It’s not always easy to know how regularly, or to even remember, how often to change a fridge water filter. Since they’re not always the cheapest, or the easiest to switch out, people often try to maximize the time they use them for, but this can be a dangerous practice. If a filter is left in any fridge for too long, it can become clogged up, stop filtering water, or even start harboring bacteria – making the drinking water even dirtier than before it gets “filtered”.
Due to a number of reasons including: laziness, forgetfulness, and naivety, water filters are often left in for too long. It doesn’t matter what brand you have: Westinghouse, LG, and 3M water filters all work the same. This can put people drinking the water that has flowed through the expired filter at risk of getting sick from drinking contaminated water. The entire purpose of any water filter is to clean water, so having an old one that is making your water even dirtier than normal, is obviously not desirable.
Depending on the level of usage, fridge water filters should be changed as often as every 6 months or as rarely as every 2 years if hardly ever used. Usually it’s not safe to keep any water filter for over 2 years, even with minimal use, as the buildup of bacteria on the filter might start to contaminate the water supply.
For a typical family of 4 or more, who use the fridge water and ice dispenser every day, the filter should be changed every 6 months. This would be less for a couple, or a family who only sometimes use the cold-water supply, who could stretch out the life of their refrigerator water filter to every year or even longer if they hardly ever use it. Of course, you need to make sure that you get the correct filter for your refrigerator. For example, if you have a Samsung, you are going to want to make sure to get a water filter for samsung fridge to make sure that it will fit correctly into your appliance and work as it should.
Fridges use carbon filters which have a large surface area that sticks to contaminants stopping them from flowing out the tap in the fridge door. As the filter gets older, the surface area of carbon available to attract metals, toxins, and chemicals becomes less, making the filter less effective or even completely useless once there is no space left at all.
Once a filter is completely clogged up like a blocked drain, filled with pollutants, it will let contaminated water flow on past the filter, into your ice or drinking water supply. It can also become a home for bacterial growth, which can add to the undesirable elements in the drinking water. You really don’t want to leave your filter so long that it becomes like this. Having a very old water filter can actually be worse for your health than having no filter at all, so keep this in mind when buying one.
In light of this, it is important to always remember to change your filter regularly. Every 6 months for heavy water users, or every year or slightly longer if you don’t use the fridge water too often. Set a reminder on your phone or calendar to ensure you don’t forget, or even leave a note on your fridge where you will easily see it. Doing this will keep you and your family safer and healthier from drinking dirty water.