How To Change Reverse Osmosis Filters? [Step By Step]

Why Learn How To Change Reverse Osmosis Filters?

Reverse osmosis (RO) produces clean, great-tasting water and is widely regarded as one of the most efficient water filtration techniques. Numerous uses for RO systems exist, such as faucets, aquariums, whole-house, and restaurant filtration.

Whatever the initial quality of your water, there is probably a RO system that will work for you. The definition of reverse osmosis systems, their advantages, and their applications are described here. A ranking of the top reverse osmosis systems may also be found.

What is Reverse Osmosis?

When pressure pushes water through a semipermeable membrane, a reverse osmosis system eliminates pollutants from unfiltered water, or feed water.

To produce clean drinking water, water flows from the more concentrated side of the RO membrane—which has more impurities—to the less concentrated side—which has less contaminants. The permeate is the name for the produced fresh water. Waste or brine is the term for leftover concentrated water.

Small pores in a semipermeable membrane allow for the passage of water molecules but impede the passage of pollutants. Osmosis involves the concentration of water as it moves through the membrane to achieve equilibrium on both sides.

However, reverse osmosis prevents pollutants from passing through the membrane’s less concentrated side. For instance, during reverse osmosis, when pressure is applied to a volume of seawater, the salt is left behind and only pure water comes through.

How Often Should You Change Reverse Osmosis Filters?

Filter Replacement Frequency

  • Sediment Filter 6 – 12 months
  • Carbon Filter 6 – 9 months
  • RO Membrane 2 years
  • Polishing Filter 6 – 12 months

Sediment Pre-Filter

The sediment pre-filter is the initial filter stage in a reverse osmosis system. Sand, dirt, dust, and other suspended impurities are removed by this slightly larger filter, keeping them from clogging and harming the filters that come after it.

The sediment pre-filter should typically be changed every six months to a year.

Carbon Pre-Filter

The carbon filter comes next after the sediment pre-filter. Adsorption is used by this filter to effectively remove chlorine and other aesthetically objectionable pollutants from drinking water.

The typical lifespan of a carbon filter is between 6 and 9 months, after which it needs to be replaced.

RO Membrane

The reverse osmosis membrane is the essential component of all reverse osmosis systems. The majority of pollutants, including dissolved and surface contaminants, are eliminated from water by this filter, which is the most crucial component of the complete system.

The reverse osmosis membrane needs to be replaced after an average of 2 years, while some last up to 4 years.

Carbon Post/ Polishing Filter

Finally, any remaining impurities that may have been tiny enough to flow through the RO membrane are eliminated by the carbon post-filter. Any impurities that might have gotten into the water while it was sitting in the storage tank might also be taken out by the post-filter.

You only need to consider buying a filter replacement after every six to twelve months because the post-filter often lasts longer than a pre-filter because it encounters less pollutants.

Despite this, it’s crucial to change your post-filter when it needs to, especially if your system includes a water storage tank.

How to Change Reverse Osmosis Filters?

Reverse osmosis system manufacturers may differ in how precisely the filter needs to be changed, but most systems are made to make the operation as easy as possible.

I strongly advise consulting your system’s handbook before starting. Any specific instructions for changing the membrane on your machine will be included in full.

How to Replace Carbon & Sediment Filters?

The steps listed below should be followed in order to change your system’s carbon and sediment reverse osmosis filters:

Step 1: Purchase the correct filters for the replacement

For peace of mind, I advise purchasing from the company directly or from the company’s Amazon page. You might be able to find non-branded devices that work with your specific system, but doing so carries a certain amount of risk, so make sure to carefully read customer reviews before making a purchase.

Step 2: Wash your hands

Before starting, wash with soap and water to avoid contaminating the filters with bacteria from your skin.

Step 3: Stop the water supply

By doing this, water won’t be able to enter the system. Close the ball valve on any storage tanks you may have. Additionally, block access to this valve if your system is linked to your refrigerator or ice machine.

Step 4: Drain the waterline

Turn on the special RO faucet and wait for any leftover water to drain from the system. Put a tray or bucket underneath the filter housing to catch any drips in case there are any leaks.

