Why is Your Reverse Osmosis Water Flow Slow?

Many people consider the reverse osmosis system as the best water filtration system out there. Most experts agree that it’s one of the most efficient systems for water purification. It removes all types of contaminants, including dirt particles, pesticides, nitrates, bacteria, fluoride, arsenic, sulfates, pharmaceuticals, and many more. If your Reverse Osmosis system contains a carbon filter, then it will also remove contaminants such as chlorine and chloramines.

If your Reverse Osmosis system is in peak condition, it will get quality water with great taste and no smell. The system is easy to maintain because it has very few replaceable and moveable parts. Thus, cleaning and repairing the system is smooth and free of any hassle. The system can last for more than 14 years if you clean it at regular intervals and change the filters. Plus, you will not have to invest a lot in water delivery services, or bottled water, just to get safe drinking water.

You have to maintain your Reverse Osmosis system to ensure its optimal performance. Sometimes, the reverse osmosis water flow in your system may become slower over time. If this happens, then there are a few things that you will need to check. Here are six reasons why the water flow in your Reverse Osmosis system may be slow.


Clogged Reverse Osmosis membrane reduces water flow

Your Reverse Osmosis membrane ought to be changed regularly. If this does not happen then, your system will start to produce less water. These membranes are very fragile, and they will become fouled if you do not change them often. A fouled membrane will fill your tank in 4-6 hours, whereas a well-functioning membrane will only take 2-4 hours. The amount of time to refill your tank also depends on the TDS (total dissolved solids) in your water. In most cases, you are required to replace Reverse Osmosis membranes after every 24 months. You ought to set a calendar reminder to replace your membrane.


Low pressure in the tank

If your RO tank has low pressure, it may lead to slow water flow rates. At peak conditions, these tanks have a pressure of 7 to 8 psi when there is no water in the tank. Review the pressure in your Reverse Osmosis tank by locating the Schrader valve, which is found at the side of the tank close to the bottom and has a blue plastic cup cover. First, remove all water from the tank. Next, determine the pressure of the tank using a pressure gauge. If the pressure is below 7-8 psi, add air with a pump. Please add only a small amount of air each time to prevent rupturing of the air bladder.


Ruptured Tank bladder

One way to know if your Reverse Osmosis tank bladder has ruptured is when your Reverse Osmosis faucet only produces about one cup of water at normal water pressure. Then the water continues to trickle down to a very small stream. Once the bladder ruptures, it cannot be repaired, and you will have to replace the storage tank.

Pressure Tank Cut Away
Pressure Tank Cut Away

Clogged filters reduce Reverse Osmosis water flow

Clogged filters are the most common reason for reduced water flow in your Reverse Osmosis system. It would be best if you replaced your water filters regularly to keep your drinking water safe, tasty, and odorless. If you have a 5-stage Reverse Osmosis system and it’s producing water at a slow pace, you may need to change your sediment, carbon block, or GAC polishing filters. It’s recommended that you change your filters after every 12 months. You may do it sooner if the present contaminants or conditions require that you change the filters more frequently. Sometimes you may need to change them after every six months instead of 12.

Reverse Osmosis Pre-Filters
Reverse Osmosis Pre-Filters

Kink in the water line

If there is a kink in the waterline, it will disrupt the water flow. To determine the disruption, you may have to inspect the whole Reverse Osmosis system, particularly the water supply line valve. Ensure the valve is in a fully open position.

Loss of Reverse Osmosis water pressure

If you have a Reverse Osmosis system, you may occasionally experience a temporary loss of water pressure. It will correct itself after a while. The best pressure is between 40 and 60 psi. In a case where all the household faucets have low water pressure, then it may be your local water utility company operating at that pressure for the time being. You need to wait a while, and the pressure will return soon; if it does not, report the issue to the proper authorities.


Steps to follow if your Reverse Osmosis system does not produce water fast enough

You may notice that your Reverse Osmosis system is producing less filtered water than it did before. Here are a few simple steps you need to follow to check the production rate of the system.

  1. Make sure that the incoming water line in your RO system is ‘ON.’ Turn off the ball valve found at the top of the Reverse Osmosis storage tank.
  2. Flip up your Reverse Osmosis faucet so that it’s locked continually in an open/flow position. The water in the system lines will flow through the faucet.
  3. Wait until there is no more water in the system’s lines. You may need to wait for a few minutes, during which you will get either a very slow flow or a continual fast drip. The flow rate represents the rate at which your system is producing water and the rate at which the Reverse Osmosis tank would be filling the valve if it was in the ‘open position.
  4. Use a measuring cup to measure the slow flow or the continual drip from the faucet for sixty seconds.
  5. Calculate the amount of water that your reverse osmosis system is producing every 24 hours. To do this, you will take the number of ounces in your measuring cup, multiply by 1440 and divide the answer by 128.

1440 is the number of minutes in a day.

128 is the number of ounces in a gallon.

This amount is what your Reverse Osmosis system produces daily, and it will help you assess the situation better. For instance, if you find that the flow rate has decreased, you will examine the system to find the cause of the problem, which may be one of the six previously mentioned reasons.

Additional troubleshooting assistance

You might find that the problem with your Reverse Osmosis system is beyond your expertise. We recommend that you request the assistance of Affordable Water Treatments

Service and Repair
Service and Repair