Do-it-yourself reverse osmosis: step-by-step assembly and installation instructions

Tap water is practically unsuitable for drinking everywhere and requires preliminary preparation. Boiling and settling are simple methods, but not very effective. Household filters cope with this task much better, but the highest degree of purification gives the installation of reverse osmosis. The method is expensive, but fully justifies the investment.

Water purification by reverse osmosis is by far the most perfect. The principle of its operation is similar to the metabolism of a living organism. With it, it is possible to rid water of practically all impurities, viruses, bacteria, nitrates, etc.

It is easy to install reverse osmosis with your own hands, it is assembled as a designer, and the work does not require special tools - a minimum set of amateur is enough.

The principle of operation and purpose of the system

Reverse osmosis is a process in which the flow of water is divided into two unequal parts with different densities.One part is pure water, and the second is water with a large amount of pollution.

For this separation, a special membrane with very small holes is used. Their size is 0.0001 microns.

Water passing through the pre-cleaning cartridges is released from suspended particles, chlorine residues, and organic compounds.

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The basis of the reverse osmosis system - membrane filter
The basis of the reverse osmosis system - membrane filter
Membrane filter structure
Membrane filter structure
Reverse osmosis filter retains harmful impurities
Reverse osmosis filter retains harmful impurities
Components of the membrane filter module
Components of the membrane filter module

Once in the reverse osmosis membrane, water passes through its semi-permeable layers and is further divided into two streams.

One of them, the concentrate, is discharged into the sewage system, and the second, permeate, enters the accumulation tank, which compensates for the inability of the membrane to provide in the flow-through mode sufficient productivity for the user.

Through the pores of the membrane can only penetrate particles whose size corresponds to the size of a water molecule or less.

Large particles do not penetrate through the membrane barrier, but they are capable of clogging these small pores, therefore, before subjecting the water to the reverse osmosis procedure, it must be prepared.

The membrane pores are 200 times less for viruses and 4 thousand times less than bacteria. It passes through only the molecules of water and oxygen.

For mechanical removal of dirt, two filters are used with openings of five and one micron respectively. Between these two filters install another one - with a carbon filler.

It retains the molecules of various chemicals dissolved in water: iron, chlorine compounds, heavy metals, etc.

Molecules of some substances are smaller in size than water molecules. If there is no pre-cleaning, they can penetrate the membrane and contaminate the water.

Products obtained from reverse osmosis, called permeate and concentrate. The latter is that part of the water in which the pollution is concentrated. This part is usually about 60-65% of water, it is disposed of in the sewer.

The principle of the reverse osmosis unit
Reverse osmosis is used to purify water at the molecular level.

Permeate is very pure water, the degree of purification reaches 98%. Together with harmful contaminants, the membrane and filters also cut off many beneficial substances that give natural drinking water a unique flavor and properties.

To eliminate this small drawback, the permeate is passed through another filter.

To enrich the purified water with useful minerals, use a mineralizer. The bioceramic filter with tourmaline allows the permeate structure to be brought closer to its natural state.

There are also post-filters with the ability to expose water to ultraviolet radiation.

The simplest post filter contains activated carbon and coconut shells. With it, permeate is subjected to additional purification and give it a pleasant natural taste.

If desired, such modules can be abandoned, but then the water obtained from the reverse osmosis system will not be so tasty and useful.

Reverse Osmosis System Diagram
This diagram details the procedure for connecting and operating the reverse osmosis system and identifies all its main elements.

In the basic configuration, the reverse osmosis system contains the most necessary elements that can provide effective cleaning.

If the water pollution exceeds the norm or the water supply system is not capable of ensuring the normal operation of the device, then it will be improved with the help of additional equipment.

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Working installation of reverse osmosis
Working installation of reverse osmosis
Components of the fine cleaning plant
Components of the fine cleaning plant
Pressure boosting pump
Pressure boosting pump
Do-it-yourself system installation
Do-it-yourself system installation

Components of a typical kit

Usually reverse osmosis systems are supplied as a kit, which already has everything you need, even fasteners.

