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If you’ve got a reverse osmosis system (RO) in your home, but don’t remember when the last time you changed your filters, then it’s probably safe to assume that it’s time to do so. Many RO brands recommend replacing the pre and post-filters every 6 months and the membrane every 12 months. But let’s be honest, not everyone does it exactly at those intervals. The problem that occurs when filters and membranes are not replaced regularly is that the water quality that comes out of the system will go down.
Filters need to be replaced because eventually, they will no longer work since the media inside become impacted with so many contaminants from the water which affects the water pressure, odor and taste. If a membrane isn’t replaced, eventually the material inside can become damaged from all of the contaminants. Small tears can occur rendering the membrane ineffective, causing contaminants such as bacteria, viruses rust, and scale, to start making its way through and into your drinking vessels and food.
There are a few things to look out for if you don’t remember the last time you changed your filters. For starters, the water doesn’t taste clean. There could be a flavor or odor that wasn’t there before. Water that has a lot of hard minerals will have a unique mouthfeel, meaning the water will almost feel denser, that’s due to the water-soluble calcium and magnesium that’s present in the water. If you’re used to drinking RO water and all of a sudden you take a sip of tap water, then you’ll understand the mouthfeel that is being described and it’s not pleasant. There’s almost an odd texture that hard water has, it’s a bit denser, and it’s not as smooth as swallowing RO water.
Secondly, If a water line is installed to go to the refrigerator, then the water coming out of the dispenser and the ice maker will have the same issues as previously mentioned. Ice will actually start to develop an odor and taste that could be best described as a musty chlorine odor. The taste of ice will also be affected. Since the membrane isn’t working properly, salt and other minerals found in the water can affect the flavor. In addition, there might be particles that frozen inside the ice. They’ll become more apparent once the ice starts to melt and you’ll be able to see it clearly.
Just because you haven’t changed your filters, don’t worry, there are ways to redeem yourself. First and foremost, order some replacement filters specific to your RO system. Before you install them, take a Sharpie and write down the date you swapped them on the new filter set. Afterward, put it in your calendar to remind yourself to place an order for a new set. That way when the 6-month interval comes up, you’ll have everything you need to swap them out on time.
By replacing your RO filters and membranes at the recommended intervals, you’re able to keep you and your family safe from contaminants found in water, plus you are able to maintain consistency with the flavors of coffee, teas, and foods that require water as an ingredient. In addition, replacing filters doesn’t require any special tools or having to hire a professional plumber to do them for you. Some models can be changed by simply twisting off the old filter and twisting on the new one.