The short answer is yes. A reverse osmosis (RO) tank is a pressurized unit that’s used to store the filtered water for convenient use later. This is necessary because the RO process takes time, and it cannot be considered to be an on-demand system. So, if you notice that you cannot get the same volume of RO water that you’re used to there is a possibility that the tank is failing.

How Does a RO Tank Fail?

Inside the tank, there is a bladder to store the RO filtered water until it’s needed. To get the water out of the storage tank, it must be forced through the pipes with air pressure. The pressure is directed to the external surface of the water bladder. In a standard RO tank, the bladder is suspended from the top of the tank, and it feeds water in and out at that location. Other RO storage tanks have compressed air at the bottom that pushes the water up and out of the unit to the RO faucet. The water-on-water RO tank works in a similar way, but household water is fed into the tank to create the water bladder compression.

Why Does a RO Tank Fail?

The RO tank is air-charged, and the internal water bladder can leak as the unit ages. Another potential problem is the valve seal, and if that fails, the water pressure will drop. If you have a water-on-water storage tank, you may need to change the valves in the control head. It’s important to remember that the bladder is a moving part; it expands and contracts as the RO water is moved in and out of the tank. As a moving part, the bladder is prone to wear and tear, and eventually, it will fail. Fixing these problems is a hassle, and it’s usually cheaper and easier to simply replace the RO storage tank with a new unit.

How Will I Know if the Tank is Failing?

There are seven signs that the RO storage tank may be failing:

  1. If you turn on the RO faucet and almost no water comes from it.
  2. The tank appears to be full of RO water, but there is pressurized air in the tank, and depressurizing is needed.
  3. The RO storage tank is up to or even over 15 years old, and it’s worn out.
  4. The bladder is mounted on the side, and one side is worn more than the other.
  5. The storage bladder looks cracked and brittle (this is usually caused by chlorine damage).
  6. The RO storage tank air pressure has dropped below 7-8 pounds per square inch of pressure.
  7. The valves are moving water normally, but they are becoming prone to sticking, and the frequency is increasing.

Protecting the RO bladder with a good carbon pre-filter to remove the chlorine and chloramine is essential. When you change the filter, you can check the air pressure with a pressure gauge.

If you need to schedule some essential maintenance and/or you need a new RO storage tank, contact your local water treatment specialist today.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.