\nIf you haven't changed your refrigerator water filter in a few months, a year, or several years, you may be wondering when you should replace it. Maybe your water still tastes fine, so you're questioning if changing your fridge filter is even necessary. Just because your water tastes fresh, does not mean it is. Many contaminants are tasteless. \nA family of four who use their water dispenser and ice machine often should get a new filter every six months; whereas, a couple without children may only need to replace it once a year. If you haven’t replaced your fridge filter in several years, you’re not drinking filtered water but something else entirely.\nShop Refrigerator Filters\nBuying a replacement refrigerator filter from the original manufacturer can be expensive. Aftermarket refrigerator filters cost less but sometimes at the risk of quality. Changing your refrigerator water filter is crucial, so we'll help you understand the language of the replacement filter market to find the best fit for your refrigerator and budget. \nWhat to know before buying a refrigerator filter:\n1. How a fridge filter works ⌄\n2. Pros and cons of fridge filters ⌄\n3. OEM vs. aftermarket filters ⌄\n4. How to install a fridge filter ⌄\nHow a refrigerator water filter works\nThe average refrigerator filter uses a combination of sediment and activated carbon filtration. The sediment filter removes large particles remaining in the water while the activated carbon filter clings to particles through a process called adsorption. The main contaminant removed from the carbon core in a fridge filter is chlorine. When water passes through the carbon core, about 90% of chlorine particles cling to the carbon’s surface area. When the carbon no longer has room for any more particles, the filter is no longer effective, and contaminants can even leak into the water as the water passes through the filter. This makes changing a refrigerator water filter regularly essential in maintaining the odorless and clean-tasting properties it provides. \nLearn more about how activated carbon filters work.\nWhat a refrigerator water filter removes \nTypically, refrigerator filters are designed to remove three major contaminants: lead, chlorine, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Some are rated to remove cysts and chloramine as well. Most refrigerator filters have a micron rating of about 20, so small contaminants are not filtered out by fridge filters.\nWater travels through miles of underground pipes before ever reaching your home or business. Along the way, it may collect lead from old pipes, agricultural runoff, and other harmful compounds. \n\nLead\n\nUntil the twentieth century, lead was considered harmless and useful in the production of paint, pottery, and plumbing pipes. 50% of solder used for plumbing prior to 1986 contained lead. Because water is a great solvent, it collects lead from old pipes and carries them to your faucet. A building constructed before The Safe Water Drinking Act probably has lead pipes and lead soldered copper and fixtures that could leach into your water.\nBecause lead is toxic, the EPA sets the maximum contaminant level for lead in drinking water at zero. Ingesting lead leads to reproductive problems, premature birth, and brain, hearing, heart, and kidney damage. See a full list of the health effects of lead from the EPA.\nChlorine\nChlorine disinfects drinking water by killing bacteria, viruses, and parasites, virtually eliminating waterborne diseases like typhoid and dysentery. However, it also ruins the flavor of water used for drinking and cooking. Carbon fridge filters are great for giving chlorine-treated drinking water a fresh taste. \nChloramines are a combination of chlorine and ammonia that municipalities use to reduce the formation of harmful disinfection by products such as trihalomethane. Few studies on the health effects of chloramines have been conducted, and the results of ones that have are unclear. Fridge filters with catalytic carbon remove chlorine and chloramines by separating the chlorine from the ammonia and converting the chlorine into chloride. \nVOCs\nVolatile organic compounds (VOCs) are harmful chemicals that are found in manufactured products such as paints, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals. Exposure to VOCs can cause issues like eye and throat irritation, liver and kidney damage, nausea, and headaches. In addition to these symptoms, VOCs give water an unpleasant odor and taste. The EPA estimates that about twenty percent of drinking water supplies are contaminated with VOCs. Because of this, the EPA regulates the levels of many different types of VOCs in city water. The adsorption properties of the activated carbon in refrigerator filters grab hold of many types of VOCs and prevent them from escaping.\nAre refrigerator water filters necessary?\nNew refrigerator filters provide clean water, reduce contaminants, and prevent bacteria from getting in your water. However, the carbon has limited capacity. The longer you wait to change your filter, the worse your water gets.