Common Problems with RO Systems and Solutions

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Reverse Osmosis is the most efficient way of removing unwanted impurities and dissolved salts in the water.

However, after a few years of continuous usage, the RO system wears down and may encounter some problems. Identifying and solving them at the earliest will prevent further damage to the RO system.

Some of these common issues can be resolved at home while others may need professional assistance.

In this article, we will cover the most common issues that exist in RO systems and the possible causes.

Common Problems with RO Systems And Solutions

Here are the most common RO system problems that you are likely to encounter. We will look at the causes behind these and also the solutions to fix them at the earliest.

Problem 1: Reverse Osmosis Water Flow Is Slow

It is very common for most of us to observe the reduced flow of water from the RO system. There are two reasons for this.

1) Low volume of water

2) Low water pressure

Let us troubleshoot these two scenarios:

Cause 1: Low volume of water


  • The very first thing you need to do is check whether the tank is full or not. If it is full, then the problem is inside.
  • If it is not full, fill the water tank completely to get proper water flow from the faucet.

Cause 2: Low water pressure

This scenario usually prevails when there is a malfunction in the storage tank. This tank has an air bladder that facilitates increased water pressure whenever the water starts flowing into the tank.

If this bladder is faulty, i.e., has leaks or any breakage, it will fail to build the necessary pressure in the storage tank. Consequently, you will notice slow or no water flow. Let us see how we can fix this.


  • The primary step is to measure the water tank pressure. You will have to do it when the tank is empty.
  • Ensure that the pressure of the empty water tank reads between 6 to 8 psi. If it is lower than the mentioned range, you need to re-pressurize the tank.
  • Does the problem reoccur after a couple of days? It is an indication that the air bladder ruptured.
  • The only possible solution for this is to replace the whole water storage tank.

Test 1: The other contributing factor for reduced water pressure is the slow water flow from the faucet.

Here is the solution for this:

You can use a booster or permeate pump to fix this issue.

Test 2: Another reason for allowing low water flow from the faucet is the clogged filters or a bad RO membrane.

The water filter gets clogged when the membrane processes very hard water. This is what you can do to sort this out.


  • You can replace your RO membranes frequently. However, this will add more to your operational costs.
  • There is another thing you can do. You may install a water softener at your home. This will help to remove the minerals and hardness from the water even before it enters the filter system.
  • If you have one or more clogged filters obstructing the water flow, we advise you to replace them as needed.

Problem 2: Incomplete Filling of the RO Water Tank

This is yet another common problem encountered by most of them. In many RO water purifiers, the water tank does not fill up completely.

Cause 1: Low water pressure

The primary cause for this is the low pressure of water in the tank. We have already seen in the above paragraph what to do with this.


  • Your RO water purifier should maintain a water pressure of at least 40 to 60 PSI. Only if it maintains this range, your device will operate perfectly.
  • In case of reduced water pressure, i.e., below 40 PSI, you should increase the pressure. You can make use of a water pump to achieve this.

Note: PSI stands for Pounds Per Square Inch.

Cause 2: Damage in the RO membrane

Another possible reason could be a damaged RO membrane. The RO membrane of the water purifier plays a vital role in allowing just the water molecules to flow to the other side of the package. Simultaneously, it acts as a barrier and stops the water contaminants like pollutants, dirt, dust, viruses, bacteria, etc., from entering the passage. As a result, you get clean and purified drinking water.

Due to this process, the membrane may get clogged with all the impurities after continuous usage. Consequently, you will observe a slowdown in water filtration. Eventually, the quality of water also degrades.


In such a case, when the RO membrane gets blocked or damaged, replace it immediately.

Problem 3: Constant Draining

We may notice constant draining of water from the RO system. Frankly speaking, your system should not be doing it unless it is filling up the water storage tank.

We all know how the RO purifier works. It filtrates water and sends pure water into the tank while releasing the rejected water through a drain pipe.

Sometimes, we may notice water draining from the purifier despite the water tank being full. This is a serious issue, as it leads to lots of water wastage.

Three possible causes are attributing to this problem. Let us have a look at what they are and also try to find out their solutions.

Cause 1: Not enough pressure in your water storage tank. 

Whenever the tank gets filled, the air pressure inside increases to 35-40 PSI. And, it suddenly triggers the check valve to stop water from flowing onto the tank. Simultaneously, it also prevents the rejected water release through the drain pipe.

Let us say the water tank does not have enough pressure as required. In such a case, the valve will not work, the water keeps flowing into the tank and, also down in the drain.


Call a professional immediately to sort this out. He will check the pressure in the water tank and re-pressurize it accordingly.

Cause 2: Fault in the check valve.

The next possible reason is a damaged check valve. As discussed above, the check valve shuts off the water supply into the storage tank when the tank is full and reaches the required pressure.