The list of equipment may vary depending on the model and include the following elements:

  • reverse osmosis membrane;
  • a unit with pre-cleaning flasks in which three filters are installed: two mechanical and one coal;
  • post filter;
  • mineralizer;
  • tap for drinking water;
  • key for replacing filters;
  • key for the membrane housing;
  • set of tees-connectors;
  • crane mounting plate;
  • a set of flexible hoses, etc.

Before buying, you need to decide on issues such as membrane performance and the availability of additional modules.

For example, you can install both a post filter, a mineralizer, and a bioceramic cartridge at the same time, or restrict yourself to just a post filter.

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Ultrathin water purification system
Ultrathin water purification system
Standard Filter Set
Standard Filter Set
Mandatory location of modules
Mandatory location of modules
Reverse osmosis membrane
Reverse osmosis membrane
Carbon water treatment filter
Carbon water treatment filter
Mineralizer - optional component
Mineralizer - optional component
Complete set for hard water areas
Complete set for hard water areas
System for soft water areas
System for soft water areas

Choosing a reverse osmosis system, you should pay attention to the size of its elements. Most often, popular models have standard sizes. This allows for the replacement of the membrane or filters to choose the appropriate production options for different companies.

But if the model sizes are unique, you may have to install only special branded cartridges, and this is not always beneficial or convenient.

Installation of reverse osmosis system

A variety of reverse osmosis systems is very large. Therefore, further installation of the filter will be considered on the example of the most common - with a five-step cleaning and storage tank.

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Preparation for the installation of reverse osmosis
Preparation for the installation of reverse osmosis
Connecting filter modules
Connecting filter modules
Connecting the hose to the filter set
Connecting the hose to the filter set
Water connection unit
Water connection unit
Use in the ball valve scheme
Use in the ball valve scheme
Connecting the system to the water supply
Connecting the system to the water supply
Site connection to the sewer
Site connection to the sewer
Installation of hose clamp
Installation of hose clamp

Step # 1 - Learn Filter Functioning

Before installation it doesn’t hurt to understand exactly how the fluid moves through the system.

First you need to make a tie-in in the water pipe to connect to it a hose connecting the water supply to the filters of preliminary preparation. Water passes these filters, leaving particles of mechanical and chemical impurities in their cartridges.

Then the prepared stream moves to the membrane and passes through its body. From the membrane unit leaves two hoses. One of them is designed to concentrate and is connected to the sewer system.

With this hose contamination is disposed of. On the second hose, the permeate, i.e. purified water supplied to the expansion tank.

Here, water is accumulated and stored. To do without such capacity and ensure the normal functioning of the reverse osmosis system is almost impossible.

The fact is that the average performance of a household membrane is usually about seven liters per hour. For domestic needs such a slow flow at some point may not be enough.

The storage tank completely solves the problem. It stores a sufficient amount of clean water, which is constantly replenished as the liquid decreases.

After the expansion tank, water can be supplied directly to the tap for drinking water, but this is rarely done.

Installation of reverse osmosis system
The elements of the reverse osmosis system are quite compact in size, so they are not difficult to install in the space under the kitchen sink

If you have already decided to provide the house with high-quality water, it makes sense to pay extra for a high-quality post-filter, mineralizer or other similar device. Some prefer to use several such blocks at once.

In this case, you need to choose a drinking faucet with two valves. It is connected in such a way that through one valve only purified water enters, and through the other - enriched with minerals.

This is done in order not to use mineralized or structured water for cooking, since this effect will simply disappear when boiling.

Thus, the use of a crane with two valves allows to increase the service life of the mineralizer.

Step # 2 - choose the optimal installation location

Immediately, you should choose the place to install the actual reverse osmosis system and drinking tap for water. Most often, this element is put on the kitchen sink, for which a small hole is drilled in its case.

If desired, the location of the tap drinking water can be changed.But then be sure to provide access to sewage, so that accidentally overflowing over the edge of the tank water does not spread throughout the kitchen.

In the spacious kitchen, you can put another small sink specifically for drinking water, but such a need is extremely rare.

It is most convenient to install the elements of the system near the drinking tap and from each other. The shorter the hoses along which the water moves, the more efficient the system works.

Traditionally, the system is installed in the same place as household filters, i.e. under the sink. The dimensions of the storage tank and the block with filters completely allow to do this.

