What are the Most Common Problems with Reverse Osmosis Water Systems?

If you think your drinking water tastes funky, it’s time to investigate. A reverse osmosis water system will solve that problem quickly. However, it’s important to be aware of the most common problems experienced with reverse osmosis systems and simple ways to eliminate them.

Most reverse osmosis systems require little more than regular filter changes, but sometimes problems happen. We’ve seen our fair share of troubleshooting from leaking water lines to low pressure and can give you insight into which problems you can actually DIY and which ones you need to call a professional for.

By understanding these common issues ahead of time, you can do your best to avoid them and have a smooth, trouble-free experience with your reverse osmosis system. This blog post will discuss the most common problems people experience with reverse osmosis water systems and solve them.

#1. No Water

If you have no water flow from your reverse osmosis system, try checking all of your water valves first. Check the main shutoff valve at your cold water tap, and then move on to the main feed and tank valve. If all valves are on, try checking the pressure in the tank. Consider checking your filters as well — clogged filters can cause issues with water flow. If you still have no water flow, it’s time to call a professional water services company.

#2. Low Water Pressure

Water doesn’t burst out of reverse osmosis systems like a waterfall, but you should have more than a trickle coming out of the faucet. Check the gallons per minute (GPM) released from your faucet by collecting water into a large jug over a timed minute and comparing how much you collected to what’s listed in your system’s paperwork under GPM. You might be surprised to learn that most RO systems produce half to one gallon of water per minute.

If your water pressure is lower than manufacturer specifications, check your home’s water pressure for issues. Next, you should check the pressure at the tank and repressurize it if needed. You can repressurize the tank to 5 psi with a bicycle pump attached to the pressure valve at the bottom of the tank. If your tank’s pressure is acceptable, consider changing your filters if they are more than six months old— especially if you drink a lot of water.

#3. Leaks

Seeing a puddle under your kitchen sink is not something to panic over. Your reverse osmosis water system has quick-connect fittings that sometimes cause a small leak. Check all quick-connect fittings for each component in the RO system to see if any are leaking. If you find one of the fittings leaking, push it further in and see if that stops the leak; otherwise, you may need to replace that part. Another place to check for a leak is the filter housings. If they are not tight or the gasket is bad, they will leak.

#4. It’s Making Excessive Noise

You might hear the reverse osmosis system make a gurgling noise when it drains. Gurgling is caused by air and is normal, especially when new. However, if the gurgling becomes louder or doesn’t stop, it could indicate a problem. Check the drain pipe for obstructions and check all the water lines for bends or damage.

#5. Constant Drain Flow

Your reverse osmosis system should drain small amounts of water throughout the day while the tank fills, but constant draining is a problem that results in a lot of water waste. Incorrect pressuring of your tank can cause constant drain flow. Check the pressure; it should be at 5 psi when empty and between 35 and 40 psi when full.

If your tank checks out fine, the check valve might be bad. The check valve stops water from flowing into the tank once it reaches a certain pressure when it’s full. When the valve malfunctions, water keeps flowing into the tank and down your drain. Replacing the check valve should fix this issue.

Another thing to check if your reverse osmosis system keeps draining is the flow restrictor. The flow restrictor keeps the system at high pressure within the reverse osmosis membrane. Without the flow restrictor, water cannot enter the tank. Replace it if it is faulty.

#6. Water Tastes Bad

Water from your reverse osmosis system tastes pure without smells or flavors. If you notice an odd or foul taste, it could mean your filters aren’t working. Six to 12 months is the expected life for reverse osmosis water filters, but if your faucet experiences heavy use, it could be less than that. If your filters are new, try replacing the membrane. Also, when you change the filters, remember that you need to sanitize the filter housing and the rest of the reverse osmosis system.

#7. High TDS Levels

Reverse osmosis systems remove substances from water, called total dissolved solids (TDS). If you have a TDS meter and it registers a high TDS level, the RO membrane isn’t functioning. High chlorine levels or not changing the RO filters in time can and will damage the membrane. The only way to correct high TDS levels is to order and install a new membrane.

Fresh, Clean Water is Only a Call Away

A reverse osmosis system is the answer if you want fresh-tasting clear drinking water. Our RO systems require little maintenance and provide clean water for years to come. 

At Independent Water Service, our installation experts can recommend and install the right water softener system for your specific needs and repair your reverse osmosis system if you are experiencing any of the problems we talked about today. 

We offer free water analysis ato help you diagnose any issues with your water. Our free water analysis checks for softness, impurities and other factors that may affect your household or business’ water. We offer systems for both residential and commercial spaces.

We proudly serve Yakima and Kittitas Counties and have been your local trusted water service since 1986. Call to schedule your free water analysis and upgrade your water system for your home or business with the water experts.