\nHere's what happens if you don't change your refrigerator water filter:\n\n\nYour filter clogs. It reaches a point where it will no longer filter because it’s packed with dirt and debris. You know it’s past time to change your filter when water stops flowing out.\n\nCarbon reaches maximum capacity. Water continues to flow through the filter even if the surface area is full, but the water carries contaminants along with it. Imagine going to a mall at Christmas. After driving up and down rows of cars and finding no place to park, you get back on the road and head somewhere else. Similarly, when all the spaces in an old carbon filter are taken, particles accumulate or pass through the filter.\n\nYour filter grows bacteria. A loaded carbon filter collects particles that living organisms feed off of and becomes a campground for bacteria.\n\nCan old refrigerator water make you sick?\nRefrigerator filters are intended to work on already micro-biologically safe water. City water has already been chemically treated for viruses and pathogens. But if you continue to use a filter past a year, your tap water could be enhanced with all of the contaminants previously blocked. An old filter becomes prime living quarters for living organisms that could enter your digestive tract or gastrointestinal tract and cause flu-like symptoms.\nHow often should you replace your refrigerator water filter?\nRefrigerator filters should be replaced every 6 months. Never leave a filter in place longer than a year. The longer you use a carbon filter beyond its maximum capacity, the more harmful your water could become.\nLearn more: Are refrigerator air filters necessary?\nPros of refrigerator water filters\nA refrigerator water filter offers the following benefits over other forms of water filtration:\n\n\nGreat convenience. Refrigerator water filters are easily the most convenient drinking water filtration method on the market. They provide filtered water readily at the push of a button and filter the water that is used by the ice maker. Because they have such a high flow rate, refrigerator water filters do not require any type of storage tank to accommodate for slow filtration.\n\nHigh flow rate. As previously stated, the high flow rate of refrigerator filters means water can be filtered in “real time” as the dispenser is activated. This allows you to dispense any volume of water desired at any given time, something some other filtration systems, such as RO, cannot provide.\n\nSimple maintenance. A refrigerator water filter should be replaced about once every six months. While the specifics of replacing a filter vary from fridge to fridge, the process generally involves a simple insertion and twist to lock the filter in place. Water will then need to be run through the filter to flush out compressed air before it is ready to use. Learn how to replace your refrigerator water filter.\n\nImproved water taste and odor. Improving the taste and odor of water is the goal of a refrigerator water filter. Chlorine is necessary for killing bacteria, viruses, and parasites in water, but it does make water less pleasing to drink. Refrigerator filters reduce chlorine levels in water to give it a fresh, crisp taste.\n\nCons of refrigerator water filters\nIn contrast to other types of water filtration, refrigerator water filters possess the following downsides.\n\n\nIneffective at removing many contaminants. While refrigerator filters are effective at removing contaminants such as chlorine, lead, and some VOCs, other contamination concerns like fluoride, microplastics, arsenic, heavy metals, bacteria, and viruses are not removed. If your home receives city-treated water, microbial contaminants are not a concern unless you are placed under a “boil water” advisory. Other filtration systems, such as reverse osmosis and water distillers, will purify water much better than refrigerator filters, but a refrigerator water filter will allow water to taste better than it would straight from the tap.\n\nContain only one filtration stage. Many filtration systems contain at least three stages. This allows for a higher percentage of contaminants to be reduced in the final product. Because of limited space, refrigerator filters only work in a single stage, preventing them from removing higher levels of the contaminants they reduce.\n\nNeed frequent replacement. Refrigerator water filters need replacement every six months to one year, and they can be expensive for a filter used exclusively for drinking water. Not replacing your refrigerator filter can render a product that is worse than tap water, so maintaining these frequent replacements is essential.\nIncreases cost of refrigerator substantially. Refrigerators that come with a built-in water filter come with higher initial costs, and these do not even include the filter replacement costs that come later. Some users may opt to purchase a less expensive refrigerator without a filter and incorporate another filtration system under their sink.