Before starting work, check the system for compliance with the input parameters.

Filter grade
The presence of all elements of the system is checked without opening the packages. Otherwise, the manufacturer will not accept complaints about incompleteness.

It is necessary to verify:

  • pressure in the membrane tank;
  • incoming water temperature;
  • pressure at the entrance to the reverse osmosis system.

Indicators can be different, they are indicated by each manufacturer in the instruction manual for each model separately.

Install the system away from heating devices, in a place protected from sunlight.

First, shut off the flow of cold water, and if the mixer has only one handle, it also turns off the hot one. Then open the valve to relieve pressure, then close it.

Before you install the connecting tube, the membrane, as well as reverse osmosis cartridges, you must disinfect your hands.

Step # 3 - install the drinking faucet

If there is already an additional hole in the sink, for example, for a dispenser for liquid detergent, it is quite possible to use it under the drinking faucet of the reverse osmosis system. If there is no such hole, it will have to be done independently.

Special care should be taken when working on an enamelled surface so as not to damage the protective layer.

Installation is carried out on the edge of the sink or on the worktop near the sink. For installation, fit a flat horizontal surface with a diameter of about 4 cm.

Before installation, you must make sure that the space under the sink allows you to fix the faucet and bring the tube without kinking.

Crane installation
To carry out work neatly, on all surfaces on which chips will fall when drilling, a fabric or newspaper is covered.After installation, chips can be quickly collected

Some sinks have holes for installing an extra tap. If not, then perform the following actions:

  1. A drill with a diameter of 6 mm is drilled at low speed with a hole in the sink or in the worktop. In order not to damage the surface and prevent chipping, you can stick a plaster on it. For ceramic or stone surfaces use a carbide drill.
  2. Next, take a drill with a diameter of 11-12.5 mm, increase the hole and remove the plaster. If the edges are torn, they are cleaned with a file or file.
  3. They clean the chips, especially carefully remove the metal, until it leaves rust spots on the surface of the sink.
  4. Before installing the faucet in the hole on its lower part, put on a decorative lining and a rubber washer to seal the connections.
  5. The lower base of the crane is inserted into the hole, put a rubber, plastic, and then a metal washer on it from below. The resulting structure is tightened with a nut with a wrench or a tubular wrench 14.

A fitting is screwed onto the bottom base, inside which there must be a rubber gasket.

Crane device
The connection of a standard crane is carried out according to the manufacturer’s scheme.In a similar way, a double tap is used, which is used for a cleaning system with a mineralizer.

Step # 4 - connect to the water supply

First, of course, it is necessary to shut off the flow of cold water. Connection to the water supply system is done using an adapter adapter. The most convenient place to install it is the connection of a water pipe and a flexible connection of a kitchen faucet.

Under this section a basin is inserted to drain the remaining water and the installation is carried out:

  1. Disconnect the flexible connection of the mixer from the pipe with water, check for the presence of a rubber seal in the adapter and screw the connector on both sides by tightening it with a wrench.
  2. Unscrew the ball valve nut from the adapter to put it on the plastic tube.
  3. The tube is pulled on a ball valve. Tighten the nut with your hand, without putting much effort.

To improve the tightness of the external thread of the adapter and the water pipe is wound with teflon tape.

Connecting the reverse osmosis system to the water supply
When connecting the reverse osmosis system to the water supply using a special tee. All threaded connections are compacted with linen thread or FUM tape

Step # 5 - crashing into the sewer system

To drain the contaminated water that remains after passing through the reverse osmosis membrane, they are connected to the sewage system using a drainage clamp.

The tie-in point must be at the level above the hydraulic lock, i.e. siphon. On the vertical or horizontal section of the drain pipe, above the siphon, the hole is drilled with a diameter of 7-8 mm.

Installation of drainage clamp
Do not install the drain clamp on rounded, uneven sections. It will be impossible to achieve tightness of joints in such places.

Before you install the clamp, on its bracket with a hole glue a rubber gasket. Then fasten the clamp, evenly tighten the screws and ensure that the brackets from opposite sides sit in parallel and are tightly pressed, and the holes in the drain pipe and the clamp coincide.

