RO Membranes: Life Cycle, Maintenance, and Replacement

Reverse osmosis membranes are crucial for water filtration, trapping impurities through a semi-permeable layer. With a pore size of less than 0.22–0.45 µm, they effectively remove even the smallest microorganisms, delivering clear and pure water.

But RO membranes don’t last forever. Over time, they become clogged and start causing problems. Some of these issues include decreased water quality, reduced water flow, and higher energy costs. To keep the clean water coming, you must know when and how often to change RO filters. 

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the RO membrane life cycle. We are going to talk about cleaning RO, changing RO membrane, and when to change RO membrane to maintain peak performance. Keep reading.

How Long Does RO Membrane Last?

Wondering “How long does an RO membrane last?” or “How often to replace RO membrane?” The lifespan typically ranges from 2 to 5 years. This is largely influenced by water quality, usage, and maintenance. Regular monitoring and membrane cleaning are key to extending its life. Look out for changes in water quality, flow, or taste as indicators for replacement.

How To Change Reverse Osmosis Filters

Replacing the RO filter is a straightforward process that ensures your water filtration system stays efficient. Here’s a simple guide: 

Turn Off the System: 

Begin by turning off the water supply to the reverse osmosis system. This prevents water flow during the replacement.  

Release Pressure: 

Open the faucet connected to the system to release any built-up pressure. This step safeguards against potential splashing.  

Remove Housing: 

Unscrew the membrane housing cap carefully. Inside, you’ll find the old cartridge. Take note of its orientation for the replacement.  

Dispose of Old Cartridge: 

Remove the old purifier and dispose of it properly. Follow any local guidelines for the water screen layer disposal.  

Install New Membrane: 

Place the new filter into the housing, ensuring it aligns correctly. Tighten the housing cap securely.  

Flush the System: 

Turn on the water supply and let the system run for a few minutes. This flushes out any residual particles from the new purifier.  

Check for Leaks: 

Inspect the system for any leaks. Tighten connections if necessary.  

Run a Test: 

Test the water quality and flow to ensure the new filter is functioning optimally.

RO Membrane Maintenance — How to Expand the Lifecycle

Here’s how to expand your RO membrane lifespan.  

Routine RO Membrane Cleaning: 

Clean frequently with a mild cleaning solution recommended by the manufacturer. 

Monitor Pressure Levels: 

Keep an eye on system pressure to detect any anomalies. High pressure can damage RO screens, while low pressure may indicate potential issues.  

Inspect for Leaks: 

Regularly inspect the entire RO system for leaks. Address any leaks promptly to prevent water damage and maintain system efficiency.  

Water Quality Monitoring: 

Periodically test the water quality to catch any changes early on. Sudden declines may indicate filter issues, prompting timely intervention.  

Follow Manufacturer Guidelines: 

Adhere to the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines on cleaning membrane reverse osmosis, including recommended replacement schedules and cleaning procedures.

How to clean RO membrane 

Cleaning RO membranes is essential for maintaining optimal efficiency. Follow these simple steps: 

Prepare Cleaning Solution: 

Mix a mild cleaning solution as recommended by the membrane manufacturer. Make sure the solution is suitable for use as an RO membrane cleaner. 

Turn Off System: 

To avoid complications during reverse osmosis membrane cleaning, shut off the water supply to the system. 

Release Pressure: 

Open the faucet connected to the system to release built-up pressure, preventing splashing.  

Apply Cleaning Solution: 

Gently apply the cleaning solution to the screen surfaces. Let it sit for the recommended time.  

Rinse Thoroughly: 

Use clean water to remove the cleaning solution and any loosened debris.  

Inspect for Leaks: 

Check the system for leaks, and tighten any connections if needed.  

Resume Operation: 

After replacing an RO filter, turn on the water supply. Run the system for at least 5-10 minutes to flush out any air pockets, residual particles, or impurities.

Choosing A New RO Filter Membrane

Finding a reverse osmosis cartridge is easy. Simply consider your water quality, system specs, and filtration needs. Ensure compatibility with your system and adherence to manufacturer recommendations. For a range of quality RO membrane cartridges, consult trusted stores like Filterway for various options and customer support. Make an informed choice for continual clean water supply.


Understanding the life cycle, maintenance, and replacement of RO membranes is key to ensuring they last longer. Remember, the typical lifespan is 2 to 5 years, influenced by usage, water quality, and care. Regular cleaning, monitoring, and timely replacement of the membrane will maintain optimal water quality and system performance.