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Thread: Odd Taste, Smell and Tongue Sensation After Filter Change

  1. #1
    harriet is offline Junior Member
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    Default Odd Taste, Smell and Tongue Sensation After Filter Change

    Hi:

    We have had a RO water filter for about 2 years. We change the pre and post filters every 6 months routinely.

    We don't do it ourselves; we have the guy we bought it from change them. He changed them today and now the water has a bad taste and smell and makes my tongue feel funny.

    I think the smell and taste are somewhat like sulphur. The tongue sensation is hard to describe. Kind of a metallic sensation but not a metallic taste if that makes any sense. Or maybe like there is a coating on my tongue.

    The water tasted and smelled fine before the filter change and we never had any wierd tongue sensations when drinking it before. We change the filters routinely every 6 months.

    The guy ran the water for awhile after he changed the filters. I ran it again for quite some time, too. Still has the smell, taste and tongue sensation.

    Could the filters have been installed upside down or be defective?

  2. #2
    Andy CWS is offline Moderator
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    Were the filters the same as before? Do they fit in removable housings (sumps) or are they an integrated filter/housing (sealed)?

    Sulfur odors are normally organic in nature and origin. It may be time to have your RO sanitized, including the tank. Should have the TDS checked to see if the membrane is functioning properly.

    Is your source water from the city, a well, softened, filtered, etc.?

    Improper filters can cause similar problems. Of course they were new and wrapped when delivered, right?

    If filters are installed upside-down either they will work the same or not at all (no water flow).

    Andy Christensen

  3. #3
    harriet is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for answering Andy!

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy CWS
    Were the filters the same as before? Do they fit in removable housings (sumps) or are they an integrated filter/housing (sealed)?
    The filters looked identical to me and they are in removable housings.



    Quote Originally Posted by Andy CWS
    Sulfur odors are normally organic in nature and origin. It may be time to have your RO sanitized, including the tank. Should have the TDS checked to see if the membrane is functioning properly.
    I smelled it again and I don't think it is really like sulphur, just like putrid. I don't know if that makes sense, but I think it is definitely organic and that the thing needs to be sanitized.

    It is just odd that it happened after a filter change when it was fine before the filter change. The guy did do something with the tank. He hooked it up to what sounded like a pump. I asked him what it was and he said he was calibrating the system.

    I called him to tell him about the problem and asked if he thought maybe whatever he did to the tank could have stirred up some bacteria in the tank and he told me that the thing he hooked up to the tank was to pump the old water out of it.

    Could the pump have malfunctioned and pumped something into the tank?



    Quote Originally Posted by Andy CWS
    Is your source water from the city, a well, softened, filtered, etc.?
    City. The water from the tap tastes fine.



    Quote Originally Posted by Andy CWS
    Improper filters can cause similar problems. Of course they were new and wrapped when delivered, right?
    New and wrapped and I saw him open them. They look identical to the ones he removed. I watched him to do the whole thing.

    He is coming out on Monday to take a look. Out of habit, I filled a glass of water from the RO faucet and started to drink it and it tasted bad and I spit it out but not before I had swallowed some. Yuck. I put a rag on the faucet now so I won't make that mistake again.


    Quote Originally Posted by Andy CWS
    If filters are installed upside-down either they will work the same or not at all (no water flow).

    Andy Christensen
    OK, thanks for your thoughts. I think this is so wierd. It worked fine before and this is the same guy who installed it and always does the filter changes for us. He said he has never had this happen before.

  4. #4
    pawaterguy is offline Senior Member
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    is it chlorine? perhaps he sanitized it like he should have and that's what you're tasting? we'll start there.

  5. #5
    harriet is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by pawaterguy
    is it chlorine? perhaps he sanitized it like he should have and that's what you're tasting? we'll start there.
    It is defintely not chlorine. As for sanitizing, all he did was squirt some clorox clean up in the housing and then use a brush to swoosh it around and then rinsed it twice. That may have not been enough rinsing, but this is definitely not a chlorine taste or smell.

  6. #6
    Andy CWS is offline Moderator
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    It is always hard to say where odors originate from just our senses. Clearly he did something different and it had a negative effect.

    Get jar or bottle and fill it to the top leaving all the excess air out and cap it. Leave this as an example for him to smell/taste when he comes back.

    Is the tank a plasctic one or a steel one? If it is plastic and has a removalbe lid, chances are you can sanitize it yourself.