A black tube is inserted into the fitting of the drainage collar, lubricated with silicone grease and with a pre-dressed nut, which is tightly but not tightly twisted.

Drain clamp
The clamp is supplied with the filter and is suitable for most plastic pipes (diameter 32-50 mm), which are used for sewage installation

Step # 6 - put the valve on the drive

The drive is used to create water reserves and maintain a stable pressure. Since cleaning by reverse osmosis is slow, the backup tank helps to quickly obtain the necessary amount of water that has been cleaned in advance.

Usually the drive is mounted vertically on a special stand. But if the need arises, it can be placed horizontally or mounted on brackets.

If there is not enough space under the sink, the storage tank is placed somewhere nearby, for example, in the adjacent kitchen cupboard. For hoses have to do small holes in the walls of kitchen furniture.

Reverse Osmosis Storage Tank
The storage tank of the reverse osmosis system is most often installed vertically on a special stand. During installation, you should check the working air pressure in the tank and adjust it in accordance with standard indicators

The tank itself must be prepared before installation - a plastic tap must be attached to the threaded joint. On the thread of the storage tank wind the FUM tape in two or three layers.

Then, without using tools, wind the valve on it until it stops.A plastic tube is inserted into the tap fitting. Its other end is connected to a carbon post filter (the last stage of purification).

Storage tank
In the new tank not filled with water, the internal pressure is set at 0.34–0.48 atm. Therefore, it is impossible to open the valve in the lower part so as not to release the gas that creates it

Another important point - the pressure in the tank. The pressure is measured with a manometer and, if necessary, air is pumped into the tank.

Step # 7 - mount the filtration unit

When choosing a place under the sink for the filtration installation, it is taken into account that the pipes supplied are usually 1.5 m long, and they must be located freely, without tension or kinks.

If necessary, filters can be hung on the inner wall of the cabinet. It is also necessary to provide free access to the ball valve.

Flasks of pre-filters are fixed on a special bar that can be hung on the wall of the kitchen cabinet under the sink.

The place should be easily accessible so that it is convenient to replace used cartridges. To open the bulb, you must use a special key.

First, install the prefilter cartridges according to the instructions. Their location should not be confused, otherwise the device may be out of order.

Flasks with pre-filters are fixed on a special stand, which is hung on the wall. It is important to ensure free access to these elements in order to replace cartridges.

To install the cartridge, remove the protective film and place it in the housing, which is installed back into place. Ensure that the sealing gum was not warped.

After the filters are installed, a case is installed on top of special holders in which the reverse osmosis membrane is located.

Above the membrane postfilter and fix mineralizer or other modules. After that, all elements of the system are connected by hoses, which are fixed with special clamps.

Reverse Osmosis Hose Connection
The holes for the hoses in the reverse osmosis system are protected by transport plugs. These plugs need to be removed only before connecting hoses.

The order of connection is usually fully described in the instructions. It is necessary to connect the water supply with prefilters. Remove water from the filters to the membrane, and then from the membrane to hold two hoses: to the sewer and to the storage tank.

From the tap of the accumulator, a hose is led to the post-filter, and then to the tap of drinking water.Another hose is passed through the mineralizer.

The installation of the membrane in the body is as follows:

  • disconnect the tube from the body fitting;
  • using the key unscrew the cap;
  • insert the membrane into the housing and press it in until it stops;
  • close the lid and insert the tube into place.

Tubes for connecting the filtration elements are lubricated with silicone grease or petroleum jelly and connected in this order:

  1. The water supply tube is connected to the inlet of the first filter.
  2. The storage tank is connected to the filter inlet, which performs the fifth cleaning step.
  3. The output of the fifth stage is connected to the tap of purified water.
  4. The second end of the tube that is connected to the sewer pipe is connected to the outlet of the flow limiter.

After checking the correctness of the connection of all tubes, the equipment can be considered ready for operation. It only remains to fill it with water and rinse.

