Tips for changing filter cartridges, cleaning filters, and getting the best out of your water filter system
Residential water filter systems are designed to target various contaminants that are likely to end up in municipal water. Based on how maintenance intensive a water filter system is, we distinguish high-maintenance and low-maintenance water filter systems.
High-maintenance water filters need frequent filter cartridge changes usually every 3 to 6 months, while low-maintenance filters can last between 6 to 12 months, and even more.
To help you take care of your water filter system, and get the best out of it, we recommend going through our tips and pointers for replacing cartridges, cleaning filters, and other tips regarding the maintenance of your water filter system.
Guide to Replacing Filter Cartridges in Your Water Filter System
Whether you own a set-it-and-forget-it type of water filter system or a filter system that is more maintenance intensive, here are some common guidelines to replacing filters in your residential unit:
- Don’t skip filter changes
When you install your filter system, make a note of the next time you have to replace the filter cartridges in your unit. You can mark the date in the calendar, set a reminder or enroll in a filter replacement reminder program when you buy your filters online.
- Stock up on filter cartridges
Just because your filter is a low-maintenance water filter, it doesn’t mean that you can use the filter cartridges provided with it indefinitely. Whether your unit requires frequent filter changes or you have to think in terms of six monthly or annual filter changes, you should never continue using cartridges after the recommended period of use.
When buying cartridges, buy them in bulk, this way you can save on replacement costs and always have filters when you need them.
- Store filter cartridges in a cool, dry place
When you stock up on replacement cartridges, make sure to observe the manufacturer’s recommendations on how to store your filters.
- Handle filters with care
Some cartridges can break very easily if dropped. This is especially true of ceramic filter candles or UV lamps. If you accidentally drop or chip a filter cartridge, it’s best if you don’t reuse it. While the filter may look like it’s intact from the outside, it could very well be damaged on the inside.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions
Whether you’re installing a water filter or replacing its cartridges, closely follow the instructions laid down in the user manual of your water filter.
If you’re not sure how to change your filters, get in touch with your vendor.
- Always buy replacements that match your filter system
Check that the filters you buy are an exact match of the filters you need to replace. Once again, if you’re not sure about the filters you need for your system, check the user manual for information on the cartridge type and model you need, or get in touch with your vendor.
- Replace cartridges on time, every time
Missing a filter replacement may not seem like a big deal, but having old cartridges filter your tap water can do more harm than good. Bacteria can build up within the cartridge, which can be harmful to your health.
Keep in mind that in filter systems with multiple filtration stages, the filters may be replaceable at different intervals. For example, in a reverse osmosis filter, sediment filters or carbon block pre-filters may be replaceable every 6 months, while the reverse osmosis membrane may last up to 24 months even.
There is a reason why pre-filters are changed more frequently and this is because they can become clogged faster and because they protect the reverse osmosis membrane from clogging and damage.
- Some filters are cleanable, but not all
Usually ceramic filters and pleated filters can be cleaned under running water. You can reuse the filter once or twice after washing it, but after washing the filter you should monitor the quality of your tap water to see if the cartridge still performs as intended. If your water starts tasting or smelling bad, you may need to replace them even despite having the cleaned.
- Filter lifespan is a guideline
Even though all filters are designed with a certain filtration capacity in mind, the various properties of water (e.g. water is high in sediments), may be shorten their lifespan. When filters become too saturated with contaminants, you may notice that your water acquires an off taste, or that water smells bad, or even that water pressure drops. When any of these things happen, it’s best to visually inspect the state of the cartridges if possible, or replace them to see if the problems go away.
Tips for cleaning your water filter system
Besides replacing filters, some water filter system may need some other type of maintenance as well.
For example, reverse osmosis filters have water tanks, which should be sanitised.
For more on cleaning a reverse osmosis tank, read: Reverse Osmosis Storage Tank Cleaning Tips
Likewise, in an ultraviolet water purifier, the UV quartz sleeve should be cleaned when changing the UV lamp.
The filter chambers in a gravity water filter should also be cleaned regularly. These chambers are usually stainless steel, so cleaning them should be easy.
For more on UV water filter maintenance, read: UV water filter maintenance tips
Not all filters require filter changes or cleaning. Some filters are replaced in full after they reach the end of their lifespan. For example, inline water filters are replaceable in full.
Replacing filters in your water filter system is never optional. Replacing cartridges ensures that water that is filtered by the system is healthy and your water filter system is working at top performance.
If you forget to replace your filters and keep on using the system, you may damage the filter system, and it can potentially endanger your health because the system can no longer filter out contaminants, and contaminants already built up in the system may wash back into your tap water.