FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Reverse Osmosis?
The process of reverse osmosis, is defined as, the forcing of water under pressure through a semi-permeable membrane. When you look at a membrane housing, you will see that there are two tubes coming out of one end and only one entering at the other end. The water enters the end with one tube, and for ex-planation purposes, if you were looking down the center of a pipe or membrane housing, you can imagine it divided down the center by a material much like saran wrap or plastic wrap you would use in your kitchen at home. Picture the water coming in on one side of this material and all the way at the other end, on that same side, there is a line to the drain. This is where all the contaminants are flushed out.
On this line is a drain line flow control which is matched to the membrane. This regulates and slows the water flow, just ever so slightly, creating enough back-pressure and forcing the proper amount of the water through this material. Only the purest water can get through. All the way at the other end, on the other side of this material is the line to the storage tank where this pure water is stored until you need the water. This line does have a check valve on it to prevent back-pressure against the membrane. When you call for water at the RO faucet, water leaves the storage tank and proceeds to the post filter where it is polished giving you great tasting water right at your finger tips.
How does a reverse osmosis system work?
The system is a combination of different filters together forming the reverse osmosis system. The first filter is a five micron sediment filter. Five micron is extremely fine filter. To put it in perspective, a human hair is 50-60 microns in size. The smallest you should be able to see with the human eye is around 30 microns. That would be like a fleck of dust floating in the air. As you can see, five microns is a fine filter.
The next filter or two are some type of carbon, either granular activated carbon (GAC) or a carbon block filter (CBC) or some combination thereof. These filters will remove all of the chlorine, chloramines and any existing volatile organic contaminants to protect the r/o membrane. The membrane is not able to handle large amounts of any of these.
Next would be the membrane which was ex-plained in detail above in the first question.
After the membrane is usually the post/polish filter for taste and odor. The final filter is to help with any objectionable taste and odors that may have gotten that far giving you great tasting water.
How often should I change my RO filters?
A good rule of thumb is to change them once a year. In warm climate areas like here where the tap water gets 80+ degrees during the summer months, you should consider changing them every six months, spring and fall usually or just in the fall for winter visitors. The reason for this is that 84°F is ideal temperature for bacteria growth. The city should include chlorine/chloramines that should kill this bacteria in a perfect world. This recommendation is based on having relatively clean city water supply.
If you have a private well, you may have a dirtier water supply and this may plug the sediment pre-filter much quicker than a 6 or 12 month period, requiring it to be changed more frequently.
If I don’t use my r/o system much, will I still need to change my filters?
Not using the system is the worst way to use your system. Do not horde your water. Use it for your house plants, pets, steam irons, washing your windows, etc… The more water you use, will improve the water quality and the function of the system. By not using your system, you are allowing the water to set stagnant, thereby giving bacteria a chance to grow everywhere within the system. If you use your system very little, you should empty the tank, preferably at bedtime once a month. This will allow you to wake to a full tank of fresh water. And yes you will still need to change your filters.
Why do I get very little water out of my system?
This problem could be caused by several different reasons. The sediment filter could be plugged and needs to be changed. You may be very overdue to change all your filters. Your membrane may be bad, your storage tank may be low on air or have failed. You may just need to add air to the storage tank. Tank pressure of 9-10 psi when the faucet is on and the tank is empty is optimal.
Your incoming water pressure could be too low or high for the system to function properly. This is very rare but, possible.
Why do I have hollow ice cubes?
This typically means the ice maker is not getting enough water delivered to it. This could be any of the problems mentioned above.
How much pressure should I get at the RO faucet and the refrigerator?
The typical water pressure is about half of the your tap water pressure. Water at the refrigerator can be affected by the way your refrigerator is piped. Some refrigerators only have a coil of 1/4 inch tubing in a cold part of the refrigerator to cool your water. This really slows the flow down coming out of your refrigerators water dispenser. This situation cannot normally be fixed. Most refrigerator manuals say to not use with an r/o, this is false however in our area, the high dissolved mineral concentration in the water will ruin an ice maker in 3 months to a 1 year. Over the years we have hooked thousands of reverse osmosis systems to refrigerators without problems.
How long should my membrane last?
Membranes should be replaced when the water taste/test bad or reaches a point where the rejection is below 75% of the total dissolved solids.
This could happen in as little as 1 year or it could last as long as 3-5 years. You can normally tell by your ice if the system is hooked to the refrigerator. Your ice will be relatively clear if your membrane is good and your ice will turn very cloudy with a bad membrane. If you r/o is not hooked up to you refrigerator watch for white calcium build up on the tip of you r/o faucet. We recommend membrane changes every 3 to 4 years in our area do to extremely high TDS concentration.
Will this make the water taste better?
Taste is a very personal thing and your taste may vary greatly from the next person. In the dictionary, water is described as a colorless, odorless, tasteless liquid. That is how r/o water should be and your taste will determine whether or not you like it or not. Having someone not like r/o water is a rare occurrence. Typically, once you get used to drinking r/o water, you will almost never touch the glass of water put on the table by the waitress again.
For the best and healthiest drinking water, visit our Tyent water FAQ’s and Product pages for information on Alkaline Ionized Water Systems.