Why Is My Reverse Osmosis System Slow?

Reverse osmosis is the process of moving water from a lower pressure to a higher pressure. This system works by forcing water through a fine membrane, called a semipermeable membrane, which allows only some of the water molecules to pass through while keeping most of them on the other side. With this method, there are no chemicals involved in the purification process and as such it is an environmentally friendly way to get pure drinking water. The slow speed of your reverse osmosis system might be due to one or more reasons like: clogged filter, burst or leaky pipe, dirty tank, low pressure, too much sediment in your tap water, bad valve or faucet or maybe even the wrong size for your need. Regardless of the reason for its slow speed, here are 7 tips you can use to fix it fast.

7 Reasons Your Reverse Osmosis System Is Slow

The system used for this process is the reverse osmosis system. It has many different parts that all work together to provide you with pure drinking water in your home. There are many reasons for your RO system to be slow, but no matter the reason, here are 7 tips you can use to fix it fast.

  1. Increase the water pressure. When you install your RO system, you must know that it won’t work as fast as a regular faucet. This is because it needs higher water pressure to push the water through the membrane and filter. If your system doesn’t have a booster pump, you might want to consider getting one to increase the pressure.
  2. Make sure that your reverse osmosis system has enough storage capacity. If not, then you may need to clean it more often or even replace it with a bigger one if needed.
  3. You may need to replace your membrane or filter if needed or have them cleaned professionally by a service technician. This is the best and fastest way to speed up your RO system.
  4. Use a higher GPM (gallons per minute) rated faucet. Again, this might not be possible if you have an older system installed in your home.
  5. You can also use a booster pump or pressure tank to get the water pressure you need for a faster flow rate.
  6. If you have an older RO system, replacing it with a new one might be the best thing to do especially if you need fast water filtration for drinking or cooking purposes on top of having soft water for your laundry and other uses in the house or workplace. There are many types of RO systems but they all come with different capabilities and capacities. Make sure you get the right one to meet your needs.
  7. If you need fast water filtration for a specific purpose, like drinking or cooking, then look for an RO system that can produce around 50 gallons per day which is enough for a family of five to use at home.

Fixing a Clogged Filter

The filter is the most important part of your system and is responsible for filtering out bacteria, minerals and other impurities in your water. If you notice that the flow of your system is slow, it could be because there is a clogged filter.

Fixing a Burst or Leaky Pipe

The first step is to turn off the water intake valve. The intake pipe should be near your water tank. Then turn off the water supply valve which is usually located in the basement or garage. Next, try to locate where the leak is coming from and fix it accordingly. You can use a bucket to catch any excess water until you find the leak source.

While you are doing this, make sure not to leave any lights on, especially if you have electricity in your home. This will prevent sudden power surges when you reconnect your system to power.

Cleaning Your Tank

The first thing you should do is clean your tank. All the impurities and sediment that you see in your water will be stored in the tank and, if not cleaned regularly, will lessen the efficiency of your reverse osmosis system.

To clean out your tank, use a solution of water and white vinegar. Vinegar is a great natural cleaning agent that can remove stains and mineral deposits like hard water. After you’ve finished cleaning, make sure to rinse it thoroughly with tap water to get rid of any residual vinegar smell or taste.

Improving the Pressure of Your RO System

Sometimes, your RO system’s slow speed is due to a low water pressure. If this is the case, your system might not be able to push the water through the membrane fast enough. You can fix this by adding a booster pump or increasing the height of the inlet pipe.

Removing Sediment in Your Tap Water

If you have a lot of sediment in your tap water, this can slow the process of reverse osmosis. In order to fix this issue, you should purchase a pre-filter that will catch these particles before they enter the reverse osmosis process.

Testing for Valve or Faucet and Size

If you’re experiencing low water pressure, the first thing to do is to test your faucets and see if they are running well. If there’s a problem with the faucet or valve, then try replacing it.

The next step would be to check the size of your filter. The size of the filter will depend on the volume of water you need purified. The rule of thumb is that there should be 12-14 gallons per minute for every square foot of filter area. So before buying a new filter, try adjusting the current one to ensure it meets the right capacity.

The other factor that should be considered is how often you clean or change your filter. If you use chlorine or an algae remover, then you need to clean your membrane yearly for best results, but if you don’t use any chemicals then it’s recommended that filters are changed every 3 years.

How Do You Fix a Slow Reverse Osmosis System?

If your RO system is a little slow, these seven tips will help you fix the problem. The first step is to make sure all of your pipes are clear from sediment and dirt. You can do this by running water through them.

Next, check to see if there’s a clog in your filter or damaged membrane. If you find a clog, the issue could be resolved with a clean cloth and some hot water.

To check for a leaky pipe or burst tank, just turn off your RO system and go investigate around the area it’s coming from. If you find a leaky pipe, replace it as soon as possible because this could lead to a bigger problem in the future if not fixed quickly enough.

The next step would be to ensure that you have enough pressure for reverse osmosis by trying to test it at various taps around your home or office building. To do so, turn on the RO system and wait for it to fill up before timing how long it takes. Once done, move on to another tap and repeat the process until you’ve covered all of them – then calculate the average time needed per tap. Keep in mind that when testing pressure, if one tap is significantly slower than others, then that could mean there’s a problem with the pipes somewhere.

If you’ve checked everything above and still have no idea what’s causing the low pressure, then it’s time to call in a professional. Although it might be tempting to do it yourself, there are risks involved when dealing with pressurised water – and you might get hurt if you’re not careful.

How to fix low water production in a reverse osmosis system

What Causes Low Water Pressure in Reverse Osmosis System?

The reason for low water pressure can be due to any of the following:

  • Clogged filter which restricts the flow of water
  • Burst or leaky pipe
  • Dirty tank which decreases the efficiency of osmosis system
  • Low pressure in your house’s water pipes
  • Too much sediment in tap water which blocks the membrane
  • Bad valve or faucet which does not allow for a clean stream of water to pass through.

How Do You Know if RO Membrane Is Bad?

A good indicator of the RO membrane’s condition is its color. As it ages, an RO membrane will gradually turn from white to dark blue or brown. You can also test your membrane by using litmus paper, which turns red in acidic conditions and blue in alkaline ones.

You can also ask a professional for help with checking your membranes. If they are not properly tested and replaced on time, they may burst and this will lead to water leakage that might cause damage to your property or even worse – health issues!

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.