Reverse osmosis water has been promoted as a healthier, more sustainable drinking option. And although we understand that you may occasionally notice bubbles.
Is this normal? The answer, in short, is YES, as there are various reasons why this may be happening, which we’ll discuss in this article.
You don’t need to worry, because this article will answer all of your questions and discuss the best solutions for seeing bubbles in your reverse osmosis water. Let’s get started!
6 Reasons Why Reverse Osmosis Water Has Bubbles
In this section, we’ll discuss 6 reasons you might see bubbles in RO water. Hydrologists have double-checked and confirmed these reasons, so let’s get right to it.
1. Water Flow
If the reverse osmosis (RO) system produces water too quickly, it may cause the water to become aerated, forming bubbles.
Reverse osmosis systems force water through a semi-permeable membrane under pressure to remove impurities and contaminants.
RO is a pressure-driven membrane diffusion process. In practice, RO membranes retain 95–99% of the dissolved solutes (organic and inorganic) from the feed stream into the concentrate, while the permeate can be considered high-quality water. Therefore, RO is classified as a concentration process.
The water flow rate determines how long the water is in contact with the membrane, affecting the treated water quality.
If the water flow rate is too high, it may cause the water to pass through the membrane too quickly, leading to incomplete filtration.
This (incomplete filtration) can result in bubbles in the treated water due to dissolved air that has yet to be removed.
2. Membrane Deterioration
The RO membrane is a crucial component of the reverse osmosis (RO) system because it filters the water and removes any impurities.
When the membrane wears out or gets broken, it can lead to several problems, such as bubbles in the water.
Several things can cause the RO membrane to break down over time, such as:
- Chlorine: Chlorine is often used to make water safe to drink, but it can also damage the RO membrane. If the water that the RO system is trying to clean has a lot of chlorine, it can wear down the membrane over time.
- Age: RO membranes have a limited life span and will need to be replaced at some point. As the membrane ages, it becomes less efficient in filtering pollutants from the water and may begin to deteriorate.
- Temperature: The RO membrane is more likely to break down at higher temperatures because the heat can make it more fragile and easy to damage.
- Water quality: If the water being treated by the RO system has a lot of impurities or contaminants, it can put extra stress on the membrane and cause it to break down more quickly.
In other words, if the RO membrane wears out or gets damaged, it can cause several problems, such as a decrease in water production, a decline in water quality, and bubbles in the water.
Nevertheless, If the membrane may be broken, it’s essential to have a qualified professional check out and fix the RO system.
3. Incorrectly Installed Or Maintained Reverse Osmosis System
Incorrect installation of the reverse osmosis system might result in leaks, blocked filters, or other difficulties, resulting in bubbles in the water and a decreased amount of water produced.
Improper installation or maintenance of an RO system is one of the leading problems in reverse osmosis water. It causes problems with the system’s performance, including the production of bubbles in the water.
4. Dirty Filters And Debris In The System
It sounds irritating, doesn’t it? If debris is in the RO system, it can make the water aerated and cause bubbles to form.
On the other hand, if the filters in the RO system are filthy or clogged, it may delay the flow of water, which can also cause the water to become aerated, which in turn can cause bubbles to appear in the water.
But wait, there’s more! A contaminated RO system might harm your health, which is a terrifying thought. And it brings bacteria pathogens that cause Cholera, Typhoid fever, and other diseases.
5. Water Temperature
The water temperature treated by a reverse osmosis system can affect the system’s performance and potentially cause the production of bubbles in the water.
At higher water temperatures, the RO system may produce water at a lower rate than it is designed to, resulting in a pressure build-up within the system. This pressure build-up can cause water to be forced out of the system, potentially forming bubbles.
If the water temperature is too low, it can cause the RO system to produce water at a slower rate, which can also lead to pressure build-up and the production of bubbles.
In general, operating an RO system at a water temperature between 40-100°F (4-38°C) is best to ensure that it produces water at the optimal rate and prevents bubbles.
Having said that, going above the reverse osmosis (RO) element’s maximum temperature of 45 degrees celsius might not always result in it’s an immediate and catastrophic failure.
However, certain specific components will undergo a physical change at high temperatures that may severely influence performance.
However, suppose you are having problems with bubbles in the water generated by your RO system. In that case, it is a good idea to check the water’s temperature to see whether it might contribute to the problem.
6. Protective Liquid Of Reverse Osmosis Membrane
Okay, don’t worry if it sounds too technical. Let’s break it down for you. Now, to ensure that tap water can get through the RO membrane, the surface of the filter membrane needs to have strong hydrophilic properties.
Most reverse osmosis membranes have a matrix that repels water, so they need to be changed with a hydrophilic modifier.
That being said, reverse osmosis membrane protective liquid has specific amphiphilic properties, which cause bubbles and stability.
