Whole House Reverse Osmosis System: Issues and Solutions

Whole House Reverse Osmosis System: Issues and Solutions

If you're looking for a whole house water filter, a reverse osmosis (RO) system is a great choice. These filters work by passing the water over a semi-permeable membrane. Any contaminants or pollutants get flushed away. Meanwhile, the clean, pure water gets sent to a holding tank to be used later on. 

A reverse osmosis system can be very effective at improving the taste, smell, and quality of water. These systems also remove lots of unwanted impurities like germs, chemicals, and heavy metals. They're relatively low-maintenance too. 

But sometimes, issues might arise with your whole house reverse osmosis system. It's important to know how to fix them in order to get your water flowing once again. This guide will go over some common issues and their solutions. Let’s dive in!

Problems with a Whole House Reverse Osmosis System

An RO water filtration system can develop certain faults and failures over time. You might wake up one day to find a leak, for example. You may also experience situations where no water is coming from your faucet. 

This might lead to a lot of questions, like "Why does my water filter not work?" and "What causes the water dispenser to stop working?" See below for all the answers to the common errors and issues you could have to deal with.

  • Trickling Water

    One common issue with an RO water filter system is the sight of water trickling out of the faucets. You might turn the faucet, expecting a real gush of water. Instead, you only see a relatively weak flow. This is a very regular sight for owners of RO systems. It's mostly to do with the way the system works.

    Water has to pass through several filtration stages with an RO system. This process takes time, so you can't always expect the same speedy flow rates you had before. So in some cases, a slow flow might not be an actual problem to worry about.

    However, if the output of water is weak, there could be an actual mechanical issue. A good way to test this is to measure the flow rate.

    • To do this, turn on the faucet for 60 seconds, with a container positioned beneath it. Try to find a large container with measurement markings on the sides.
    • Measure how much water you collected in the 60 seconds. This will give you a 'gallons per minute' reading. You can compare that reading against the gallons per minute stated by the manufacturer for your system. 
    • In general, an RO system can produce anywhere from 0.5 to 1 gallon per minute. If your rate is within this range, there's probably nothing to worry about. If it's very low, it could be an issue with the tank of your system. The tank might be cracked or leaking and could require repair. 
    • If you want to fix the tank yourself, you'll first need to turn off the valve that provides water to the filter. Then open the connected faucet to drain the unit. After that, close the valve and disconnect the line. 
    • Open the tank's cap at the base to see the valve. You can then use a gauge to check the levels inside your tank. Use a pump to add more pressure, as needed. Then reconnect the lines and valves and try your system again.
    • No Water Flowing

      One of the worst scenarios with a whole house water filter is when you turn the faucet and see no water at all. If this happens, it could be due to a wide variety of reasons. 

      There might be a simple issue with the valves. A little adjustment might be able to get the system working again. Or the problem could be caused by leaks, a lack of tank pressure, or clogged filters. 

      • To solve this problem, begin by checking the valves. You should inspect the primary feed valve, along with the tank's valve. If they're both in the correct position, you can move on to the next step. 
      • You should then check the tank pressure, as explained above. A lack of pressure in the tank might be preventing the water from flowing to the faucet. More pressure may need to be added. 
      • There could also be an issue with your filters. Check the filters to see if they've gotten clogged or dirty and need to be replaced. 
      • If all of these parts seem fine, it could be a deeper issue with your home's plumbing. It might even be a problem with the municipal water supply. In this case, you may need to contact a plumber to inspect the issue. 


      Another possible issue with these water purification systems is leaked. You may notice water pooling up around the floor near your filter or in the cabinet under the sink. This usually means that the RO system has sprung a leak of some kind. It can be quite worrying to spot dripping water, but these issues are quite simple to fix. 

      • First, inspect the valves and connectors. These are the areas where leaks tend to happen the most often. A loose valve can easily lead to water dripping out of the pipes and onto the floor. 
      • Take a look at all the spaces around the filters. You may be able to see exactly where the leak is coming from. This can help you quickly identify the issue and then tighten or fix the affected area. 
      • If you see that the water is coming from a valve, shut off the water supply. Then open the faucet to drain the RO system and unscrew the faulty valve. Inspect it closely. You may be able to spot cracks or damage. In this case, the valve will need replacing with a fresh one. If the existing one seems intact, it might be able to be replaced. You can use some plumber's tape to reinforce it. 
      • If the leak is coming from the filters, you should again close the valve and drain the system. Then remove the connectors to the leaky filter. Take a look inside it at the O-rings. They may have gotten damaged and need replacing. 
      • If you aren't able to identify the source of the leak yourself, professional assistance may be required.
      • Non-Stop Draining

        Your RO system will drain water when it is being filled. This is a natural part of the way the system works. The unclean water gets flushed down the drain, while clean water is diverted and ready to be used. 

