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How often should you change your refrigerator water filter?

Refrigerator water filters should usually be replaced every six months for easy and reliable access to fresh drinking water for the entire family. Learn more about fridge water filters and how they work. However, exactly how often you should be changing your fridge water filters can depend on the quality of your tap water to begin with.

Variables from water sources like private wells and municipal water plants as well as the pipes that take water to your home can all play a part in affecting water quality at any point.

Everyday tap water can carry contaminants including lead, chlorine, pharmaceuticals, pesticides and more that not only affect taste and odor of water, ice, and food — but the overall health of your family. With proper use of fridge water filters, you can help ensure clean and fresh tasting water, ice and food.

Most refrigerators with water dispensers feature built-in water filter cartridges that can help keep your family’s drinking water tasting great by reducing contaminants and delivering access to clean, refreshing hydration straight to your home. However, fridge filters don’t last forever. Read on to learn more about how often to change the water filter in your fridge.

A person dispensing water out of a refrigerator ice maker A person dispensing water out of a refrigerator ice maker

How often to change your refrigerator water filter

Refrigerator water filters are one of the best, most cost-effective ways to ensure your family is drinking clean, fresh-tasting water, but they need to be changed every six months. After six months, three things can start happening:

  • Your filter becomes easily susceptible to becoming saturated with contaminants

  • Dirt and debris may begin clogging the filter

  • As a result, more and more contaminants get into your water, even if it looks and tastes clean

As you manage the rest of your household, it can be easy to overlook the kitchen tools that help you every day. To keep your drinking water clean and tasting fresh, you should know how often to change your fridge’s water filter. Likewise, learning how to tell if your fridge’s water filter is bad can also help you know when it’s time to make a replacement.

How to tell if a fridge water filter is bad

Many of today’s refrigerators track the life-cycle of your filter and will notify you with a red light or another indicator when your filter is reaching the end of its useful life. When that happens, your next steps are both important and easy, with certified filters available both online and at several local hardware and appliance stores.

Additional signs of a bad fridge water filter may be cloudy or poor tasting drinking water, as well as poor water flow that can occur due to debris clogging up the filter. If you’ve noticed a change in your drinking water, it’s important to change your refrigerator filter before continuing to use it.

Can an old refrigerator water filter make you sick?

Because they’re susceptible to the build up of dirt and debris, old fridge water filters may not be able to prevent contaminants from tainting drinking water as well. To ensure drinkable, fresh tasting water for your family, be sure to change your fridge’s water filter every six months.

Care Tip: Looking for a great way to remember to change your filter every 6 months? Every time you turn your clocks back or forward an hour, it’s “time” to change your Whirlpool® refrigerator water filter.

A Whirlpool® refrigerator filter for ice and water A Whirlpool® refrigerator filter for ice and water

Whirlpool® refrigerator water filters

Imitations are out there, so it’s important to know that not all refrigerator water filters are created equal. Featuring signature Triple Filtration Technology, water filters by Whirlpool brand reduce up to 73 contaminants1, depending on your refrigerator type. This includes removing up to 99.9% of lead from both your water and ice. In addition, filters like those by everydrop brand can also deliver the same refreshing hydration you can rely on.

It’s also important to consider only filters certified by NSF International when shopping for replacements. This independent organization certifies filters in three contaminant categories: look and taste, health concerns and emerging (or new) contaminants. While some filters may qualify for one or two of the categories, Whirlpool® and everydrop® water filters2 1-5 are certified for all three.

Ready to find the right fit for your refrigerator? Choose the filter that’s right for your family with refrigerators by Whirlpool brand, which work with both Whirlpool® and everydrop® water filters. Browse Whirlpool brand approved water filters to continue keeping your family’s drinking water tasting crisp and clean.

More refrigerator maintenance tips

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1. Contaminants reduced by this water filter are not necessarily in all users’ water. Filter models vary in the number and quantity of contaminants reduced. Filters are tested and certified by NSF International against NSF/ANSI Standards 42, 53, and 401 for the reduction of the specific contaminants listed on each filter’s Performance Data Sheet.

2. everydrop brand products and the recommended brand’s products are owned and distributed by Whirlpool Corporation.