Reverse Osmosis Filter Change Schedule


All reverse osmosis filter systems will need periodic maintenance in order to maintain function at peak levels and to ensure that your water is as healthy and great tasting as when you first bought your system.

Note:  At the bottom of this article is a listing of links to order certain replacement parts on Amazon such as filters (depending on the brand), O-rings, silicone lubricant, housing tools, etc.

The RO filter change schedule below will have certain differences based upon the water table in your area and household usage.  We have provided a few examples of those in clarifying points below the table.

Sediment FilterChange filter every 12 months
Carbon FilterChange filter every 12 months
Polishing FilterChange filter every 12 months
Reverse Osmosis MembraneChange membrane every 24 months
  • Sediment Filter* At least every 12 months but 6 months is preferred by most.
  • Carbon Filter* A healthy carbon filter in your reverse osmosis system ensures a longer lasting RO membrane.
  • Polishing Filter* Change every 12 months at least.  Do not wait until there is a taste difference in your water.
  • RO Membrane* Every 24 months.

It’s a pretty simple process as long as your local water is cooperative:

  • Every year change the sediment, carbon and polish filters
  • Every 2nd year change out all filters to include the RO membrane.

Most brands of RO systems have great customer support and will actually send you reminders of when it’s time to change filters on your system.  Each system comes with care, maintenance, and routine use guides.  What many don’t come with a great instructions on HOW to change those filters and the RO membrane.  We’ll help you do that now.

How to Change the RO Membrane and Filters on Your Reverse Osmosis System


Note:  Sanitation and service preparation is of utmost importance with anything to do with your drinking water.  This guide will help you accomplish filter and membrane changes successfully.

  1. Make sure that you’re using the proper filter cartridges in the replacement process.  Never mix and match.
  2. Do not open or remove the filters from the original packaging until the service and filter exchanges are going to be completed.
  3. Clean the area prior to servicing ensuring that there is no debris, dirt or rust in the area.
  4. To prevent the spread of bacteria in the filters the person performing the service/change should wash their hands with warm water and soap prior to handling.
  5. Running HOT water through the system can and will damage it.

Filter Exchange Procedures

Process and Description
Step 1Turn water off to the RO system with water supply valve. Close ball valve on RO storage tank. Turn ON the RO faucet and allow the water pressure to bleed out
Step 2Place a shallow pan under the RO system housing to catch any water left in the system.
Step 3Release the filter housing by unscrewing from the filter housing cap and remove the old filter. (Tools are available for stubborn filter housings) Repeat for all filters.
Step 4Remove O-ring (careful not to tear or damage) and put in a clean area. Clean housing thoroughly with water and a small amount of soap. Rinse VERY well and ensure all soap is gone.
Step 5Wipe O-ring and inspect for cracks, tears, blemishes. Damage O-rings prevent a good seating and seal for the housing. Replacement O-rings are available.
Step 6Lubricate O-ring slightly with a silicone lubricant (easily found. see below) Place O-ring back into the filter-housing at it's grooved area for the O-ring. A damage or old O-ring and/or one that is not seated properly will cause the housing to not secure and seal correctly to the housing cap.
Step 7Remove new filter from original packaging. Compare and measure new filter to ensure the proper length and type.
Step 8Put filter in filter housing. Re-inspect O-ring to ensure proper seating so that you don't damage it while attaching. Hand tighten the filter housing to the filter cap.
Step 9Turn water to the RO system back on and check for integrity and ensure no leakage.
Step 10Turn on reverse osmosis faucet and let run until clear. Great job! Your system is now ready for use.

Reverse Osmosis Membrane Change Procedures

Process and Description
Step 1Turn water off to the RO system with water supply valve. Close ball valve on RO storage tank. Turn ON the RO faucet and allow the water pressure to bleed out
Step 2A little bit tricky here: Disconnect the tubes from the RO membrane housing. STOP! Label which tube came from which fitting.
Step 3Unscrew the RO membrane housing from the housing cap and remove the membrane. (In some cases this requires a pair of needle nose)
Step 4Rinse membrane housing with warm water. Do not use soap.
Step 5Open new membrane packaging. Place new membrane in the housing ensuring to go O-ring first. Ensure that the O-ring sits correctly or your system will not work.
Step 6Replace the housing to the RO housing cap. Replace tubing to correct fittings.
Step 7Now, turn on water supply valve just until you hear water entering the system. Good. Check for leaks.
Step 8Open water supply valve the entire way. Turn on RO faucet and leave on until a steady dripping is taking place.
Step 9Turn RO faucet off.
Step 10Open water storage tank valve. Check for leaks. Great job! Your RO system is once again ready for use.

Replacement Parts and Filters

You can start here on Amazon for your Reverse Osmosis System replacement filters and parts.  If you don’t see what you’re looking for, simple use the search bar at the top o the Amazon page by typing your brand + part.  For instance, “Apec RO system filters” or “Express Water filter housing o-rings”