Water Filter Maintenance
Water filter maintenance is the only way to ensure a continuous supply of quality filtered water in your home. Some water filters are easier to maintain, others are more difficult. The key is to know beforehand the maintenance requirements of your water filter system.
Generally, a water filter for domestic use is not dependent on ongoing maintenance, nevertheless, some level of periodic maintenance is required by most water filters, regardless of their type.
Whether you own a reverse osmosis filter system or an ultraviolet water filter, filter cleaning and filter replacement are two of the most common maintenance tasks you need to carry out to ensure that your water filter is in top shape and operating at peak performance.
In order to prolong the life of your filter system and get quality filtered water every time you turn on the tap, here are some water filter best practices you need to know about:
Replace your filters on time
If your water filter comes with replaceable filter cartridges, you need to make sure to change your filters on time. There is a limit to how long you can use your filters for and this is usually mentioned on the packaging of your filter cartridge.
On average, filters usually last anywhere from 3 to 6 months, however, some advanced water filters are equipped with filters that can last even as long as 3 years. For example, the Active Ceramics Large Whole House Filter contained by the Osmio PRO-II-A Advanced Whole House Water Filter System has a filter life of 3 years or 300,000 litres.
With time and prolonged usage, filter cartridges become saturated with different contaminants they pick up and they can no longer serve their purpose of removing contaminants from your water.
Sometimes, it may become necessary to replace the filters before the recommended period. This usually happens because of the high levels of contaminants present in your tap water. In this case your water filter cartridges may become saturated with contaminants too quickly. If this happens often, you might want to consider replacing your filters with cartridges that have a higher filtration capacity.
What are the risks of using your filters beyond their service life? One risk is contaminants getting into your water, despite having a water filter system in place. Since overused filters are no longer performing as they should, your water will likely acquire a bad taste and odour either due to bacterial overgrowth in your filter or due to contaminants accumulating in your filter.
To help you keep track of filter replacement deadlines, water filter vendors usually have filter replacement programs you can enrol in to receive email reminders to change your filters.
Cartridges in multi-stage water filter systems may be replaceable at different intervals
Water filter systems that feature several filtration stages can have as many as 6 filters. Some of these may be replaceable every 3 months, others every 6 months or every 12 months. In these situations, it’s not enough to replace only one set of filters on time, you’ll have to make sure you replace each and every filter at the end of their respective lifespans.
What are the risks of replacing some filters on time, but missing the deadline on others? In this case too, changes in the quality of your filtered water will appear once you continue to use these filters past the end of their lifespan.
Another risk is potential damage to more expensive filters, which could become clogged or could become damaged from different types of contaminants that other filters in the system were supposed to prevent from reaching the filters they were designed to protect. This is a common occurrence in reverse osmosis water filter systems, for example, where the reverse osmosis membrane is protected from chlorine with carbon block pre-filters and from suspended solids by sediment pre-filters.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for replacement
Replacing residential water filter cartridges is usually fast and easy. If cartridges are placed in filter housings, you have to open the housing to access the filter cartridges. These filter housings usually have a pressure release button, which releases the pressure in the system and allows you to remove the cartridges. Replacing these types of filters may be a little messy, in the sense that you may come in contact with the filtered material and there may be some water leakage involved (from filter housings or the entire filter system).
Water filters that use the quick-change filter technology are far easier to replace, you simply have to untwist the old filter and twist on the new filter, without any contact with the filtered material.
Clean filter cartridges where applicable, but don’t reuse them if damaged or broken
Some filter cartridges are cleanable, but they can’t be reused indefinitely. Pleated filters and certain ceramic filters (e.g. Doulton ceramic filter elements) can be washed to prolong the life of the filter, but there is a limit to how many times you can reuse them after cleaning.
Ceramic filters are easily breakable, so it’s crucial not to drop them. Even if the filter seems intact when dropped, there can be small fissures on the surface of the filter, where contaminants can seep into the water. Likewise, any damage to ultraviolet lamps can interfere with the water sanitising capability of ultraviolet lights emitted by the UV lamp.
Sanitising your water filter system
Beyond cleaning washable filter cartridges, the filter housing and other elements of a water filter may need cleaning or sanitising too. Cleaning the filter housing is as simple as washing it out with water and dishwasher detergent. The same applies for the UV lamp sleeve, which can be cleaned out to remove any limescale deposits or dirt accumulated on its surface, which may prevent UV lights from passing through.
In reverse osmosis water filters, the reverse osmosis tank is another element that may need cleaning due to dirt, debris or limescale that can accumulate inside the tank and that can alter the taste and odour of your reverse osmosis water. While it’s a good idea to clean filter housings every time you change your filters, it’s enough to clean the reverse osmosis tank only once a year.
Water filter buying tips based on maintenance considerations
The ideal filter for your home is usually one that removes the contaminants that are lurking in your tap water and it’s easy enough to maintain without having to call a plumber. Based on these two aspects, here are some things to consider when buying a water filter:
- Get to know the maintenance requirements of your potential filter system – don’t buy a filter without asking about its maintenance requirements to see if you’re up to the task;
- Choose a water filters that uses quick change filter technology – the QCFT makes filter replacement a hassle-free experience for anyone. These filter cartridges are replaceable together with their housings, so there are no filter housings you need to wash;
- Choose filters with filter cartridges that are all replaceable at the same time – e.g. all filters in the BMB-20 +Alkaline +Detox Pumped Quick Change 6 Stage Reverse Osmosis System have a filter life of 12 months, which means that all filters are replaceable once a year. Thus, you no longer have to keep track of the filter replacement dates for each and every filter in the system;
- Slightly oversize your system – if you don’t want to replace filters every 3 months, make sure to invest in a water filter with a higher filtration capacity;
- Make sure you choose filters from reputable vendors and check filter availability – don’t buy filters that work with filter cartridges that are hard to come by. With unreliable water filter manufacturers, there is always a risk of filter discontinuance;
- Always have filter cartridge replacements on stock – this way you will ensure the continuance of the filtration process and will always have access to quality filtered water.
Water Filter Best Practices Conclusion
You may not like the idea of having to maintain your water filter, but it’s a necessary process for the proper operation of any kind of water filter.
Hopefully, our water filter maintenance best practices have given you an idea of the maintenance tasks you have to deal with to ensure that your system provides the best quality filtered water.
You can minimise some of the maintenance tasks you have to carry out by following our water filter buying tips. Choosing a low-maintenance water filter is the best way to avoid dealing with some maintenance issues.
Another important thing to stress out is to never neglect the maintenance of your water filter system because it may backfire – failing to replace cartridges will lead to contamination issues and potential damage to other filters in your system.