Changing a Reverse Osmosis Filter – A Step by Step Guide

Changing a Reverse Osmosis Filter – A Step by Step Guide

Both homeowners and apartment dwellers alike, find that filtering their tap water improves its taste, appearance and overall clarity. An efficient method for filtering tap water in one’s home or office, is with what is defined as a “reverse osmosis system.” A reverse osmosis water filter can be installed in a utility room, garage area or within a large cabinet under the sink itself.

How does a reverse osmosis water filter work?

A reverse osmosis water filter removes chemicals and impurities as water moves through its multiple filters. Molecules of water move through a fine membrane by way of increased water pressure. This finely produced filter is able to filter out a myriad of contaminants including metals, microscopic organisms and common pesticides.

What makes a reverse osmosis water filter system different from other types of water filters currently on the market?

What sets a reverse osmosis water filter apart from others on the market, is the series of intricate filters that must be switched out on a regular basis. The number of filters within a given unit vary slightly depending upon its brand and design. Traditionally, a reverse osmosis water filtration system will be manufactured with two or three independent filters.

Things to look for when purchasing a reverse osmosis water filter system and replacement filters

Be aware of what type of tap water you have in your geographic area. This should be the determining factor in which type of reverse osmosis water filter system you purchase. If you have municipal water, you can request an analysis of your tap water from your utility provider. These tests are usually performed without charge to the consumer. If your home has well water, contact a water testing company to do a thorough analysis. Be sure to inquire whether your results will be process by a certified laboratory for accurate results.

Reputable manufacturers will be certified by the NSF

NSF stands for the National Sanitation Foundation. This foundation was established to make consumers aware of which manufacturers and retailers adhere to a higher standard of production. To be awarded high marks from the NSF, these companies must comply with a rigorous standard of testing to meet even minimum NSF requirements.

NSF Certification

An excellent website to consult before making your purchase is found online at Most popular brands are awarded marks from this agency that generally back up claims made on behalf of their retail products.

Proper maintenance is very important when changing reverse osmosis filter systems

For a reverse osmosis water filtration system to work as manufactured, it must be kept in good working order. This means that owners should routinely inspect their systems to make sure all parts are functioning at peak performance. For most people, the first sign that their water filtration system is off-peak is when their water does not taste fresh. In more serious cases, water will also have a foul smelling odor that accompanies its stale taste.

Prompt filter replacement is key

In order for your water filtration system to be effective, filters must be switched out periodically with replacement filters. While many owners worry that only a professional service technician will be able to change their filters, the process is simple enough for most people to handle on their own. All it takes is the instruction manual that came with the unit, and adherence to a few easy to follow steps.

Strategic components of a reverse osmosis water filter system

A reverse osmosis water filtration system is generally made up of several parts. There will be a filter to remove sediment particles in untreated water. This is the “Sediment Filter.” Next, the water will move through what is referred to as an “Activated Carbon Pre-filter.” After passing through the Pre-Filter, the water is thoroughly micro-treated in the “Reverse Osmosis Membrane Filter.”

Reverse Osmosis Membrane Filter

The reverse osmosis membranes that comprise this filter are both intricate and unusually fragile. Should there be rips or tears in this filter, they are likely to be so small as to be invisible to the “naked eye.” This is the most sensitive of the two or three filters that are contained in your reverse osmosis water filtration system.

Post micro-filtration action

After removal of sediment, chemicals, pesticides and micro-particles, water streams through the “Activated Carbon Post Filter.” Upon completion in this final cleansing area, water is stored in a storage tank or container for future use.

Replacing and changing reverse osmosis filter components

Step. 1

Make a point of checking the instruction book that came with your water filter system. If you have lost or misplaced your manual, an online copy of it can be found on the manufacturer’s website. One thing to look for, is how often each individual filter needs to be replaced by a new one.

In other words, all of the filters will typically not require replacement at the exact same moment. One filter may need a change after three months in place. Meanwhile, another filter needs to be switched out after six months of use. If your reverse osmosis water filter has a third filter, it may not need to be changed for up to a year depending upon your pattern of usage.

Step. 2

To open the filtration system, you will need a household screwdriver. However before opening the unit, examine your reverse osmosis filters carefully to determine how many filters it contains. (This will also be in your operations manual.) Some reverse osmosis water filters have their filters screwed together on top of one another. Other filtration systems have their filters placed inside a cylinder shaped case.

Step. 3

Take a moment to acquaint yourself with the names of the various filters contained in your water filtration unit. Different brands and filtration systems will use a variety of names to describe their filter cartridges. Typical titles include a Pre-filter, Carbon, Reverse Osmosis or Post Filter. As you replace a particular filter, you must replace it with an identical cartridge for your system to perform properly.

Step. 4a

Unscrew each of the filters from the one it is affixed to. If your filters are on a cylinder, open the container to retrieve the appropriate cartridge. In some instances, a reverse osmosis water filter system is made up of filters and cartridges that are manufactured into a solid block. If this describes your particular reverse osmosis water filtration system, remove the entire piece to proceed.

Step. 4b

More often than note, the cartridge and filter will be separate from another. Use your screwdriver to open the cartridge and take out the used filter. Then slowly slip your new filter into this slot to make sure it fits correctly. At no time should you have to force a filter or cartridge into position. At this point, you are ready to screw your reverse osmosis water filtration system back into place.

Step. 5

It is a good idea to jot down the calendar date on which you replace each filter, so you can have a back-up filter already waiting to take its place. Reverse osmosis water filters can be found either in the home improvement store where you originally bought your reverse osmosis filter system, or purchased directly from the website of the product manufacturer.

Step. 6

The old filter you remove from your reverse osmosis water filtration system will be filled with metals, pesticides and unwanted contaminants. Wrap your used filter in newspaper or another biodegradable covering for purposes of disposal. Consult your product instruction manual or online guide before disposing of used reverse osmosis water filters. Most manufacturers offer advice to consumers, as to whether they should ideally seek out special disposal methods. If not, if an old filter can be wrapped and safely throw in with other items in a standard household garbage pail.

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