The 4 Stages of Reverse Osmosis Filter Maintenance

The Reverse Osmosis (RO) method of water filtration has become a very popular option for those interested in their home water quality in recent years. This is because an RO system can deliver a very clean standard of water thanks in part to a multi stage filtration process. An RO filtration system could have as many as five levels of continuous filtration to ensure that your water is clean and pure. In this article, we will take a brief look at these four different filtration stages and examine how to maintain them for maximum performance.The 4 Stages of Reverse Osmosis Filter Maintenance

1. The Pre-Filter:

The first stage of filtration for most RO systems is the pre-filter. This is used to protect the RO membranes from damage. The water that flows into our homes, often contains particles, such as sand, dirt, silt and a variety of other sediments. Without a pre-filter, these particles could travel into the other filters, clog them up and eventually damage them. A pre-filter will need to be changed every 6-9 months to ensure that it can offer adequate protection.

2. The Carbon Filter:

The next stage is the carbon filter. This is used to remove chlorine from the supplied water and any unpalatable tastes or odors. The removal of chlorine is particularly important as it can damage the sensitive RO filtration membrane. The carbon filter needs to be replaced every 6-9 months to maintain efficiency in your RO system.

Note: some reverse osmosis systems have a sediment and carbon within a single prefilter.

3. Reverse Osmosis:

This third stage is where the actual RO filtration process occurs; the water is forced through a membrane under pressure to remove any contaminants and let the pure water pass through. The water pressure is 35psi as it passes through the membrane, which equates to two drops of water every second. All the separated contaminants are passed into the drain and then flow away. An RO membrane will need to be replaced every 2-3 years, and this can vary a great deal depending upon your local water quality and how much water you used in your home.

4. The 2nd Carbon Filter:

The final filtration stage is a second carbon filter that is used to add a little extra polishing to the water quality after the RO membrane filter stage. This will ensure that any lingering taste or odor issues are dealt with and deliver a fantastic water for drinking. Again, this second carbon filter will need to be changed every 6-9 months for the best level of performance.

Forgetting to Change the Various Filters:

Many people are a little paranoid about what may happen if they forget to change the filter in their RO systems. Don’t panic; the system will continue to work fine for a while before you begin to notice a few problems. The RO system, may produce less water over time and eventually (if the filters are not changed) no water at all. The lack of any filtered water is a sure sign that most of the filters and the RO membrane are no longer working. The taste and odor of the supplied water may also be less palatable than you have become used to. Set up some dates on your favorite app or calendar to remind you when to change your filters and these issues are easily avoided.

By Mark Williams (NicMar President Mark Williams holds degrees in Applied Science and Industrial Thermodynamics, along with Agricultural Mechanization and Systems Engineering from Ohio State University. He also holds the highest possible industry ranking, being WQA (Water Quality Association) LEVEL 6 Certified.)

Print Friendly
Nicmar Water
999 Baltimore Road York SpringsPA17372 USA 
 • 800-542-8649

Water Solution Center

Educational Center