If you think that your reverse osmosis (RO) water filtration system is producing less water than it previously did, there are some simple steps that you can take to find out for sure. These five steps followed in order will help you to check your current filtered water production rate over any given 24 hour period, and we will finish with some suggestions on how you can increase that flow rate in your system.
Step 1: Turn the Water Off
The first thing that you need to do is make sure that your water line coming into your RO system is set to the “On” position. Then you can locate the ball valve; this is usually on top of your RO water storage tank. Once you’ve found the valve turn it a ¼ of a turn until it reaches the “Off” position. Now you know for sure that the incoming water is turn off and you can continue with your testing.
Step 2: Clear the Faucet
Now we need to clear any water remaining in your RO line out of the faucet. If you have a standard RO faucet, you should be able to flip it to the “Up” position. This will lock the faucet into an open or flow position until you turn it back. At this point, you should see the stored water flowing out of the faucet until the water line from the RO water storage tank is clear.
Step 3: Make Sure No More Filtered Water is Produced
Once the water system lines have no more water coming from them, it’s a good idea to wait a full five minutes before continuing. Then you should see a continual fast drip or a very slow water flow coming from your faucet. If there is no RO faucet flow at all, it means that your system is not producing water. The flow rate that you see will be a representation of the flow rate that your RO system is producing water. This will also be the flow rate that would be filling up your RO storage tank if you had left the valve at the “On” position.
Step 4: Making Measurements
Once you get that continual water drip or slow steady flow from your RO faucet, it’s time to take some measurements. Get a measuring cup and collect some water over a 60 second period and then stop. Now you know how much water your RO system is producing every minute and it’s time to extrapolate that result.
Step 5: Do the Math
Take the number of ounces of water that was produced by your RO system for a single minute. Then multiply it by 1,440 (minutes in a day) to get the amount of water produced in ounces per day. Finally, divide that number by 128 (ounces in a gallon) to arrive at a figure of how many gallons of water your RO system is producing every 24 hours.
Once you have an idea of how much water your RO system is producing you can make more informed decisions. You can test this periodically, and you will soon be able to see if the flow rate has decreased. This can often be caused by a fouled membrane or a clogged filter that needs to be replaced. The full instructions on how to do this are covered in your owner’s manual for your RO system. If this doesn’t fix the problem contact a local water treatment professional to identify and fix the issue for you.