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As a rule, reverse osmosis water should have hardly any flavor. It is pretty bland, as impurities in water are what give it taste.
So, if your RO water has a bitter flavor, it’s a sure sign that something is amiss.
Let’s look at what might be happening and how to fix it.
There are various reasons that RO water may taste bitter, each with its own solution.
“Why does my RO water taste bitter?”
There are several reasons why your reverse osmosis water may taste bitter.
If your RO system is not effectively removing all salts from the water, it might be time to consider using additional pre-treatment or, if you haven’t for a long time, replace the reverse osmosis membrane which might have reached the end of its service life. A bitter taste in reverse osmosis water may also indicate copper pipe corrosion or a leaching storage tank.
It is crucial to identify the specific problem to address the issue, as pinpointing the cause will expedite the repair process and ensure faster access to better-tasting water.
Numerous plumbing systems use copper tubing that can leave a metallic aftertaste in the water, resulting in bitterness. And because reverse osmosis water is exceptionally pure and slightly acidic, it tends to pick up even more bitterness when it comes in contact with copper pipes.
Now, corroding copper pipes is usually only a problem for people using a whole house reverse osmosis system, as under sink or countertop models usually feature plastic tubing. The only point-of-use application that can be problematic is when you connect your RO system to the refrigerator or ice maker which often use copper tubing.
The primary filter in an RO system is the semi-permeable membrane, equipped with 0.0001-micron pores that efficiently capture most impurities.
However, regular replacement is crucial so that it does not clog. Failure to address a clogged membrane in your RO system can lead to impure water, leaving behind unpleasant dissolved solids that alter the taste and may make it bitter.
The strange taste in your RO system could be coming from the storage tank itself. If your RO system has a butyl bladder in the storage tank, the filtered water may absorb taste and odor while it waits for use.
After removing minerals, RO-filtered water can leach substances more easily than tap water, particularly if it has been sitting in the storage tank for a while.
A high concentration of sulfur from the feed water can result in a lingering unpleasant taste. The filters or membrane probably require replacement if a water test reveals a bitter taste attributed to elevated sulfur levels.
Dissolved salts and solids in the water may also give it a salty and sour taste. A properly functioning reverse osmosis system should effectively remove all forms of total dissolved solids from the water. If this is not occurring, there may be an issue with the filters or membrane.
Once you have identified the cause of the bitter tasting water, follow one of these solution pathways to fix it:
Water treated with reverse osmosis has a distinct flavor, sometimes described as a lack of flavor or ‘bland’ compared to regular tap water.
The elimination of chemicals and impurities like minerals leads to a noticeable change in taste. Reverse osmosis water is typically devoid of any taste, so if it suddenly presents with a strong taste of any kind, it usually suggests the need for maintenance or a malfunction in your RO system.
If you have any questions about why RO water tastes bitter please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
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