Maintenance is a must for most water filtration systems. Generally, the primary object that filters or purifies the water, has a limited life cycle, based on time, water amount, contaminant level, and some other parameters.
In today’s article we cover four of the most common water filtration systems and explain the preventative maintenance and scheduled maintenance that ensures proper functionality and lengthened lifespan.
Reverse osmosis is the highest for of drinking water purity available for residential use, and is the purification system type that we provide. There is maintenance that must be performed to ensure high quality water and efficient performance of the system.
Filters and Membrane
Most reverse osmosis systems are comprised of several filters. Generally the water flows through the system through a series similar to this: [Water enters] -> [Sediment filter] -> [Pre Carbon filter] -> [RO membrane] -> [Storage tank] -> [Post carbon filter] -> [Water exits] As you can see, there are three filters and the RO membrane; all four of these must be replaced on a scheduled and tested basis.
Generally, the sediment filter and two carbon filters should be replaced every 6-12 months.
Sediment filters can only take so much water before they clog up to the point where it hinders water flow. And carbon filters use absorption, which means carbon can only hold so many contaminants, and they must be replaced with fresh carbon.
The membrane can last 2-5 years based on total dissolved solids (TDS) in the water and water flow through the membrane. The membrane is the main filtration point of an RO system. Without a properly functioning membrane, the performance of the machine will drastically come to a halt.
To help keep your reverse osmosis at a maximum lifecycle, here are some tips:
- Ensure that the RO is being serviced every 6-12 months, preferably through a professional water purification company.
- The system cartridges should be sanitized every service.
- The tank pressure must be set at the proper level to provide maximum water amount and correct pressure, this should be completed every service.
- O’Rings should be inspected and replaced to prevent leaks.
Chlorine Removal Systems
Chlorine removal systems are efficient and effective. Most systems are a single chamber (2-3 for very high flow rates) of activated carbon. There are two different types of chlorine removal systems.
- Standard chlorine removal system – Free floating activated carbon. These systems work well in removing carbon, but can be a pain when it comes time to service the unit due to having to clean out all the carbon.
- Canister chlorine removal system – High compact activated carbon. These systems work well in removing carbon, and service is very simple. They also allow for very high flow rate.
Chlorine removal systems generally require new carbon every 2-4 years for a residential application.
Water softeners, using an ion exchange process, transform hard water into soft water. The ion exchange process involves using sodium chloride (table salt) to run through the system, where the molecule splits leaving behind only the sodium molecules. When hard water passes through the system, the “hardness” (calcium and magnesium) swap with the sodium, thus making hard water – soft.
Water softeners do not have a filter or cartridge that needs to be replaced consistently, but the salt must be refilled throughout the year. Depending on the efficiency of the system and water usage, this can be as much as once or twice every month, to as little as two times a year.
There is a myth running about… SALT-FREE water softeners. They don’t work. I wrote an article covering the myths of water softeners if you want to learn more about it.
Ultraviolet Light Systems (Well Water, Spring Water, Rainwater Harvesting)
Ultraviolet light systems are a great way to eliminate any chance of bacteria in water. These systems (or another disinfectant system, UV is our preferred choice) should be on every well water, spring water, and rainwater harvesting system in use.
UV systems are made up of three primary maintenance parts.
- The lamp – MUST be replaced EVERY YEAR.
- The quartz sleeve – needs to be replaced when cracked or coated in scale, etc.
- The o’ring – needs to be replaced every time the lamp is replaced.
The reason the lamp must be replaced every year is that bacteria is only eliminated at a certain light INTENSITY. So if even the lamp is still burning, that doesn’t mean it is at the correct intensity. Manufactures know what the mark is when UV stops eliminating bacteria, so they build the lamp to start at a much greater intensity than is needed. Over the course of a year, the intensity fades until the end of the year it reaches where the intensity is no longer enough to eliminate bacteria. There is usually a couple weeks of leeway.
Water Systems VS. Appliances
As you can probably tell, a water system is not easily comparable with household appliances such as an oven, for instance. Water filtration systems, generally, must have regular maintenance to work properly, or to work at all!
If you would like consultation on equipment that you already have, feel free to contact us and we will help to the best of our abilities!
Want to learn even more about bottled water or water purification in Knoxville and Nashville? Check out our Knoxville and Nashville Residents Guide to Water Purification. You can also contact our team.