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Home >> Knowledge Base: How? Why? What? >> Trouble Shooting

Trouble Shooting

Trouble Shooting for RO systems
Trouble ShootingSlow Flow/Low Water Production:

This problem can be caused by one or more of the following:

(1) clogged filtration cartridges or a fouled Reverse Osmosis membrane. If the filters are clogged, they will need to be replaced. If the membrane is fouled, it will need to be replaced. Fltration cartridges has life they do not work for ever.

(2) low feed water pressure. If the water pressure in incoming water to a reverse osmosis unit is below 40 psi, a booster pump may be necessary for a reverse osmosis system. Carbon filter will be okay even if the pressure is around 10 psi. Before you make this conclusion make sure the feed water valve is turned on and the valve on tank is also turned on.

(3) Low air pressure inside the tank of an RO system. If the tank is heavy, this means water is produced but pressure is not enough to push water to the faucet. This may also suggest that tank is defective.

(4) crimps in tubes. If tubing is kinked, straighten or repair them as necessary.

Milky/Cloudy Water:

This is caused by air in the system/filters. This is a normal occurrence with the start-up of a reverse osmosis system. The milky look will disappear with normal use during the first few days. This condition can also happen after filter changes, but can usually be solved by draining the tank 1 or 2 times.

Noise From Faucet Or Drain in a reverse osmosis system:

This can be caused from the location of the drain saddle, a restriction in the drain tube, or incoming water pressure in excess of 85 psi. Some noise is caused on start-up or after filter changes by air being purged from the system. Once the air is expelled from the unit, this noise should subside. A restriction in the drain tube can be caused by debris from the dishwasher or garbage disposal. This tube may be unclogged/cleaned with a wire. If the water pressure is above 85 psi, a pressure limiting valve can be installed on the line feeding the drinking water filtration system.

Water Constantly Running (Won't Shut Off) in a reverse osmosis system:

A continuous flow to the drain may be caused by low pressure in feed water (less than 40 psi), a crimp in the supply line, worn-out auto shut-off valve or low air pressure in tank. If the water pressure is below 40 psi, a booster pump may be necessary. If there are crimps in the tubing, straighten or repair them as necessary. If the auto shut-off valve is worn out or becoming ineffective, replace it. If the tank does not have enough pressure when full, it needs to be emptied and recharged with air. Sometimes, if the feed water pressure is above 85 psi, you see the same problem. In this case, a pressure limiting valve may be necessary.

Under normal operation conditions, water flow to the RO membrane will stop when the tank is full and pressure in the tank (air pressure=water pressure in a bladder tank) is reaching two thirds of the incoming feed pressure. If your RO system feeds -in addition to the RO faucet- a refrigerator, shut OFF the line to the refrigerator during these tests.

Testing the Auto-shut-off Valve (ASV-14QC):

Draw 2-3 glasses of water from the faucet. That should drop pressure in the tank and the RO System will start making water to fill the tank again. Turn OFF the tank ball valve -by simply turning the blue handle 90 degrees- to mimic tank full. Wait for 5 minutes, then check to see if the drain water stops running. Check draining brine water by either listening or actually pulling out the drain line to look at it. If drain water stops running, the RO system is shutting off properly and both the ASOV and the Check Valve (CV) are working fine. Stop testing.

If brine water continues to run to the drain, then either the CV and/or the ASOV is defective. Proceed to the next test.

Testing Auto-shut-off Valve and Check Valve (CV):

Make sure there is some water in the tank (tank not empty). Remove the Black drain line from the drain saddle, so you can check brine water flow drainage.

Turn OFF the Cold feed water supply.

Turn ON the tank valve.

Check the Black drain line to see if there is any water draining out from this line.

If water does drain out from the black line then this water is coming from the storage tank. This means the Check Valve is broken, it is allowing the water in the tank to back flow out into the drain line. If no water drains out from the black line (no drain water running), that means the CV is OK. The RO system non-shut off condition is caused by a defective ASOV valve, not caused by a defective CV.

Water Tastes or Smells Funny:

This can be caused by clogged filter cartridges or fouled membranes. If the cartridges are clogged, replace them. If you think the membrane may be fouled, have the water tested for TDS, and if the membrane is fouled (TDS of purified water is higher than 80% of the TDS of incoming water ), then replace it. You need to sanitize/clean the canisters and the system when you change the RO membrane (every 2 to 3 years).

The RO system holds no pressure. We cannot even get a full glass of water?!

The tank is heavy but you push the air valve and no water comes out of it. That means the tank bladder is good but the holding tank needs to be re-pressurized. Shut off feed water to system. Leave the RO faucet open and pump air into the tank from the air valve (use bicycle pump, air tank, or air compressor) to force the water out of the faucet in a steady stream. When it slows down pump air into the tank again to force all water out. When the tank is empty with no water at all, leave only about 7 to 9 pounds of air in the tank. Close the faucet, turn on feed water to system and allow the tank to re-fill again.