When Should I Replace My Refrigerator Water Filter?

The standard advice from water filter experts is to change your refrigerator water filter every six months. It’s generally a good idea to follow that advice. After six months, your fridge’s water filter may not be working at maximum efficiency. Keep a close eye on your replacement indicator light to help tell you when it’s time for a replacement.

Does a Filter Work?

As the name implies, a refrigerator water filter’s job is to filter your water and remove any contaminants that could affect the taste and quality. The list includes germs that could cause infection if drunk, as well as sediments left in your water supply (e.g. chlorine and sediments). This gives you cleaner, healthier water that’s much safer to drink and use for cooking.

There are several ways water filters can keep your water clean, including by reverse osmosis. Most water filters rely on carbon and sediment filtration to remove contaminants in the water. After installing, you may notice the smell and taste of chemicals disappear. That’s thanks to the carbon filter. The carbon acts as an adhesive, trapping contaminants in a process called adsorption. Think of a sponge full of dirty water. When you squeeze the sponge, the water is released outside. In this case, the carbon causes the sediments to adhere to the surface of the filter, keeping them out of your drinking water.

Drinking unfiltered water can come with health risks

What Happens When My Filter Becomes Unusable?

Water filters, in general, can last for some time and provide plenty of protection. However, filters can wear out over time. How quickly that happens depends on the quality of water coming into your fridge.

After a certain point, your filter will become too clogged with debris and sediments that have bonded to the carbon surface. At this point, bad tastes and odours won’t be absorbed and can pass through. The old filter can also start contributing to germ growth, making your water more unhealthy.

What Are The Warning Signs?

Some clues can tell you when your fridge’s water filter is due for replacement. Use these warning signs to help ensure your refrigerator gives you good drinking water quality. Keep an especially close eye out when you find more than one symptom. Some indicators may not always mean the filter’s time is up, but several are a more obvious tell.

  • It’s been six months - After around six months, consider replacing your filters to keep your water clean and safe. Six months is the usually-recommended service life for most refrigerator filters and is a safe bet for ensuring a healthy water supply.

Keep the date you installed the filter in mind to help you remember when the time comes for a replacement. Give yourself reminders for early warning before the six month period passes. Some filters come with a sticker where you can mark the date of installation.

  • The indicator light is on - Many newer models of fridge come with indicator lights that can tell you when the filter needs replacement. This is an easy way of knowing when to get around to the chore, especially if you forget the exact date of installation. Some indicators are controlled by a timer, which turns on after six months have passed.

Alternatively, your fridge can detect the filter’s actual status. This setting can be more convenient for you if you use less water. Some people use different amounts of water, and your filter may not need replacement after exactly six months.

Watch how quickly your water flows

  • Slowed-down water dispenser - As the filter goes through its lifespan, sediments tend to build up on its surface. The contaminants it filters out of your water can clog the filter over time. This can block water flow when you use the fridge’s dispenser for water.

Areas with hard water (water full of hard minerals like calcium) are particularly prone to sediment buildup. Take note of how long it takes to fill your glasses. If it’s taking too long, it might be time to invest in a new filter.

  • Low-quality ice - When the water filter gets old, it can also affect the quality of the fridge’s other systems, like the ice maker. Having an old filter have effects on the quality and quantity of your ice. Pay attention if your ice maker always seems to be out of ice.

Other clues to keep an eye out for are strange tastes and odours, and cloudy ice. Changing the filter may clear up your problems with the ice maker. A new one can keep sediments out and keep the water flowing when you need ice for drinks.

Foul tasting water can be a warning sign

  • Strange tastes - Taste is a good measuring stick for whether your water filter is still working. Installing a new filter can remove the flavour of sediments from the water and leave it feeling fresher. Over time, the tastes may come back. This is normal, so it isn’t a sign on its own. However, odd flavours are a sign that the filter may need replacement soon. Compare the time since installation with the taste to make your replacement more accurate.

Check the filter when cleaning the fridge

Inspect Your Filter Frequently

Take the time to check your water and filter regularly to make sure it’s still working correctly. One rule of thumb is checking every time you clean your fridge. It’s a convenient time to check, as you’re performing maintenance and replacing the fridge’s contents. Check the connective tubing and filter for leaks or buildup that could compromise the water quality. Sample the water as well to check the water flow and to see if there are any particles in the water.

Water filters make the difference in taste

Like other appliances, it’s necessary to change your fridge’s water filter cartridges after some time. Think of replacing your water filter like doing maintenance for a car. Every few months, parts have to be replaced to keep it working at peak efficiency. The trick is staying ahead of replacement and keeping the dates in mind.

The simplest thing you can do is watch the indicator light to tell you when the filter starts to get clogged. Make some notes to help remind yourself about filter replacement ahead of time as well. Keep reminders of important dates to help gauge when it’s been six months since your last replacement. Watch out for when the water starts to taste strange, or when your ice isn’t as clear as before. Take the time to prepare everything before your six-month deadline.

Getting everything ready before replacing your fridge’s filters part of your routine can make the process a smoother one. Use the time wisely, and you can get your refrigerator in working order without too much fuss.

When you’re on the lookout for replacement filters for your fridges, ice machines, and coffee makers, contact efilters. We provide a range of filtration system solutions for Canadian clients to help improve your water quality. Let us help you make your water taste great and stay safe.