Common Problems with RO Systems and Solutions

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The reverse osmosis or RO system is arguably the most healthy way to obtain the level of purity of water which makes it ideal for cooking and drinking purposes, as opposed to normal tap water. Reverse osmosis filters remove unwanted impurities and pollutants from the water.

However, after several years of rigorous use, the RO system might wear down and give rise to some faults. For proper functioning, the RO system must be maintained and cleaned periodically.

The storage tank also needs to be cleaned regularly so that the water does not taste unpleasant. Therefore, you must make sure that your RO water purifier is serviced properly and regularly. Some of the problems exist in all the RO systems and you might have experienced them yourself.

We have discussed below some of the regular problems and their solutions.

1. Water flow slower than usual 

There are several causes of this problem. They are all listed below and the possible solutions are also listed.

  • Permeate rate of water flow: You need to close the tank valve and then open the handle or the faucet. You should measure the output of the water for 60 seconds after the steady drip begins.
  • Drain flow rate: You need to disconnect the tubing connection where the ⅜ tube hooks to the drainage line. Then, you need to allow the water to flow into a large measuring cup for at least 30 seconds.
  • Feed pressure: Recording the feed pressure in your RO system would be very helpful if you are facing this problem but that might be very unlikely. If you are installing the RO system for the first time, you do not have any set pressure reading to rely on, but this can be a major part of your issue.
  • Tank pressure: The usual tank pressure should range from 5 to 7 psi. A basic tire gauge under the blue call of the air valve can give you a close reading.
  • Improper hook-up: By checking the pictures of the installation, you can check feed connection and drain connection.

2. Problems in the RO storage tank 

Firstly, you need to check if the water is filled till the brim of the tank or not. If it is full, you need to open the tap and check the rate of flow of the water. If you see that no water is flowing, you need to be sure that the tap is in the open position.

If everything is fine, you need to check the pressure with the tire pressure gauge. Now, if there is no pressure, add pressure with the help of a bicycle pump until the tank is emptied.

Once it is done, you need to regulate the pressure to the normal 5-7 psi. If you notice water spurting out when checking for pressure, then the integrity of the tank has been lost and you need to replace it.

If the tank is completely filled with water and the pressure is above 20 psi but still, there is no water to the tap, you need to make sure if the tank is functioning or not. If it is functioning, you need to disconnect the tank tube from your RO system and check if the water is flowing when the valve is turned on. You also need to make sure that the post filter is not clogged.

3. Continuous water flows to the drain

The RO system can shut down if the pressure in the tank increases more than 2/3rd of the supply pressure line, then the ASO valve shuts down. If the water is constantly running to the drain, that means the ASO is running fine.

The ASO operates well only if the flow restrictor, membrane, check valve and tank, all are working perfectly. You can check for this condition by quickly turning off the tank valve to check if the ASO stops the water flow to the drain. There can be several causes for this.

  • The flow restrictor might fail or be missing. The flow rate test can detect a large amount of water flow to the drain. This process causes a lot of noise.
  • The tank might not fill enough to provide the required pressure. The flow rate test must detect if there is an issue in membrane production.
  • The ASO valve might be stuck in a closed position. This problem can be resolved by disconnecting the valve off to make sure that the pressure is off the assembly.
  • You must make sure that the check valve is not reaching shut off pressure.

4. Strange noises

If too much water is flowing to the drains then it can result in noisy and loud running water. You can conduct the drain flow test to detect the problem. Another contributor to this problem could be the location of a drain saddle.

If the pipe is placed below the tap then it can produce increased noise. The RO system might cause some noise when it wears out.

5. Odor and taste

These factors indicate that the filters need to be changed. The system sanitation need or a complete tank change or a high TDS breakthrough can cause membrane failure.

The water application might contain dissolved gases, like methane or hydrogen sulfide which will enhance the odor. These issues must also be taken care of before installing a new RO system.

6. Leaks and damages in the tap

There might be parts in the RO system which are fixed loosely which are causing leakages. You need to identify where the leakage is. It might start from the bottom of the tap or faucet stem.

Fix all the screws and faucets tightly and push the tubing to the end of the valves. This will improve the joint and prevent leakage. The RO system might continue running without breaks or stops.

This problem might also occur if the shut-off valve is not installed properly or it is broken. If it is not installed properly, the system will never stop. You need to check the pressure in the storage tank to stop the continuous flow of water. The pressure needs to be between 35-40 psi. You need to replace the valve if it is broken or faulty.

Final Word

You don’t want to go through the pain of fixing the RO system yourself, you can always call for professional help. Repairing the complete RO system by yourself can be extremely tiring and can also cause several problems. You can be worry-free if you call for professional help but it can be a bit expensive. We hope that you found our article helpful. Do share your views in the comments section below.

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