Yes, it is a rare event, but RO systems can and do malfunction. If you have a historic home or a house that is largely of wooden construction, this will be of special importance to you. Water, whether it’s been cleaned or not, is capable of warping wooden floors, puffing chipboard cabinetry into a sodden, weak mess, and confounding plaster. Given enough of, it can flood and utterly destroy large parts of your home.
Do you live in an apartment? If you have people living below, please read this, too. Yes, you certainly don’t want to experience a flood, but you don’t want to become the most unpopular person in the block, either. Even if you have a concrete floor, enough water can and will still find its way downstairs. People below will notice drips coming through the ceiling, probably in their kitchens, too. If there’s a really bad flood, it could even go through theirs into the floor below them.
Regardless of the point that you don’t want anyone to get hurt (remember, electrics can short out, and older properties might be more vulnerable in that regard—watch gas mains, too), you still have to consider the property damage. Of course, the insurance company’s loss adjuster will come out and ask questions. Lo and behold! It all looks like it started under your kitchen sink….
Remember that an RO system is a sum of its parts. Obviously, the better the model you invest in, the more reputable it will be. However, you need to remember the science involved in the concept. From that, you need to make sure of two factors, especially if you’re going to be away from home for a long period (such as a vacation). Think:
- “Did I check the water pressure when I installed my RO system?”
- “How old is my system?”
The water pressure is something you can check. You should do this, anyway, especially if you live in a historic home. Bear in mind that many countries “discovered” the miracle of “modern” plumbing a hundred years ago… Perhaps your historic home has only a slightly younger plumbing system?
A water pressure regulator could be your best friend here. They are inexpensive and a good accompaniment to any home with older piping, anyway.
Bearing in mind that a reverse osmosis system can prepare many gallons of water per day, it might not be too hard to imagine a lot of water—many bathtubs full—washing out over your formerly dry home. In three-quarters of an hour, a discharge of water from a broken or malfunctioning RO system can do enough damage to mean cutting out walls and saying goodbye to floors and infrastructure; it could add up to many tens of thousands of dollars.
Above all, when you change your filters, which you have to do, anyway, at least once a year, check for any visible damage. Can you see any cracks or worn-out parts? If you’re not sure and just want to be safe, call in a tech specialist to run a complete check. Has anyone been under the sink recently, maybe moving things around and something knocked up against or is leaning on a part of your RO system? If you’ve just installed yours, are you sure that all the hoses were connected properly?
If you’re going away on a long vacation, you can buy a certain type of water regulator that knocks off the supply in your home but keeps the plants watered outside. Note—you will need a sprinkler system for that. Think about turning off the water to your water heater, your washer, and your RO system.
Even when not on vacation, just always use common sense. If you’re pouring a glass of water and notice wetness on the kitchen floor, think about where it came from. Unless someone’s knocked over the cat’s water bowl, this could be an early warning sign of an RO leak. That means that it’s your time to act! Remember, a fire may spread faster, but water can do almost as much damage to a structure—in this case, that would be your home.
It’s scary to think that a quick check on a small piece of plastic can mean the difference, but it can happen. Don’t delay; check today!