\n\nAre refrigerator water filters effective?\nRefrigerator filters are effective at what they're designed to do. They are excellent at chlorine taste, odor, and sediment reduction. They will not soften water, remove iron, or prevent health hazards in untreated water. If your water comes from a well, then you're responsible for its safety and need more than a fridge filter to treat your water. Well water typically requires whole house water filtration, including some type of bacteria treatment.\nLearn more: How a UV system deactivates bacteria | How to install a well water system.\nCan I use refrigerator filtered water for an aquarium?\nWhile refrigerator filters reduce levels of chlorine and VOCs in water, they do not produce water that is ideal for aquarium life. Contaminants like total dissolved solids (TDS), nitrates, and water hardening minerals are not treated by refrigerator filters and can have detrimental effects on fish and plant health. Filtration systems like reverse osmosis and ion exchange are preferable to other filtration methods because they provide a pure base of water that can be manipulated for any fish’s needs.\nLearn more: Why You Should Use Reverse Osmosis Water for Your Aquarium\nDo refrigerator water filters remove fluoride?\nNo, refrigerator filters are not capable of removing fluoride from water. Fluoride is added to water at water treatment plants to prevent cavities and assist overall oral health. However, some risks are involved when fluoride consumption becomes too high. These risks include joint pain, discolored teeth, muscle impairment, stiffness, hypothyroidism, and reduced intelligence. If fluoride is a concern for you, you will need to use a more substantial filtration system such as reverse osmosis or distillation.\nLearn more: How to Remove Fluoride from Water\n\n\nFinding the best replacement refrigerator filter\n When it comes time to change your refrigerator filter, you have two purchase options:\nOEM replacement filters: name-brand filters from the original manufacturer\nAftermarket replacement filters: generic or off-brand filters\nOEM vs aftermarket refrigerator water filters\nWhenever you're shopping for a new refrigerator water filter, purchasing one from the original manufacturer (OEM) is a safe, easy option. Just know that OEM filters could cost $50 or more. If you're looking for a more affordable filter, then you may want to purchase an aftermarket filter compatible with your refrigerator style.\nOEM refrigerator filters\nAdvantages\n\nSimple search\nExpected quality performance\nNSF certified\n\nDisadvantages\n\nMore expensive\n\nAftermarket refrigerator filters\nAdvantages\n\nCheaper\nQuality compatible options\n\nDisadvantages\n\nRisk of lower performance\nMay or may not be NSF certified\n\n\n\n\n Brand\nAftermarket Filter\nOur Price\nOEM Price\n\n\nLG\nLG LT700P\n$21.95\n$49.99\n\n\nMaytag\nUKF7003\n$22.95\n$49.99\n\n\nSamsung\nDA2900020B \n$22.47\n$49.99\n\n\nGE\nGE MWF\n$29.95\n$49.99\n\n\nKenmore\nLG LT700P\n$21.95\n$49.99\n\n\n\nShop discounted OEM refrigerator filters by brand:\n\nLG\nMaytag\nSamsung\nWhirlpool\nFrigidaire\nKenmore\n3M\n\n\n\nComparing aftermarket fridge filters\nEach style of refrigerator matches with one OEM filter and a few different aftermarket refrigerator filters. Some aftermarket filters are designed with high standards for quality, and others are not. Once you locate the model of your refrigerator or filter part number, finding the best aftermarket refrigerator filter gets tricky. Here's what to consider before making your final decision:\nFilter micron rating\nThe carbon block in a fridge filter is often wrapped in a material with small pores that stop sediment and other particles from flowing through. The size of the pores is measured in microns. The smaller the pore size, the finer the particles blocked and the better the filter. Refrigerator filters come in class I, II, or III with different micron ratings.\n\nClass I: 0.5- 1 micron (the most particulate removed) \n\nClass II: 1- 5 microns\nClass III: 5- 15 microns\n\nNominal vs absolute rating\nA refrigerator filter may claim to have an absolute 0.5 micron rating. This means the filter pore size is exactly 0.5 micron-- nothing larger will pass through. If a 0.5 micron size is described as "nominal," then the pores are roughly that size. Look for filters with absolute ratings for the greatest contaminant reduction. \nCertifications\nIf a fridge filter is NSF certified, then it meets certain standards set by NSF International. The two most common NSF ratings for fridge filters are:\nNSF 42: Filter meets criteria for material safety and structural integrity.\nNSF 53: Filter meets criteria for contaminant reduction.\nSome aftermarket filters are certified by other third-party organizations. Sometimes these testing laboratories follow the NSF testing protocol, other times, they don't. Use caution when purchasing a refrigerator filter without valid third party lab using NSF testing protocol.