Water Filter Replacement

Water filter replacement is part of any water filter system’s maintenance program. Except for water filters that are replaced in full after reaching the end of their service life, most filter systems have the same construction: a filter housing that contains a replaceable filter cartridge.

No matter how complex and advanced a water filter system is, the filter cartridge it contains is the single most important component of any filter. The filter media within the cartridge is responsible for removing or reducing the contaminants in your water source.

When filter cartridges become saturated with contaminants, they lose their filtration efficiency and need to be replaced. Each filter cartridge is designed to last for a certain period, however, water sources don’t all contain the same contaminants in the same concentration, so your filter may need replacement sooner than expected.

Our water filter replacement guide will provide answers to the most common questions about filter replacement, it will help you understand how different factors can influence the service life of your filters, and why is it important to never miss a water filter replacement date.

How often should I replace my filters?

The lifespan for which your water filter cartridge was designed to last is usually stated on the packaging of the filter or on the website of the manufacturer. Depending on the brand and filter type, filter cartridges may need replacement every 3 months to 36 months.

These numbers, however, are usually just guidelines. Depending on your water usage, the level of contaminants in your water, and the quality of your filters, you may need to replace your filters sooner, but they may last longer than stated on their packaging. But how can you tell when it’s time to replace them?

Unless your water filter system is equipped with a filter health tracker system (some filters like the BMB-30 NOVA PRO Direct Flow 9-Stage Reverse Osmosis System do feature filter replacement alert systems), you need to rely on other methods to know when to replace your cartridges.

The best way to keep track of your replacement times is to set a reminder or enrol in a filter replacement reminder program. When your filters are approaching the end of their lifespan, the reminder sends you an email notification to replace your filters.

If, however, you notice that your tap water’s flow rate suddenly decreases, or your water looks strange or has a strange taste and odour, you may need to check on the health of your water filter cartridges and replace them even if it’s before the end of their service life.

Higher contaminant levels or sediments may saturate or clog your filters, cutting their lifespan short. If this happens too often, you may need to look into upgrading your filter system or look for compatible filter cartridges that have a higher filtration capacity than your existing filters.

How to replace filters? Should I replace them myself?

Each water filter model has its own filter replacement technique, which is usually detailed in your water filter’s user manual. Most water filter systems designed for residential use can be replaced quite easily without needing the intervention of a plumber. Just follow the steps described in the manual and you should be able to replace the filter on your own.

Low maintenance water filters usually feature quick change filter cartridges, which can be replaced by twisting off the old filters and twisting on the new ones, without contact with used filter media. Many water filters feature the quick-change filter replacement technology (e.g. PurePro RS4000) precisely because it makes filter replacement so easy for everyone.

If your water filter system uses ceramic filter cartridges, you need to be very careful when replacing them. Accidentally dropping the filter may break it or cause fissures that may not be detectable to the naked eye, but which could easily allow contaminants to seep into your water.

If you own an advanced water filter system, which features multiple filtration stages, chances are that your filter system contains multiple filter cartridges that must be replaced at different intervals. Thus, a reverse osmosis system, for example, will have sediment filters, activated carbon filters, reverse osmosis membranes and other filters (e.g. alkaline filters), which all have different lifespans.

Usually, all pre-filters have to be replaced at the same time (usually every 3 to 6 months), and the same holds true for post-filters, which usually last anywhere between 6 to 12 months. Reverse osmosis membranes, on the other hand, will last for up to 2 or 3 years. Some reverse osmosis filters like the BMB-10 +Alkaline +Detox Non-Pumped Quick Change 6 Stage Reverse Osmosis System have filters that are all replaceable at the same time (every 12 months).

Can I clean my filters and reuse them?

Most filter cartridges cannot be reused, and once they have become saturated with contaminants, you need to replace them as soon as possible, otherwise you run the risk of bacterial grow-through and water contamination.

Some filters mitigate the risks of bacterial grow-through by infusing the filter media with silver, which is known for its bacteriostatic properties. Even so, when a filter becomes too saturated with contaminants, it can no longer filter your water, and there is a risk of recontamination.

There are, however, filter cartridges that are washable and can be reused, but not indefinitely. These are ceramic filters and pleated filters.

Both ceramic filters and pleated filters can be used to extend their service life, but there is a limit to how many times you can reuse them. We recommend following the guidelines of the manufacturer as per the number of times and the period for which you can reuse these filters.

Pleated filters can be washed by putting them under running water, while ceramic filters can be washed by using a sponge to remove the contaminants trapped onto the surface of the filter.

Can I continue to use my filters in case of a boil water notice?

Certain highly advanced water filters can be a good line of defence even in cases of municipal water contamination issues, but only if they are configured to target the types of contaminants that caused the contamination issues. However, if the nature of contamination is severe (e.g. do not use notice), you should follow the water usage guidelines of your water provider, and replace your current filters as soon as the notice is revoked.

Where to buy water filter replacements?

Your water filter vendor will usually have replacement filters on stock for your water filter system. Alternatively, you can buy water filter replacements from any reputable vendor that distributes them.

When purchasing replacements for your water filter, it’s best to purchase water filter bundles or filter packs, which will help you save money and always have replacements when needed.

If you’re finding yourself replacing filter cartridges too often, ask your water filter vendor whether they have filter cartridges with a higher endurance that are compatible with your system.

When purchasing filter replacements, make sure to check that they are compatible with your system before you buy them.

How should I store filter replacements?

If you stock up on filter replacements, you should store them unopened, in their original packaging. Keep filter cartridges in a cool, dry and safe space, since some filter replacements (e.g. ceramic filters, UV lamps) can easily brake.

Disposing used filters

When replacing a filter, it’s important to dispose of it properly, after all, one of the arguments for switching from bottled water to filtered water is the eco-friendliness of the latter.

Most water filter cartridges for residential use can be recycled through the manufacturer or other recycling programs. The filter media in some filters is 100% biodegradable and can be scattered in your garden to improve soil drainage (e.g. Ecopure’s ceramic filters spheres can be disposed of in such way), while the filter housing can be recycled through normal plastic recycling programs.

In summary:

  • Never reuse old filters or continue to use filters beyond their service life;
  • Remember to replace your filters on time, keeping in mind that some systems feature multiple filter cartridges replaceable at different intervals;
  • Buy filter replacement bundles to save money and have replacements when needed;
  • Always follow the instructions of the manufacturer when cleaning, replacing or storing filters;
  • Bear in mind that some filters break easily, so handle them with care;
  • Replace your filters even before the end of their service life if you notice a drop in water flow, if your water tastes bad or has a strange smell or appearance.

Conclusion

It is often said that water filter cartridges are the heart of any water filter. To make sure your filter system delivers top shape performance, you need to replace your filters on time or whenever necessary. Failing to do so can cause system malfunctions, clog expensive reverse osmosis membranes in reverse osmosis systems, or compromise the quality of your water filter system.

Most residential water filters are easy to maintain, and some even feature filter replacement alert systems that help users keep track of filter changes.