CBS 5 Advocate

Malfunctioning reverse osmosis water systems can cause damage

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A Phoenix woman says the failure of a cheap part on her reverse osmosis water system did $100,000 in damage to her home.

Even though they pray it never happens, homeowners can wrap their arms around the concept of their hot water heater bursting while they're away and flooding their whole house. But many homeowners have no idea that the same nightmare can occur with a malfunctioning reverse osmosis water system.

Megan Keller's reverse osmosis (RO) water system works fine now, but last year, while she was out of town, she says a cheap little part inside the unit cracked and water exploded everywhere inside her home.

"Four feet of all of the walls were completely cut out, all the cabinets were condemned, all of our carpets, the entire wood floor was pulled out," Keller said.

Keller says the malfunctioning RO system did about $100,000 in damage to her home. Her family had to live elsewhere during six months of reconstruction.

"And the water, we believe, was only running about 45 minutes and did that extensive of damage," Keller said.

Mike Donley of Donley Service Center says a pressure regulator is crucial to keep home appliances from coming under duress. He also says during annual filter changes on the RO system, have the tech do just a little extra.

"Make sure he inspects all the fittings and all the hose hookups on the RO system to make sure nothing's leaking," Donley said.

And take more precaution before going on vacation.

"You can turn the water off to your water heater, to your RO system, and to your washer, and that will help protect you from the flood while you're gone," Donley said.

Keller says she never knew a reverse osmosis water system could cause such a mess.

"A homeowner wouldn't know that much damage could be done by such a simple malfunction in a piece of equipment," Keller said.

You have to change the filter on your RO system every year or so, so make sure techs check for leaks when you do.

And consider installing a certain type of regulator that allows you to turn off all the water to the house while you're away, but keeps water flowing to the irrigation system so your plants don't die while you're gone.

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