\n\n\n\n Contaminant Reduction\nNeo-Pure\nTier1\nWaterdrop\nRefresh\nAquacrest\nExcelpure\nSwift Green\nAquarius\n\n\nSediment\nY\nY\nY\nY\nY\nY\nY\nY\n\n\nTurbidity\nY\nY\nY\nY\nY\nY\nY\nY\n\n\nSand\nY\nY\nY\nY\nY\nY\nY\nY\n\n\nChlorine taste\nY\nY\nY\nY\nY\nY\nY\nY\n\n\nSilt\nY\nY\nY\nY\nY\nY\nY\nY\n\n\nRust\nY\nY\nY\nY\nY\nY\nY\nY\n\n\nAsbestos 99.99%\nY\nN\nN\nN\nN\nN\nN\nN\n\n\nLead (8.5 pH) 99.99%\nY\nN\nN\nN\nN\nN\nN\nN\n\n\nMercury (8.5 pH) 99.99%\nY\nN\nN\nN\nN\nN\nN\nN\n\n\nCysts 99.99%\nY\nN\nN\nN\nN\nN\nN\nN\n\n\nBenzene 99.99%\nY\nN\nN\nN\nN\nN\nN\nN\n\n\nParticulates 99%\nY\nN\nN\nN\nN\nN\nN\nN\n\n\nManufactured in China\nN\nY\nY\nY\nY\nY\nN\nN\n\n\n\nThe Neo-Pure refrigerator filters are part of our own line of compatible replacement filters. They are certified to NSF 42 and designed and tested in an independent laboratory according to NSF protocol. Here's how the performance of a Neo-Pure filter compares to a Kenmore refrigerator filter:\n\n\nKenmore replacement filter\n\n\n\nContaminant Reduction\nAvg % Reduction\n\n\n Chlorine T\u0026amp;O\n97.2%\n\n\nNominal Particulate Class 1\n98.7%\n\n\nAsbestos\n\u0026gt;99%\n\n\nLead (6.5 pH)\n\u0026gt;99.3%\n\n\nLead (8.5 pH)\n\u0026gt;99.3%\n\n\nMercury (6.5 pH)\n96.1%\n\n\n\nMercury (8.5 pH)\n90.1%\n\n\n\nCyst\n99.99%\n\n\n\n\n \nNeo-Pure replacement filter\n\n\n\nContaminant Reduction\nAvg % Reduction\n\n\n Chlorine T\u0026amp;O\n97.6%\n\n\nNominal Particulate Class 1\n98.7%\n\n\nAsbestos\n\u0026gt;99%\n\n\nLead (6.5 pH)\n\u0026gt;94%\n\n\nLead (8.5 pH)\n\u0026gt;94%\n\n\nMercury (6.5 pH)\n96.1%\n\n\n\nMercury (8.5 pH)\n99.99%\n\n\n\nCyst\n99.99%\n\n\n\n\n \nWatch this Neo-Pure video to learn more about the brand.\nIs replacing your refrigerator water filter worth it?\nSeventy percent of your body is made up of water. If the water you’re drinking is not good quality, then your body is going to suffer. Grabbing a plastic water bottle on the go is certainly convenient, but filling a reusable bottle with filtered refrigerator water is friendly to the environment. Using two refrigerator filters a year conserves around 3,000 bottles of water, saves you $600 a year, and reduces plastic pollution.\n\nLet’s compare changing your filter with changing the oil in your car.\nCost of replacing refrigerator filters: The price of refrigerator filters varies. Aftermarket filters cost around $30, which means purchasing a filter every 6 months would cost $60 per year. OEM filters cost around $50, totaling $100 per year.\nCost of changing oil: Every 3000 miles or so, a car needs new oil to ensure the longevity of the engine and reduce costly repairs. 4 oil changes per year would cost approximately $140.\nChanging your oil is necessary for your car to run, and drinking clean water is just as important for your health.\nHow to replace a refrigerator water filter\nHow you change your filter depends on the design of the refrigerator. A refrigerator filter inserts into a receiver. Receivers are located in the back corner, on the lower base grille, or inside of an opening like a mailbox at the top of the fridge.\n\nHow to replace the filter in a Kenmore Elite refrigerator\n\nLocation: Upper left corner\n\nPlace a towel under the filter to absorb water. \nTurn the filter to the left to unlock.\nRemove the filter.\nInsert the new filter into the filter holder.\nTurn to the right to lock in place.\nHold down the filter change indicator button to reset. \nLet water run into a container for 5 min to flush. \n\n How to replace the filter in a Whirlpool refrigerator water filter: \n\nLocation: Front base grille\n\nLocate the filter and rotate the cap counter clockwise.\nTurn to the left to remove the filter. \nPull the filter out.\nSlide the cap off the end of the cartridge and do not discard.\nRemove new filter from packaging and remove the over from the O-rings.\nSlide the cap onto the new filter. \nInsert the filter into the grille.\nRotate counterclockwise to lock in place.\n\nHow to replace the filter in an LG french door refrigerator:\n\nLocation: Top left corner\n\nLocate shut-off valve behind the fridge.\nTurn to the right to shut off the water. \nDispense remaining water from fridge.\nPlace a towel under the filter to absorb excess water.\nLocate the filter holder and press the sides to open.\nPivot the filter downward to remove it.\nAlign the tabs of the new filter with those on the filter holder.\nPress and pivot filter upward to insert.\nClose the filter holder and turn the water back on.\nHold down the indicator light to reset.\nRun water into container for 5 min. to flush the filter.\n\nHow to replace the filter in a Samsung refrigerator filter:\n\nLocation: Back right corner\n\nGrab the base of the filter.\nTwist to the left to unlock. \nRemove safety seal on new filter.\nLine the filter up with the filter holder.\nTurn to the right to lock in place.\n\nDon't see a filter replacement video for your style of refrigerator? Visit our YouTube channel for more tutorials.