As an average consumer of goods and services, one of your regular, if not daily vexations might be: how long do water filters last?
Water is essential to everyone’s physical and emotional wellbeing. It is more important than any other product or resource available for consumption. So it’s important to get clean water to drink for everyone in the household.
It is vital to get the most out of the water that you use in the home, especially for consumption. Your water filtering system is an important component that has to be properly maintained and serviced. If you do it correctly, then it will have a consistent taste and stays pure.
Yet the question remains, how long should a water filter last?
How long do water filters last?
How long do whole house water filters last? There is no distinct answer to the question since it will depend on many combinations of factors.
Many elements like how often you use the filter, the manufacturer’s conditions, the amount that goes through, and the kind that courses through it. These will be further discussed in the sections below.
Also, the filter’s lifespan will be contingent upon either hard or soft water that goes through it.
What do filters do?
If you want to know how long do water filters last, you have to comprehend what filters do. The filter cartridges trap the sedimentary components, chemicals, and other harmful substances in tiny spores, which act as active ingredients.
As time goes by, the pores become filthy from all the goop filtered from the water. When that time comes, it is not able to do its filtering task anymore and you have to replace the cartridges.
If you won’t change it, would not cause harm to the water, but it won’t become clean. You will be using water that’s unfiltered and may cause bodily harm upon ingestion.
Replacing the filter
Whenever anything becomes dirty, you will have to change it, and the same thing with your water filter. If it is too dirty and overused, it will not work as it’s supposed to.
When it is functioning correctly, it halts sediments and rust from contaminating your supply of water.
If you leave the filthy and congested filters uncleaned, the pollutants that should have been filtered out will course their way into the water. They will go through your showerheads, faucets, and appliances and thus, wreaking havoc.
It will also increase the wear and tear and cutting down on their lifespan.
Water filter cartridge lifespan
Your household filter system may necessitate that you change either the sub-micron post-filter or the sediment pre-filter or even both. Not every system has the former, and some are not replaceable.
There is a general rule for sediment pre-filters. They should be substituted every six months, and the rule for sub-micron ones is once a year.
Some filters are available with replacement filters upon purchase, and others don’t. If you want to be proficient, you can purchase the filters beforehand, so you can replace them instantly if an issue arises.
Some filters even have additional components included like descalers, water softeners, and UV filters.
The filter components are the ones replaced first before substituting the filter itself, which is situated in a housing unit. Whole house water filters have water tanks that need to be also changed whenever their effectiveness has expired.
However, they don’t need to be substituted as often as cartridges. Some homeowners even use the same tank for as long as ten years.
Generally speaking, homeowners are advised to replace the tank between 300k to one million gallons.
Dry versus wet filters
Wet filters last less long than dry ones, and eventually, all filters will become wet at some point.
The most effective wet filters last about six months due to the large number of gallons that pass through them and can still depend on everyday use.
Their lifespan also depends on the water source, if it is polluted or not. It will affect its longevity before the filter will get clogged.
When to replace water filter?
Do you want to know when to change the water purifier filter in your home? The answer may vary and depends on your particular water filtering system. Some filter manufacturers place a sort of indicator on their systems, and some do not.
Here are some ways you will detect whenever your water filter becomes ineffective:
The taste and smell becomes different
Whenever the filter does not do what it’s meant to do anymore, the H2O will have an odd taste and odor. It means the minerals and chemicals are not controlled and managed by it anymore.
LEDs and lights
These are the indicators that the manufacturers installed in the system to let the homeowners know that the filters need replacement. Whenever the lights begin to blink, you have to substitute the filters immediately since it will screw up the effectiveness of the lights.
This method is not as effective as the previous ones, but it still works, if you do it properly. It will entail you to pull off pieces of the sticker once a month.
It will give you an idea about how long the filter has been filtering water. However, it only works in tracking the months, and not the number of gallons.
To get to the crux of the issue, you should know everything else about the filtering process, like understanding your water sources and a lot more.
Two kinds of household water sources
In a typical home, there are two common sources of water:
It is the water that you get from the faucet. It is the type provided for you by your local government, which you pay in the form of a monthly water bill.
This type is safe for drinking because it has undergone a treatment process before reaching your home faucets.
These are the H2O amassed from lakes, rivers, dams, or reservoirs.
Here are the different treatment processes:
- Screening – This method strains out bigger particles from the accumulated water.
- Flocculation and coagulation – Positive-charged chemicals like ferric chloride and aluminum sulfate are imparted to the water. Thus incorporating remaining particles into bigger ones called floc.
- Sediment filtration – This process continues in filtering out the leftover particles.
