended as professional advice. Consult with a certified water treatment specialist for system repairs or maintenance.