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Reverse Osmosis notes

8 posts in this topic

Water softeners do a great job removing hard contaminants from our house so that our clothes can last longer with a lot more comfort. But for the ice maker it can play havoc and I don't recommend connectiong your ice machine or refrigerator up to that system. The system works by using a billion small balls to collect calcium lime and other contaminents in the water. After a certain point the system stops working and that is where (in my opinion) the shit hits the fan for ice machines. They use a sodium based powder(salt) to back flush the system. When the machine is all nice nice again some of that stuff remains in the water. This is what causes the problems in the appliances such as high dollar under the counter ice machines and these fancy new electronic ice makers inside these space shuttle computerized SXS's. As the ice maker sensor's continualy check for resistance changes in the ice mold, the left over sodium discharge from a water softener will give false resistance readings. We all know what happens when salt is added to water. I am not an expert and I want some feedback on this.

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Need appliance parts? Call 877-803-7957 now!

Good topic, i am excited to see the new heading in the forum. i hope to expand my knowledge on this subject.

just to clarify a little bit, the little balls are referred to as resin beads. In a water softener the softening process is called ion exchange. the beads are charged with salt and as mineral water passes through the beads they release salt and absorb the dissolved minerals. One reason it would be bad to hook softened water up to an ice maker is because of the salty taste. usually softened water isn't hooked up to the cold water faucet in the kitchen so we don't have to drink the salty water. Reverse osmosis systems are able to remove the minerals without adding salt. The biggest problem i run into with RO systems hooked up to ice makers is they don't provide enough water pressure. I don't have much info on how reverse osmosis works, hopefully someone will be able to post on the subject.

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Reverse osmosis works by forcing water thru  3or 4 filters the only problem is for every 1 gallon of good water your wasting 4 or 5 gallons which is dumping down the drain, not very efficent, replacement filters can be expensive too.

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Alot of houses do not need water softners, should have the water tested first for p.h., iron and harness, they will help if your on well water , they also have iron filters similar to w.s. use to see them alot in vermont, new hamp. region, not in  atlanta though...

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I would like to add my 2 cents to this topic, regarding water filtration in general, whether in the form of whole house or individual fixture ("point of use") filtration systems.

Some water filters can serve to allow the overgrowth of bacteria, and thus have the potential to adversely affect health. There are several ways to minimize this risk. One is to maintain a schedule of cleaning/replacing the filter media. Another is to install a sterilizing unit, for example a UV sterilization chamber, after the filter. Chemical sterilization is possible, but I prefer UV sterilization.

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My setup has an activated carbon filter immediately after the softener - it's a cylinder similar to the resin cylinder. It also "regenerates" similar to the actual softener, but I must admit I don't know how this works. The softener uses salt/brine to regenerate, but the charcoal cylinder isn't hooked up to anything like that, it just runs a backflush every now and then.

Anyway, I suppose it works properly, since we don't have any salty taste after the softener regenerates. And the ice machine works properly (except for the GE moisture problem and the rusty ice chute door solenoid).

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If your tasting salt than there is either something wrong with the softener or there is already sodium in the source water.  The water going through the softener does not pass through any salt - only the resin beads.  If the resin tank is not backwashing or rinsing properly than a small amount of salt may be going through the tap.  This may be due to a clogged distributor or an excessively long drain tube.  The source water should be tested for sodium and TSD before looking at the sftener as the problem.

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My undertanding of R/O systems is that as the water gets passed through the filter which will remove probably up to 20 microns, then it goes through a "Membrane"(the expensive part) the water is then spread out between plates within the cylinder; this acts to spread the water thin over a large area (thereby dropping pressure) and force the remaining particles in the water to separate and "fall between" the layers. All at the same time, there is an enormous amount of water continually flushing the rejected particles down the drain.

(osmosis: the diffusion of particles through a semi-permeable membrane)

What remains after passing through the membrane is almost perfectly clear water (very high 90%ile, only distilled water is cleaner)- it is then sent through another filter to "polish" the water, which is often pretty much the same as the first filter(except for the life obviously)- and the 2 can sometimes be interchanged in a pinch.

R/O water is VERY good drinking indeed! - the TDS (total dissolved solids) is usually 10-50 from what I have seen.

It can be quite costly to maintain the units in the long run, as filter replacement is key to getting any life out of the membrane; which is roughly 1/3 of the price of the unit. Where I live, there is alot of chlorine in the tapwater and that "kicks up a fuss" inside those membranes and the people who still insist on having them usually just pitch the unit and replace it when something goes awry.

As good as the water is, my opinion is that they are quite wastefull in many ways (you consume 3 times the water you render from the process) and they just become boatanchors in the landfill.

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