How Often Should You Change Your Water Filter?

November 15, 2022

Changing your water filter is an essential part of owning a water filter. But how often should you change your water filter? Is there a specific time frame you should follow, or does it depend on the type of water filter you have? In this blog post, we'll answer these questions, so you can make sure you're changing your water filter as often as necessary.

Filter change frequency depends on the type of filter you have and how much water you use

The type of filter you have installed in your home will determine how often you need to change it. The frequency you need to change your filter also depends on how much water you use. For example, If you have a family of four who uses 100 gallons of water per day, you will need to change your filter more frequently than if you live alone and only use 10 gallons per day.

There's no one-size-fits-all answer, but most filters need replacing every three to six months.

Let's look at some of the most common filter types and how often they need to be replaced.

Spin-down sediment filters

Spin-down sediment water filters are installed at the point of entry in your house and are used to remove large pieces of sand, silt, and sediment from your water. Spin-down filters are usually flushable and reusable, meaning you can simply remove them, clean them off, and reinstall them. You'll only need to replace them if they get damaged or rusty.

Cartridge-based sediment filters

Sediment filters using cartridges often use pleated paper or polyester filter cartridges. These do need replacing often. You may need to replace them every three to six months or more frequently if you have a lot of sediment in your water.

Water filter pitchers

Filter pitchers usually use activated carbon filters to remove chlorine, tastes, and odors from your water. Examples of these filters include Brita and Pur pitcher filters. They eventually become clogged with the contaminants they are filtering out and will need to be replaced. Depending on how often you use your pitcher, you may need to replace the filter every two to four weeks.

Reverse osmosis systems

Reverse osmosis uses a membrane to remove contaminants from your water. The frequency with which you will need to change your filters depends on the quality of your water, but most systems will have at least three filters that will need to be replaced every six to twelve months.

Ceramic filters

Ceramic filtration is less common than in the past. But some people still like to use these filters when traveling, in filters like the Big Berkey. Ceramic filters do not need to be replaced as often as other types of filters. The frequency with which you will need to replace them depends on your water quality and how much you use the filter, but they can last for up to five years.

What common symptoms indicate it's time to change your water filter?

There are a few common indicators that it's time to replace the filter.

One is decreased water pressure. According to the website Home Water Research "Most casual users of water filter pitchers just ignore the recommendations and replace the filters as soon as they notice the water flow slow down too much that it becomes unusable,” As a filter becomes clogged with sediment, it starts to restrict the flow of water, causing the pressure to drop.

Another telltale sign is dirt or rust in your water. This is especially apparent if you have city water and your filter is starting to fail.

If you're using a water filter to improve your water's taste, you may notice the taste deteriorating over time. This is another sign that it's time for a new filter. SimPure, a manufacturer of water filters, confirms that bad tastes can often be caused by old filters, “if [the filter] is dirty after using it for a long time, then check to see if the filter element is damaged, or the filter element has reached the end of its life and needs to be replaced.”

Finally, if you notice any mold or mildew around your filter, it's time to replace it because this could make you sick. And, if it gets to this stage, you've likely not been experiencing any of the filter's benefits for a while anyway.

Check the manufacturer's recommendations (with a pinch of salt)

If you're unsure how often to replace your filter, check the manufacturer's recommendations. They will have specific instructions on how often to change your filter. But remember that manufacturers use their filter lifespans as marketing features and likely test filter lifespans under optimum conditions with clean water and under low-usage conditions. So it's always best to err on the side of caution and replace your filter more frequently than they recommend.

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