How Often Should RO Filters Be Changed?


Routine maintenance of reverse Osmosis systems is essential for maximum efficiency.

The three, four, or five filter stages of an RO system are the most common. We won’t go into detail about each stage as the number of stages can vary depending on the RO model. However, we will provide basic maintenance information for most RO units.

First: To protect delicate RO membranes, water must first flow through a prefilter. This cartridge filters out silt, dirt, and other sediments. The pre-filter should always be changed every 6-9months. If the prefilter is not maintained and changed according to schedule, it can become clogged or foul, making it ineffective at protecting RO membranes.

Second: This is the next stage, which is usually a carbon filter. It is used to remove chlorine and other odor or taste contaminants. This is crucial because chlorine could cause damage to the RO membrane. Also, this carbon filter should also be changed every 6-9months.

Third: This phase is reverse osmosis. The separation process of reverse osmosis is where water is forced through a membrane by applying pressure. The membrane keeps the contaminant on one side but allows water (pure solvent) to pass to the other.

This is the opposite of the normal “osmosis” process, which is the natural movement of a solvent through a membrane to an area with a high solute concentration.

The RO membrane is able to pass water at 35 pounds per square inch (psi). This rate is equivalent to about two drops per second. The membrane rejects contaminants and pipes them down the drain. The RO membranes should always be replaced every 2 to 3 years.

NOTE The lifespan of the filter and membrane will depend on local water conditions and household usage.

Fourth: At the end of the process, a carbon filter stage can be added to “polish off” the water. This stage eliminates all odors and tastes to produce exceptional drinking water. Every 6-9 months, the carbon filter should be replaced.

What Happens If I Forget The Filters Are Changed?

You can forget to change your filter and the system will eventually stop producing any water. A decrease in water production is an indicator that the membrane and filter are at the end of their useful lives.

It’s a smart idea to remind yourself and make sure you change your filters and membranes according to schedule.

What Do I Need To Clean An RO?

Annual system sanitization should be done. This maintenance service can be provided by your local water treatment professional or you can consult the owner’s manual for your RO system.

What Is The Life Expectancy Of An RO System?

Reverse osmosis systems can last years if they are maintained and serviced as needed. Follow the membrane filter schedule, and sterilize/clean your system every year.

Is A Water Softener Going To Harm An RO System?

Yes, you can use both a softener as well as an R.O. The combination of a softener and an RO system is a wonderful combination. The RO system will eliminate 98% of all salt from the water. This combination makes great-tasting drinking water.

An R.O. is not able to remove calcium and magnesium which are the minerals that make it hard. The softener protects the RO system from being damaged by the membrane. This protects the RO system against fouling and prolongs the membrane’s life.

This post was written by a water treatment expert at Paragon Water Systems. At Paragon Water Systems we are the Manufacturers of the best Water Filter manufacturer! We know that the best product comes from the best materials. We manufacture home water solutions such as reverse osmosis systems, under sink water filtration systems, showerhead filtration systems, carbon cartridges, and a wide variety of other products. Our focus is to provide Americans with safe and clean water throughout the home.

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