Tube connection
To make the connection tube cut a segment of the desired length at a right angle, inserted until it stops in the convector. Pressing with effort, they sink another 5-6 mm, generally deepening it by about 17 mm.You can check the clutch by slightly pulling the tube in different directions. To disassemble the connection, press the collet with your finger all the way and pull the tube towards you

Step # 8 - Fill and Wash the Filter

Before the first filling of the filter, shut off the valve on the tank and the pipeline shutoff valves. Further act as follows:

  1. Open the tap for drinking water;
  2. Turn off the common valve of the water treatment system;
  3. Open the ball valve that supplies water to the reverse osmosis filter.

You should not expect water for the first 5–10 minutes - air will flow out of the system. When the water starts to flow out, its pressure will be small, because at this moment the tank valve is closed.

It is not necessary to open it yet, it is necessary to wait for the water to wash the filter device for two hours.

Drain a certain amount of water, turn off the tap and leave the device alone for another 10 minutes, at which time the installation is checked for leaks.

If a leak is detected, pull the leaking connections. Making sure that the system is working properly, they open the tank valve.

Reverse osmosis washing
After installing the filtration device, it is necessary to check it within a week for possible leaks and faults.

Filling the tank can last for several hours, the speed depends on the pressure of the water. Then the system is again washed - to drink water, after the first filling of the tank, it is absolutely not recommended.

Only after the second filling of the tank can you begin to use purified water.

Purified water
The first purified water can have a milky color — this is normal — air is being forced out and its bubbles create such an effect.

Primary water accumulated in the tank should be completely drained into the sewer system. After that, the water is opened again for cleaning. When the tank is full, you can start using the system as usual.

Operation Tips

If after starting the system drinking water has a milky hue and contains small air bubbles, you should not worry. This effect of air dissolved in water, it is not dangerous. This effect will disappear after a few days or weeks.

Too fast contamination of the pre-filters as well as the presence of mucus on the cartridges can be a symptom of low pressure in the water mains. The problem is usually solved with the help of a pump.

Sometimes washing the charcoal can cause the third filter to become dirty immediately after installation.To avoid this, it is better to install the third filter after the carbon cartridge has been washed.

But do not try to wash the carbon filter under running water, as it can be spoiled.

Do not neglect the flushing of the carbon cartridge, as this can lead to a rapid clogging of the membrane.

The same effect can produce too high pressure in the plumbing system, too rare replacement of pre-filters or use of low-quality cartridges, clogged sewers.

If scale builds up when boiling water in the kettle, check the connection procedure. It is possible that a hose is connected to the drinking tap, through which the concentrate flows, and the purified water goes down the drain.

If the purified water has acquired a characteristic odor and taste, it is necessary to check the pre-filter as soon as possible. Perhaps their resource is exhausted, need replacement. Also, this phenomenon may indicate the presence of bacterial contamination.

Do-it-yourself reverse osmosis: step-by-step assembly and installation instructions
The membrane cartridge of the reverse osmosis system is in a plastic case. It must be replaced every 3-5 years, depending on the content of salts in purified water.

Pre-cleaning cartridges should be replaced every six months or more often.A new membrane usually needs to be installed every three to five years.

Every year should check the status of purified water. If the salt content exceeds 20 mg / l, the membrane must be replaced.

Replacement of filtration elements

To replace the cartridge fillers with their own hands, block the valves for shutting off the water supply system and the device. Then open the tap of purified water and drain the remaining liquid.

Next, disconnect the plastic tubing and remove the equipment from the cabinet. You can remember the location of the tubes by marking them or using a camera (if the tubes are colored).

They unscrew the covers of the housings and remove the exhausted cartridges and filtration membrane. Plastic flasks and covers are washed with dishwashing detergent.

When installing new filter elements, carefully observe the installation procedure, check for the presence of rubber gasket on the cover.

Rubber rings wipe dry before mounting. Collect and wash the system as well as when installing a new device.

Replacement of replaceable filter elements is carried out with the following frequency:

  • reverse osmosis membrane- every 24-30 months;
  • coal post filter- once in 12 months;
  • prefilters- once in 6 months.

The frequency of replacement depends largely on the quality of the water. New replaceable elements are replaced by the same, referring to their labeling.

Used cartridges
The use of cartridges that have exhausted their resources can be even more harmful to health than raw water.

