Most of the places in India depend on groundwater or water from rivers and lakes.
Very few cities in India get water from the municipal taps. However, the situation in such cities is also grim because you do not know the source of water.
There are chances of water contamination on the way even if the municipalities take steps to purify it before distribution. What is the solution under such circumstances?
The correct solution is to install a water purifier in the house. It ensures that the water you get is pure and filtered irrespective of the source of the water.
Purchasing and installing an RO water purifier should not be a challenge. However, cleaning the filters and maintaining the RO appliance is.
The need for cleaning the filters
The principal objective of installing the RO water purifier is to get pure and healthy water to drink. Therefore, cleaning the filters and maintaining it is imperative.
The frequency of cleaning depends on the nature of the water source. If the water source has a high TDS proportion, there is a need to clean the filters more frequently. The TDS and the heavy metal residues can stick to the RO membranes thus affecting its performance over a period.
When should you clean the filters?
Usually, you should clean the filters every 6 to 12 months. You can seek the assistance of professionals to clean the filters. On the other hand, you do it at home as well because the process of cleaning the water purifier is easy.
Remember to clean and sanitize the water purifier regularly as the TDS can accumulate and cause a foul smell. The moment you there is a change in the taste of the water, you should proceed with the cleaning activity.
Similarly, you can notice the difference in the water pressure before and after the system. If the differential pressure is more than 10%, it is time for you to clean the filters. It also depends on the model of RO filter in your home.
The level of water contamination is also a crucial factor that decides the frequency of cleaning. In the ordinary course, you should clean the filters every 6 to 12 months.
What are the different types of filters in a standard RO water purifier?
Before we proceed with the cleaning aspects, you should have an idea about the different types of filters present in the RO water purifier. Almost all RO water purifying systems employ 6-stage or 7-stage water purification. These are some of the filters that comprise the filtration system.
Usually, it is outside the RO water purification appliance. It is the first line of defence that traps the larger and visible impurities. These contaminants can affect the performance and lifespan of the RO water membrane. The sediment filter plays the vital role of trapping these impurities and preventing them from entering the appliance.
Activated Carbon filters
There are two carbon filters inside the RO water purifier. The Pre-Activated Carbon filter has the responsibility of eliminating salts like chlorine that can otherwise pass through the RO membrane. The Post-Activated Carbon filter is situated after the RO membrane. It takes care of the putrid odour and ensures that the output water has a pleasant taste.
Reverse Osmosis Membrane
The RO membrane is the most expensive part of the RO water purifier. You need to take special care of the RO membrane while cleaning the filters. The RO membrane has the primary responsibility of eliminating TDS and the heavy metals. They also take care of the bacteria and the viruses as well.
Some smaller molecules can escape the RO purification process. The purified water passes through the UF membrane where such molecules get trapped. This membrane also requires cleaning on a regular basis.
Let us now go through the actual cleaning process.
The first step towards the cleaning process is to switch off the system’s main water supply. You would not like water to be splashing all around when you proceed with the cleaning of the filters.
At the same time, turn off any water line that goes towards the refrigerator or icemaker. This facility is available in some of the latest RO water purifiers.
Some water purifiers have a release outlet for emptying the storage tank. Otherwise, you can drain out the water from the container by opening the system’s water faucet.
Remember to close the faucet after draining out the water.
Disconnect the membrane housing from the RO water purifier system and open it. You can use a strap wrench to open the housing. The purpose of disconnecting the membrane is that you have to protect it from the cleaning and bleaching agents. These bleaching agents can destroy the RO membrane.
Drain out all the water from the housing and rake the membrane out of it.
Use a chemical cleaner to clean the RO membrane. Your RO water purifier manufacturer would have suggested the type of cleaning agent to use. Follow the instructions carefully. Some of the critical points to consider are the dosage, temperature, pH values, and the contact time.
Some of the common types of accumulated deposits on the membrane are Calcium carbonate scale, metal oxide deposits, silica scale, organic and inorganic colloidal deposits, and organic material like fungi and molds.
You can choose between the generic cleaners and the expensive chemical membrane cleaners.
The advantage of using the expensive cleaners is that they are easy to use. You also get active customer support on how to use them. Usually, you use three types of cleaners one after the other. They are Acid cleaner, Alkaline Cleaner, and Sanitizer. Remember to flush the system after using each type of cleaner.
Remember to clean the membrane housing using a bottle brush and regular dishwasher detergent. You can also use bleach mixed with water.
Dispose of the cleaning chemicals. Do not forget to rinse the membrane and housing before assembling them back into the appliance.
Reinstall the housing into the system.
Connect the main valve and switch on the RO water purifier. Connect the water supply and check for any leakages.
Flush the system thoroughly to remove all traces of the detergent and other chemicals. Refill the tank. It will take some time for the water quality to come back to normal.
The other filters require cleaning as well. Let us see how to clean them separately.
You can dismantle the sediment filter separately and remove it from the machine. Use a good quality scrubber and detergent to scrub the candle clean. Use a lot of water to flush out the impurities. If the sediment filter becomes discoloured, you should change it. The frequency of changing the sediment filter is usually once a year. However, it depends on the quality of the input water.
Activated Carbon filters
You can clean the activated carbon filters simultaneously while cleaning the RO membrane. Remove the Activated Carbon cartridges from the housings and allow warm water to run through the cartridge several times. After rinsing these cartridges. Place them close to your ear.
If you hear the subtle crackling or popping noise coming out from the filter, place them back into the filter. The absence of any noise suggests that you have to replace the carbon filters. You should replace these filters once a year.
You can clean this filter while cleaning the RO membrane.
Similarly, some RO filters come with Ultraviolet lamp chambers. It is not necessary to change the lamp as long as it is working. However, you can replace the lamp separately at any time.
Precautions to keep in mind when cleaning RO water purifier system
Refer to the manual supplied by the RO water purifier manufacturer, especially regarding the chemicals to be used for cleaning.
The dosage is also important. Similarly, you have to be careful with the pH value.
Ensure to switch off the RO water purifier before opening the system.
Similarly, close the main valve that supplies water to the appliance.
Remember to empty the storage tank before cleaning the filters.
Allow the tank to fill up at least two times before you start using the water after cleaning or replacing the filters.
Replace the filters on time. The RO membrane can easily last for two to three years depending on the quality of the water source. The other filters require replacement every year. Clean and sanitize your water purifier regularly. It will ensure that your RO water purifier will work efficiently for a minimum of 10 to 15 years. Remember, the health of your family is in your hands.