Reverse Osmosis Maintenance

Reverse Osmosis System Maintenance

Do Reverse Osmosis Systems Need Maintenance?

If properly maintained, a high-quality reverse osmosis drinking water system can last for many years. We’ve been in the water business for 20 plus years and have seen many under-sink reverse osmosis driking water systems last 10 to 15 years.

Tips to Help Your RO System Last Longer

A properly maintained Reverse Osmosis filtration system could last 10-15 years

a properly maintained RO system can produce great water for many years

How to Clean and Sanitize Your RO System

You can hire a local water treatment professional to clean and sanitize your RO system once a year or do the job yourself.

DIY Reverse Osmosis System Sanitizing Tips

    • If sanitizing system when new filters will be installed, all new filters should remain in original packaging until it is time for replacement.
    • Ensure the service area is free of excess dirt or dust.
    • Wash hands with soap and water, and/or wear sanitary gloves.

If sanitizing yourself, you’ll want to consult your RO system owner’s manual for specific details on how to sanitize your system. Below, we provide general instructions for the RO sanitizing process. More thorough RO sanitizing information is available HERE.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Sanitizing a Reverse Osmosis System

1. Shut off value

Shut off the main value completely

2. Dispense all water

Next, dispense all of the water from your RO faucet

3. Remove filters

Remove the sediment and carbon filters from their housing

4. Remove RO membrane

Remove the RO membrane from housing

5. Keep filters out of housing 

Keep the filters out of their housings, but screw the housings back in place

6.  Pour hydrogen peroxide into stage one

Pour about 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide into stage one housing

7. Reattach connections

Reattach all connections

8. Turn value on

Turn the main valve back on

9. Allow system to run 

Allow the system to run (without the filters, the storage tank will refill rapidly)

10. Let system run 2 cycles

Let the system run at least through 2 cycles to flush out the the system.

11.  Shut off valve

Shut off the main valve again

12. Install new filters

Install the new filters

13. Let tank fill up and drain

Let the tank fill back up and then drain one more time

RO filtered water is clean and delicious

How Often to Replace Reverse Osmosis (RO) Filters

Regular filter changes are the most important aspect of maintaining your RO water filter system. Refer to the filter replacement schedule in your RO system’s owner’s manual. Regular maintenance will help keep your system working for many years and ensure your household has clean, healthy water to drink.

Generally, Reverse Osmosis filters should be replaced every 6-12 months, depending on local water conditions and household usage.

Reverse Osmosis Filter Change Schedule

Sediment Filter

Carbon Filter

RO Membrane

Polishing Filter
Change out every 6-12 months

Change out every 6-12 months

Change out every 24 months

Change out every 6-12 months

*Filter change schedule may vary based on local water conditions and household usage

What Filters do I Need for my RO System?

Not sure what filters you need for your RO drinking water system? Simply search by your system brand and model, and we'll recommend a filter kit.

Failure to change out filters per their replacement schedule can not only cause damage to the system but will also cause a decrease in water production. Thus, if you notice a decrease in water flow from your RO faucet, that may be an indication that your filters have reached the end of their life span.

When to Replace RO Sediment Filters

Your sediment filter should be changed out every 6-12 months. This pre-filter stage is designed to strain out sediment, silt and dirt. This is especially important as the sediment filter protects dirt from getting to the delicate  RO membranes. If you fail to change this filter on schedule, dirt and silt can reach the RO membranes which can then easily become clogged and foul. The RO membrane is the most expensive filter in the RO system, so it's important to protect it.

Learn more about sediment filters in an RO system.

When to Replace Carbon Filters

The carbon filter is designed to filter lead, pesticides, chlorine and many other contaminants that affect the performance and life of the RO membrane as well as the taste and odor of your water.

An RO system usually includes both a granular activated carbon (GAC) filter as well as a carbon block filter. Both types of carbon have excellent adsorption capabilities. Both the carbon block filter and the polishing filter (GAC filter) should be replaced every 6-12 months. The lifespan of a carbon filter will vary depending on water conditions. Carbon quality, humidity and usage can also factor into how long a carbon filter can last. Review a list of what contaminants carbon filters can remove.

Learn more about carbon filters in an RO water filter system.

family drinking water filtered from a reverse osmosis system

When to Replace Reverse Osmosis Membranes

If you take care to replace the previous sediment and carbon filters on schedule, the RO membrane should only need to be replaced every two years. Of course, the schedule will vary based on the quality of your water and household water usage.

The RO membrane is a semipermeable filter in your RO system that is designed to allow water through, but filter out almost all additional contaminants.

How Often to Replace a GAC Polishing Filter

In a four-stage RO System, a final post filter will “polish” off the water to remove any remaining taste and odor in the water. This final filter is a GAC (granular activated carbon) filter mentioned above. The GAC filter ensures you’ll have outstanding drinking water.


At this point, your Reverse Osmosis system should be ready for use. Repeat this process once each year.

RO Troubleshooting Guide

Discover effective solutions to common reverse osmosis (RO) water filtration issues. Our troubleshooting guide provides maitenance tips and answers your RO system questions.

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