If you’ve been using reverse osmosis (RO) water filter and have noticed your water suddenly becoming cloudy, there are a few things that could be happening like dirt in the filters, mineral deposits buildup, bacterial growth inside storage tanks, or air bubbles in the RO system.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common causes of cloudy RO water and what you can do to fix it.
🧠 How does reverse osmosis work?
Reverse osmosis is a water purification process that uses a semi-permeable membrane to remove impurities from water. The membrane allows water molecules to pass through while blocking larger molecules, such as salts and pollutants.
To create reverse osmosis water, pressure is applied to the water forcing it through the membrane. This pressure creates a barrier against the natural flow of fluids, which is reversed when the wastewater leaves the system.
In other words, reverse osmosis forces clean water molecules through the membrane while pushing salt and other pollutants back.
🤔 Why does my reverse osmosis water look cloudy? What can I do about it?
If you have recently switched to a water filter that uses reverse osmosis (RO) to purify your water, you may have noticed that the water clouded up immediately. This is due to the high pressure of the RO membrane.
This process of filtering removes large particles and molecules from the water which can cause a cloudy appearance. It is important to keep in mind that this cloudiness is not harmful and will lessen over time as the smaller particles and molecules are filtered out.
Another reason for the water clouding up is due to particles and molecules that are not removed by the RO membrane. These particles can come from the water source or your pipes. If you have a well, then these black silt particles may be coming from the well water.
The RO membrane removes the larger particles from your water, but it does not eliminate all of them. These particles can build up in your pipes and can cause clouding in water.
🔍 Common factors causing my Reverse Osmosis water to be Cloudy
Some of the factors that may cause water clouding are:
1. Inefficient filtration from the City water supply
Unlike well water, the city water is not free from contaminants. The city’s water filtration is not able to clear all of the sediment and dirt from the water, which causes it to be cloudy. This can be frustrating for residents who are trying to enjoy a clear glass of water or take a shower.
2. RO Membrane becomes Faulty
The water becomes cloudy as the RO membrane gets clogged with sediment. This is a very common problem in reverse osmosis systems. The best way to prevent this is to make sure that your RO system is properly maintained.
Do note that maintaining the RO system is very important for the long life of the RO membrane and for the better taste of the water. However, if the membrane is faulty, it will make the water cloudy and less safe to drink.
Reverse osmosis membranes can be damaged by a variety of factors, including but not limited to:
The good news is that it is very easy to fix a reverse osmosis membrane. You can easily clean or replace the membrane in under an hour by referring to the instructions provided by your RO system manufacturer.
3. Bacteria growth in RO storage tank
The storage tank in an RO system can become cloudy due to the growth of too many organics, such as algae or other bacteria. This can cause the water to become cloudy and/or foul-smelling.
A number of factors contribute to the bacterial growth in the RO tank, including the presence of nutrients in the water, changes in pH levels, and exposure to sunlight.
The growth of bacteria in reverse osmosis storage tanks can be prevented by flushing the tank with clean water on a regular basis. The frequency of flushing depends on the size of the tank and the level of contamination. Tanks that are flushed every two weeks are typically less contaminated than tanks that are flushed every month.
4. RO Membrane and Filter System Installation Issue
A properly installed membrane and reverse osmosis filter system can provide crystal clear water for your home or office. However, if you’re having trouble with cloudy water, it may be due to an improperly installed membrane and reverse osmosis filter system.
When these systems are not installed properly, dirt and other particles can get through the filters and into your drinking water. This can cause all sorts of problems, from bad taste and odor to serious health concerns. You can check our guide on How to install the water filtration system the right way.
If you’re having trouble with cloudy water, be sure to contact a professional to install your membrane and reverse osmosis filter system. Otherwise, you could end up with contaminated water that’s unsafe to drink.
5. Air bubbles in RO systems
Air bubbles are often seen in reverse osmosis systems and are usually caused by the high pressure within the system. When water is forced through a membrane under high pressure, tiny air bubbles can be forced out of the water. These air bubbles will rise to the top of the tank and can create a cloudy appearance in the water.
While this may not be aesthetically pleasing while drinking water, it does not affect the performance of the RO filtration system and does not need to be addressed.
6. Too much Chlorine
There are other reasons for cloudy water besides poor filtration. One common cause is too much chlorine. Chlorine is a common chemical used to disinfect water and kill bacteria, but too much can cause cloudiness in the water. It can also be caused by high levels of dissolved solids, such as minerals or metals.
It is important to test your water for both chlorine and cloudiness levels to ensure that you are not drinking or using water that is unsafe.
💭 When does my RO system need maintenance or a membrane replacement?
If your reverse osmosis system is giving you cloudy water or produces sound, it’s time for a maintenance check or filter replacement. Here are a few tips to help you determine whether your system needs attention:
📝 What to do if the cloudy water doesn’t go away from the RO System?
If your Reverse Osmosis (RO) water suddenly becomes cloudy, don’t worry. It’s a common issue that can usually be fixed with a little bit of maintenance. The first step is to determine what’s causing the cloudiness.
There are several potential culprits, including:
Once you’ve determined the cause, here are some tested solutions to fix it.
With a little bit of care and maintenance, your RO water should be clear and refreshing once again.
✅ Can I stop air bubbles from forming in RO System?
Reverse osmosis systems can be prone to air bubbles forming in the water. This can make the water appear cloudy and can also reduce the efficiency of the system.
There are multiple solutions you can implement to help prevent air bubbles from forming: