a plumber doing some maintenance on an under the sink reverse osmosis system

Welcome to the Comprehensive Guide to Reverse Osmosis System Maintenance. In this guide, we'll explore how to keep your reverse osmosis (RO) system in excellent working condition to ensure you continue to enjoy clean, purified water. Regular maintenance is crucial for the longevity and performance of your RO system, and we'll provide you with a step-by-step plan to make it easy.

Understanding Reverse Osmosis Systems

Before we dive into maintenance, let's briefly understand how reverse osmosis works and the components of a typical RO system. At its core, reverse osmosis is a process that utilizes a semi-permeable membrane to separate impurities and contaminants from water molecules. This membrane allows water to pass through, leaving behind particles like minerals, chemicals, and microorganisms.

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Components of a Typical RO System

A standard reverse osmosis system comprises several key components working together seamlessly:

Pre-filters: These initial filters catch larger particles and sediments, preventing them from reaching the delicate membrane.

Semi-permeable Membrane: The heart of the system, this membrane separates contaminants from purified water.

Post-filters: After the water passes through the membrane, these filters provide a final polish, ensuring the highest quality output.

Storage Tank: This container stores purified water until you're ready to use it.

Faucet or Dispenser: This is where you access the clean, purified water for consumption.

a photo for the parts of a NU Aqua Platinum Series 5 Stage 100GPD RO System with tank and faucet

Benefits of Using a Reverse Osmosis System

Investing in a reverse osmosis system offers a multitude of advantages:

Improved Water Quality: RO systems are highly effective at removing a wide range of contaminants, including heavy metals, chemicals, and microbes, resulting in water that's not just clean, but also safe for consumption.

Enhanced Taste and Odor Removal: With impurities removed, water from an RO system often tastes and smells noticeably better.

Reduced Environmental Impact: By relying on RO for your drinking water needs, you can significantly reduce the use of bottled water, contributing to a greener, more sustainable environment.

Why Regular Maintenance is Crucial

Regular maintenance is vital for the optimal performance and longevity of your RO system.

Prolonging the Lifespan: Routine maintenance can extend your system's lifespan and prevent costly repairs.

Ensuring Water Quality: Maintenance keeps your system effective in removing contaminants for consistently high water quality.

Preventing Common Issues: Regular checks and upkeep help prevent issues like low water flow, leaks, and unusual tastes in the purified water.

Recommended Maintenance Schedule

To maintain your RO system, follow this schedule:

Monthly Tasks:

  • Inspect for Leaks or Drips. If a leak occurs in a threaded fitting, it's usually because of spacing problems within the fitting. To resolve this, start by applying Teflon tape around the threads on the fittings. This should effectively prevent any further leakage.

    For non-threaded fittings that are experiencing leaks, firmly insert the tubing into the fitting and then gently retract it slightly to engage the fitting's sealing mechanism.

  • Check Pressure Levels. The NU Aqua Reverse Osmosis tank typically has a lifespan of 5 to 7 years. If your tank has been in use for this duration, it's possible that the bladder may have developed a hole, indicating the need for a tank replacement. For tanks that are not as old, it's advisable to check the air pressure.

    In an empty tank, the optimal air pressure range is 7-10 PSI. In a full or weighted tank, the ideal air pressure should be between 30-40 PSI. For accurate measurement, the air pressure should be approximately 2/3 of the incoming water pressure. For instance, if the feed water pressure to the RO system is 60 PSI, a full tank should register around 40 PSI.

Quarterly Tasks:

How to Flush the RO System:

    1. Open the RO faucet, turn on the cold water supply valve and feed water valve.
    2. Inspect the system for any signs of leaks. If a leak is detected, shut off the cold water supply and tighten the affected component.
    3. After approximately 20 minutes or when water starts to drip from the RO faucet, switch the handle to the closed position. It will then take between 3 to 6 hours for the tank to reach its capacity.
    4. Once the tank is filled (indicated by no further water flow to the tank), initiate a system purge by positioning the RO faucet to the open setting until all water is completely discharged from the storage tank.
    5. Upon complete drainage of the storage tank, return the handle to the closed position and allow the tank to replenish. Repeat this process three times for an effective flush.
    6. Monitor for potential leaks in the initial days. Increased pressure within the tank may lead to leaks that were not initially present after installation.

    Yearly Tasks:

    • Sanitize the Storage Tank.
    • Check and Replace the RO Membrane if necessary.

    Troubleshooting Common Issues

    Address common problems promptly:

    Low Water Flow: Check filters, water pressure, and the RO membrane.

    Here are potential causes for slow water production or a lack of water flow from the faucet:
    • System Initialization: When the reverse osmosis system is just starting up, it requires time to pressurize and fill the water tank. This process typically takes between one to 2.5 hours, depending on factors like water pressure and temperature. It's crucial to keep the faucet closed during this period. Once the tank is fully filled, normal water pressure should be restored when you turn on the faucet.

    • Low Air Pressure in Tank: If the air pressure in the water storage tank is insufficient, it can lead to slow or no water flow. You can check the air pressure using a tire pressure gauge. When the tank is empty, the pressure should be maintained between 8 and 10 PSI. If it's too low, you can use a bicycle pump to add more air.

    • Insufficient Water Pressure: Low incoming water pressure to your home can also result in sluggish or no water production from the reverse osmosis system. Installing a booster pump can help increase water pressure.

    • Blocked Pre-filters: Pre-filters may become obstructed with sediment and debris, impeding water flow. You can inspect and remove them from the system to check for signs of clogging. If they are clogged, replacement is recommended.

    • Tubing Crimps or Kinks: Tubing can sometimes get crimped or kinked, restricting water flow. Check for any signs of damage in the tubing. If damage is found, replacement is necessary.

    • Contaminated Reverse Osmosis Membrane: The reverse osmosis membrane can get fouled with contaminants, reducing water flow. You can remove and inspect the membrane for signs of fouling. If fouling is evident, replacing the membrane is advised.

    Unusual Taste or Odor: Replace filters, sanitize the storage tank, and inspect for leaks.

    Leaks or Drips: Tighten connections, inspect tubing, and replace worn-out seals.

    High TDS in Purified Water: Check the RO membrane and pre-filtration. Test the pre-filtered water to check ppm. Then test the filtered water to compare the ppm readings. 

    Note: TDS levels in city water supply typically range from 100 to 500 ppm, and groundwater can have even higher TDS levels. RO systems can reduce TDS levels to below 50 ppm. 

    Upgrading Your Reverse Osmosis System

    Consider an upgrade when:

    1. Your system is outdated.
    2. Filtration is inadequate.
    3. Water demand has increased.

    Explore advanced RO systems from NU Aqua Systems for improved filtration, efficiency, and smart monitoring.

    Additional Tips for Optimal Performance

    Enhance your RO system's performance and lifespan with these tips:

    • Store and label replacement filters properly.
    • Use high-quality replacement parts and filters.
    • Keep a maintenance log to track tasks and schedules.


    Maintaining your reverse osmosis system is essential for consistently enjoying clean, purified water. Regular maintenance, along with the possibility of upgrading to advanced systems from NU Aqua Systems, ensures your investment in safe, great-tasting water for years to come.

    Don't delay in implementing a maintenance routine for your RO system. Thank you for reading our comprehensive guide, and here's to a future of pure, refreshing water!

    (Disclaimer: This guide is intended for informational purposes only. Always consult the manufacturer's guidelines and recommendations for your specific reverse osmosis system.)

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