Refrigerators featuring water and ice dispensers allow you to enjoy cool, clean water. To remove lead, mercury, sulphur and other contaminants, these units use a filter that must be replaced on a regular basis. Here’s what you need to know.

When to replace your refrigerator water filter

Most refrigerators use granular activated carbon as a filtration process. While activated carbon captures unpleasant odours and impurities, it loses its effectiveness over time and must eventually be replaced. Many refrigerators will display a warning when it’s time for a change.

On average, a water filter remains effective for six months or about 2,000 liters of water. If you use your water dispenser only occasionally, you may need to replace the filter just once a year. On the other hand, with intensive use, you may notice an aftertaste sooner.

Various water filter models

The size and exact location of the water filter vary from one appliance to another.

For most refrigerator models, the water filter takes the form of an elongated cartridge located at the base of the appliance. This compartment is often covered by a cap for aesthetic reasons. The cartridge is usually simply unscrewed and removed; other models use a push button to eject it.

With some brands, the water filter is instead located inside the fridge (where food is stored). It can be located inside a closed compartment, between the fruit and vegetable drawer (as in the case of Samsung appliances) or be a visible cartridge attached to the upper panel. The cartridge must either be unscrewed or ejected with the press of a button.

What to look for in a water filter

Make sure the water filter you choose is NSF certified, a globally recognized designation that indicates the product complies with the safety and quality standards of an independent public health organization.

Some water filters perform better than others, or are more effective at removing specific contaminants; pay attention to this information when comparing products.

OEM water filters, made by the same manufacturer as your refrigerator, are always a safe choice. However, our technicians report that Swift Green brand water filters (available in big-box stores, online and from our Parts Department) work very well at a more affordable price.

Make a note of your appliance’s make, model and serial number to ensure you purchase the correct original water filter or a generic model that’s compatible. When in doubt, contact our specialists to have the right part retrieved from our warehouse and prepared for pick-up or home delivery.