Does anybody actually drink straight-up tap water anymore?
With all kinds of pollutants infiltrating the fresh water supply around the world and nearly every municipality imposing clean-water measures (including chlorination…yuck!) in an attempt to ensure that urban dwellers don’t suffer from disease, parasites, or heavy-metal poisoning (for example) the water that enters our homes is not only a bit scary, but also none too tasty.
For this reason many people now buy their drinking water in bottles or use filtration systems like pitchers containing carbon capsules that pull impurities from water to make it more drinkable. And many people choose the eminently easy route of purchasing a fridge that comes complete with a unit for filtered water in the door.
But when you start to notice build-up on the nozzle and sediment in your cup, it’s probably time to clean the filter and attend to the maintenance of your system.
Here’s how to do it without a costly call to the plumber
First you’ll need to figure out where the filter is located, and it could vary by the type of refrigerator you own. In some cases the filter is located at the base of the fridge and you can easily find it situated in the grill (it’s usually a round canister that fits into a hole in the grill).
Some fridges have the filter more sensibly located right inside the door where it’s easy to access, but since this takes up space that could be better used to store food, you’ll still find plenty of appliances that opt to hide the filter away at the base of the fridge instead. In either case, removal tends to be pretty simple once you have figured out where the filter is located.
Generally you will just have to grasp the top or the side of the filter (some are designed like a knob for easy handling) and turn it counterclockwise in order to unseat it. Then you simply pull it straight out.
If you feel that the filter is beyond cleaning you could replace it, although this can be fairly pricey depending on the brand of refrigerator in your home (it could be as low as about $30 or much closer to $100 per filter). And considering that you are advised to replace your filter every six months at a minimum (potentially more frequently if you have highly mineralized or polluted water in your area) you might want to spare the expense by cleaning the filter yourself.
As a side note, this is also a good time to check the hoses and connections to ensure that nothing has eroded or cracked.
The process or cleaning the filter is fairly easy, in truth.
You’ll start by tapping the canister over a trash can to discard large particles that have built up (calcification and other deposits) and then submerging it in a warm water bath with a gentle cleanser. Dish soap or a vinegar-and-water concoction are both fairly safe, although you can also find solvents specifically designed for cleaning water filters.
You’ll want to let the filter soak for about 10-30 minutes, depending on how soiled it is, and then rinse it under a gentle stream of water until the water runs clear. Let it air dry sufficiently and then pop it back in.
This maintenance is nowhere near as difficult as most people assume and if it saves you from going to Sears, a Whirlpool outlet, or HarveyNorman.com.au to purchase replacement parts for your fridge then it’s well worth the time and effort.