Installation of accessories

The work of even such serious equipment as reverse osmosis filter can be made more efficient by installing additional elements.

Such as for example:

  • Pressure regulator and water hammer compensator.The equipment is designed to protect the plumbing elements against pressure drops, exceeding the allowable values ​​at the inlet to the filtration system.
  • Leakproof system.It is installed in front of the filter and blocks the water in case of leaks and water ingress on it. Minimizes the risks and limits the amount of damage, but does not completely eliminate the possibility of leaks.
  • Nitrate prefilter. It is used for effective removal of nitrates, the place of installation is coordinated with experts.
  • Ice machine.It is connected via a tee to the gap of the connecting tube leading to the drinking tap.

Before installing the filter, a pressure gauge is measured with a pressure gauge. At values ​​greater than 6.6 atm., Set the gearbox, at less than 2.2 atm., Set the pump, which will create greater pressure. For devices that are most often used to improve the functionality of reverse osmosis, the following is a more detailed description.

Element # 1 - pressure boosting pump

The membrane filter, which is the basis of the reverse osmosis system, can fully function only with a certain pressure of water.

If the maximum pressure does not exceed 2.8 atm., Then for normal filter operation it is necessary to additionally install a pump.

If you have to buy additional equipment, it is better to do it from one manufacturer and follow the connection diagrams developed by them.

Scheme with a pump
An example of one of the possible schemes. The pump can be placed in the rupture of the leading tube before the first prefilter, as well as after the second or third

Install the pump only in conjunction with a pressure adjustment sensor, which is responsible for turning it on when the pressure drops and off when it jumps to the maximum.

The sensor is mounted in front of the storage tank, in the gap tube. With poor quality of tap water in front of the pump, a primary filter is installed.

Pressure boosting pump

If there is a danger of increasing the water pressure in the system up to 3-4 atm., To prevent leakage, a special pressure reducing valve must be installed in front of the pump.

Element # 2 - UV lamp

Sometimes in the reverse osmosis filter there are favorable conditions for the rapid development of microorganisms as a result of rising water temperatures or system downtime for a long time.

This leads to fouling of prefilters by microorganisms, a decrease in pressure and a deterioration in the performance of the equipment. And then for disinfection of water using ultraviolet filters.

The device consists of the following parts: a stainless steel case with a UV lamp inside and a power supply unit that converts the mains voltage to the values ​​necessary for the operation of the lamp and protects it from power surges.

Water, passing inside the case, shines through ultraviolet rays and is disinfected.

UV lamp for reverse osmosis
The UV lamp can be installed after the filter or in front of it. When installing the lamp in front of the filtration unit, it is often used in combination with a prefilter.

The installation site of the ultraviolet lamp may depend on the goals to be achieved:

  • To eliminate the strong biological contamination of tap water, they install at the filter inlet;
  • to protect the microorganisms from entering the tank from the drinking tap, install a lamp in the section between the tap and the container.

On the lamp for ease of installation, two clips are provided that help fix it on the filtering unit or on any other surface.

Element # 3 - a mineralizer for water

The water that has passed through the membrane filter is 90-99% purified and gets rid of any impurities, including mineral elements that are useful and necessary for the body. Such water is sour to taste.

Mineralizers compensate for the lack of essential minerals, correct the level of PH. Mineralizer cartridges of different trademarks can differ in their composition and resource and enrich the water with calcium, zinc, magnesium, and other elements.

Mineralizer circuit
The installation of the mineralizer is carried out after the membrane filter and is connected mainly to a double tap.Thus, the user has the opportunity to choose between simple purified and saline water.

In some models of reverse osmosis filters, the mineralizer also plays the role of a filter and is installed as the last stage of purification.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

A clear video on how to install reverse osmosis yourself can be viewed here:

This video contains helpful information on replacing pre-filters:

To install the reverse osmosis filter with your own hands, it is necessary not only to prepare the tool, but also to carry out a water analysis, to study the parameters of the water supply system and the filtration device.

It is necessary to carefully study the instructions and accurately follow the recommendations of the manufacturer. Competently selected equipment is 50% of success. And then the installation itself will not be difficult. A timely maintenance of the system and the replacement of waste items will provide the house with quality drinking water.

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