What is an RO Booster Pump?
A reverse osmosis booster pump is a specially designed water pump for RO systems which is used to help increase the pressure of the feed water going into a reverse osmosis system to an ideal level so as to improve its performance.
The pump typically works by drawing the feed water from the city supply line and increasing its PSI to allow it to flow into the RO system at the right pressure.
Most RO booster pumps are capable of raising the feed water pressure to around 75 to 100 PSI, which is sufficient for residential RO systems to operate effectively.
If you live in an area that’s higher than your city water supply line or is located at the end of the supply line, then the pressure of the water going into your RO system is likely to be affected.
In all these cases, a booster pump is a perfect solution to increasing the water pressure. You may also need to install an RO booster pump if your city water supply line often experiences problems due to the community water shutoff valve.
Why RO Booster Pump?
While residential RO units are designed to run well on the normal municipal water pressure of 60 psi, most of them often become less effective and perform poorly when the pressure drops below 45 psi.
The outcome of this low pressure is that the quality of the product water is more likely to be compromised. Furthermore, the unit will end up producing less drinking water and more reject water and fill the RO storage tank more slowly which can be irritating and frustrating.
The solution to this problem is installing an RO booster pump alongside your RO unit. This helpful device can help boost the inlet water pressure to 80 psi or even higher.
It not only enhances the performance of the RO system but also guarantees more quality product water than when relying on the municipal water pressure.
How an RO Booster Pump Functions
Reverse osmosis is basically a pressure-driven process and only operates efficiently when the incoming water pressure is high.
It’s this pressure that forces the feed water through the RO membrane for purification. It’s also what flushes the wastewater plus the rejected contaminants away.
Most RO membranes are designed to operate with 60 psi water pressure or higher in order to achieve at least a stable contaminant rejection rate of 97.5%.
Anything less than 60 psi is generally considered insufficient and will result in low water production and at a lower quality.
In general, the setup of a standard RO booster pump consists of three key parts; the transformer, the pump itself, and the pressure switch.
The transformer plugs into your standard wall outlet and it converts the input power to the voltage required by the pump which is commonly 24 volts.
The pump itself features a rotating motor and once it’s connected to power, the motor rotates and in the process moves a diaphragm creating a piston action which sucks in the feed water through the inlet and then forcing it out through an outlet port as the diaphragm moves in an opposite direction.
The function of the third part which is the pressure switch is to monitor the water pressure inside the RO storage tank and shut off the pump when the pressure of the storage tank reaches a preset level which is usually 40 psi.
In short, even if your feed water pressure meets the requirements, installing a booster pump is ideal because it will help your RO system to perform much better and deliver satisfactory water flow and quality.
It boosts the RO production rate, enables the RO membrane to reject more contaminants, and as well helps increase the faucet flow rate.
The Position of the Booster Pump in an RO System
When setting up the booster pump alongside an RO system, the pump is often placed before the pre-filters.
Although this tends to slightly expose the pump to silt accumulation particularly around the valve, it does help ensure constant water pressure throughout the stages of the RO filtration process starting from the pre-filters.
However, in an ideal world, the pump would come after the pre-filters with another set of pre-filters before it. Setting up the booster pump this way will help save it from silt or deposit build up over time hence ensuring its performance and longevity.
No matter which set up you use, the lifespan of the pre-filters will depend on the quality and amount of water flowing through them.
One thing you should ensure is that the pre-filters always sit before the RO membrane to protect it against damage as well as prevent membrane fouling.