How To Maintain A Reverse Osmosis Water System

Home & Garden Blog

Reverse osmosis water systems are a type of water purification system that is designed to remove as much debris and as many chemicals from your water supply as possible. Like their name would suggest, they do this primarily through reverse osmosis, or passing water through a semipermeable membrane that blocks out larger particles. However, like all water purification systems, reverse osmosis systems need to be properly maintained in order to ensure that they continue working as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Changing the Filters

While the reverse osmosis filter is the primary filter within a reverse osmosis system, there are actually several different filters that are used. The first is a prefilter, made out of a cartridge that can contain a variety of different materials, though sediment or carbon tends to be the most common. Depending on the model of your reverse osmosis system, you can also have up to two more filters, which are usually made out of activated charcoal or carbon, which will remove chemicals like chlorine from the water, as they can pass through the reverse osmosis barrier. As a general rule of thumb, you should change all three of these filters at the same time. While how long these filters last largely depends on how much you use the system and your local water quality, a good guideline is at least once a year.

Replacing the Membrane

Reverse osmosis makes use of a semipermeable membrane to filter out particles from the water. Though functionally like a filter, it's made out of different materials and, as such, is much more durable. This means that you will only have to replace the membrane every three years or so, but you should consult the owner's manual for your specific reverse osmosis system to get a timeline for your model.


It's a good idea to clean out your reverse osmosis system every time you replace the filters. To do this, you should first disconnect the system from the main water supply. Then, remove the old filters (as well as the membrane, even if you're not replacing it) from their housings, and then screw the housings back into place. This can either by done by hand or with a screwdriver, depending on the model. Then, pour about 6 ounces of hydrogen peroxide into the system, and turn the water back on. The system will run the peroxide through itself - let it go through a few cycles before shutting the water supply valve and installing the new filters. This will remove any built-up sediment within your reverse osmosis water system and keep it filtering your water supply as effectively as possible.


29 November 2016