How to Replace a Reverse Osmosis Membrane

Reverse osmosis is an effective water purification technology. However, it can be difficult to replace a membrane when it becomes worn or damaged. Here’s how to replace a Reverse Osmosis Membrane without any damage.

What Is the Best Way to Install a New RO Membrane?

When you are replacing your reverse osmosis membrane, you want to make sure that you do it correctly so that it will last as long as possible. Here is a step-by-step guide for replacing your reverse osmosis membrane:

How to Replace a Reverse Osmosis Membrane

  1. Turn off the water supply to the system. If your system is already installed, turn off the water supply valve at the street. If your system is in storage, turn off the water supply valve inside of your home or business and remove all hoses from the faucet or spigot.
  2. Put on a pair of rubber gloves and disconnect the RO membrane from its connection point on the faucet or spigot.
  3. Remove the old RO membrane from your reverse osmosis system by slowly pulling it from the faucet or spigot. Be careful not to bend or stretch the membrane or to cut it with your fingernails or other sharp objects.
  4. Once you have removed the old RO membrane, place it in a plastic bag and dispose of it in an appropriate way. Some manufacturers recommend that you place your old RO membrane in a plastic bag and then place that bag into another plastic bag and dispose of it with your regular household trash. Other manufacturers recommend that you wrap the old RO membrane in newspaper before placing it in a plastic bag and disposing of it with your regular household trash.
  5. Look at the membrane faucet or spigot connection point where you removed the old RO membrane. If you see any build-up of sediment or hard water deposits, use a toothbrush to scrub it clean and then rinse it with water. If your membrane faucet or spigot connection point is made of plastic, avoid using any abrasive cleaners that can cause damage to the plastic material.
  6. Turn on your water supply valve at the street and let it run for a few minutes to ensure that there are no leaks in your system. Then reconnect your RO membrane to its connection point on the faucet or spigot, turn off the water supply valve and then turn on your RO system to make sure that it is working properly.
  7. If your RO system is a whole house system, then you need to check all of the faucets in your home to ensure that they are working properly and that the water flow rate is not reduced. If the water flow rate is reduced, then you may have a leak in one of your pipes and you will have to fix it before you can use RO water for cooking or drinking.
  8. If your RO system is a point-of-use (POU) system, then turn on each appliance that uses water and check for leaks as well as a reduction in flow rate from each appliance. You can also use bleach and/or vinegar solution to check for leaks.
  9. If you have a whole house system, then turn off the water supply valve at the street and let the water run in your house for a few minutes to ensure that there are no leaks in your plumbing system. Then turn off your RO system and disconnect it from its connection point on the faucet or spigot.
  10. You can now use your RO water for cooking, drinking or other purposes in your home.
How To Replace Your Reverse Osmosis Filters and Membrane - APEC Water Installation Part 6

How Do I Know if My Reverse Osmosis Membrane Is Bad?

There are a few things you can do in order to check if your reverse osmosis membrane is bad. First, make sure that the water you’re using to purify your water is properly filtered. Second, check the level of chlorine in the water. If it’s high, your reverse osmosis membrane may not be able to purify the water as quickly as it should. Third, look for any black spots on the membrane. These spots may indicate that there is tar left on the membrane from when it was used in the past. Finally, if any of these tests indicate that your reverse osmosis membrane needs to be replaced, you’ll need to replace it as soon as possible.

One sign of needing a new RO membrane is when you notice an unpleasant odor in your drinking water. This could be caused by bacteria or other contaminants building up on the RO membrane, which will then need to be replaced. Another sign that your RO membrane needs replacing is when your water pressure changes and the quality of your water changes as well. This usually happens with older membranes. Finally, if you notice a change in taste or color of your water as you drink, this is another indication that you should replace the membrane. Here are a few of our favorite replacement membranes:

Can an RO Membrane Get Clogged?

Yes, an RO membrane can get clogged. How often will depend on the quality of your water and the hardness of your water. If you have hard water with lots of minerals in it, then you will need to change your RO membrane more often than if you have soft water with few minerals in it.

If you live in a region where there is a lot of sediment and/or rust in the water, then this can also shorten the life of your RO membrane and may cause it to become clogged more quickly.

How Much Does a Reverse Osmosis Membrane Cost?

The cost of a reverse osmosis membrane is dependent on the size of your reverse osmosis system. Smaller reverse osmosis systems require smaller RO membranes, as well as less expensive RO membranes. Larger reverse osmosis systems require larger RO membranes, as well as more expensive RO membranes.

The price of RO membranes is also dependent upon the quality of the RO membrane. The best reverse osmosis membranes are made from polyamide, although other cheaper RO membranes are made from polypropylene.

What Is the Lifespan of a Reverse Osmosis Membrane?

The lifespan of an RO membrane largely depends upon how hard your water is, as well as how much sediment and/or rust there is in your water. A high quality polyamide RO membrane will last anywhere between 5 and 10 years, while a lower quality polypropylene RO membrane may only last you 1 or 2 years.

Conclusion

There are many reasons why a reverse osmosis membrane might fail, and without a new one it can be difficult to determine which one is bad and which one needs to be replaced. If you have any concerns about the membrane, it is best to consult with a plumber to remove it and replace it with a new one. Otherwise it’s a fairly straightforward process, and with the help our article, you will get the membrane replaced yourself in no time!

Meet the author: Nancy Hernández

Nancy is a yoga instructor and a knitwear designer. She has been teaching yoga since 2013 and is certified by Yoga Alliance. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, tennis and cooking. “As a mother of three, my kids keep me busy. But spending time with them is really a treat. They are growing up so fast and I do not want to miss anything!” Learn more about Nancy and the rest of the team.