    If it is organic in nature then all the lines, housings, sumps and other water contact areas need to be sanitized or replaced. If it is chemical a flushing usually can do it but it is important to know what chemical caused it.

    I wonder what the TDS is before and after the system?

    Keeps us updated.
    Andy Christensen

  7. #7
    harriet is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy CWS
    I wonder what the TDS is before and after the system?

    Keeps us updated.
    Andy Christensen
    I will keep you updated. I had to look up TDS - total dissolved solids?

    This is the latest water quality report for my area.

    http://www.lee-county.com/gov/dept/U...pt2009Mech.pdf

    My tap water is treated by the Pinewoods Water Treatment plant and they use nanofiltration and reverse osmosis as part of the process.

    I think I will call the health department on Monday to find out if they can do a water analysis for me.

  8. #8
    Andy CWS is offline Moderator
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    Wow. membrane technology on a municipal level is very advanced as well as very expensive...to install, operate and maintain. That is quite unusual.

    Your RO should reduce TDS at leastr 90%. Many other units as hih as 98% TDS. Odors are most often organic and membranes aren't as efficient in removing odors.

    I'll check the report later.
    Last edited by Andy CWS; 01-30-2011 at 08:17 PM.

  9. #9
    harriet is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy CWS
    Wow. membrane technology on a municipal level is very adavnced as well as very expensive...to install, operate and maintain. That is quite unusual.
    I think they have to use this technology to treat the water from some of the aquifiers because they are water sources that have become contaminated with salt water. So they do it to get the salt out mostly.

    And yes, our water bills are high and the rates are progressive so the more water you use, the more you pay per gallon of water used. We also are on year round water restrictions so even if you could afford to use a lot of water, you aren't allowed to.
    Last edited by harriet; 01-30-2011 at 06:30 PM.

  10. #10
    harriet is offline Junior Member
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    The guy didn't show today. I left 3 voice messages on his answering machine, but no call back.

    I am not sure what to think. I guess I will call the health department tomorrow and see how much they would charge to analyze the water. I don't know what else to do.

  11. #11
    Andy CWS is offline Moderator
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    What is the make of the RO?
    Keep trying to contact him.

  12. #12
    harriet is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy CWS
    What is the make of the RO?
    Keep trying to contact him.
    The system doesn't have a manufacturer label on it except for the storage tank. The storage tank says RO-132. I looked that up and that is a model number for a PurePro storage tank.

    The local guy put his sticker on the tank and the bracket that holds the filter housing and what I think you would call the semi-permeable membrane. No manufacturer identifying labels are on it.

    It looks to me to be a 3 stage system - pre filter, semi-permeable membrane and post filter.

    What I think may have happened here is that he used Clorox Cleanup from under our sink to clean out the filter housing and then did not rinse it well and so it is the chemicals from the Clorox Cleanup that are getting into the water. Does that make sense? It would explain the wierd sensation on the tongue.

    If the problem is due to the Clorox Cleanup, could the system be salvaged by sanitizing it and getting new filters? Would we need to get a new membrane, too?

    ETA - I called again today and he apologized for not showing yesterday, but he didn't say why he didn't show or didn't call. He said he is coming today to look at the system.

    ETAA - He came by. When he opened the filter housings, there were soapy bubbles in them so I think it is fair to say he didn't rinse the Clorox Cleanup out fully and that is what we were tasting. We rinsed the housing well and ran the faucet to run water through the system for quite some time. It tastes fine now but I am still a bit uneasy about drinking the water. He had a meter to test the TDS and he said it was low.
    Last edited by harriet; 02-01-2011 at 11:03 AM.

  13. #13
    PRR
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    Unrinsed soap. Bah. Won't kill you, but if it puckers your tongue it sure will upset your gut. Maybe you need to "help" your filter guy rinse it like HE was going to drink it.

    The water report has nothing awful. I wonder why you are treating it?

    They do seem to be in a bind between getting both their e coli (germs) and their chlorination byproducts down low. If it smells like chlorine, a simple carbon filter takes the odor out. If you worry about chlorine byproducts, many carbon-block filters are rated for that.

    http://filter.filtersfast.com/search...sug=&view=list
    http://www.filtersfast.com/P-Culliga...ter-Filter.asp
    http://www.filtersfast.com/Pentek-QC...ter-System.asp
    Last edited by PRR; 03-07-2011 at 03:20 PM.

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