How to Tell If RO Membrane is Bad

Reverse Osmosis systems are famous for their ability to supply families with clean water. They are also renowned for the numerous issues they can face once they have been set up.

Does it keep draining? Is there no water flowing out? Are valves or filters not functioning?

Note any issue you face is best addressed as quickly as you can. In the event of ignoring a problem, it will result in more issues further down the line.

To prevent panic and stop you from making panicked calls, we’ll familiarize you with the issues you may confront with your Reverse Osmosis system, and the probable root causes.

That being said below are the most frequently encountered reverse osmosis issues you’ll encounter and the best way to fix these issues.

1. A noisy drainage or faucet

What are the common causes for the sound of a faucet or drain?

  • low pressure
  • damaged bladder
  • storage tank pressure too high
  • Pressure in the water supply is too low
  • Poor membrane
  • Filters that have become blocked
  • bent tubing
  • Storage tank empty
  • Closed valves

If you’re making use of your reverse osmosis system to the first time or if you’ve been able to replace some cartridges There’s a good possibility that the drain line could produce a slight sound.

This happens because air is being pulled away from your system. In the majority of cases, this is not a problem to be concerned about.

If the sound persists after a day or two, you might want to look over the system to ensure all is in order.

Begin by checking the tubing , and make sure it’s set in a straight line. Check for any obstructions within the drain tube that could be hindering fluid flow.

If you notice that the system is unreliable, you may need to examine the whole system for the presence of gaps. If you find any issues ensure that you have them repaired as quickly as you can.

2. The water flow is slow

Have you used your reverse osmosis device installed for a couple of years ago? Have you been able to wake each day to a cool glass of refreshing water?

If this is the case, you’d be horrified if you woke up the next morning to discover your favorite reverse osmosis device has a slow flow of water. In some instances it could be that there is none at all.

If you experience little to no water flow, it’s typically due to two reasons. The water pressure may be too low or the amount of water in the system is not sufficient.

The reason: Water tank that is not functioning properly.

This kind of issue is usually the result of the storage tank which has failed. The storage tank contains an air bladder that raises the pressure whenever more water is flowing through the tanks.

When the bladder is damaged due to leakage or rupture the bladder won’t be able to create enough pressure within the tank. This means that you’ll experience the water flowing slowly or not at all.

To resolve this issue To solve this issue, first you be required to inspect the tank to determine whether it’s empty. If the tank is filled it’s going to weigh about 20 pounds (ca. 9 kg). In the event that it is not empty it’ll weigh under two tons (0.91 kilograms).

If your tank is filled it is likely that the issue is on the inside. To correct the problem you’ll need to pressurize the reverse osmosis tank.

Here’s how you can do it?

1. Begin by turning the water source to cold.

2. Check that the valve on the storage tank is shut.

3.  Unplug the tank and bring it outside. After you are outside, you’ll have to open the valve on the tank and then remove all the water.

When you first turn on the valve, water will begin to flow out rapidly. But after a couple of minutes it will begin to slow down , and eventually will become an occasional drip.

4. Beware of being fooled by the tinny water. There’s still plenty of water remaining in the tank.

To remove it for you, you’ll require the bicycle pump or compressor to push in air to the vessel that you are using for pressure. Each time you pump, you will see an increase in the amount of water flowing out of the tank.

5. When all water has been taken out of the tank, you’ll be required to determine the pressure inside the tank using the pressure gauge.

The gauge should be reading between 6 between 6 and 8 psi. If the pressure is lower than that, you’ll need to pressurize the device again.

6. When you’re finished pressurizing the tank you can connect it with the reverse the osmosis process. After reconnecting, you can refill the system by opening the valve in the tank as well as the valve to feed water.

If, after a couple of days you begin to notice that your water pressure dropping it could mean that the air bladder is failing and the entire tank will have to be replaced.

Cause: The reverse-osmosis membrane has become blocked.

A slow flow of water could be an indication that low pressure of the feed water is not enough. It is typically caused by the reverse osmosis membrane getting downhill due to blocked filters.

If the membrane is continuously being pressured to deal with water that is extremely hard, this can cause it to become blocked.

To resolve this problem, you could replace the membrane more frequently or you could install an softener for water to help eliminate certain minerals from water prior to its passage through the filtering system.

If your low water flow is due to blocked filters, then you’ll require replacing them in addition.

Clogged filters are more frequent in newly built homes in which large amounts of sediment and debris temporarily clog the plumbing system.

