This Is How Often You Should Be Changing Your Water Filter

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It’s probably a lot more often than you realize.

A lot of items in your home make it pretty clear when they need to be replaced. Your fire alarms beep at you. Light bulbs burn out. Plates are still dirty after running the dishwasher. Your home’s water filter isn’t as obvious, though. As long as the water runs when you turn on the faucet, you assume everything is working fine.

The best practice is to change your water filter, like this one, every three to six months, according to Tommy Webber, owner of Hudson Valley-based T.Webber Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric. “Every home and water source are unique. So, there really isn’t a one size fits all answer,” he says. “It is dependent on the type of filter being used, the quality and makeup of the water being filtered, and how much water your household utilizes.” If you want to change your water filter yourself, you’ll first want to learn the secrets that plumbers won’t tell you.

If your home pulls water from a private well, it may have excess sediment or iron in it. That means it’s probably best to change your filter every three months instead of six. (Simply because it has to clean out more contaminants.) If you have city water, you’re probably safe changing your filter every six months.

One of the telltale signs it’s time to replace your water filter is a noticeable reduction in water pressure throughout your home, says Webber. Also, if you notice a change in the look, taste, or odor of your water that probably means it’s time for a new filter. “As the filter clogs with sediment, it restricts water flow and reduces the gallons per minute it allows into your home. If the filter clogs significantly, your water pressure will greatly reduce. That could put an excess strain on your well’s pump system. (If you draw water from a private well).”

Neglecting to change your water filter can lead to an expensive system repair and unsanitary water. Check out this water filter that Webber’s team pulled out of a house. It hadn’t been changed in over a year. Yuck! You definitely don’t want your water filtering through that before it goes into your glass. Check out these other shocking things plumbers have found while on the job.

Courtesy T. Webber

So, brave through the cobwebs every once in a while to check on your water filter. It’s an important part of your home that needs regular maintenance to keep things running smoothly and your water safe. After you change your water filter, make sure to check for other signs your home is an unhealthy place to live.

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Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is an Associate Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. She writes for rd.com, helps lead the editorial relationship with our partners, manages our year-round interns, and keeps the hundreds of pieces of content our team produces every month organized. In her free time, she likes exploring the seacoast of Maine where she lives and works remotely full time and snuggling up on the couch with her corgi, Eggo, to watch HGTV or The Office.