A reverse osmosis water filter can be the ultimate solution to water contamination issues that make your water supply unfit for drinking or other household purposes. If you’re considering installing a filter in your home, there are a few things you should consider when it comes to reverse osmosis systems.
If you’re installing a traditional reverse osmosis filter, you may have to face certain problems that derive from the way these systems are designed to work.
Because we’re experts in water filtration, we’ll walk you through some of the issues you may encounter when installing and using an RO filter and how to manage these issues to get the best out of your filter system.
- Upstream Filter Replacement
No matter the filtration technology used, all water filters use consumable filter cartridges. The reason why these cartridges need replacing is because they become saturated with contaminants and sediments to the point where they can no longer adsorb or filter out any further contaminants.
Reverse osmosis filters have multiple filter cartridges, some of which are upstream of the membrane, also known as pre-filters, others are downstream of the membrane, also known as post-filters.
The filters upstream of the reverse osmosis membrane remove many of the contaminants that the RO membrane cannot, but they also have the role of protecting the membrane from chemical damage caused by these contaminants.
If these pre-filters are not replaced in due time, chlorine and other chemicals or sediments can break through and cause irreversible damage to the RO membrane, which is the most expensive consumable in an RO system.
There’s also no way of telling immediately if the RO membrane suffered any damage, and the only way to know for sure is to test your RO filtered water for contaminants.
This is why we recommend all reverse osmosis filter users to be extra careful when it comes to replacing filters in an RO system, especially that not all pre-filters are replaceable at the same time. Some may need replacing more often than others.
The best way to avoid damage to the RO membrane and cause potential drinking water contamination issues is to set filter replacement reminders for every type of filter in your filter system and respect those deadlines religiously.
Many filters will advertise that they’re easy to install, and indeed, some filters (e.g. countertop filters) can be installed in seconds. This, however, does not hold true for RO filters.
If your plumbing skills are rusty at best, it’s best to consider hiring the services of a water filter expert who can install your RO system for you. When it comes to the installation of an RO system, there are two problematic steps:
- Drilling a hole in your kitchen sink or countertop to install the dedicated tap for filtered water;
- Drilling a hole in the drain pipe line for the wastewater generated by the filter system.
If you’re not confident you can pull off the installation of an RO filter on your own, it’s best to leave things to a professional and avoid potential damage to an expensive countertop, or, even worse, to avoid cracking a drain pipe.
- Water pressure & flow rate
Reverse osmosis filters thrive on water pressure, so installing a reverse osmosis filter in a low pressure environment is out of the question.
Some systems come with a booster pump that can help with pressure issues, but if pressure requirements are not met, your reverse osmosis water filter will malfunction. A malfunctioning system can lead to clogging issues, low flow rates, and low quality filtered water.
Check the pressure requirements of the filter you want to buy and see if your incoming water supply meets those requirements.
If pressure conditions are not adequate for the installation of a reverse osmosis system consider installing an inline filter that works even in low-pressure environments, or buy a gravity water filter that requires no plumbing or incoming water pressure.
Not many people know that reverse osmosis water filters have a backwash system that washes away the impurities left behind when water is forced through the RO membrane.
Reverse osmosis water filters consume water in order to produce filtered water. The amount of water that ends up as backwash depends on the brand and model of your filter system, but it can be anywhere from 3 to 10 gallons for every gallon that’s produced.
It helps to think about your RO system as an appliance that works very much like a washing machine or a dishwasher. Both appliances use water to clean your clothes just like the RO system uses water to produce clean water.
As multi-stage systems that feature multiple water filter cartridges (some may have as many as 7 filters in total) and a reverse osmosis tank that stores filtered water, these systems can be quite bulky and can take up all the space under your kitchen counter. For some people this may be an issue, especially for those that live in smaller households.
The fix? New generation RO systems!
While not all RO problems can be fixed, most of these issues can be managed by either paying better attention to the maintenance and operational requirements of the filter, or getting help from an expert in installation related tasks.
Of course, not all reverse osmosis systems work as described above. In fact, a new generation of reverse osmosis systems have revolutionized the ro technology, and minimized the downsides of owning an ro system.
Reverse osmosis systems manufactured by BMB are the newest trend in ro filtration and their filtration solutions include:
- Tankless, direct flow systems: this means that water is no longer stored in a tank before consumption and the direct flow technology allows filtered water to be produced only when necessary. The lack of a tank and more compact filter cartridges make these filters easy to store;
- Optimized filter cartridges: Filter cartridges in some BMB models like the BMB-30 NOVA PRO Direct Flow 9-Stage Reverse Osmosis System have been designed to last longer than traditional filters. Therefore, replacement can be carried out only every 12 months for pre-filters and every 36 months for the rest of the filters. Other BMB models allow all filters to be replaced at the same time to avoid any confusion.
- Low wastewater production: New filter systems are more efficient, reducing the amount of water used in the backwashing process. Some feature water usage tracking systems allowing you to monitor the amount of water that’s being used.
All filters have their upsides and downsides, but overwhelmingly the advantages of owning any kind of filter system outweigh the disadvantages. Whichever filter system you decide to buy, the key is to inform yourself about their operation, filter life, special requirements related to installation or maintenance.
The most important thing to consider is whether the filter you choose can remove the contaminants that lurk in your water supply. It’s also important to make sure you can maintain and service the system to avoid contamination of filtered water.