        But in some cases, the draining process might seem to continue on and on. This shouldn't happen, and it is usually a sign that something is wrong. It also can be very frustrating for a homeowner, as it leads to excess wasted water and annoying sounds. There are several potential reasons behind this issue.

        • The first potential cause is the pressure issue. There is a special valve that monitors pressure and stops the flow of water at a certain point. If the pressure isn't right, the valve won't function and the draining process won't stop. To fix this, follow the steps to check and enhance the tank pressure outlined above. 
        • Another issue that might cause draining is a fault with the valve itself. It should be able to monitor pressure and close when the pressure gets high enough. If it doesn't work, it won't be able to close correctly. In this case, this part may need to be replaced. 
        • One more possible cause for this problem is an issue with the flow restrictor. This component of your RO system also helps to maintain pressure. It provides high pressure in the membrane of the RO filter. If it stops working, the RO process can be interrupted. This leads to lots of draining water. So faulty flow restrictors need to be replaced with new ones.
        • Gurgling Noises

          You might start asking "How do I reset my water filter?" if you hear strange noises coming from the drain. Many RO system owners report a kind of gurgling sound after first installing the system. It might also be noticeable after fitting new filters. 

          It's often caused by excess air in the system slowly being flushed out. So it isn't always something to worry about, especially if you just changed the filters. But if this noise persists for a week or more, you may need to inspect the system. 

          • Take a look at the drain pipe. It may be that there is some sort of blockage or clog inside the pipe. This could be causing the strange sounds.
          •  Any bends or kinks in the lines or tubes could also generate odd noises.
          • Acidic Taste

          Many people buy an RO system because they want to enjoy cleaner, fresher water. So it can be quite disappointing to notice that your water has an unpleasant acidic taste. This is usually a sign that the water has a very low pH level. 

          It's normal for the pH to be reduced a little when using an RO system. These filters remove certain mineral ions from the water. This makes it more acidic and therefore gives it a lower pH. However, if the water tastes very acidic, there may be an issue.

          It could be that the supply of water to your home is naturally quite acidic. So the RO process is enhancing that acidic flavor even more by removing certain ions. 

          • A good way to deal with this is to invest in an RO system with remineralization capacities. Remineralization is the process in which certain healthy minerals are added back into the water. This helps to give it a more balanced pH and a fresher taste.
          • If you'd rather not buy an entirely new system, there is another option. You can simply buy a new mineral filter and connect it to your existing RO unit. This should help to get your water tasting much better.
          • Chemical Taste

          A metallic taste is bad enough, but chemical tastes are even worse. If you detect that your RO water tastes or smells of chemicals, there may be a filter issue. RO purifiers are designed to produce very clean and pure water. 

          They get rid of many of the metals and chemicals that can affect the taste or odor of water. But if the filters get clogged or stop working, those chemicals can start to pass through into your drinking water. 

          • The first thing to do is therefore to inspect the filters. They will most likely need to be changed as they may have gotten clogged or dirty. Dirty filters have to be changed right away. 
          • Your unit should come with a guidebook that tells you how often to change your filters. Often, filters for RO systems will only last a year at most. Changing them is very important, as dirty filters will make the whole system less effective. 
          • If you change the filters and still notice a strange taste, there might be a membrane issue. You may need to get the membrane replaced with a fresh one. 
          • It could also simply be that the unit needs to be cleaned thoroughly. Make sure you sanitize it on a regular basis. This will help to prevent dirt, grime, and germs from gathering on and around the unit.
          • It's also worth noting that RO water can pick up a strange taste if it's been sitting in the tank for a while. So if you've been away for a few days or weeks, flush the system first. Let the faucet run to get rid of that old water and allow the freshwater to flow through.


          This guide should help you handle the common problems that could occur with your whole house reverse osmosis system. It's also important to keep any system, like the  Crystal Quest WS, clean and well-maintained. This can help to reduce the risk of problems. The best systems are built to last, with low maintenance requirements.

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