Step 5: Remove old filters

Remove the old filters from the filter housing using the screws provided, then dispose of them properly (many reverse osmosis filters can now be recycled; if in doubt, check with the manufacturer). If your filters are a touch stiff, you can use the wrench that your manufacturer supplies.

Step 6: Remove & clean O-rings

The system’s O-rings and the filter housing should be taken out, cleaned with a cloth, and put on a spotless surface. During this period, you may ensure sure the O-rings are still in good shape by inspecting them.

Step 7: Clean filter housing

Apply some soap and water to the filter housing’s interior to clean it. Reattach the housing to your unit after thoroughly drying and making sure all soap has been removed.

Step 8: Lubricate the O-rings

Reinstall them in the location you previously removed them after properly lubricating them. To stop leaks, make sure the O-rings are installed properly.

Step 9: Insert new filters

Remove your replacement filter from its plastic wrapping, place it in the housing, and secure it with a screw. The filters can be hand-tightened or tightened using the included filter wrench, but you shouldn’t push the filters too far.

Step 10: Turn on the water

Restart the water flow in your home and look for any leaks. If leaks are found, you should tighten the RO filters a little bit more or make sure your O-rings are positioned correctly.

Step 11: Flush & test

Once the water begins to flow through your faucet, your filters have been properly placed, and your system is ready for use once more. Don’t let water enter your system’s storage tank just yet, if it has one.

Step 12: Fill the storage tank (if applicable)

After allowing your faucet to drip water for five minutes, turn it off and open the ball valve that connects to the storage tank. If applicable, wait until your storage tank is completely full before opening the valve leading to your refrigerator or ice maker.

You should be able to use your reverse osmosis system once more.

How to Replace the Reverse Osmosis Membrane?

Simply replacing your RO membrane requires a somewhat different procedure:

Step 1: Prepare and clean

Start by following steps 1-4 above, turning off your water supply and washing your hands first.

Step 2: Disconnect the tubing

The tubing that connects to the membrane housing cap can be found on the right side of your filter housing. By applying pressure to the tiny ring that surrounds the tube, you can disconnect it.

Step 3: Remove the old membrane

Remove the top cap from the RO membrane housing by unscrewing it, then carefully pull the membrane out. In the event that the membrane becomes trapped inside the housing, you might need to use extra tools to remove it.

Step 4: Clean membrane housing

Given that you probably won’t have cleaned the membrane housing in at least two years, I would suggest taking a little extra time to do so. Disconnect the tubes at the membrane cap’s other end to accomplish this. Color-code or label the tubes if it makes it easier for you to remember where to put them once you’re done.

In a basin of warm, soapy water, clean the interior of the membrane housing. Then, give it a good rinsing under your faucet. Before reinserting the membrane housing into your reverse osmosis system, properly dry it off.

Step 5: Insert new membrane

Your replacement membrane should be unwrapped before being inserted into the housing. Make sure the end with the O-ring goes in first. When you feel the O-ring making contact with the housing’s base, keep pushing. Here, you should exert some force to make sure the membrane is positioned correctly.

Step 6: Replace membrane housing cap & tubing

The membrane housing’s cap can now be screwed back on, and any tubing you previously disconnected can now be connected. To ensure that the tubing is securely fastened and to avoid leaks, it must be pushed into the fitting all the way to the point where it will not fit any further. Once you’ve finished, quickly pull the tube to secure it.

Step 7. Flush, test & run the reverse osmosis system

To finish your installation and restart your reverse osmosis system, follow steps 10 through 12 above.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are filters and cartridges supposed to be changed?

First, debris builds up in filters, which can cause clogging. The filters may become completely worthless or ineffective as a result. Another factor is that some replacement filters (in particular, carbon-based filters) progressively lose their ability to adsorb substances over time.

Therefore, it is necessary to regularly replace the filters and cartridges. Depending on the usage and “service cycle,” the time and frequency may change. But to be on the safe side, replacing the filters once a year is a smart idea.

