Ah, the fridge water filter. One of those pesky little nuisances that every homeowner—or at least every homeowner with a modern fridge—just has to deal with. Every four to six months, there it is, burning like a red, painful reminder of what you had planned for that $40 you now have to spend on filters. But you’re a good homeowner, so you change it.
A couple of months go by—the blink of an eye really—and the indicator light of doom goes on again. Great, another $40 down the drain. But do you really, really need to change it? What happens if you just. stop. doing. it?
We all know what the manufacturers have to say about the matter. Samsung tells its customers that the filter needs to be changed when the indicator light turns red, which happens every six months. Whirlpool is a little more lenient, allowing a generous six to nine months before your fridge becomes a clogged wasteland.
But check out the number of results that pop up when you Google “do i really need to change the water filter in my refrigerator.” Judging by the sheer amount of queries out there, it’s clear that people have some questions. And that’s where this post comes in. Today, we’ll answer the big filter question once and for all, so you can rest easy, knowing your hard-earned money isn’t going to waste.
To Change or Not to Change, That Is the Question
When it comes to changing your water filter, the lines are pretty fiercely drawn between those who’d do nearly anything to feel like their water was purer and cleaner, and those that think manufacturers are just trying to lure you into spending your hard-earned money on yet another contraption you don’t really need.
Those who fall into the latter camp often claim to have been instructed by a pro who told them filters are really a scam. Or they’re people who’ve noticed that if they open and shut the filter door, the light shuts off, leading them to wonder if those little indicators even really mean anything. And then there are folks who think, “okay but my local water treatment plant already filters the water. Do I really need to filter it twice?”
Appliance dealers and repair specialists mostly advise that you stick with the manufacturer’s’ recommendations here and replace the filters every six months or so. The reason has less to do with the quality of the water or how “clean” it is—although that’s a part of it. It’s because eventually, the filter will collect sediment, first clogging it and then jamming up the ice maker and water dispenser. And that can mean an expensive fridge repair. In fact, if you have really hard water, you may want to change it a little more often, just to keep yourself in the clear.
Buy Filters in Bulk to Save Money
Okay, so you’re pretty much going to have to buy filters if you want to keep your fridge happy. But you don’t have to spend a fortune on them. Refrigerator water filters can be purchased online in bulk packages, which will save you tons of dough in the long run.
For instance, this three-pack of Samsung filters will run you about $120 on Amazon, where as a single filter costs $44.99. Sure, it’s not exactly a steal, but it’s better than paying full price!
Or Bypass the Water Filter Line Altogether
But maybe you don’t care about highly-filtered water at all. Maybe you’re just fine drinking straight from the tap, but you prefer the ice-cold temperature of nicely chilled water. You’ll probably be thrilled to learn that you don’t have to use the filter function in your fridge. In fact, you can install a filter bypass that will keep your water from ever touching the filter.
As you might have guessed from the name, essentially what this does is connect the water dispenser to the water line, thus bypassing the filter. Of course, you’ll have to find a model that will work with your fridge—and drink the unfiltered water afterwards. But you’ll save yourself $80 to $120 a year, which isn’t a bad haul.
So, to recap what we’ve learned: yes, you need to change the fridge filter unless you plan on doing a little work to get around it. But you can also score cheaper filters by doing a little browsing online. And while you’re at it, check out the Offers section in your HomeBit app to see if you can score some more sweet bargains to go along with it. Now there’s some refreshing news!