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How Often Should You Change the Water Filter in Refrigerator?

Refrigerator Water Filter ReplacementHaving the convenience and luxury of a water dispenser and ice maker in your refrigerator does come with some effort and additional cost. Like any water-dependent appliance, it has filtration applied. Filtration is usually done using filters. They can be long-lasting, but they do need to be changed, otherwise, you would be putting your health at risk.

When we mention filters the first thing that comes to mind is activated carbon. It has the widest and most common use amongst filters and is also very appreciated due to its odor removing and cleaning qualities. Therefore, a lot of the ice and water dispensing refrigerators use activated carbon filters. These filters can last up to six months before they need to be replaced. Another perk of the activated carbon filters is that they are of moderate price, so if you do the math in the long run it will not be such a heavyweight on your finances, but you will be adding to the health value of your everyday life.

One very important aspect of any filter is that it must be replaced as instructed. Leaving the filter for a longer time than instructed is much worse than simply removing it. During the time it has been used that filter absorbs and holds on to all the dirt and contaminants. It acts like a magnet that traps all pollutants in water, so once it is overloaded it can start adding bacteria to your water, which is harmful to your health, on one side. On the other side, sediment deposits start to build-up and cause harm to your appliance. But how does one know if their refrigerator water filter is bad?

Establishing an average time suitable for changing a water filter would be hard and inaccurate because there are many factors to be taken into account. However, it can be safely said that such filters are designed to last up to six months or five hundred gallons (1892.71 liters). If your water supply is coming from a well or the water is hard the filters will have to be changed more frequently. The dirtier and harder the water, the quicker the filter will reach its full capacity. Activated carbon filters for water pitchers, for example, are smaller than the ones used for refrigerators, but they also have a varying life span. Starting from two months until up to six. If you haven’t got one or you want to upgrade to a new one, have a look at this buying guide for top-class water filter pitchers.

Every appliance comes with an instruction from the manufacturer and these instructions are based on a thorough scientific and statistical analysis of the filter. How activated carbon comports itself when reacting to water and the results from this interaction. Even if the manufacturer has been diligent the instructions cannot be adequate to the specific content and quality of your water supply.  The smart thing to do would be to use a water test kit and check the quality of your water before deciding on a regime for replacing your filters. If you are not up for that, then it will be best if you follow the instructions of the manufacturer.

This average six-month life span is applicable not only for the filter in your fridge but for many other appliances, like your water cooler for example. It is an estimate taking into account the characteristics of the filter and not the appliance. In this review of high-quality water coolers, you can get more information and make a comparison.

It is sensible that a refrigerator water filter would have indicators to tell you when the filter needs changing. Most of them have a two-stage notification. An orange light will tell you when the time for replacement is approaching so that you have enough time to purchase one. Place an order and have it delivered to you, for example. After that, a red light will indicate that you now must change the filter.

Not having these indications doesn’t mean you cannot tell when your filters are up for a replacement. Sensing an odor or an unpleasant taste from your water means you have to change the filter. A gradual decrease in the water flow might also alert for that. One more way of sensing these signals is if you use your insulated water bottle. The insulation it gives will allow for an odor or bad taste to become more apparent.

Does the Type of Water Matter When It Comes to Changing My Refrigerator Filter?

How Often Should You Change the Water Filter in Refrigerator?Even hot water filtering has this same six-month estimate. For example, instant hot water dispensers also use filters and the prescribed period for replacement is six months. Again, everything depends on the quality of water being filtered.

Bottom line is that no matter how big the filter is and what the instructions say about replacement, you have to always have in mind the characteristics of your water supply. If you are new to this whole water filtering business, it shouldn’t scare you because you can easily do the analysis yourself and apply the best methods. Make it fun and use tools to help you register filter changes, so you can keep statistics. Like for example some of the below listed:

  • Register in an electronic format (in your phone, on your computer) the longevity of the filters’ capacity
  • A good old notebook would also do the job. Just put it somewhere around the fridge and write down the date each time you change the filter
  • Store the filters somewhere (if you have space) and number them. This will also help to recycle
  • Use your imagination and come up with better ideas

Try to learn more about the quality of the water from your supply, because that will allow you to decide on the most effective filter replacement habits.

Here is a summary of the most important things to remember:

  • Always take care to change your filters in time
  • If you don’t know enough about the quality of your water, then follow the instructions of the manufacturer
  • The most common and average based period for filter replacement is six months
  • Activated carbon is the best odor-removing filter
About David Adams

David is a retired engineer, professional homeowner and a DIY addict. He has been installing home appliances, fixing leaks and doing home improvement projects for the past 30+ years. As an environmentally conscious person, David is extra sensitive to the usage of water resources and consumption of clean and healthy water. He started Water Filter Magazine in order to create an awareness and to share his experience on household water appliances with others .

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