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How Long Do Refrigerator Filters Last? What If I Forget?

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You may never have changed the water filter in your refrigerator before, but it should be something you do periodically. That raises the question – how long do refrigerator filters last? In this article, we will answer that question, so you’ll know what to do in order to maintain a good functional filter in your refrigerator.

Most people who have a municipal water supply think that their drinking water is totally safe and healthy. In truth, there can be quite a few pollutants in the water that reaches your home. That makes it important to filter incoming water, so as to remove any harmful components that may still be in the water.

It’s not enough to have a filter attached to your spigots, even though that’s where most of your drinking water comes from. You should also have a clean, fresh filter attached to your refrigerator. That way, none of the contaminants get passed on to family members through the circulating system of your refrigerator.

The Function of a Refrigerator Filter

Basically, the filter in your refrigerator has the task of removing chlorine, lead, and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) from the drinking water supplied to your home. This is true whether you have a municipal water supply as your source, or whether you have your own private well. A well can deliver all the water needed by your household, just like a municipal water supply can.

Some heavy-duty refrigerator water filters are also capable of removing pollutants such as chloramine and some other nasty contaminants. The standard filter that comes with your refrigerator may or may not remove all these contaminants. When purchasing new filters for your refrigerator, you should buy them for particular pollutants. These are the pollutants identified in your water supply, generally after conducting some kind of testing. This testing can be conducted by a local professional who is capable of doing the job.

Having your water tested by a professional will inform you of all the impurities contained in your water supply. Once you know the kind of contaminants that are in your water supply, you’ll know the appropriate refrigerator water filter to purchase. Then you can have peace of mind from knowing that all pollutants will be effectively filtered out of the drinking water. This means that your refrigerator will once again be able to circulate pure, clean water throughout the system.

How Do You Know When to Replace a Refrigerator Filter?

These days, refrigerators are much more sophisticated than they used to be. They’re actually capable of telling you when your refrigerator water filter requires replacement. Most refrigerators will have a red light that illuminates somewhere, indicating that it’s necessary to replace your current refrigerator water filter.

There are a number of other indicators that can tell you it might be nearing the time when replacement is necessary. Here are several of the most obvious signs that the time has come to swap out your refrigerator water filter:

  • When you notice that the water pressure is getting lower and lower from your water spigots
  • Your drinking water and the ice made by your refrigerator have a different or unappealing flavor
  • Your ice maker seems to be making ice much more slowly than it used to
  • You notice an unusual odor in the drinking water, or in the ice made by your refrigerator.

If you should notice any of the above signs, or if the red light comes on indicating replacement time, you should get a new filter in place. If you don’t do this right away, you and your family members might end up drinking water or using ice that is laden with one or more pollutants. To be sure that both water and ice are free of contaminants and ready for consumption, you’ll need to have a fresh filter in place at the very first sign of trouble.

a woman close to her water cup wondering why her well water smells

How Refrigerator Filters Work

Refrigerator filters go through a three-step process in order to accomplish their task:

  • Particle filtration – in the first step, larger particles like sand or silt are filtered out
  • Micro filtration – in this second step, medium-sized particles such as sugars get filtered out
  • Adsorption-filtration – in this final step, microscopic contaminants such as ions or gaseous molecules are removed

Many refrigerator filters are extremely effective at removing contaminants, removing 99% or more of all pollutants contained in the circulation system of your refrigerator.

Can You Replace Refrigerator Filters Yourself?

This is a job that doesn’t really require the skills or experience of a professional. Of course, some people are just really not handy around the house at all and prefer to avoid do-it-yourself projects. On the other hand, some people are natural-born do-it-yourselfers. If you lack these kinds of household skills, it’s probably best to have the job done by a skilled contractor. Then, at least, you can take comfort in the fact that the job will be done correctly.

When purchasing a replacement water filter for your refrigerator, it’s very important that you use the right one. That’s because it will be designed for the specific refrigerator you have in your household. For example, if you have a General Electric refrigerator, you’ll need to purchase General Electric filters to install as replacements.

It’s never a good idea to try and force-fit the wrong type of filter into a refrigerator in your house. If you do this, it could fail to do its water filtration job effectively. There’s also a chance it could damage the refrigerator at some point in time.

The Filter Replacement Process

In any case, it doesn’t require a great deal of effort to have a refrigerator water filter replaced. The most important part of the task is to make sure you have the right filter for your refrigerator. In the first step, you just have to remove the old filter from the refrigerator and discard it in your trash bin. Then, all you have to do is to install the replacement filter. This will ensure that pure water is constantly circulating throughout your refrigerator’s system.

If you have any questions or doubts about the procedure, your owner’s manual should provide you with a step-by-step set of instructions. These instructions will help you to successfully accomplish the task. However, if you’re not comfortable with mechanical procedures like this, you should simply contact a local plumber.

Better still, you could contact an ONIT Home professional in your area, and have them install the water filter for you. ONIT Home professionals are extremely adept at installing any kind of refrigerator water filter.

How Long Do Refrigerator Filters Last?

Most manufacturers of modern refrigerators recommend that you replace your water filter every six months. If you stick to this schedule, you should not run into any difficulties at all. However, you should always be wary when you detect any odors or unpleasant taste in the drinking water of your household.

It’s very possible that you could end up having to replace your refrigerator water filter more often than the recommended six months. This is especially true if your water supply has a heavier than normal percentage of contaminants. In this case, you’ll notice that the contaminants clog up your filter much more quickly than normal. In a situation like this, it’s important that you rely on the warning indicators of a filter needing replacement.

Replacing Your Filter Sooner

If you should detect the presence of any such warnings, it might force you to replace your refrigerator’s water filter sooner than the six-month schedule. A number of homeowners who have a hard water supply change their refrigerator water filter every three months or so. This is because pollutants simply build up much more quickly in the filter itself.

With this kind of frequent usage, the time between replacements will need to be shortened. Whatever your specific situation might be, you should get an idea of the duration between filter replacements after the first couple of times. Then you’ll just have to make a point of repeating that replacement process each time. This will avoid the possibility of doing a disservice to yourself or your family members.

ONIT Home filtration system an onit home water filtration system used to filter out contaminants in our water systems

Look Towards ONIT Home For Your Home Filtration Needs

ONIT Home is a company that has spent years providing home services to homeowners. Typically, these homeowners prefer to have household tasks and projects performed by the most experienced and competent contractors. Our specialties are installing solar power systems, water filtration systems, and security systems. This helps to make every household run more smoothly, and to keep occupants safe and healthy.

We’re here to offer you free water tests to find out what’s really in your tap water. From there, we’ll help you through the process of picking the home filtration system that best fits your needs. Plus, enjoy professional installation! To get started, contact us today at 1-833-433-0331.

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