The reason The reason is: Bent tubing

The inability to flow water can be due to bent tubing. If tubing is bent, the pressure inside the tank is decreased while the stream of water is reduced.

Verify the tubing, and if any lines of water have been bent or stretched, straighten them immediately.

The reason is low feed water pressure

The pressure of the feed water can affect the water flow. If the pressure of the water in the feed is lower than 40 psi then you must make use of a pressure pump to raise the pressure until the proper level.

3. The reverse osmosis system continuously is drained

Common reasons for draining systems are:

  • Storage tank pressure too low
  • tank air bladder damaged
  • broken shut-off valve
  • broken check valve
  • Low pressure in the feed water
  • incorrect installation
  • Degraded membrane
  • old flow restrictor

All reverse osmosis devices, including whole-house reverse osmosis systems work by relying on pressure. If the tank’s capacity is full and the tank is at an adequate pressure, the auto shut off valve will be activated.

When this happens the water ceases to flow into the system, and water that is rejected ceases to flow down to the line for draining.

Cause: Valves are not working correctly

In the event that your shutoff valve and check valves aren’t functioning correctly, water will continue flow through the drain pipe. This means that the reverse osmosis system you have installed will continue to drain, wasting an enormous amount of water and produce a great deal of noise.

Make sure the tank is at the right pressure. tank

To resolve this issue, there are two tests that you be required to perform. First, you’ll have to determine the level of tank’s pressure using the pressure gauge.

Check that your tank is fully filled before you attempt to gauge the pressure. It will be clear when you try lifting it.

The tank’s pressure is supposed to be in the range of 35-40 psi. If the pressure is not within the range, then it is either shut off valves or check valve needs to be replaced.

Here are 2 tests that you could run to determine if the valves require replacement:

Valve Check # 1

This test will allow you to determine whether the automatic shut-off valve and check valves are operating in a proper manner.

  1. Reduce the pressure inside the tank, allowing around 20 OZ (0.76 kilograms) from the water flowing through the faucet. This will trigger the system to begin taking water through the process to replenish the tank.
  2. Simulate the full tank by shutting the valve on the tank.
  3. Give the system five minutes to treat the water.
  4. The fourth and final step is whether the water is no longer from flowing through to the drain pipe.

This can be done by monitoring your system’s actions or by taking the drain line off the saddle of drain.

If the water stops flowing, it means that the valves are operating according to their design to work. However, if the water is still flowing through the drain, it signifies that one of the valves are damaged.

If the valves have failed, then continue to the next test.

Valve Check 2

  1. Keep the valve of the tank open when the tank is filling.
  2. Switch off the water feed valve.
  3. Examine the drain to determine if there is still water flowing down your drain. Recall step 4 of earlier tests to learn the procedure.

If water continues to flow is a sign that it’s flowing from the tank that stores it. This is a sign that the check valve is damaged and requires replacement.

If there is no water flowing, it means that the automatic shut-off valve is not working properly and must be replaced.

Here’s a video for how to troubleshoot draining RO systems

If you discover that your valves aren’t performing their job, it is time to replace them.

Broken valves are one of the primary reason for water draining However, there are additional reasons:

Reason: Improper installation

Did you employ an expert installer or did you attempt to do it yourself? Incorrect installation is among the most common reasons that water continues to flow through the drain.

While we’d always recommend employing a professional, we understand that it’s not always possible. If you’re planning to install it yourself be sure to be patient and review all the instructions.

Check that all components of the system are in the proper position prior to operating the system.

Cause: Broken the flow restrictor

In time the flow restrictor will be worn out and cause the system to to operate on a continuous basis. To address this issue, change the restriction.

4. Leaks or drips from faucet

Have you noticed that your faucet is leaking or drips without explanation? If yes, it could be an indication that one or more components aren’t properly fitted.

Stopping the dripping or the leak is as simple as checking the machine and ensuring that all fittings are securely fastened.

Examine the tubing to be sure that it’s pushed all through the valves, ports and the drain saddle.

If you find that the water comes from the faucet’s bottom base, your only option to address this issue is replacing the part.

5. The taste and odor of the water is bad. the water

There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting to drink a glass cold water, only to discover that the flavor and smell are extremely unpleasant.

While the primary goal of a reverse-osmosis system is to supply the family and you with clean potable drinking water; it’s common for this kind of system to impart an odd taste or smell in the drinking water.

Unfortunately, there’s only one method to stop this from happening, and that’s to make the decision to invest in a high-quality reverse osmosis device.

Cause: The membrane is degraded.

