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How Often Should I Change My Refrigerator Water Filter?

Writen by Ronald Brown

Fact checked by Natalie Bridges

how often should I change my refrigerator water filter

Does your fridge dispenser produce discolored water combined with a foul odor and weird taste these days? Then, it indicates that your fridge filter is past its expiration date.

Hence, it is necessary to ask yourself: “how often should I change my refrigerator water filter?” It will save you from unpleasant consequences later on. Most refrigerator manufacturers recommend changing the filter every six months.

If you fail to change the fridge water filter in time, the previously fresh-tasting and clean water can turn into a putrid drink of horror without you noticing. Find out the best practice for your fridge filter replacement in this comprehensive guideline.

Table of Contents

What Is a Refrigerator Water Filter and What Contaminants Does It Remove?


A refrigerator water filter functions just like any standard whole-house water filter, except that it is designed to work with your fridge water dispenser and ice maker.

Typically, Frigidaire water filters utilize activated carbon and have a 20-micron rating for mechanical filtration. It sifts out contaminants that impair the taste and smell of your drinking water, such as chlorine, chloramine, lead, rust, sediments, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Generally, standard refrigerator water filters fall under the NSF standard 42 category, meaning these filters mostly eliminate chlorine from your water supply. Removing chlorine is the fundamental function of your fridge filter since this chemical variant is ubiquitous in water treatment facilities.

Where to Find My Refrigerator Water Filter?

To understand how your water-dispensing refrigerator filter works, you must know where it sits. You can install the fridge water filter in two locations:

  • In the bottom of the refrigerator behind the base grille
  • The top right corner of the compartment.

When to Replace Refrigerator Water Filter?


Do I really need to change the water filter in my refrigerator? Yes. It is indispensable to replace your fridge filter regularly to keep your family healthy and safe from dangerous contaminants.

Deciding when to change water filter in refrigerator is tricky. While water filter experts always advise homeowners to follow the 6-month rule of replacement, it may not always be the best practice for some of you.

In most cases, some water filters reduce their peak efficiency after 6 months of use. Your fridge filter could be clogged in sediments, and you might not know how long they had been there.

The bottom line is to avoid using your fridge filter beyond the recommended time frame. If you have been to the Reddit community to ask around, you must have seen different people sharing their experiences with fridge filters.

In addition, there are a few factors that affect how often you should replace refrigerator water filter :

1. Water Hardness

The hardness level of your domestic water supply adversely impacts how often you change the filter. Suppose you live in a place affected by hard water. In that case, your fridge filter will accumulate the suspended particles over time and clog the filter media quickly. In this case, you would need to change your water filter more frequently.

Your next question must be “How do I know if I have hard water at home?”. Signs of hard water include:

  • Feeling a film on your hands after using water to wash them.
  • Soap scums and mineral stains all over your kitchenware, water-using appliances, and plumbing fixtures.

2. Type of Refrigerator Water Filter

Not all models accommodate harmful contaminants. Different water filters serve different purposes depending on their micron ratings. Suppose you have private well water at home. An ultrafiltration filter is what you need. It has a pore size of around 0.01 micron, which can essentially remove all microscopic compounds.

Our domestic water supply is exposed to a wide range of well-known pollutants like lead and chromium. But conventional refrigerator filters are incapable of eradicating all of them. As discussed earlier, NSF 42 fridge filters can only remove chlorine and help improve the taste and smell of your water supply.

So if you are cautious about the risk of getting them in your drinking water, you should opt for a more robust water filter, such as an NSF 53 certified fridge filter. It can reduce lead, chromium, BPA, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, heavy metals, volatile compounds, bio-hazard contaminants such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia

For your reference, I am using an NSF-53 Samsung fridge water filter with an activated carbon block. It can remove chlorine, mercury, lead, and benzene. Some refrigerator filters have multiple NSF ratings, and it is essential to always check the label before buying anything.

3. Usage Frequency of Dispenser and Ice Maker

Is your whole family dependent on your fridge dispenser and ice maker for daily beverage needs? If yes, you’ll be surprised at how fast your fridge filter wears out. The higher the water demand, the more you exhaust the efficiency of your fridge filter.

After some time, fewer and fewer contaminants get filtered from your water supply. It means that the water coming through your fridge dispenser is unfiltered, and you are consuming dirty water that can make you sick.

Generally, a refrigerator water filter used to treat 100 gallons of water per week will last longer than a filter to purify 500 gallons of water per week.

4. Water Quality

How many contaminants are present in your water supply? This question will help you determine how often you replace your fridge filter. If you are using municipal water, it is guaranteed that your water is disinfected properly as it is regulated by the EPA.

But if you are a private well owner, you are not fully protected from contracting water-borne diseases. Private well water can be a breeding ground for bacteria that will deteriorate your fridge filter in no time. Thus, requiring you to purchase a new filter more often.


Modern water-dispensing refrigerators provide optimal convenience as we gain straightforward access to cold water on the go. Thanks to the integrated water filter, we enjoy this benefit profusely.

I hope at the end of this guideline; you can now answer “how often should I change my refrigerator water filter?” Once you have figured out the replacement pattern of your fridge filter, it will be a sweat-free job for you to change it next time. Do you have any questions or suggestions? Feel free to share them in the comment box below.

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