Is It Safe To Drink Reverse Osmosis Water With Bubbles?
First of all, drinking water that has been treated with reverse osmosis is safe.
As for the bubbles, it depends on what caused them, which we talked about above. For example, dirty filters and debris can cause bubbles, which are obviously not good for your health.
In other words, bubbles in RO water are usually safe and will go away on their own after a while. If you are worried about bubbles in your water, read on to learn how to fix this.
5 Ways To Fix Reverse Osmosis Water With Bubbles
In this section, we’ll discuss specific ways to fix reverse osmosis water that has bubbles. Please read carefully so you can catch everything.
1. Flush The System
Flushing the reverse osmosis system is crucial to help fix reverse osmosis water with bubbles. We recommend you flush the system if you’re always seeing bubbles.
Flushing the system helps to remove any debris or sediment that may have built up in the system over time.
To flush the system:
- Turn off the water supply to the RO system and then turn off the power.
- Disconnect the filter housings and empty any remaining water from them.
- Once this is done, reconnect the filter housings and turn the power back on.
- Next, open the cold water faucet closest to the reverse osmosis system and let it run for a few minutes.
This will help flush out any remaining sediment or debris in the system. After a few minutes, turn off the faucet and allow the system to fill up. You can turn the water back on and see if the issue has been resolved.
2. Inspect The Filters
Filters can become clogged with sediment, debris, and other contaminants. If the filter isn’t replaced or cleaned, it can cause a blockage in the system, resulting in poor water quality and bubbles.
Before you begin, you’ll want to turn off the reverse osmosis system, disconnect the supply line, and remove the filters from the housing.
If you notice any debris, dirt, or corrosion on the filters, it’s time to replace them. We recommend you check the manufacturer’s guidelines for the type and size of filter best suited for your system.
Also, when installing new filters, ensure that you pay attention to the correct flow direction.
3. Check The Membrane
If you still notice bubbles after you’ve checked the filters, changed the water pressure, and flushed the system, it may be time to check the membrane.
In other words, the membrane’s task is to get rid of impurities in the water, so if it isn’t working right, reverse osmosis water can have bubbles.
To check the membrane, you’ll want to disconnect the feed line from the membrane housing and inspect it for signs of damage.
Sometimes, the membrane may need to be professionally cleaned and serviced. If this is necessary, you’ll need to contact a professional to take a look and determine the best course of action.
4. Adjust The Water Pressure
Adjusting the water pressure is essential when fixing reverse osmosis water with bubbles.
The pressure regulator valve controls the water pressure in the system. If the pressure is too low, it can cause bubbles to form.
When adjusting the pressure, you must locate the valve and turn the knob clockwise to increase pressure. Be careful not to over-tighten it.
You should also check the valves for any signs of damage or leakage. If you find any, then it is best to replace them before adjusting the pressure.
Additionally, We recommend you check the pressure gauge regularly to ensure it is in the desired range. Once you have adjusted the pressure and checked all valves, you can flush the system to eliminate any excess bubbles.
5. Check For Leaks
As stated earlier in this article, leaks can be one of the most frustrating causes of bubbles in reverse osmosis water. If there are leaks, it can lead to decreased water pressure and a decrease in the system’s effectiveness.
To check for leaks, we recommend you inspect all fittings and connections from the tank to the faucet. Make sure that all these connections are securely fastened and do not have any gaps or cracks.
However, if you notice any issues, you should replace the connection or contact a professional.
In addition, you should also inspect the membrane itself for any holes or punctures. If any are found, you will need to replace the membrane.
Lastly, ensure to check the faucet itself. If it is leaking, it could be due to a worn-out gasket or worn washers that need to be replaced.
How To Measure the TDS of the Reverse Osmosis Water
If you’re still worried about whether or not reverse osmosis water with bubbles is safe to drink, here are the steps you can take to measure the TDS in reverse osmosis water.
First, take off the protective cap and turn on the digital TDS meter when using a digital TDS meter. Please put it in water until it is fully saturated.
After stirring the TDS meter to get rid of any air bubbles in the water, wait 20 seconds with the Digital TDS meter in the water. This will let you measure the TDS level.
For most digital TDS meters, you multiply the reading by 10 to get the result.
After calculating the TDS level of the water, empty the digital meter and replace the protective cap.
Also, different TDS meters come with different instructions, which is why we suggest you always read the instructions from the manufacturer. We recommend you try this product:
You should know why there are bubbles in your reverse osmosis system. The answer lies in the process of reverse osmosis itself. On the other hand, air can get into RO systems through places like pumps and filters, which causes bubbles.
In addition, we went over some more reasons why you see bubbles in your RO system, possible solutions to the problem, and whether or not it is safe. And lastly, we went over how to determine the TDS level in RO water.
The most important thing is always to maintain your RO system to the highest standards to avoid problems in the future.