How Often Should Reverse Osmosis Filters Be Changed?

Generally, it is recommended that you change the filters in your reverse osmosis system once every six months or as needed. However, this can vary depending on several factors. For example, if you have a higher than normal water usage, the filters may need to be changed more often. Additionally, changing your RO filters every three months may be recommended if you are concerned about a particular contaminant or your water is challenging. You should also check and clean the membrane occasionally as well.

Awareness of the signs that your reverse osmosis system needs new filters is essential. This includes a sudden drop in water pressure, lower than usual water production, or changes in the taste or smell of your drinking water. If you notice any of these signs, it may be time to change your RO filters.

Why do Reverse Osmosis Filters Need To Be Changed Regularly?

Why do Reverse Osmosis Filters Need To Be Changed Regularly
Changing RO filters

Reverse osmosis filters are essential for water filtration systems, removing impurities and contaminants from your drinking water. This process can become less efficient over time without regular filter changes, leading to decreased water quality. It is essential to regularly change out reverse osmosis filters to ensure you have access to clean, safe drinking water.

How Often Should Reverse Osmosis Filters Be Changed?

  • Sediment pre-filter: 6-12 months: The pre-filter catches the larger particles, preventing them from clogging up the other filters. You should change it at least once a year, but more often if you have hard water or a lot of sediment in your water supply.
    Sediment pre-filter
    Sediment pre-filter
  • Carbon pre-filter: 6-12 months: The carbon pre-filter removes chlorine, taste, and odor from the water. It should be changed every 6 to 12 months, depending on the amount of chlorine in your water supply.
    Carbon pre-filter
    Carbon pre-filter
  • RO membrane: 24 months: On average, the reverse osmosis (RO) membrane is the heart of the filtration system and should be changed every 24 months. This ensures that the RO system works optimally and you receive clean, filtered water. Regularly changing your RO filter helps prevent problems such as clogging, bacteria growth, and scale formation.
RO membrane water filter
RO membrane
  •  Polishing/post-filters: 12 months: It is recommended that the polishing or post-filters in a reverse osmosis filtration system be changed once every 12 months. This helps to ensure that any remaining impurities are removed from the water after filtering it. Polishing/post filters also help reduce odors, tastes, and colors that may have been present in unfiltered water.
    Polishing post-filters
    Polishing post-filters

The More You Use It, the Sooner You’ll Change It

When it comes to reverse osmosis filters, the more you use them, the sooner they will need to be changed. That’s because as water passes through a filter, it removes sediment and particles that can clog up the system over time. If your water supply contains high levels of iron or other minerals, those particles will also collect in the filter, reducing efficiency.

Although changing your reverse osmosis filter every 6-12 months is recommended, this time frame may be shortened if you have high sediment levels and minerals in your water supply or use a lot of water each day. As a rule of thumb, monitor the quality and pressure of your water – if they start to decline, it could be time to change the filter.

How do you know If Your RO Filters Need to Be Changed?

  • Unpleasant odor: The most common indication that your filters need to be changed is an unpleasant odor from the RO system. This could indicate that your current filtration materials are overburdened with debris and contaminants, causing them to become less effective.
  • Bad taste: A bad taste from the filtered water could also indicate that your filters need to be replaced. This could mean that the membrane is clogged and needs to be replaced or that other filtration materials are not doing their job correctly.
  • Discoloration: Another indication that your filters need to be changed is if the water from the system appears discolored. This could mean that the filtration materials are breaking down and must be replaced to ensure effective filtration.
  • Decreased flow rate: If you notice that the flow rate of your RO system is decreasing, this could indicate that the filters need to be changed. Over time, debris and contaminants can build up in the filtration materials and reduce the flow rate of your system.
    Decreased flow rate
    Decreased flow rate
  • The system is always running: If you find that your RO system is always running, this could mean that the filters need to be changed. If the filtration materials are clogged with debris and contaminants, they will not be able to filter the water effectively, leading to increased system usage.

Can You Clean And Reuse Reverse Osmosis Filters Instead Of Changing Them?

Can You Clean And Reuse Reverse Osmosis Filters Instead Of Changing Them
Clean And Reuse Reverse Osmosis Filters

Reverse osmosis filters should generally be changed every six to twelve months, depending on their type and the quality of your water supply. While manufacturers may claim that they can be cleaned and reused multiple times, it is not recommended due to the risk of bacteria or other contaminants growing in the filter media over time.

It’s best to stick with the regular replacement of your reverse osmosis filter to maintain the highest level of water quality. Additionally, some filters are not designed for cleaning or reuse, so you must check with your manufacturer before cleaning or reusing any filter.

Do You Need To Sanitize A Reverse Osmosis System Every Time You Change The Filters?

Do You Need To Sanitize A Reverse Osmosis System Every Time You Change The Filters
Sanitize A Reverse Osmosis System

No, you do not need to sanitize a reverse osmosis system whenever you change the filters. The only time sanitizing is necessary is if the RO membrane has been exposed to potentially harmful contaminants. If you are changing your RO filters regularly, as recommended, sanitizing should not be necessary.


What If You Forget To Change Reverse Osmosis Filters?

If you forget to change your reverse osmosis filters regularly, they will not be as effective in purifying the water. Over time, the filters may become clogged with debris or contaminants and can no longer adequately filter out unwanted materials.

What If You Forget To Change Reverse Osmosis Filters
Change Reverse Osmosis Filters

How long Can Reverse Osmosis Filters Last Before They Need To Be Changed?

Reverse osmosis filters need to be changed every six months or so. Making sure to change them regularly will help prolong the life of your filter and ensure that you have the cleanest, safest water possible.

Can I Change My Reverse Osmosis Filters Myself?

Can I Change My Reverse Osmosis Filters Myself
Change Reverse Osmosis Filters

Yes, reverse osmosis filters are designed to be replaced without professional help. However, if you’re unsure how to install them properly or don’t feel comfortable doing them yourself, a professional plumber can do the job for you.

What Should I Do With My Used Reverse Osmosis Filters?

Used reverse osmosis filters can be safely disposed of in the garbage. The materials used to construct them are non-toxic and will not contaminate the environment when discarded. Be sure to consult your local municipality for more information on how to dispose of them properly.


Reverse osmosis filters should be changed every 6-12 months. This ensures that the water you drink is safe and free of impurities. If your RO filter is used more often than recommended, it is best to change it more frequently, as this will help ensure optimum performance and safety. Inspecting your filter regularly is also essential to ensure it is functioning correctly.

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