Why Is My Reverse Osmosis Constantly Draining?

If you’ve ever dealt with a reverse osmosis system that drains water constantly, this article is for you. Reverse osmosis systems are designed to reduce the amount of salt and minerals added to the water before it goes through the unit. They work by filtering any impurities from the water before it goes into your home or business.

If your reverse osmosis system is constantly draining, there may be a few things that may cause this issue like faulty electronics, dirty or clogged filters, toxic material build-up in pipes, and sediment intrusion in piping. As you can see, these issues could affect the performance of your reverse osmosis unit which means you won’t be able to enjoy clean and healthy drinking water from it. This article will teach you how to troubleshoot these problems so that you can enjoy clean purified drinking water from your reverse osmosis system again.

What causes a reverse osmosis system to drain?

If your reverse osmosis system is draining constantly, there are likely a few things that may be causing this issue. These include:

  • Faulty electronics
  • Dirty or clogged filters
  • Toxic material build-up in pipes
  • Sediment intrusion in piping

Faulty Electronics

It’s easy to overlook the fact that the reverse osmosis system is a machine. Machines sometimes break down and need to be repaired. Your electronics could be faulty or burned out, or there may be something wrong with your pump, heater, or pressure tank.

If you notice that your reverse osmosis system isn’t working correctly and you’re unsure how long it will take to fix, contact a local expert. Keep in mind that these systems are often complex and can’t be fixed by someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing. If you want to avoid any further issues in the future, try to find a professional who knows what they’re doing.

Dirty or clogged filters

Filters in reverse osmosis systems can become dirty or clogged with debris. This leads to a decrease in water flow and poor production of clean, healthy water.

If you suspect your filter is dirty, first try cleaning it out by removing the filters from the system and allowing them to dry for a few hours. If the filters are still dirty, remove them from the system and replace them with new ones.

Toxic material build-up in pipes

A reverse osmosis system works by forcing water through a membrane, which separates and filters the chemicals in water. When this filter gets clogged with minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, it can cause problems for your system.

The best way to prevent toxic material build-up is to check your membranes every six months for any signs of damage. If you find that your membranes are damaged, contact the manufacturer. They should be able to provide replacement parts and instructions on how to clean or replace them.

Another preventive measure you can take is to use an ultraviolet light bulb in an area next to your reverse osmosis system’s pipes. This will help kill bacteria and other microorganisms in the water supply so they don’t accumulate inside of the pipes and clog them up.

Sediment intrusion in piping

One common issue is a build-up of sediment in the piping. This can lead to slow or incomplete water flow, which could also damage your reverse osmosis system over time.

To fix this, you’ll need to flush out the piping with clean water. You can do this by using cold water and a hose to spray into the pipes, or by using a siphon pump.

Troubleshooting a reverse osmosis system that drains

In order to troubleshoot your reverse osmosis system, you will need to find out what the cause of the problem is. This means that you will have to tackle each issue individually and figure out why it’s not working.

Here ara a few questions that can help you determine what the issue might be:

  • Have you had a recent power outage?
  • What are your reverse osmosis system’s service intervals?
  • Is your main water line being affected by sediment intrusion in piping?

What are the common causes of reverse osmosis system issues?

If your reverse osmosis system is constantly draining, there may be a few things that may cause this issue like faulty electronics, dirty or clogged filters, toxic material build-up in pipes, and sediment intrusion in piping.

There are many components inside the reverse osmosis unit so it is possible for one of these parts to fail and cause the system to drain continuously. If you’re not sure which part has failed, here are some troubleshooting steps you can take:

  • Disconnect the power cord from the unit and plug it back in again
  • Call the manufacturer of your reverse osmosis unit and ask them what should happen if your electronics have failed
  • Turn on your water system for 24 hours before checking if the drain is working properly. If the water system runs properly during this time, then there’s a problem with your electronics
  • Check all of the electrical connections on your reverse osmosis unit to ensure they’re tight and undamaged
Reverse Osmosis Troubleshooting Water Continuously flows to Drain


If your reverse osmosis system is draining, it could be caused by a number of common problems including a clogged membrane, a broken flow meter, a broken salt selector valve or a defective power supply. Follow the troubleshooting steps in this article to fix common drainage issues with your reverse osmosis system.

Meet the author: Paul White

Paul is water engineer by trade and is very passionate about innovative solutions for water filtration. His goal is to make drinking water accessible and affordable to all. An avid runner, he is currently training for a marathon. “Running is my sanity. Writing is how I organize my thoughts. I’m a poet and writer who is passionate about change. I aspire to be the best version of myself, and to help others do the same.” Learn more about Paul and the rest of the team.