How to can clean RO Water Purifier Filter/membrane at Home

Water purifier has become an important part of our life as it is literally very difficult to survive in such a polluted environment of today. One can get gallons and gallons of pure water whenever they need if they have a water purifier at home. This is the best way rather than buying canned waters outside since both time and money can be saved. Maintaining and cleaning in proper way the Reverse Osmosis system in the right condition is a must. Filters in the Reverse Osmosis system play an integral part and each consumer should know how and when it have to clean in a right way. 

The need for cleaning the filters

The principal objective of installing the RO water purifier is to get clean and healthy water to consume. Therefore, cleaning the filters and maintaining it is imperative.

The frequency of cleaning the system depends on the nature of the water source. If the water source has a high TDS level, the system has to be cleaned and the filters more frequently. The TDS and the heavy metal residues can stick to the RO membranes and can affect its performance over a period.

What Will You Need

It is better to use soft water for the cleaning process and also for the dilution to clean the chemicals used in the system. A cleaning tank, a Reverse Osmosis cleaning pump, tank cooler, a tank mixer and a Reverse Osmosis cleaning cartridge filter that helps in the removal of dirt produced during the cleaning process are also other essential tools which are required for cleaning up the Reverse Osmosis system.

Different types of filters in a standard RO water purifier

Before you will proceed with the cleaning aspects, you should have an idea about the different types of filters present in the RO water purifier. Almost all RO water purifying systems go through 6-stage or 7-stage water purification. These are some of the filters that accelerate the filtration system.

Sediment filter 

Basically, it is outside the RO water purification appliance. It is the first line of defense that traps the larger and visible impure components. These components can affect the performance and lifespan of the RO water membrane. The sediment filter plays the important role of trapping these impurities and eliminates them from entering the appliance.

Activated carbon filter 

There are two carbon filters in the RO water purifier. The Pre-Activated Carbon filter has the responsibility of removing salts like chlorine that can otherwise pass through the RO membrane. The Post-Activated Carbon filter is found after the RO membrane. It takes care of the putrid odour and makes sure that the output water has a pleasant taste.

RO membrane 

The RO membrane is the most costly and expensive part of the RO water purifier. You have to take special care of the RO membrane while cleaning the filters. The RO membrane has the primary responsibility of eradicating TDS and the heavy metals. They also prevent  the bacteria and the viruses as well.

UF membrane 

Some smaller molecules can escape during the RO purification process. The purified water passes through the UF membrane and there such molecules get trapped. 

When to Clean the RO System

The cleaning period differs from one person to another person and also depends on the usage and the condition of the water. But it is necessary to clean in every 3 to 12 months. Each model has different filter stages. Routine maintenance is required for the system to work properly. When the taste of water coming out of the system, changes and the filters and membranes are worn out, then there is a must to clean up the Reverse Osmosis system.

Precautions to be taken during the cleaning of RO water purifier system

  1. Refer to the manual supplied by the RO water purifier manufacturer, regarding the chemicals which are used for cleaning.
  2. The dosage is also necessary. Similarly, you have to maintain the pH value.
  3. Make sure to switch off the RO water purifier before opening the system and close the main valve which supplies water to the appliance.
  4. Remember to make empty the storage tank before cleaning the filters.
  5. Allow the tank to fill up for approximately two times before you start using the water after cleaning or replacing the filters.

Cleaning Process of RO System

The first step for the cleaning process is to turn off the system’s main water supply. Otherwise, water will be splashing all-around when you proceed with the cleaning of the filters.

At the same time, switch off any water line that runs towards the refrigerator or icemaker. This facility is available in some of the latest RO water purifiers available in the market. 

Some water purifiers contain a release outlet to empty the storage tank. And you can also drain out the water from the container by opening the system’s water faucet. Don’t forget to close the faucet after draining out the water.

Disconnect the membrane housing from the system and open it. You may use a strap wrench to open the housing. The cause of disconnecting the membrane is that you have to protect it from the cleaning and bleaching agents. These bleaching particles can destroy the RO membrane.

Drain out all the water from the housing and take the membrane out of it.

Use a chemical cleaner to clean the RO membrane. Your RO water purifier manufacturer may be suggested to use the type of cleaning agent. You have to follow the instructions carefully. Some of the critical points to remember are the dosage, temperature, pH values, and contact time.

You have to make a choice between the generic cleaners and the expensive chemical membrane cleaners. The advantage of using expensive cleaners is that they are easy to use. Usually, you can use three types of cleaners one after the other. They are acid cleaner, alkaline cleaner, and sanitizer. Don’t forget to flush the system after using each type of cleaner.

You have to clean the membrane housing using a bottle brush and regular dishwasher detergent. You can also use bleach mixed with water.

Remember to dispose of the cleaning chemicals.

Remember to rinse the membrane and housing before assembling them back into the appliance.

Have to reinstall the housing into the system.

Connect the main valve and turn on the RO water purifier. Connect the water supply and check properly if there any leakages.

Flush the system properly to remove all traces of the detergent and other chemicals. 

Refill the tank. It will take a little bit time for the water quality to come back to normal

You have to take care of internal filters also of the system. Let’s have a look how will you clean them

Sediment filter 

You can dismantle the sediment filter separately and remove it from the machine. You have to take a good quality scrubber and detergent to scrub the candle clean. Use a lot of water to flush out the impurities. If the sediment filter becomes discoloured, you have to change it quickly. The frequency of changing the sediment filter is once a year. It also depends on the quality of the input water

Activated Carbon filters

You can clean the activated carbon filters while you clean the RO membrane. Remove the Activated Carbon cartridges from the housings and allow warm water to go through the cartridge several times. After rinsing these cartridges, place them close to your ear.

UV Lamp

Some RO filters come with Ultraviolet lamp chambers. It is not important to change the lamp as long as it is working. But, you can replace the lamp separately at any time.

Conclusion 

You have to replace the filters on time to get better performance from the system. The RO membrane can easily last for two to three years depending on the quality of the water source and usage of it. The other filters require replacement every year. You have to clean and sanitize your water purifier regularly. It will provide you that your RO water purifier will work efficiently for a minimum of 10 to 15 years.

Frequently Asked Questions 

  1. 1. How do you clean RO membrane with chemicals?

When you do a chemical cleaning process, membranes are soaked with a solution of chlorine bleach, hydrochloric acid or hydrogen peroxide. First the solution soaks into the membranes for a number of minutes and then a forward flush or backward flush is applied, causing the particles to be rinsed out.

  1. What is the lifespan of RO membrane?

The typical lifespan of an RO membrane element is about three to seven years depending on the application. In some RO systems, the membrane elements may only last one to two years

  1. When does RO water taste bad?

Bad taste of RO water is because of the malfunctioning of RO system. Over time the filters, membrane and other components of RO system deteriorate. Also if the RO system is not cleaned and sanitized time to time, water taste goes bad. RO filters have to be checked and replaced in every 6-8 months.

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