- Contaminants filtration – It utilizes different filter-types like GAC or granular activated carbon, gravel, and sand, which removes any contaminants like bad odor and taste.
- Disinfection – Its processes include chlorination and chlorination, wherein chloramine or chlorine are included in the water supply to terminate viruses and bacteria.
- Storage and distribution – After all the filtration is finished, the clean water goes to different larger tanks for storage and is disseminated to various households, commercial and industrial establishments. And other places along with the water pipework system.
That is the whole process of how clean water is made, which goes through your tap. However, along its entire passageway through the pipework, many things can occur that can pollute it. So you will still need to install a household filtration system to get a better quality of H2O for drinking, bathing, and many other uses in your home.
Private well water
Some rural homes that live a distance from known civilization don’t have access to the municipally-treated water supply. So those bucolic and country-bred homeowners resolve to utilize private wells as their primary H2O source.
Since this water type comes from the ground, it is contaminated and may cause sickness if ingested. Its owners have it tested once a year to know if it is safe to drink.
Contaminants that are usually found in the wells include fluoride, pesticides, nitrate, microorganisms, and heavy metals like arsenic.
Most well owners utilize an RO or Reverse Osmosis water filtering system, which is known to be powerful and can get rid of all the contaminants. Also, water softeners are used along with it. Since the well water is often hard because of the minerals coming from the soil and rocks.
Some well waters are high in iron that enables stains to occur and destroy electrical appliances. So be sure your water softener can handle iron.
Lastly, some well waters have the smell and taste of sulfur, which has the odor of rotten eggs. So be sure your filters can get rid of it.
Different water filter types
Every household needs to have clean drinking water and do not have contaminants and chemicals that make the drinkers ill. An effective water filtration system is a necessity in each house and can get rid of all the harmful elements present in the water.
Currently, there are many kinds of water filters available that you can select to purify the H2O in your household. Each is, of course, different in the cost, method, capacity, lifespan, etc. All of which enables you to pick the right one that fits your needs.
Water pitcher filter
It is self-explanatory: a large pitcher of water with a filtering system inside. It is a cheaper option to get clean drinking water for your home, compared to the others on this list.
Yet the capacity is limited and can amount to only six to ten cups of water. Some of its bigger counterparts can contain up to twenty-three cups. Some have nozzles that are made to remain in the refrigerator except to fill up.
A faucet filter is attached to the kitchen sink faucet. It can let water flow without activating its filtering mechanism.
If you want to get filtered water from that faucet, you only have to turn the switch to enable the function. The water will go through the filter, and you can freshly filter water to drink or any other uses.
Since kitchen faucets are attached to the main water line, the capability to gather clean water will be unlimited, and you can have as much as you want.
This filter type is available in two different kinds.
- The first one has the filtering mechanism on the topmost portion and a reservoir underside to hold water. It can store more water than the previous pitcher filter and can hold up to 2.25 gallons.
The disadvantage is it cannot fit any refrigerator, so you can only get lukewarm water.
- The second one you can attach to the kitchen sink, and is connected is to the mainline. It has its spout or faucet to provide filtered water once it is switched on.
Compared to t first one, it is smaller and compact and would not take up lots of space on your tabletop. However, it is more costly than the previous one.
It can provide unlimited filtered H2O (since it is hooked to the main line), but is slow to create it.
Under the sink filter
This filter type will fit below your preferred sink and attaches to it. Then you can have access to unlimited filtered water.
It has a faucet or spout that you can mount on top of the kitchen sink, along with the other faucet.
This type has either one or many filters that can filter out pollutants in a process of many stages. Once its filters will be deemed unusable and reach the end of their shelf-life, you can easily replace them.
Fortunately, they are more durable compared to other types, so they last longer. It means you would not need to replace them frequently like the others.
Whole house filter
This type is the biggest compared to the others and costlier. It costs many times more but being expensive means it has more power and can filter out all the water in your household.
Its flow rate can reach ten to fifteen GPM or gallons per minute. This type has multi-stage systems that can thoroughly get rid of all the contaminants in the water.
This type also has water softeners that can remove water spots. Installing it in a home requires a professional technician since it necessitates the entire household’s water capacity.
Walter bottle filter
This type is the cheapest one on this list and the smallest. As it implies, it can only carry the capacity of the bottle size, about twenty ounces.
Some have a filter straw that can further filter out the water before you drink it. You can buy these in any retail or sports outlet and a handy accessory to bring anywhere.
As mentioned, this usually is available along with the water bottle filter. You can also buy it on its own and cheaply. It is, as it implies, a plastic straw that has a mouthpiece in one end.
