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Reverse osmosis membranes are designed for long-term performance and reliability.
Their expected lifespan is incredibly impressive, provided you take care of the system as a whole.
So how long does an RO membrane last exactly? Find out below!
So, how long do RO membranes last? An RO membrane should last 2-5 years on average.
If you have a reverse osmosis membrane installed in your home, it is important to be aware of the signs that indicate when it may no longer be functioning optimally and needs changing.
The most common sign that an RO membrane is bad and needs changing is a decline in the water quality being produced. This could manifest as poor taste or smell, cloudy or murky water, or an increase in sediment or particulate matter. Such impurities may contain potentially harmful substances like bacteria and viruses, which can cause serious health complications if ingested – not to speak of all the potential contaminants invisible to the naked eye such as lead.
It’s also important to monitor how much filtered water you produce over time. As RO membranes age, they become less effective at processing water; this means that you’ll eventually notice a decrease in output from your system. This could also happen if your system becomes clogged.
If you’re consistently producing lower amounts of water than usual, then it might be time to consider getting a replacement for your RO membrane.
If you notice your reverse osmosis system is continuously draining, it could mean your RO membrane is clogged, and it’s time to replace it.
If your manufacturer specifies when the RO membrane of your unit should be changed, then follow those directions, even if it seems to be working just fine.
Another, very clear sign that your RO membrane has gone bad and needs changing is a significant drop of its TDS or salt rejection rate.
You can measure this by using a TDS meter and following these steps:
You can do some things to maintain your reverse osmosis membrane. It is not really needed providing you are keeping up to schedule with your pre-filter and overall system maintenance, but if you want that extra peace of mind, here are some things you can try.
You can flush your RO membrane to help prevent scaling or fouling. Flushing is a rapid rinse to wash away any impurities which may be accumulating on your RO membrane.
Whole house reverse osmosis systems usually come with an automatic flush system, but they are not common on point-of-use systems as it is easier and cost-effective just to change the membrane when it is no longer functioning correctly.
Chemical cleaning can be performed on the RO membrane itself. The kind of cleaner you use will depend on what type of matter is accumulating on the membrane. Simply soak the membrane in the chemical solution as recommended by the manufacturer.
If you have any thoughts about the question, how long do reverse osmosis membranes last, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
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