How to Clean your RO Water Purifier Filter – Maintenance Tips

Getting clean water in India is challenging because even tap water is no longer as clean as many people think. There are many reasons why tap water supplies in the country are no longer clean, including groundwater, lakes and rivers. 

Fun fact: There are cities in India that provide water to their residents and they say that it is purified before it is distributed. However, it is a concern for many people as to what steps were done to clean the water before it goes to homes. 

The best way to get clean water with these uncertainties in mind is by getting the best water purifier for your home. It will clean your water supply and make sure that it is filtered no matter what quality your water source has. 

It is easy to buy and install an RO water purifier, but it can be tricky to clean and maintain them. Here below is a brief guide to help you maintain your RO water purifier and what you need to know when cleaning it: 

 

Why Do You Need to Clean the Filters?

When you get a RO water purifier for your home, you are making sure that you can get clean and healthy water for your family. This is the reason why the filters must be cleaned regularly and make sure the water it produces is always clean. 

The frequency on how often you need to clean the filters depends on the level of TDS in your water source. If it has high TDS levels, you will need to clean it often. TDS and other residues found in the water supply can accumulate in the RO membrane and affect its performance. 

 

When Do You Clean Filters?

Ideally, the filters should be cleaned every 6 to 12 months depending on the recommendation of the manufacturer and the quality of the water supply in the house. You can opt to have it cleaned by a professional or do it yourself. 

It is important to have the filters cleaned regularly because TDS can create a bad smell as it accumulates. If the water tastes odd, you need to clean the purifier already. 

Another sign that you need to look for to determine if it’s time to clean the purifier is by checking the water pressure of the machine. If the differential pressure is above 10%, you may need to clean the purifier already. You will also check the level of contamination in the water to see if you need to regularly clean the purifier. 

Normally, it is recommended to clean the filters every 6 to 12 months.  

 

What Types of Filters are Used in RO Water Purifiers?

A diagram of the ro water purification stages

For a RO water purifier to produce clean water, it undergoes 6 to 7 stages to remove any impurities in the water. 

Here is a list of the filters used in these purifiers and how they purify the water:

Sediment filter:

The sediment filter is often found outside the machine itself. It collects large impurities and prevents it from entering the purifier itself. These impurities can affect how well the purifier’s RO water membrane works if it passes through. 

Reverse Osmosis Membrane:

This is the most expensive part of the purifier and is the one responsible for reducing and eliminating the TDS and heavy metal levels in the water. It also removes the viruses and bacteria in the water. 

Activated Carbon filter:

Every RO water purifier comes with two carbon filters: Pre-Activated and Post-Activated Carbon filters. The pre-activated filters will remove the chlorine that may pass through the membrane. Meanwhile, the post-activated carbon is located after the RO membrane and removes any bad odor from the water and makes sure that the output water has a good taste. 

UF membrane:

There are still molecules that may pass through the other filters and may affect the taste of the water. The UF membrane will prevent these molecules from passing through, which is why it should be cleaned regularly.

 

How to Clean the Filters?

  1. Make sure that the water supply to the purifier is turned off. 
  2. Turn off the water lines to the refrigerator or icemaker if your purifier is connected to them
  3. If your RO purifier comes with a release outlet to drain the storage tank, drain the storage tank before you begin. 
  4. Once the storage tank is drained, close the faucet. 
  5. Disconnect the RO membrane housing from the purifier and open it with a strap wrench. It is important that it is removed from the rest of the purifier to protect it from the cleaning agents you will use to clean the rest of the purifier. RO membranes can get damage with bleaching agents. 
  6. When you open the RO membrane, drain the water out of it and rake the membrane clean from water. 
  7. To clean the RO membrane, use the prescribed cleaning agents by the RO manufacturer and follow the steps in how to clean the membrane with it. It is important to take note of the dosages because one single difference may affect how well it removes deposits that may have accumulated throughout its use. 
  8. Some of the usual deposits that you may encounter include Calcium carbonate scale, silica scale, both organic and inorganic colloidal deposits, metal oxide deposits and organic materials. 
  9. When it comes to cleaners, you can either use generic and expensive chemical membrane cleaners. You will also use three types of cleaners to give your machine a thorough clean: Alkaline, Sanitizer and Acid.
  10. After using each type of cleaner in your system, always flush the system clean. 
  11. For the housing, clean it using a bottle brush and detergent. You can also use a mixture of water and bleach as an alternative cleaner. 
  12. Make sure to dispose of the cleaning chemicals correctly because they may get into your plants or in areas where your children or pets can reach it. 
  13. Rinse the membrane and housing with clean water before reassembling them back to the purifier
  14. Reinstall the RO membrane housing by connecting it back to the main valve and your house’s water supply. Check if there are any leaks in the connection and try fixing it. 
  15. Make sure to clean the whole system with water to remove any chemicals and detergent which may have remained on the surface before refilling the tank. It may take a while before everything goes back to normal.

 

Clean these components too

Aside from the major filters mentioned above, you will need to clean the following components to keep everything working smoothly. Here are the other filters or parts you have to clean and how to do it:

Sediment filters

This filter can be removed separately from the machine for cleaning. When you get it out of your purifier, use a scrubber and mild detergent to scrub it clean. While scrubbing, rinse it regularly to get rid of the impurities that may have accumulated on the filter. If you notice that it is discolored, replace the sediment filter completely. Ideally, the filter should be replaced yearly but it will depend on the quality of water that your area has. 

Activated carbon filters

This filter can be cleaned alongside the RO membrane. Before you do so, take out the Activated Carbon cartridges and let warm water pass through it a few times before putting them close to your ear. If you hear popping noises or crackling on them, you can put them back in the filter. If it doesn’t make noise at all, you need to replace them. Like the sediment filter, the carbon filters must be replaced at least once a year. 

UV Lamp

If your RO filters come with a UV lamp, check if they are still lighting up to determine if they need replacing. If it is no longer working, you can replace it at any time. 

 

Ultrafiltration membrane

This filter is cleaned while you clean the RO membrane. 

 

What to Remember When Cleaning Your Water Purifier?

  1. Always check the manual of your RO water purifier to see what you can use to clean it. You should also take note of the dosage because it may affect the pH value of the purifier and affect how well it purifies it. 
  2. Before you open the purifier, make sure it is turned off.
  3. Turn off the main valve so there is no water that will pass into the purifier while you clean it. 
  4. The storage tank must be empty before you clean the filters
  5. Fill the tanks up two times after cleaning or changing the filters before using the water again. 

Conclusion

If you have a RO water purifier at home, make it a point to monitor its condition regularly to keep it working perfectly. Usually, the RO membrane of water purifiers can last up to three years depending on how good the water source is in the area. The rest of the filters will have to be replaced each year to keep the purifier working efficiently for the next 10 to 15 years. Always remember that these purifiers will keep you and your family safe by giving you constant access to clean drinking water. 

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