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How To Clean A Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System

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A reverse osmosis water filter is a type of filtration system that makes use of a semi-permeable barrier, which is a barrier that has holes small enough in it to allow water to pass through, but will block out other contaminants within the water supply. Over time, the storage tank attached to these water filtration systems can become scummy due to trace amounts of minerals and contaminants that make it past the filter, and will need to be cleaned out to restore the cleanliness of the filtration system.  Fortunately, the process of cleaning a reverse osmosis water filter tank is a straightforward one, and does not require any specialized equipment.

Cleaning a Reverse Osmosis Water Filter

First things first, turn the water supply off to the reverse osmosis filter (most valves can be turned by hand, and simply need to be turned counterclockwise until they no longer move).

Then, find the storage tank for filtered water, which will usually be located under the sink with most units, and the hose that feeds the water exiting the filter into the tank. Unplug the hose (this will usually require the use of a wrench or a pair of pliers to unscrew the nut holding it in place – simply turn clockwise until the nut comes off, and put it somewhere safe for now). You may want to lay down a few rags, as it is likely that some excess water will spill out of the hose.

Then, make a mixture of one part vinegar to two parts water into a bucket. Then, feed a funnel into the opening in the side of the tank where you removed the water feed hose from, and pour the mixture into the interior of the tank. To make this easier, you may want to attach a piece of plastic tubing to the end of the funnel and get someone to hold it for you while you pour.

Then, reattach the water supply hose to the tank from the filter itself, turning the nut you previously set aside clockwise until it's tight. Let the cleaning solution sit for at least a half hour, and then turn the tap on and let the water run out until the entirety of the tank has been rinsed. This may take a few moments, depending on the size of the tank and how much vinegar you used. Smell the water: once you can no longer smell the vinegar, your tank has been completely rinsed out and your reverse osmosis system is able to use as normal.

Contact a plumber for more help.


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