Trouble Shooting and Common Questions
Do you have instructions I can print
out? I lost mine or never got them.
Yes, they are always available from my site, linked on the main RO/DI
page. Click here.
How do you collect the water :
I have a few 5g water cooler jugs. In the picture below, you can see the RO/DI tubing going into the rear jug. Once full, I move the output tubing to the next jug, and reset my timer. Each jug has a cap, which I snap back on the bottle to keep the RO/DI water pure. Open containers allow dust and other particulates to pollute the water. RO/DI water is like a magnet, attracting anything it can. Keep your containers sealed. From time to time, test the TDS of the water in the container to make sure the bottles are still clean. Containers may grow slime within them due to ambient lighting, improper storage, putting dirty pumps in them, or using them to mix saltwater.
If you need to clean your holding containers, use 10:1 bleach water. Rinse them very well, and then air them out for 24 hours. They should be ready to use now. Once the container is full again, test the TDS to make sure the reading is low or zero. I've never had to rinse out the 5g jugs because I always keep them capped - even when empty.
I set a timer to remind me to turn off the water once the jugs are full. This is very important if you want your floors to remain dry. Depending on the time of year, you will probably need to adjust the total minutes to match production rates. For me, it takes 80 to 85 minutes to make 5g of water in the winter, but only 55 minutes in the summer. The main reason for this is water temperature. The colder the water, the longer it can take.
Keep the timer near you. It won't do you any good if you can't hear it when it goes off!
If the DI isn't filling all the way up:
New DI filters take time to get saturated. I've personally observed it taking
as long as two weeks until the DI section stays full. Don't worry, because the
water can only get out one way - through the media
and it will be de-ionized.
If the DI media cartridge is installed upside down, that needs to be corrected immediately. The side of the cartridge has an arrow which should be pointing straight up, and the black flat washer should be at the top when installing it.
How do I remove the (red, blue, black) tubing from the fittings?
Press the collet completely against the fitting with your thumbnail, then tug
the tubing out gently. To put it back in, press the tubing into the collet and
fitting as far as you can, then tug gently to seat the collet.
The fitting is dripping. How do I fix the leak?
The tubing may be too long, and need to be trimmed to the correct length. If
the tubing is too long, it may apply pressure against the fitting just enough
to cause the connection to drip.
If the unit isn't turning off automatically:
With the water to the unit turned on, open up the valve after the unit (the one producing pure water), then tilt the main unit as it might have
a trapped air bubble in the auto shutoff valve (ASOV) that needs to get out. You could
try this method to get it out of the system. Put it back in place, close the
valve again and see if it shuts off after 15 seconds.
If it still doesn't turn off automatically:
If you want to take your ASOV apart to see if something has gotten into it
that stops it from functioning correctly, disconnect the tubing as described
above, and remove the four screws. Carefully open it up and take care to make
sure you remember the order of the inner parts you remove, so you can put them back together in the same order. Inside is an O-ring, a small membrane, a drum, another
membrane and O-ring. You could see if anything is visibly wrong.
Taking it apart will take all of a couple of minutes, and it might start working
again once you're done.
If you have to remove the ASOV for some reason,
here is how it should be reconnected:
Even more detailed:
The ASOV (the white thing with four fittings) is marked clearly with IN and OUT on the side opposite where the screws are located. Please look closely at the pictures above to avoid hooking it up backwards.
It is very important that the flow restrictor not be lost. Read more in the next sub-section.
Where is the flow restrictor located?
The flow restrictor is located in the black tubing, the waste line that is connected to the end of the membrane housing. It restricts how much water exits the unit, creating sufficient back pressure so the RO membrane can do its job. It is possible for the restrictor to clog or be pinched, but this is very rare. If you remove the black tubing for any reason, be sure you keep track of this little part. Below are several pictures of it, so you can see what it looks like and how far is should be installed in the tubing. Depending on the age of your particular unit, the flow restrictor may differ in color or design:
The flow restrictor must always match the membrane or production rates may vary greatly.
What is that hissing noise? Is my unit broken? What is it doing?
When the RO/DI is on, the unit will hiss. The sound means water is going out the waste line. When the unit is shut off with either of the output ball valves (RO or DI), it will pressurize and should stop hissing within 15 to 25 seconds. If it is still hissing, water is being wasted. Turning off the water before the unit is another option.
I don't hear a hissing noise and my unit isn't turning off. What's wrong?
Verify that the flow restrictor is in place in the black tubing. (See images above)
What is the check valve for?
The check valve prevents water from going back into the membrane. This part can be replaced easily. Based on the age of the unit, they may look like one of the two pictured below (inset):
To verify that the check valve is still functioning properly, you'll need to unscrew it. Due to its close proximity to the other (waste line) fitting, simply remove the collet first, then unscrew the fitting counter-clockwise until it comes out.
Once the fitting has been removed, blow on the end that the check vavle is in. Air should flow through it. Blowing on the end (where the tubing was inserted) should not allow air to pass. If air only flows one way through the check valve, it is working as it should. Reinstall. If you need a new one, contact me and I'll be happy to send one out immediately.
Where can I get a TDS meter?
I sell a handheld TDS meter for $25. Details here.
How do I use a TDS meter?
Start the unit and let it run for at least 60 seconds.
Collect a little water in a clean cup (a styrofoam coffee cup would
be great), and test the TDS with the meter. Any reading under 10 is
How do I know if the DI
is still good?
Test the TDS of the RO water (before it goes through the
DI) as described above. Next, test the DI water. If the TDS reading
is equal or higher than the RO reading, it is time to replace the DI
Do you sell filters?
Yes, you can order them from this
How do I change the filters?
This page will show you step by step with pictures.
How do I change the membrane and when is it time?
The membrane is good for three to five years, and it is the heart of the system. I sell replacement membranes.
Here is the page that shows how to replace it correctly.
Do you have any information about flush
No, I do not. If you modify your unit and something goes wrong, I refuse
to repair it.
How often does the unit need to be used?
Run it for at least once a week to avoid stagnant water
issues within the RO/DI unit.
Can it be moved?
Yes, but it needs to be in a stationary spot for the most part. If
you want to pull it out once a week to use it, the fittings won't last long because of the wear and tear.
you plan to move out of your current home and want to take it with you,
you can. It is designed to be mounted on a wall or cabinet,
and isn't something you have to leave behind some day.
Where can I buy the hosebib, tubing,
Home Depot sells all these items in the Plumbing Department. Look for
the section where tubing is sold, and you'll find 1/4" tubing,
Speed Fit ™ (or John Guest) fittings, and even brass fittings
like this hose bib connector (part A-696):
Can I hook it up outside?
Yes, if you can protect it from the elements. It should be fully insulated against the heat and the cold. If allowed to freeze, the housings will crack as the ice expands within them. The membrane will very likely be damaged as well, as the cells will be ruptured. Even the quick connect fittings may crack and break. DO NOT LEAVE IT OUT IN FREEZING WEATHER. Draining the water out of the system may help, but bringing it indoors is your best option.
It should be protected from direct sunlight, which can lead to algae or bacterial growth within the system. Better to keep it in a cabinet, shed or wrapped up.