How Long Do Water Filters Last: Know When You Should Replace Them

glass of water with 3 filters in the background

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Water filters: we love them and the pure, clean water taste that they provide. In order to take advantage of these water filters, you need to make sure that they’re up to date and working properly. If your filter has expired, you are not receiving the great benefits of having a water filter in the first place. In fact, you could be drinking bacteria that is stored in the expired filter. Knowing this, how long do water filters last?

First: What Is a Water Filter?

Water filters remove unwanted impurities, chemical sand contaminants from the water. Some water filters also remove viruses and bacteria that could be present in the water. Each filter will remove a different amount of impurities, depending on the level. 

What Types of Filters Are There?

The three different types of filters are carbon filters, reverse osmosis and ion exchange filters. Knowing that each filter offers different levels of filtration, they also have different life spans. 

woman in gray tank top holding green water bottle

Carbon Filter

A carbon filter is also sometimes referred to as an “activated charcoal filter.” These filters work by pushing water through carbon filters. These filters are very popular for filtered water bottles and water pitchers. They are used in companies such as Brita and Pur, and are commonly found in refrigerator filtration systems. These filters remove odors and taste of chlorine, and some can remove lead and other contaminants. These filters will not remove viruses or bacteria. 

How Long Do Water Filters Last: Carbon Filters

This answer depends entirely on the type of carbon filter that you have. As an example, filtered water pitchers generally are good for 40-100 gallons (two to four months of use), while bottles can last around 40 gallons. These filters will come with information on their life expectancy, and most filtered water pitchers or refrigerator systems come with an indicator light. The indicator light will let you know when you need to replace the filter. 

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis is a great option for a whole-house filtration system. There are a few steps to reverse osmosis. First, the carbon treatment will remove chlorine, volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and trihalomethanes, and more. Then, the next step is the reverse osmosis filtration. During this process, the water passes through a membrane that blocks particles larger than a water molecule. This is when many of the contaminants found in tap water are removed.

Reverse Osmosis: How Long Do These Filters Last?

These filters last 10-15 years if treated with proper maintenance. The maintenance includes this recommended schedule:

  • Sediment Filter: Replace every 12 months
  • Carbon Filter: Every 12 months
  • Reverse Osmosis Membrane: Change out every 24 months
  • Polishing Filter: Every 12 months. 

A woman is closely examining the glass she is cleaning with a towel.

Ion Exchange

Ion exchange is a water softener, and it is just used to soften hard water. In order to soften water, this device replaced calcium and magnesium in the water with salt in a process called ion exchange. Salt does not build up in your pipes. This helps create cleaner dishes, brighter laundry and softer hair and skin. It is also used to make sure that you don’t have any build up on your faucets or appliances, which is caused by the excess minerals in water. 

Ion Exchange Lifespan

How long do water filters last? These filters last 10-15 years. There is basic maintenance for these systems, including adding salt to it to ensure that it is continuing to soften your water. 

Water Filter Life Reminders 

If you’re looking to make sure that your system withstands the life expectancy, keep a schedule for maintenance. If you don’t maintain your system or the filters, then there is a smaller life expectancy. 

It is also important to remember that once your filter needs replacement, do it immediately! Not only are you drinking unfiltered water, but there is a higher chance of bacteria growth in an outdated filter. 

Water being released from a shiny silver faucet.

Why Should I Have a Water Filter?

Everyone should have access to clean water, and that goes for at home and on the go. While our tap water has federal mandates, they have not been updated since the 1980’s. With scientific advancements, we know that although our water is legal, it isn’t safe. Instead of waiting for requirements to change, invest in a water filter that does the work for you, and provides fresh, tasty water for you and your family. 

Whether you’re looking for a filtered water bottle for traveling, or an at home filtration system, ONIT is here for every step and every question you might have. We have decades of experience in setting up the best system for your home and your water needs. 

From free water tests to consultations on which filter you should have, we are here to help. Call us today at 1-833-433-0331. 

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