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Thread: Changing R/O filters

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    swords's Avatar
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    Hi folks,

    About 2 years ago I got tired of lugging jugs of water home so I bought an R/O and think it's great but I'm wondering if I should change the carbon block or TFC membrane yet? The manual (a xeroxed sheet) said when the flow of good water is reduced it needs replacement but I can still make a 5 gallon pail in about 2.5 hours which is what it has always produced since I got it.

    I've done the math and on average I make 20 gallons per week for 104 weeks is only 2080 gallons. Is it time to change anything or can I chill?

    BTW my water at last testing some time ago) was a PH of 7.4 out of tap but has a high carbonate hardness due to the apartments sodium softening... if that matters in judging replacement.

    Thanks for any thoughts! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html312/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img]

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    Flip_Side_the_Pint's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]I've done the math and on average I make 20 gallons per week for 104 weeks is only 2080 gallons. Is it time to change anything or can I chill?
    It depends if you can "chill" If the tap water you're filtering has a very high TDS level then filtering 2080 could require you to change the filters.

    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]About 2 years ago I got tired of lugging jugs of water home so I bought an R/O and think it's great but I'm wondering if I should change the carbon block or TFC membrane yet?

    The RO membranes and carbon block can last a long time if you're filtering water with a relatively low TDS rating (for tap water that is). So what you can do is get a TDS meter and test the water before it is filtered and record the readings then test some water thats gone through the RO unit thats been filtered and record the TDS readings. Then figure out how much of an increase there is in total dissolved solids (TDS). Then if the TDS reading is higher then what it is supposed to be with good filters then you need to replace them.

    On my spectra pure 5 stage RO/DI nit I usually replace the RO filters (carbon and membrane) every two years. I have yet to need to replace the DI element but its supposed be every 5-8 years depening on usage.

    hope this helps
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    I'd say just replace everything except the RO membrane and don't worry aobut it. If the carbon filters get too old the the chlorine can get past them and tear up the RO membrane.
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    Nepenthes Specialist nepenthes gracilis's Avatar
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    if you want higher product water, get a larger membrane. I used to be able to fill a 5gallon jug overnight with the 8GPD membrane, witht he new (2-3 month old) 25 GPD membrane I have to watch out, I've overlfoed 2 buckets already! Carbon blocks need to be replaced every 6-8 months I say, I have a very high chlorine level in my area and have to be careful to watch my filter changing times, I don't want my new membrane to be destroyed! But if you notice a very slow making of RO water generally, you need to replace the membrane.

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    swords's Avatar
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    Thanks guys it seems to depend upon a lot of variables maybe I better just replace them both (and begin replacing the carbon a whole lot more often!).

    Nep G. how do you know how much chlorine is in your water and how do you know if your filter membrane has been destroyed from chlorine? Will the good water smell like chlorine? Mine doesn't, but I'm just wondering cos the "manual" which came with my Captive Purity brand R/O was pretty worthless - basically it just showed how to hook it up to your sink and said thanks for buying it! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html312/non-cgi/emoticons/sad.gif[/img]

    Another thing I've wondered about is using R/O water all the time good enough or should I occasionally flush the pots with pure distilled water? When I used to buy water I would alternate between R/O and distilled but now I haven't done so in almost 2 years.

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    RO water isn't 100% pure so in the long term minerals can still build up. I would suspect that normal repotting schedule would remove this threat however as old mix is replaced with new. Will it help to flush? probably only minimally.

    How often the carbon needs to be replaced depends greatly on the carbon filter itself, the Chlorine levels in the source water and how much the filter is used. A good carbon filter is rated to handle x many gallons of water before replacing. Calculating lifespan is no more difficult than calculating how much water is used to produce a set amount of purified water.. ie catch the purified water and the waste water and see what the ratio is. Then you can calculate lifespan based on how much water you make per day.
    Or just use a quality carbon block filter and replace it periodically and your most likely not going to have a problem.

    Chlorine will punch holes in the RO membrane. You may get some chlorine smell in the ro water but I think only in extreame circumstances. A bigger concern is this allows other molecules to pass through that shouldn't. The result is the quality of the RO water will decrease and it's TDS will increase. This will also happen slowly as the membrane ages.
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    Nepenthes Specialist nepenthes gracilis's Avatar
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    Josh, to check how much chlorine is in your tap water, have an analysis done or just check with your Dept. of Water Dist.

    I did have a measurement but I lost it. I generally check every year or so, in the summer it increases due to heavy tourism.

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    swords's Avatar
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    Thanks folks! I guess my tax refund is going for supplies this year!

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