Once the tank is full, try opening the faucet and let some water out of it. Is the valve still allowing water supply into the tank? It is a clear indication that the check valve has failed. As a result, it will not stop the water from flowing into the tank, and also the rejected water continues to flow down the drain pipe.


The only solution to this is the replacement of the check valve.

Cause 3: Flow restrictor

Let us move on to the next cause. Sometimes, your water tank has the required pressure, and

the check valve also works properly. But still, you may notice continuous draining. This is because of the flow restrictor.

What is a flow restrictor? Your RO membrane has a small part that is responsible for maintaining high water pressure inside. It allows the appropriate water supply to the tank and prevents the excess wastage of water through the drain pipe.

If there is any malfunction in this restrictor, it allows water to flow into the drain, causing wastage. Also, it creates a constant draining sound that can be irritating to many.


The only solution to this problem is replacing the flow restrictor.

Problem 4: Hearing Noises from The Faucet or Drain 

The next common problem that you can have with your RO system is hearing noises from the faucet or the drain. Let us say you recently installed your purifier or you replaced one of the cartridges. It is natural to hear strange noises from the drain line or the air gap faucet. It usually happens when the air gets pushed out of the system, and you do not have to worry about it. However, it becomes a matter of concern when this phenomenon persists even after a couple of days.

If you notice that the sounds have not subsided, then you need to ensure that everything is correct and intact. The main reason behind this could be a restriction in the drainpipe or saddle.


  • Check if there are any hindrances in the drain pipe and try to clear them.
  • If this does not work, it is advisable to inspect the entire system to see if there are any gaps.
  • Call a professional immediately who will do the necessary inspection and fixes the errors.

Problem 5: Water Leakage from The Purifier’s Faucet, Filter, or Membrane

Let us move on to the next common problem you can face with the RO system. Have you ever noticed water leaking from the faucet or filter or membrane of your water purifier? This usually happens when there are loose connections or when the parts of the system are not fitted tightly. In such a case, it is obvious to notice a decent amount of leakage. This is what you can do about this problem.


  • Firstly, try to locate from where the water is leaking.
  • Sometimes, it can be from the bottom of the faucet stem.
  • If it is from the bottom, try tightening all the fittings again. Now, push the tube a little deeper into the valves, the drain saddle, and also, the ports.
  • Doing so will help in improving the connection.
  • If you notice leakage from the faucet, filter, or membrane, call a professional immediately.
  • He will come and check for proper closing of the valve and the condition of the O-rings.
  • If he notices any damage in the rings or a bad condition of the rings, he will either fit them tightly or replace them as needed.

Problem 6: Bad Smell and Taste of Water 

Observing foul smells from the water or changed water taste can be the other problems that people are most likely to encounter.

Cause 1: Bacterial Growth

This is primarily because of the bacteria or microorganisms that got accumulated during the filtration stages. You may notice this happening after a few months or even years. Eventually, this will also lead to the mistiness of the system.

Bacteria also grow inside the system because of the stagnant water. This means your device is inactive for quite a long time. Hence, it is causing bad taste and smell of water.


The best solution to this is to flush out or drain the water in the reserve tank. Clean the entire unit properly before you start using it. Else, you can flush the entire unit at least twice to eliminate the foul smell and taste.

Cause 2: Depleted filters and worn-out membranes

The other reasons for the bad taste of water from the RO purifier are depleted filters and worn-out membranes.


The only thing you can do to fix this issue is to replace the filters or membranes.

Note: It is advisable to replace the filters and membranes every 6 to 12 months.

Problem 7: System Runs Continuously Without Stopping

Is your water purifier system running continuously without stopping?

Cause 1: Broken check valve or incorrectly closed shut-off valve.

This may be because the shut-off valve did not close properly, or the check valve is broken.


Inspect whether the check valve is broken or not. If yes, get it replaced immediately.

Cause 2: Wrong installation of membrane

When you wrongly install the membrane, it makes the system run continuously.


  • You can do this to stop the continuous flow of water. Firstly, check the pressure inside the storage tank and see if it is as required.
  • The ideal pressure inside the water storage tank should be about 35-40 PSI.
  • If the water pressure less than the mentioned range, try increasing the pressure with the help of a water pump.


These are the most common problems that one can face with their RO water purifying system. I am sure that you now know how to fix the common RO problems. You can always troubleshoot your RO system if you encounter any of the problems cited in this article. Also, regular maintenance of the unit ensures good working conditions and smooth running of the device. Besides, it is also essential to invest in a good system that does not break down easily or iterates the issues. We advise you to look for a water purifier that fits your budget and also has all the desired features that an RO should have.

Write to us in the comments section below if you find this article helpful and insightful. Let us know if you have any questions or need more information on this topic. We will try to solve all your queries at the earliest.

Your feedback is important to us. Hence, feel free to let us know if we missed out on any points or if you have any inputs to add. We would love to hear and learn from you.

Stay healthy and stay safe!!!

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