How to Maintain Your Reverse Osmosis System

How to Maintain Your Reverse Osmosis System

Maintaining your Reverse Osmosis (RO) system is vital to ensure it operates efficiently and provides high-quality drinking water for many years to come!

In fact, a well-maintained RO system can serve your household for over 7 years.

In this guide to RO maintenance, we outline the essential maintenance steps to help prolong the lifespan of your RO system. Here’s everything you need to know:

When Do Reverse Osmosis Systems Need Maintenance?

Regular maintenance is essential for the longevity of a reverse osmosis drinking water system. Experience in the water treatment industry shows that well-maintained under-sink RO systems can function effectively for over 7 years.

Here are key maintenance tips:

  1. Annual Cleaning and Sanitization: To prevent microbial buildup and ensure the system operates efficiently, it's important to clean and sanitize the RO system at least once a year.
  2. Regular Filter Replacement: The carbon and sediment filters of the RO system should be replaced every 6 to 12 months to ensure optimal performance.
  3. Membrane Replacement: The RO membrane, which is critical for removing contaminants from water, should be replaced every two years to maintain the system's filtration efficiency.

How to Clean & Sanitize Your RO System

Cleaning and sanitizing your RO system annually is a manageable task that you can do yourself or by hiring a professional. Follow these general steps to sanitize your system effectively: 

1. Preparation

Before handling the RO system or its components, ensure that your hands are thoroughly cleaned to prevent the transfer of germs and bacteria. Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds removes potential contaminants.

Or alternatively, wearing sanitary gloves can provide an additional layer of hygiene and protection. This practice is particularly important when replacing RO filters or performing any maintenance tasks.

2. Shutting Off the Water Supply

Next, locate and close the valve to stop water flow to the system. Shutting off the water supply is a critical step for performing maintenance, repairs, or any adjustments on the Reverse Osmosis (RO) system.

This step ensures that water does not flow into the system while you are working on it, thereby preventing potential water damage or leaks that could occur during the process.

3. Draining the System

Next, use the RO faucet to drain all remaining water from the system. Draining the system helps to remove any water that is currently within the RO system's filtration stages and storage tank, ensuring that no water spills out during maintenance activities and that the system is safe to work on.

4. Removing Filters & Membrane

Before starting the sanitization process, first carefully remove the sediment and carbon filters, as well as the RO membrane. Keep new filters in their packaging until ready to install.

5. Sanitization Process

  • Add a sanitizing solution (e.g., hydrogen peroxide) to the first stage of the filter housing.
  • Reconnect the system without the filters and membrane.
  • Open the valve to allow water to flow and circulate the sanitizing solution through the system.
  • Let the system run for a few cycles, then drain.

6. Installing New Filters

After sanitizing, install new sediment, carbon filters, and the RO membrane. Then, allow the system to fill up and drain to flush out any remaining sanitizing solution.

Filter Replacement Schedule

As the owner of an RO system, you’ll want to follow a regular filter replacement schedule to ensure you maintain the performance and longevity of your RO system.

Generally, replace the sediment and carbon filters every 6 to 12 months, the RO membrane every 24 months, and the polishing filter (if applicable) every 6 to 12 months.

These intervals can vary based on your water quality and usage.

When to Replace Specific Filters

  • Sediment Filters: Replace every 6-12 months to protect the RO membrane from dirt and silt.
  • Carbon Filters: Replace every 6-12 months to remove chlorine, lead, and other contaminants, which helps protect the RO membrane and improve water taste.
  • RO Membrane: Typically replace every two to five years, but this can vary based on water quality and usage.
  • GAC Polishing Filter: In systems with a final polishing stage, replace the GAC filter at least every12 months to ensure the removal of any residual taste and odor coming from the pressure tank.

Selecting Filters for Your RO System

Not sure which filters you need?

Search for your system's brand and model to find the recommended filter kit. Regular replacement is essential to prevent system damage and maintain water quality.

We currently have six different Reverse Osmosis systems to choose from.

Trusted Source for RO Systems Since 1982!

Air, Water & Ice has been a reliable provider of RO systems and maintenance solutions for over three decades!


Here’s a brief overview of our top RO systems:

  • The Water Cop: A five-stage system with a high-quality FilmTec 50 GPD membrane for excellent water quality. Ideal for those without a permeate pump need.
  • Extra Duty Reverse Osmosis Unit: Easy installation with high-pressure output, ideal for increased water demand.
  • Mini Four Stage RO System: Compact design with essential filtration stages for high-quality drinking water in small spaces.
  • MAX 50: Features a non-electric permeate pump for enhanced ice cube production and efficient water dispensing.
  • MIGHTY MITE 4 STAGE RO SYSTEM: Ultra-compact design for flexible installation options, including temporary setups.
  • Water Restructuring Pod: Enhances drinking water by adding beneficial minerals and increasing pH, suitable for health-conscious users.

Check out the Water Cop, Extra Duty (ED) RO Unit, Mini Under-the-Sink RO System, Max Under-the-Sink RO System, Mighty Mite RO System, and the Restructuring POD +PH Boost Filter +Magnesium +Calcium system.

Contact Air, Water & Ice Today!

Maintaining your RO system through regular cleaning, sanitizing, and timely filter replacements ensures long-lasting, high-quality drinking water for your household.

Questions? Please be sure to reach out to us about inquiries relating to RO maintenance via phone at (772) 461-0256 or by email at!

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