Can an Icemaker be Used with Reverse Osmosis (RO) Water?

This is a common question that many water treatment companies are asked by their customers. At first it may seem obvious, but actually, there are some things that you need to be aware of if you would like to use your RO system with an icemaker. Let’s delve a little deeper into this subject and clear up some misconceptions. 

RO Ice Cubes 

Firstly, it’s important to state that RO water actually makes excellent ice cubes for drinks. The ice cubes taste cleaner, and they look very clear apart from a small cloudy portion located at the center. This ice cube is also harder than you may be used to and it melts very slowly. Obviously, this makes an RO ice cube an ideal choice for a colder drink. This use also shows us that RO water can make high quality ice and the RO purification does not hinder the process at all. Now that we’ve cleared that up, we will look at why you may not be able to use your RO water with your icemaker. 

Ice Machine Technician Opinions 

It’s often the case that an ice machine technician will tell a client that their RO water system will not work with their icemaker. This will probably be because many water technicians are called out every day on service calls where they discover that the RO system is not even connected to the icemaker. Often they discover that the icemaker is instead connected directly to house supply and it bypasses the RO system entirely. So it’s extremely important to make sure that your icemaker is connected to the RO system if you want to make cleaner ice.  

Two RO Ice Making Considerations Can an Icemaker be Used with Reverse Osmosis (RO) Water

There are two considerations you need to think about for ice making. These include

Water Volume: When RO water is supplied at an adequate pressure it will make excellent ice and ice cubes. There are a couple of things to consider before you get started with your first batch of ice. If you have a cheaper entry level icemaker, it may not be able to use an adequate quantity of water, and you won’t be able to make ice. If you have a high volume RO system, you can compensate for this disparity and make all the ice you need.

Water Pressure: Another key consideration is pressure; a newer icemaker will need 30-40 psi to work correctly. A typical RO system will drop the incoming water pressure by 30-35% as it passes the water through the membrane for cleaning. If your water pressure is 70 psi or more to start with this will be fine, but if you have a lower incoming water pressure of less than 60 psi, there may be a problem. 

These are both different problems; you could have a sufficient volume of water and not enough pressure and vice versa. For this reason, it’s extremely important to get the right size of RO system for your home, especially if you need multiple outlets. An entry level RO system for a home would normally provide between 25-50 gallons of water per day, which would not be enough for an icemaker. A lower temperature can also affect the performance, and a local water treatment expert will be able to offer excellent advice on the size of RO system you need to suit your needs.

With more than 25 years experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space, Terry is a WQA (Water Quality Association) certified water specialist, LEVEL 3, as well as a WQA certified sales representative. Terry currently sits on EcoWater Systems (a Berkshire Hathaway Company) national Peers committee, as a water treatment expert advising other water professionals with less experience on best trade and technology practices. EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is one of the biggest water treatment and water delivery businesses in the state.

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