Reverse Osmosis System Maintenance Checklist by BOS

This page may contain affiliate links. If you buy a product or service through such a link we earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

One of the best things about reverse osmosis systems is that they require relatively little maintenance compared to other methods for filtering water.

Still, they do require some amount of care, and you do need to pay attention to the overall state of the system

Ideally, you should have a checklist that you can simply go through step by step. This will help ensure that you don’t miss anything important and that all parts of the system are kept in check. Well, you came to the right place!

Reverse Osmosis System Maintenance Checklist

First of all, here is our reverse osmosis system maintenance checklist.

This checklist covers all the maintenance tasks that you should routinely perform on your reverse osmosis system. It’s also available for download.

Every 6-12 Months

  • Change sediment pre-filter(s)
  • Change block and granular carbon pre-filter(s)
  • Clean and/or sanitize system
  • Check storage tank pressure is within 6-8 psi when empty

Every 12 Months

  • Clean and sanitize your RO system
  • Change carbon post-filter
  • Change remineralization post-filter

Every 2-5 Years or When TDS Rejection Drops Below 80%

  • Change RO membrane

Optional: Every Couple of Weeks

  • Drain the reverse osmosis storage tank and let it refill
  • Control permeate water TDS

Preparing a checklist for your reverse osmosis system’s maintenance is not as difficult as it might seem. You just need to understand the main components of your system and which ones require the most maintenance over time.

It’s a good idea to stock up on certain replacement parts like membranes so that you don’t have to go out and purchase them on short notice. In many cases, parts for reverse osmosis systems have very long shelf lives, making them ideal for long term storage.

The list that we have prepared above attempts to be as general as possible. This means that some parts might not be relevant to your specific situation. Still, it’s a good idea to go over the entire list and make sure that you’re familiar with every aspect of maintaining a reverse osmosis system.

Different Water Filter Cartridges and Membranes

Why Is Reverse Osmosis System Maintenance Even Necessary?

Maintaining a reverse osmosis system in a good condition is important for several reasons. The most obvious one is durability. The various components of the system can last much longer if you take good care of them.

It’s not just about that, though. A poorly maintained reverse osmosis system will also perform worse. You might notice various signs that indicate that your system is up for maintenance, including decreased purity of the output water.

At the very least, you’ll probably care about your bills. If your reverse osmosis system is not maintained properly, it will waste far more water during its operation, therefore increasing the amount you have to pay at the end of the month.

RO Maintenance Tasks

Here is a list of the maintenance tasks you should have on your checklist. The exact frequency of some of those might vary according to your individual situation, so pay attention to factors that might impact it.

Replacing Filter Elements

You will need to replace the different filtration elements of your reverse osmosis system on a regular basis. Different elements require different replacement frequencies, which is where this list might come in handy.

Sediment Pre-Filter

The sediment pre-filter should be replaced once every 6-12 months. You might need to do this more frequently if your water contains higher sediment levels.

Carbon Pre-Filter

You can use the same schedule for your carbon pre-filter – once every 6-12 months should be enough for that component.

Reverse Osmosis Membrane

The membrane of your reverse osmosis system can last a long time without needing a replacement. In most cases, you can expect to get at least two years of operation out of it. Sometimes, this can go up to five if you’re lucky enough to live in an area with less contaminated water.

You should pay attention to the TDS rejection rate as a more precise indicator – when it drops below 80%, that’s a sign that you need to replace the membrane.

Carbon Post-Filter

Changing the carbon post-filter once a year is enough in most cases. Sometimes you might be able to get more lifetime out of it, but you shouldn’t push it too far.


You should change the remineralization filter once a year as well. Otherwise, the quality of your water might not decrease noticeably, but you will end up getting fewer or no minerals in your water.

System Sanitization

Sanitizing the whole system is something you shouldn’t have to do too often. It’s a more thorough process that requires some additional preparation. The guide below should be a good start, but make sure to check your system’s manual for additional details as well.

  1. Shut off the water supply valve.
  2. Depressurize your reverse osmosis system.
  3. Take out all filters and the membrane.
  4. Clean the inside of the housings with warm, soapy water and a gentle brush.
  5. Add some bleach to the housing of the first stage filter.
  6. Reconnect all housings.
  7. Turn the water back on.
  8. Open your reverse osmosis faucet and keep it running until water starts coming out, then close it.
  9. Inspect the system for any leaks.
  10. Allow the storage tank to fill completely and let bleach remain in the system for half an hour (at least).
  11. Flush the system.
  12. Refill the tank and flush again.
  13. Shut off the water supply.
  14. Depressurize your system.
  15. Install a new reverse osmosis membrane and all other filters.
  16. Turn on the water supply.
  17. Open the reverse osmosis faucet and flush the system for a few minutes.
  18. Inspect for leaks.
  19. Shut off the faucet and refill the tank.
  20. Flush out the tank and refill it 1-2 more times before using the system.

Checking RO Storage Tank Pressure

You should also check the pressure of your reverse osmosis tank once a year. Keep in mind that some level of pressure loss is completely normal and to be expected. Your tank will likely lose about one PSI of pressure per year.

The most important thing to keep in mind here is that you should always measure the pressure of your tank when it’s completely empty. In this state, it should measure at about 6 to 8 PSI.

Under Sink Reverse Osmosis System

Signs That Your RO System Needs Maintenance Right Now

While it’s a good idea to have a schedule and follow it diligently, sometimes your system might need urgent maintenance earlier than expected. Here are some signs to watch out for.

Low Water Pressure

A noticeable decrease in water pressure is usually a bad sign for a reverse osmosis system. This can be caused by a variety of factors, and it usually leads to a decreased performance of the system as a whole.

Unpleasant Taste/Odor

Pay attention to how your RO water tastes and smells as well. Water that’s been filtered with reverse osmosis should have no taste or smell at all. If you notice a certain issue appearing all of a sudden, this could indicate that your system needs maintenance.

RO System Keeps Running

Your reverse osmosis system shouldn’t be running all the time. Ideally it should only work when the tank is empty and stop once it’s full. If the system is always running, this could indicate problems like leaks or pressure issues. One of the most common causes for this type of problem is a malfunctioning auto shutoff valve.

If you have any questions about our RO water purifier maintenance checklist please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

About the Author Alexandra Uta

Alex is a content writer with an affinity for research and a methodical attention to detail. Since 2020, she has fully immersed herself into the home water treatment industry only to become an expert herself. Alex has been using water filters and similar products for years which has gained her lots of hands-on experience.
Learn more about .


Information provided on BOS is for educational purposes only. The products and services we review may not be right for your individual circumstances.
We adhere to strict editorial guidelines. Rest assured, the opinions expressed have not been provided, reviewed, or otherwise endorsed by our partners – they are unbiased, independent, and the author’s alone. Our licensed experts fact-check all content for accuracy. It is accurate as of the date posted and to the best of our knowledge.

Leave a Comment: