What Happens if You Never Change Your Refrigerator Water Filter?

Hazardous water contaminants can easily find their way into the water we consume daily, either by drinking or cooking. Refrigerator water filters do a wonderful job of keeping pollutants away and ensuring we drink the highest quality water and ice. What happens when you use the same filter in your refrigerator for years? This is a common question among most people, and the short answer is you’re compromising on your water quality which could cause health problems for you and your family. Changing your refrigerator’s filter is crucial, and manufacturers advise that it be done on a routine basis every six months. However, it’s prudent to conduct enough research about a water filter and its compatibility with a particular fridge model before purchase. You can click this link to see water filters for refrigerator with high market ratings and choose the right one for your fridge.

The Dangers of Not Changing Your Refrigerator Water Filter 

Many refrigerator models’ built-in water dispensing function acts as an effective deterrent to a range of potentially harmful contaminants such as lead and rust. Understanding the full implications of not changing your refrigerator water filter within the stipulated time requires knowing how a water filter works. A water filter typically works by filtering out any foreign particles, including bacteria, from passing through, allowing only freshwater through. With time, the purifying ability of a water filter declines gradually due to the build-up of these trapped unwanted foreign particles, which clog the system. 

Most water filters can effectively hold on to trapped material for approximately 6 months, after which their effectiveness is significantly jeopardized and could expose you and your family to dangerous pollutants and disease-causing organisms. Below are three dangers of not replacing your refrigerator’s water filter on time. 

  1. Risk of Exposure to Harmful Chemicals: One of the core reasons to always look out for your filter’s condition is to eradicate the risk of chemicals and contaminants in your drinking water. Some of the most common contaminants include chlorine, lead, carbon, asbestos, mercury, bacteria, carbon, and volatile organic compounds (like pesticides & herbicides). All these unwanted impurities and residues could seep into your water supply system at various stages, and it’s crucial always to stay covered with a well-conditioned water filter for your fridge. 
  2. Could Reduce Your Refrigerator’s Lifespan: The harmful contaminants that could negatively affect us also affect the state and working condition of the refrigerator with time. Not replacing your water filter for prolonged periods could build up contaminants and debris on the water dispenser system affixed to your fridge. This could affect the refrigerator system in multiple ways, such as slowing it down and causing a low flow, leading to serious damage. 
  3. Dispensed water doesn’t Taste Fresh: We all look forward to having a chilled glass of fresh water or ice at the convenience of our homes. Finding a strange taste or smell in our drinking water is a deal-breaker and spoils the fun. If you’ve detected a weird taste or back smell when having your water or ice, you should have your water filter checked and replaced. The bad taste may be a sign of the presence of harmful contaminants.

Signs You Need to Change the Filter

All refrigerator filters come with manufacturer guidelines about their use, including vital details about their compatibility with various refrigerator models and how long they are effective before needing replacement. However, filters that have gone past their replacement schedule may still dispense seemingly clean water with no signs of pollutants or funky smell. You should be worried if you’ve been ignoring that red filter light from your fridge signaling for a filter change. Remember that you and your family could be ingesting hazardous pollutants without telling the difference. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Below are tell-tale signs that your refrigerator’s filter could be way past its effectiveness and need prompt replacement. 

  • The Filter Warning Light is On: Most of the new refrigerator designs feature a convenient warning light to indicate an imminent need for water filter replacement when the time is up. Most of these warning lights work by counting down from installing the filter to the end of the estimated working period of the water filter, which is often 6 months. Some advanced fridge models have their indicator light linked to the actual real-time status of the water filter. 
  • 6 Months have Elapsed: You might want to consider changing your water filter if it has been 6 months since the last replacement. Most manufacturers recommend this timespan as the ideal service time for water filters. Water filters often come with a sticker where you can indicate the installation time as a reminder when replacement is due. 
  • Water Being Dispensed Slowly: One common sign your water filter could need replacing is if your water dispenser has become slower than usual. This could mean deposits have clogged the system, and it’s no longer efficient as before.  
  • Odd Smell and Taste in Water: Water coming out of your refrigerator’s dispenser should only have the characteristic clean taste of freshwater. Anything else is a high indicator of something wrong in the refrigerator system, and more times than not, the cause is usually an outdated, inefficient water filter. 
  • The Ice is Smaller than Usual: If your fridge has been dispensing smaller ice than before, it could signify a failing water filter. A plausible reason for the small ice is the slower running of the filler tube that fills the cube trays. A clogged water filter is usually the cause, and replacing it should work normally again. 
  • Traces of Black Specks in the Water: Quit taking your water the moment you notice traces of black specks in your glass. The black specks are usually the minute flecks of charcoal dust that make up a majority of filters which are usually charcoal-based. The specks show that the water filter is outdated and clogged, thereby leaking filter material into the water. 
  • Water and Ice Appear Cloudy: Fresh and clean water should always be crystal clear, which applies to ice. If your water or ice has suddenly changed and appears cloudy, it could be time to replace that filter. The murky appearance is a sure sign of high levels of impurities. Avoid consuming such water or ice and schedule a water filter replacement right away. Be sure to flush the refrigerator’s system after the replacement. 

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