Therefore, it’s time to perform some maintenance and replacements if your reverse osmosis filter has already been in operation for a year. By doing so, you ensure that your household water treatment system operates at its peak efficiency.

Why should reverse osmosis filter replacement be handled by experts?

Even though many filters have a similar appearance, the sizes and makes might differ significantly between units. Maybe it has to do with the various reverse osmosis filter manufacturers and functions. Another possibility is that some replacement filters are more current and better adhere to current standards.

Whichever the case, choosing the proper size and type of filter is essential. This is so that even the slightest variation doesn’t render the entire system unusable. For instance, a smaller filter will allow pollutants to pass through it (instead of through it). Therefore, the impurities will still get into your glass of water.

Additionally, the manufacturer’s criteria are frequently followed while designing filter cartridges. These guidelines and criteria are already known to qualified technicians. They will first identify the brand and kind of cartridges before locating the required components.

How can I tell if my reverse osmosis filter needs to be replaced?

Making a note of the date is the simplest method to remember when to replace the filters in your reverse osmosis system. Mark the date on your calendar when you install your filters so you know when to change them. Remember that the lifespans of your sediment filter, carbon filter, and post-filter vary slightly.

Of course, not all of us are organised enough to record the precise time that our filters need to be changed. There are three indications to look for that point to a faulty reverse osmosis filter if you’re relying solely on intuition:

1. Low water pressure

You can typically get clean water nearly instantaneously with reverse osmosis devices. If you find yourself growing frustrated while waiting for your glass of water to fill, your reverse osmosis filter cartridges may need to be changed. That’s because an older, clogged water filter will take a lot longer to function than a newer, unclogged filter.

2. Bad taste

If the flavour of your water supply becomes unpleasant, your RO system certainly needs some replacement filters installed. You could notice that your water supply tastes particularly chlorine-y if your carbon filter needs to be changed.

3. Poor efficiency

Finally, if the water filter cartridges need to be changed, your RO system could not operate as effectively. Keep an ear out for your system’s operating noise. If it seems to be running all the time, that means it’s working harder and longer.

Are all reverse osmosis filters the same?

No. Reverse osmosis filters are not the same. One reverse osmosis filter cartridge is unlikely to fit in a system made by a different manufacturer because the majority of systems have different sized filter housing. Some reverse osmosis water filters have more filters than others, therefore they will need to be changed more frequently.

Additionally, the quality of the product may influence how frequently you need to replace your water filters, so it’s always best to spend a little more up front on a product from a water treatment manufacturer you can rely on.

How can I tell whether my RO membrane needs to be replaced?

You’ll probably see the same symptoms as if your RO system requires a new filter if it needs a new membrane.

When a new membrane is required, two things frequently occur: the system will likely become less effective at removing contaminants, and the amount of filtered reverse osmosis water produced may decrease. Both of these are undesirable since they result in drinking unfiltered water and increasing water waste, respectively.

You will become familiar with how your RO water filter typically functions as you use it for several months. It’s time to get your RO membrane replaced if your water quality declines, the flow of water reduces, or the system begins to work harder and longer.

What affects the lifespan of RO water filters?

The frequency of replacement for your RO filters depends on a few factors. You use a lot of water every day. Based on typical water use, manufacturers can only guess how long a filter might last, but if you have a large family, your filters might clog up more quickly.

Your water quality may also have an impact on the lifespan of your RO filter. Your system will work harder and filters will clog more quickly the more pollutants there are in your water supply. Trust your instincts and change filters more frequently if necessary if you reside in an area where the water supply is extremely dirty.

What are the prices of replacement RO filter cartridges?

The price of a new filter often varies depending on the brand or producer you choose. While RO membranes on their own can cost anywhere between $30 and $75, a bundle of all the filters you need for a single system can typically be purchased for $60 to $100. When you consider that you only need to buy new filters every six months, at the most, this is a relatively little investment.

How often should I replace my reverse osmosis filter?

Reverse osmosis filter replacement should be done once a year. To be reminded when to make the adjustment, you might set up a Google Calendar reminder.

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