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Reverse osmosis systems filter water using high pressure, so not enough pressure or a sudden pressure drop can mean bad news.
Luckily, there are simple fixes for most issues.
In this article, we’ll discuss different ways to increase water pressure in a reverse osmosis system.
You can increase water pressure in a reverse osmosis system by:
Reverse osmosis systems work best with a feed water pressure of about 60 psi.
40 psi is the minimum recommended pressure for RO systems; anything lower and the filtration process works too slowly and wastes excessive amounts of water.
How to increase water pressure in an RO system?
If there’s a drop in water pressure there might be a problem with one or more system components. Or it might be that feed water pressure is too low in the first place.
RO components like the membrane and pre/post-filters can get clogged if they’re not replaced on time, leading to reduced pressure. When your filters or membrane are clogged, the flow rate drops, and it takes longer for your RO tank to fill up (which can be very frustrating).
Generally, carbon and sediment pre-filters need to be replaced every 6-12 months, and carbon post-filters should be replaced every 1-2 years. A reverse osmosis membrane can last 2 to 5 years.
Note: Filter replacement dates are not the same with all manufacturers. Check the manual to know exactly when to change your filters. Other factors like your feed water condition also determine how often you should replace filter elements.
Not sure how to replace your filters and RO membrane? Don’t worry. We’ll explain how to replace old filters/membranes in an under sink RO system. You need to:
After these preparatory steps, you can go on to replace your filters. Under sink RO systems have pre-filters and post-filters. We’ll explain how to replace them both below:
How to replace under sink RO pre-filters:
How to replace inline carbon post-filters:
How to replace the RO membrane:
Your RO system’s water pressure may drop drastically if the tubings are clogged or kinked.
Kinks are easy to spot. But in order to find clogs in the tubing, you’ll have to turn off the water supply to the reverse osmosis system, close the storage tank valve, drain any remaining water, and then disconnect and check the tubing one by one.
The ideal pressure for the RO storage tank is 6-8 psi. This range varies from model to model, so confirm with the manual what your tank’s pressure should be.
You can measure your storage tank pressure with a pressure gauge (you can only measure pressure when the tank is empty). If your tank’s pressure falls below the recommended range, you must correct it.
To repressurize your RO tank, you’ll need an air compressor or pump, and a pressure gauge that measures low pressure (below 10 psi).
With your materials ready, repressurize your reverse osmosis water storage tank following these steps:
Low home water pressure affects the overall pressure of your RO system. A simple fix for low home water pressure is to adjust the pressure-reducing valve (you can find it close to your water meter).
Make small adjustments to the regulator by turning the adjustment screw clockwise to increase pressure. Pressure should be increased slowly and steadily to avoid overpressurizing. As you adjust the regulator, measure the water pressure with a pressure gauge to see if the pressure is increasing.
If you have other concerns about your home water pressure or your plumbing system, contact a professional plumber for help.
By the way, between 60 and 70 psi is considered ideal.
Adding an electric booster pump to your reverse osmosis system increases water pressure significantly. Higher water pressure means less waste water, more rejected contaminants, and possibly a higher faucet flow rate.
Follow these steps to install an RO booster pump:
Note: If the pressure is boosted too high, the RO system can develop leaks. If this happens, lower the pressure by turning the top adjustment screw on the head of the pump.
Adding a permeate pump to your RO system boosts efficiency and reduces waste water production by up to 80 to 90%. Permeate pumps work by using some of the RO waste water to power a piston that forces the filtered water into the storage tank.
A major difference between permeate pumps and booster pumps is that permeate pumps do not require electricity to work.
Another difference is that booster pumps are designed to increase pressure when the pressure in the system is too low for the membrane to work with. On the other hand, permeate pumps are simply designed to help reverse osmosis systems save water and make the filtration process more efficient.
Moving the RO storage tank closer to the faucet increases pressure and boosts the flow rate. If the storage tank is placed too far from the faucet, the water has to move a longer distance through the tubing before it reaches said faucet. This extra distance causes the pressure to drop and the flow rate to slow down.
Two tanks are better than one. Adding a second tank to your reverse osmosis system improves water delivery because the two tanks hold more water than a single tank, and the pressure stays higher for much longer.
This tip is most helpful if you use RO water for your ice machine or refrigerator. With two tanks storing your RO water, water flows to your fridge with enough pressure to guarantee a steady water supply.
Installing a second RO tank is simple as long as you have enough space. To install a second tank, you’ll need a second tube and a T-connector to join the two tanks together. The tanks must be placed parallel to each other.
RO flow rate is the amount of filtered water a reverse osmosis system produces per time unit. The flow rate tells you how much water to expect from your system and if it’s efficient enough to fulfill your water needs.
For most residential homes, RO systems have a theoretical flow rate of 50-75 gallons per day (GPD). However, this varies based on the size and type of RO membrane, feed water pressure, and water temperature. Flow rates are not static either. They may decrease over time depending on the current state of your system.
Here’s how to determine the water flow rate of your reverse osmosis system:
To calculate your hourly flow rate, divide by 24.
So, for example, if your system produces 6 ounces per minute, 6 x 1,440 (minutes in a day) = 8,640 (ounces), divided by 128 (ounces in a gallon) = 67.5 gallons per day.
Hourly flow rate: 67.5 divided by 24 = 2.8 gallons.
If you have any questions about how to increase RO water pressure please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
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