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So your reverse osmosis faucet leaks at the base, out of the air gap, and dribbles water all over your countertop. Annoying!
Thankfully, you can do a few things to assess the issue and, in most cases, fix it yourself.
Here’s our handy how-to for a leaky RO faucet base.
Here are the potential causes for a reverse osmosis faucet leaking at its base and how to fix them:
There are several reasons why an air gap RO faucet could be leaking at its base.
Debris building up in the drain line is often the primary cause. Improper installation or loose connections could also be the culprit, among other things. Either way, you’ll want to fix it up ASAP to make sure you aren’t going to damage your RO system or countertop.
Further down, we will go through each possible reason for why an RO faucet base might leak and how to fix them.
An air gap RO faucet is designed to prevent contaminated water from flowing back down into your filter system and damaging the reverse osmosis membrane.
The wastewater produced from the filtration process travels up a drain tube, past the air gap, and then drops down to be disposed of with the household wastewater.
The air gap is a little pocket of air, and once water moves past it, it can’t travel back up. As such, air gaps are used as backflow prevention and are often required by local plumbing codes.
This is one of the main reasons for a faucet base leak, so it should be the first thing you check. When dealing with water that has high levels of sediment, blockages can happen even more often.
Essentially, there’s dirt somewhere along the drain line that causes a partial or full clog. The drain water cannot go anywhere except flow out the faucet base (the air gap hole).
Other areas that can get clogged include the drain saddle, and when the drain saddle clamp has rotated from the hole drilled in your sink drain pipe.
There are a couple of ways you can do this. First is to seal the air gap hole with your finger, and then blow down the tubing connecting the reverse osmosis system to the air gap. See if the air flows freely or if it dislodges any blockages.
If the blockage cannot be dislodged, then you’ll need to detach the drain tube and clean it out manually with a pipe cleaner. Reconnect and check if it’s fixed the leak.
Drain line tubing with kinks or dips in it can restrict the flow of water to the drain saddle, causing leaks from the air gap hole.
Turn off the RO system and remove the kinked drain line. Straighten it out, then reattach and test it out. If you can’t straighten it, the drain line may need replacing.
Sometimes even small mistakes during the system installation can cause issues with your RO’s performance. Some of the main problems for an improperly installed reverse osmosis system are:
For this issue, the best thing to do is to remove and reinstall the drain saddle again, being doubly sure not to make any mistakes when installing.
Also check the faucet itself. If this is not possible, a new air gap faucet may be needed.
Loosely connected components of the RO system can also cause issues. This can happen during installation, when maintaining and changing the filtration components, and over time, as things generally get a little loose due to the pressure used in an RO system.
Check all your connections and tighten them. Check that the drain saddle is appropriately aligned and not loose, and realign if needed. If tightening doesn’t work, you may need to uninstall and reinstall the loose components altogether.
While an RO system can last a good ten years, it will eventually wear out and need replacing. This can lead to it leaking more frequently, or leaking and not being able to be fixed. If your system is experiencing more issues than average, or if it is getting louder, or the water is starting to taste odd, then they are signs your system might be due for a replacement.
Time for a new system!
Pressure spikes or high internal water pressure in the filter system can also cause leaks and damage the components of the faucet.
You will need to replace the RO faucet if it is not fixable and buy a pressure regulator to ensure it does not happen again.
If you have any questions about a reverse osmosis faucet leaking at the base please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
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