From time to time, it will appear that your RO or RO/DI system is wasting a ton of water. While it is probably normal in most cases, it is sometimes worth taking a closer look.
RO systems require water pressure to work. A strong stream of water pushes through the RO filter separating the “clean/product” water from the “dirty/waste” water. Typically, 3-4 parts of wastewater is used to produce one part of product water. The baseline for most ratings is 65PSI, 77-degree water temperature and 250 TDS.
Factors such as low water pressure, low temperature or high TDS can cause the RO membrane to work less efficiently; resulting in more wastewater and slower water production.
Fortunately, there are solutions and options available to waste less water and improve the efficiency of your system.
1. Check your pressure gauge - A dirty sediment filter that is starting to clog will cause pressure to drop; which also reduces output and wastes more water. If you notice a 5 PSI pressure drop or more, change out your sediment filter. Your carbon filter(s) will likely need to be changed out at this time as well.
2. Check your RO Membrane - if the system is more than a year old or you live in an area with very high TDS, remove and inspect your RO membrane. Calcium and other minerals can accumulate on the end of the membrane causing it to clog. When this happens, product water output will drop and you will waste more water. If this occurs, it is likely time to replace the membrane. You can also use our RO Membrane Cleaner to clean the membrane by dissolving and removing the mineral build up. Adding a Flush Kit and flushing your system regularly will help prevent build up in the future.
3. Upgrading to our 1:1 RO Membrane - this is the easiest and most-affordable solution. Simply swap out the old membrane for our 1:1 RO Membrane. Traditional membranes only allow water to enter from the ends of the filter cartridge. The 1:1 Membrane allows water to enter from the ends and the sides of the cartridge. This allows for more water to be processed and more product water to be made. While the rejection rate of the 1:1 RO Membrane is marginally lower than the standard Membrane, it is not a significant difference.
4. Adding a booster pump - RO membranes love higher water pressure and work best at 80 PSI. The closer to 80 PSI you get, the less water you waste and the cleaner the product water produced. A booster pump can help to get the waste-to-product water ratio down close to 2:1 and your water output to, or above, the rated GPD rating. An adjustable flow restrictor is also recommended so you can dial-in the ratio.
5. Adding a Piggy-Back / Water-Saver Kit - this can be a great option if your water pressure is 65 PSI or higher. By adding a second RO Membrane, you are able to utilize the waste water produced by the first membrane and run it through a second membrane to get more product water. It will almost double the product water output with the less waste water. As noted, a minimum of 65 PSI is needed for both membranes to work properly. Additionally, the second membrane will need to be replaced more frequently as it is getting the “dirty” water from the first membrane that is higher in TDS.
Outside of making changes to your RO or RO/DI system, you can also reduce or eliminate the water wasted by the RO/DI system by collecting it and using it for other purposes around the house. Watering your lawn/plants, using it for laundry/toilets/dishwashing are all great uses for the collected wastewater.
Let us help achieve your water purification needs and goals! At AquaFX, we offer better filters and better service!