Users of reverse osmosis water filters seldom encounter any problems with these drinking water systems, in fact, they’ll work for many years on end before anything malfunctions. However, you may encounter certain issues with certain models, so it’s always good to be prepared for unforeseen events.

reverse osmosis system troubleshooting

In this article, we’ll focus on offering troubleshooting tips for two of the most common malfunctions you may encounter as a user of a reverse osmosis water filter system – little to no flow coming from the faucet and water continuously flowing to the drain. Here’s how to troubleshoot reverse osmosis water filters should you ever come across these two issues:

Minimal or no flow from filter tap

If you’ve been using your reverse osmosis water filter system for a few years without any problems and you suddenly notice that the flow coming from the faucet is minimal or reduced to a few dribbles, you need to check for a few things. Often the cause might be that your water tank is waterlogged. In this case, you need to lift up the reverse osmosis tank to see how full it is. If the tank is full, the problem is most likely inside your water tank – either the bladder inside your tank is torn, in which case you need to replace tank, or the pressure inside your tank is down, in which case you need to re-pressurise the tank.  

To get to the bottom of the problem, you need to shut off the reverse osmosis system, disconnect the tank from the system, and empty it by opening up the ball valve on the RO tank. To empty the tank of all the water, you also need to undo the cover of the shrader valve on the side of the tank. If water is coming out of this valve or air is coming out of the shut off valve, the bladder inside the tank is most likely torn.

To re-pressurize the system take a compressor or a bicycle pump, hook it up to the air stem valve to pump out all the water. Once all the water is out, you need to test the pressure inside the tank with a tire pressure gauge. Re-pressurize the tank taking care not to go over 6-8 psi since that might burst the bladder. If you find yourself needing to re-pressurize the RO tank too often, you may need to consider replacing it.

Water keeps running to drain

Another issue that you may come across is water continuously running to drain, this is an issue that undermines the economy of your RO system, so you need to address it.

There are some possible causes why water would keep running to drain – you haven’t replaced your reverse osmosis membrane in a while, the water pressure levels required by your system are not met, the automatic shut off valve or the check valve are not functioning properly. If your RO membrane is not in a good condition, you may need to start with that first. If the problem persists, you need to make further investigations. First, draw a few glasses of water upon which the RO will start working to supplement the water in the tank. Turn off the ball valve to simulate a full tank condition. After a few minutes check to see if water stops running. If it doesn’t, then the check valve or the automatic shut off is defective. But which one is it? First, make sure your tank is either full or close it. Then, remove the drain line from the drain saddle so you can check it. Next, turn off the cold water supply and check to see if water flows in the drain line. If it does, then it means that your check valve is broken, if it doesn’t flow, then you have problems with your automatic shut off and you need to replace it.

If incoming water pressure levels are not at least 40 psi, you may need to invest in a reverse osmosis booster pump that will prevent water running to drain and improve the overall performance and economy of your RO system.

Hopefully, these tips can help you easily identify the problems with your RO system and resolve them.