You only have to insert it on any container then drink through it. As the water passes through, it is filtered completely so you can drink clean and fresh water.
It is created to function with any water bottle, which you can bring anywhere.
Ultra violet filter
This type functions in a unique way because it works by having the water exposed to ultra-violet light. Wherein all kinds of contaminants like protozoa, bacteria, viruses, and many more are killed.
Most types are smaller and do not weigh much, and are powered by batteries. However, these do not do a great job of removing sediments in the water. So it won’t work for water coming from the well or any H2O with heavy particles.
Advantages of ultra violet filter:
- It can terminate ninety-nine percent of the pollutants in the water.
- It can be maintained easily and quickly.
- It has a low operating cost and energy usage.
- It is safe to use and friendly to the environment.
Disadvantages of ultra violet filter:
- It only can function with electrical power.
- It necessitates constant monitoring of the light tube and UV lamp.
- It can only remove micro-organisms
- You cannot use it alone for water filtration.
This type gets rid of hard minerals and replacing them with sodium ions. If you think it will make the water salty, it doesn’t and makes it softer.
Soft water has many benefits. If you bathe in it, it will make your hair and skin better. And whenever it dries, there would not be any residue of limescale.
This type is among the more expensive ones on this list and is created for the entire water in a household to become soft.
How long do reverse osmosis water filters last? You have to know how it works first.
It forces the water to go through semi-permeable filters. It gets rid of all the particles, chemicals, and contaminants that courses through it.
However, it also removes necessary materials that are good for a person’s health, like calcium and magnesium.
For this reason, many of these system types have a procedure of alkalization, which balances the water pH. It also returns the minerals removed beforehand.
Advantages of reverse osmosis:
- It has a powerful filtration capability that can get rid of difficult to remove contaminants like bacteria, mercury, lead, etc.
- Longer lifespan can reach two to three years because its membrane is always washed.
- Its output is the freshest, cleanest and purest water to drink.
Disadvantages of reverse osmosis:
- It cannot get rid of chlorine, organic chemicals, pesticides, VOCs or volatile organic compounds, and solvents.
- During the filtration, it lets out excess brine water.
- It will lower the pH level and removes crucial minerals the body needs.
- The whole enterprise is costly.
Portable pump filter
This type is made to be portable for bringing anywhere and can be used in a variety of ways. It is built to be sturdy and proficient to be used for all occasions.
You can make it work by pumping it manually and sucking the water from one end, and letting it out on the other freshly filtered. These work quickly and come with cartridges that you can easily replace.
Gravity or squeeze filter
This kind is also portable like the one mentioned above that you can bring with you everywhere and use for any emergencies. It functions by hanging the reservoir and let gravity do the work, thus pulling the water downwards via the filter.
The water bag reservoir can force the water via the squeeze filter. It is one of the cheapest on this list, but it could not filter large quantities simultaneously.
ACB or Activated Carbon Block
This type is made up of carbon powder that a binding agent holds together and enables it to remain static. It is effective in getting rid of the taste and smell of chlorine in the water. And along with chemicals and pollutants.
Advantages of activated carbon block:
- The price is affordable providing at a high value, regarding the ratio of performance to cost.
- It has an effective filtration of contaminants.
- You can customize it for various applications and designs.
- Te filter has a long lifespan.
- It retains important minerals in the water.
- It prohibits the growth of bacteria
- It does not need a power supply
- You can easily connect it to other filtration systems to get cleaner water.
Disadvantages of activated carbon block:
- You are not able to get a high flow rate.
- It is unable to get rid of viruses.
- It is unable to remove dissolved substances and extra minerals
- You will need an extra sediment filter to enable it function effectively and live longer.
This method has been utilized since ancient times. It is not as famous and used widely as reverse osmosis or activated carbon, yet it is effective in filtering out pollutants.
It works by heating and evaporating the water using electricity, up until it boils. The steam is trapped and condensed into pure distilled H2O.
It is utilized for industrial purposes since this process only produces a small amount of distilled water. It also takes a long time to make it.
Advantages of distillation:
- You do not need to substitute the cartridges.
- It can remove all t pollutants in the water.
- It can get rid of bacteria, extra minerals and dissolved solids.
Disadvantages of distillation:
- It has a low output.
- It necessitates constant maintenance and has a high cost of operation
- The entire process takes a while
- It has a flat taste.
There will always be some form of contaminants in the water in your house. Either if it comes from a private well or the municipal source and has no way of controlling it.
But if you care about you and your family’s health and welfare, you need to utilize an effective water purifying system. It will enable your precious self to live a longer, happier, and healthier life.