After the system has been used for a long time it is typical for the water that is filtered to turn a little cloudy. The most frequent cause of unpleasant odors or tastes present in water comes from due to a damaged membrane.

Cloudy water is typically caused by the accumulation of biofilm during the various stages of filtering. The best way to get rid the biofilm build-up is to replace the filters that have become blocked as well as membranes that have been contaminated.

After you’ve replaced membranes and filters Make it a habit to keep replacing them every six to twelve months.

By replacing these parts regularly You can stop bacteria from building up within the reverse osmosis system.

To stop the accumulation of germs inside the filter and the water that flows through it, think about buying an equipment that permits you to eliminate both the filter and its housing in the same day.

Be aware that these systems usually cost more than standard systems. The cost of maintenance will be a bit more expensive.

The extra expense will be worth itas you don’t have to worry about bacteria in the water you drink and causing health problems.

To extend the lifespan of your system and keep your family secure We suggest performing regular maintenance of the system at at least twice per year.

Be sure to clean it according to what the instructions from the manufacturer direct you to.

The reason is that the water is stagnant in the tank

Another reason for bad-tasting or smelly water is unintentionally used water. If the water remains stagnant for a long period of time, the bacteria begin to develop. If bacteria begin to multiply and affect the flavor and smell of the water.

When your reverse-osmosis device has been inactive for a long time, ensure that you clean the entire system, even the tank for storage twice before you use it once more.

This will ensure that any debris that is accumulating in the tank and filters is flushed out.

6. Air gap faucet leaks

The most common causes of leaks from air gap faucets include:

  • Connectivity is loose
  • A damaged stem of the faucet
  • drain line clogged
  • The drain saddle is moved

Have you noticed that water is flowing through the hole of the faucet that is connected to the air gap? If yes, this is called the air gap leak and is easy to repair.

A leak in the air gap occurs in the event that the drainage line is blocked by debris that has accumulated within the drain.

The goal of this air space is block drainage water from flowing back to the reverse osmosis device.

During normal operation, water flows through the storage tank towards the tap. The water then falls through a tiny pocket referred to by”the air gap” “air space”.

In the event that the drain line begins to get blocked it will cause back pressure. This pressure will push the water through the faucet and then it will flow all over the sink.

While this may sound terrible however, fixing it isn’t so difficult as you believe. The only thing you need to do is clean the drain line, so that the water is not blocked and can flow freely.

It is possible to do this using either wire brushes or a pipe cleaner. The end that is connected with the saddle drain is the one that you need to clean.

Also, you should wash the drain saddle since the flora and fauna tends to develop inside it, too.

Drain saddles can also be often shifted during their operation. If the saddle moves it can also restrict how much water flows.

After you have cleaned your drain line after which, take a moment to inspect your drain’s saddle. If it’s moved and is not aligned properly, you can reposition it until it is aligned with the drain line’s hole.

Here’s a short video on how to repair leaky Air gap faucets

Preventing an air gap leak

Although it’s impossible for anyone to completely remove the chance of air gap leaks occurring however there are some actions you can take to prevent them from happening often.

This air gap faucet connects to the drain of your kitchen sink. When the train gets blocked and the backwater drains out of the hole of the faucet as that’s what it’s intended for.

One of the first things you should do is to avoid throwing large chunks of food into the sink. This is probably one of the main causes of blocked drains.

Instead of dumping food into the sink, put it in a small container or cover it with paper waste and put it in the waste bin. This extra step will stop many problems from occurring later on.

The next thing you need to take care of is to clean your drain line frequently. All you have do is to pour a small amount of natural cleaner down the drain and you’ll be ready to go.

This will allow you to break down any blockages that could be forming before they turn into a major issue.


There you go Ten of the most frequent issues that you’ll face when you use a reverse-osmosis system.

When it comes right down to the issue, the majority of these problems are easily avoided by performing maintenance on the system every once or twice per year.

Regular maintenance can not only make sure that your reverse osmosis will always be operating well, but it can also help you save money since you are less likely to to address a serious issue.

The investment in a high-quality system with feed water pressure and feed water valve is equally important. The most reliable systems won’t fail as quickly as systems that weren’t built by using high-quality parts.

Simply because you’re budget-conscious doesn’t mean that you cannot be able to afford a high-quality reverse osmosis unit. It is important to conduct extensive research to be sure that the system is made by a trusted firm. Reviews of ro membranes and RO Systems may also assist you in shopping for an excellent product.

You’re sure to discover an ro system that will not only fit you budget but is also packed with the features you want.

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