Simple, Inexpensive Tools and Supplies for RO Service. You Already Have Most of These.
Undersink reverse osmosis units sometimes look frightening to those unfamiliar with them, but once you catch on to how they work you’ll find they’re pretty easy to take care of. As with most self-care items, having a few basic tools makes things easy. Opening a can is a complicated job without a can opener, but it’s very simple if you have one. A few simple tools make RO maintenance as easy as opening a can of soup.
Most RO units come with a filter wrench. For most systems, you’ll need the wrench to open and tighten the filter housings when you change filter cartridges. Best source: Online water treatment websites. Make sure you get one that fits the housings on your unit. Many new RO units have easy-to-remove disposable filters and for these you won’t need a wrench.
Owning a TDS tester isn’t essential, but a good TDS meter is a very important diagnostic tool. For one thing, it can tell you when the RO membrane needs to be replaced. Owning a simple hand-held tester can save you money because it takes the guess work out of assessing the condition of the membrane. Membranes often last for many years, so simply following the manufacturer’s suggested change schedule can lead to lots of unnecessary expense. (There is never an reason to replace an RO membrane that is performing well.) The tester tests the TDS, “Total Dissolved Solids,” of the RO water, which is the most practical way to assess the performance of the membrane. Best source: Online water treatment websites.
A bicycle pump, or the equivalent, is an almost essential tool. You will need periodically–once a year is a good rule of thumb–to add air to the RO storage tank. A small compressor will work, but a hand pump works better. RO tank bladders aren’t as hardy as auto tires, and they are often ruined by adding air too fast. The bicycle pump is a perfect tool for the job. A related tool is a low pressure air gauge. You need a gauge that accurately measures pressures below 10 psi. Most regular “tire gauges” aren’t accurate at these pressures. Best source: Your local hardware store or an online hardware merchant.
Common items that you already have are also effective tools. A towel placed under the unit before you work on it will catch drips and keep your floor dry. A flashlight is the best leak-finding tool known. And when you finish your service job, looking over you unit’s fittings with a bright flashlight will let you find small leaks you might otherwise miss.