Like any device in your home, a reverse osmosis system can sometimes behave weirdly. You may hear ticking or gurgling sound from your unit.
It is important not to jump to a conclusion that your RO system is faulty. Noises coming from your system may likely be due to a change in pressure within the system or trapped air bubbles. Most of the noises that the system will make are not an indication that there is anything wrong with the water coming out of the faucet.
There can be several reasons why a RO system makes noise, fortunately, most of the time it is one of these simple reasons that you can often figure out yourself.
1. Air Bubbles
It is quite normal for air bubbles to accumulate within the system over time, especially when the RO system has just been installed or after the filters have been changed.
This problem can be minimized by filling the filters with water, if they are an enclosed cartridge type, or be sure to fill the filter housings with water before replacing them if your system uses cartridges inserted into a housing.
To remove air bubbles out of your RO system, simply turn off the shut-off valve on top of your RO storage tank.
If you don’t see a shut off on your tank, it may be an inline shut off that is right on the tube going to the storage tank.
Now lift one side of the system about three inches and support it with something to keep it at an angle. Next, turn on the RO faucet and let it run for a minute or so, then shut it off again.
Tap the side of the system as if you were knocking on a door and then turn the water on again for a minute or so. Repeat this a few times and the air bubbles that were trapped inside the system should be gone.
Carefully put the system back into its original position and continue to use it as normal.
If the bubbles persist after doing this, tilt the system the other way and repeat the process. Be sure to test your water going into the reverse osmosis system, it should be soft. Any hardness in the water can cling to the inside walls of the system and create a starting point for bubbles to collect.
2. Change in Pressure
Most reverse osmosis systems will make a slight whining sound after water is used from the storage tank.
This is perfectly normal and is caused by a pressure change inside the unit, this sound will stop as soon as the pressure inside the unit stabilizes.
Low inlet pressure makes the unit produce more reject water, produce less drinking water, fill the storage tank more slowly, and produce lower quality water. RO units run well on the typical water pressure of 60 psi, but they run even better with a small pump to boost the pressure to 80 psi or higher.
3. Misaligned Drain Line
The drain saddle that clamps over the sink’s drainpipe can sometimes get moved when removing things from under the sink and putting things back.
If this saddle gets out of alignment, the hole that the water drains out of becomes restricted (much like putting your thumb over a garden hose), and then sprays the water to the backside of the drainpipe rather than just dribbling straight down the pipe causing this louder noise.
Sometimes a little piece of food or other debris can get lodged in this drain hole, causing the same type of noise to occur, so be sure to check that the drain is clear before touching the drain saddle.
Start by checking the tubing and making sure it is set straight. Look for any restrictions in the drain tube that could be interrupting the flow of water.
4. Faulty Auto Shut-Off Valve
All reverse osmosis systems, including whole house reverse osmosis systems, work on pressure. Anytime the storage tank is full and there is full pressure the automatic shut off valve gets automatically triggered.
Once this happens water stops flowing into the system and rejected water stops flowing down the drain line.
If the shut-off valve or check valve are not functioning properly water will continue to flow down the drain line.
As a result, your reverse osmosis system will constantly drain, waste a ton of water, and make a lot of continuous noise.
To determine if the auto shut-off valve is correctly shutting the system down when the storage tank is at full capacity, follow these simple steps.
- Turn on the reverse osmosis faucet until you have used about 2 pints of water, this will trigger the system to start to make more reverse osmosis water.
- Turn off the shut off valve on your reverse osmosis storage tank by giving a one-quarter turn. This will stop any flow in or out of the tank and make the system think that it has a full tank.
- Let the system sit for at least 5 minutes. This will be enough time for the system to make enough water to fill the system up as much as possible so it should stop making water.
At this point, the system should no longer be producing reverse osmosis water and there should no longer be any water going down the drain pipe.
If the system is still running water down the drain after the 5 minutes are up, the auto shut-off did not function and will need to be replaced.
Regularly servicing your RO system will not only ensure your reverse osmosis is always running smoothly, but it will also save you money as you will be less likely to have to deal with a serious problem in the future.
Investing in a good quality system is also important. High-quality RO systems do not break down as easily as cheap systems that aren’t made using quality parts.
If you have a RO system in place which makes unusual noises or gives you any other trouble such as a slow flow rate, feel free to discuss it with us. Depending upon the nature of the problem, we can offer a solution that may include a callout from our service engineer.
Celtic Water Solutions has been in the water treatment business for nearly 20 years and offer high-quality RO systems from only reputable brands. To keep the filtration equipment in top-notch condition, we also offer an annual service which includes a visit from our qualified service engineer at your convenient time.
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