Common reverse osmosis problems

Having using reverse osmosis system in my home and office for close to 2 years now, I have some experience in knowing the kind of problems other RO owners might have. In fact, I have already written about 1 of them here: reverse osmosis tank not filling.

In this article, I am looking to talk more common reverse osmosis problems that you might encounter.


Problem: My reverse osmosis faucet is producing little to no water.

Solution: If your reverse osmosis system is producing little to no water, it could be caused by one or several issues, most of which are easy and quick to fix. Work through the following troubleshooting steps:

  1. Make sure that your saddle valve is turned completely on by turning the valve counter-clockwise.
  2. Check your incoming water pressure. A minimum of 40 PSI is needed for optimal results so make sure that your water supply is open enough to get at least that. If you’re still not getting enough pressure, check with your utility company or a plumber to address the issue. You can also increase your PSI by installing a booster pump or permeate pump.
  3. Make sure that your tubing doesn’t have any crimps or bends in it.
  4. Check your filters and make sure they’re not needing to be replaced. Over time, your filters become clogged and need to be replaced every six months to ensure proper flow.
  5. If your pressure hasn’t improved after the steps 1-4, your reverse osmosis membrane may be fouled and will need to be replaced. This can happen every 2-4 years.

    * Another reason for low to no pressure could be that of high usage. Try waiting longer between uses to give your tank time to refill.

Problem: My reverse osmosis system is leaking at the faucet.

Solution: Sometimes leaks occur at the faucet once a reverse osmosis system has been installed. This can be due to loose fittings or improperly installed O-rings. The issue can be found through the process of elimination by working through the following steps:

  1. Check your fittings. If any are loose, carefully tighten them.
  2. Make sure your O-ring is installed and not damaged. If it’s missing, you’ll need to order a replacement. If it’s no longer round, remove it and add lubrication before replacing it on the system.
  3. Check your plastic ferrules and make sure they’re not installed backward. If so, correct them and make sure the tapered end points towards the valve.
  4. Adjust your faucet by turning the tee bar under the hand so that a small amount of free play remains when the handle is shut off.
  5. If steps 1-4 fail to fix the leak, you may need to replace your faucet.

Problem: The faucet on my reverse osmosis system is noisy

Solution: If you’ve noticed a gurgling noise coming from the drain when your system is regenerating, that’s perfectly normal and to be expected. However, if you’ve noticed obtrusive noises coming from the air-gap hole, it could have other causes which are addressed below:

  1. You could have a bend in your drain tube. Check to make sure your tube is straight and free of crimps between the faucet and drain saddle.
  2. You could have a blockage in your drain tube. If your tub is free of bends, disconnect the tub and use a long skinny instrument to clear out any debris causing a blockage.
  3. The noise could be coming from your air saddle. If so, you can reduce the sound by moving your drain saddle higher or by running a fishing line through the saddle and down into the sink trap.

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