Most people take their water dispenser for granted. They think that it’s just another faucet that pre-cools the water, but it’s actually more like a Brita pitcher. Just like the popular water purifiers, your home refrigerator uses a filter to screen out contaminants. When you forget about the filter, it becomes saturated with those contaminants, develops bacteria, and makes your water worse than it was when you started. For these reasons, it is vital that you know how to change a refrigerator water filter.
How Often Should I Change My Water Filter?
Manufacturers recommend changing your water filter once every six months, based on the level of water impurities and the water consumption of the average family. Of course, circumstances vary. A single individual with soft water will need to replace their filter considerably less often than a large family with hard water. Also, if you use filtered water for pets, plants, or any other purpose, this can also decrease the longevity of the filter.
While some refrigerators have an indicator to help you know when the filter needs replacing, many don’t, so it is important to set a schedule. Stale tasting water or ice from the dispenser is usually a clear indicator that your filter needs replacing. Examine the filter after replacing for signs of mineral build-up. If you find any, consider moving up your routine.
Changing Your Fridge’s Water Filter
First, locate your water filter. For practical purposes, refrigerator designs tend to be rather uniform, but there may be some differences. Your water filter is likely located in the front refrigerator compartment or the base-grille.
Next, examine the locking mechanism. There are two primary designs.
Most refrigerators use a basic twist lock system to remove or install a water filter. Just twist counterclockwise and pull to remove. Replace the water filter and twist clockwise until it locks.
Common to Whirlpool and KitchenAid base-grille designs, simply push the button next to the filter to release it. Pull the filter out and remove the reuseable color-keyed cap (do not throw away). Twist the cap onto the new filter, replace the old filter, and push until you hear it click. Newer models may not use a cap.
Final Advice & Common Mistakes
After installing the new water filter, dispense approximately 2-3 gallons of water to flush the filter. If your fridge has a filter change indicator, be sure to reset the indicator at this time.
Before installing your filter, remove any protective caps. If you have a base-grille filter with a knob attached, do not throw away the reuseable knob when replacing the old filter.