When you buy something as large as a car or as small as water filter, you will need to service it at the manufacturer’s prescribed intervals. For your car that will mean a trip to the garage and a trained mechanic will undertake the work for you. With your water filter the task is that much simpler, as there are replacement water filter cartridges available that make the job of servicing your unit a snap.
What are water filter cartridges?
Water filter cartridges are an easy to use means of changing the active filtration media of your installed water filter. These cartridges come in many different shapes and sizes, and their contents will vary according to the requirements of the particular filtration unit that you are using.
How will I know when to change it?
When to change the water filter cartridges depends, to a large degree, on the conditions in which the water filter is operating. Water coming from the majority of municipal distribution systems will not require the removal of silt or other sediment so those filters may last longer than the manufacturer states but water filter cartridges such as carbon filters may require more frequent changing due to the amount of chlorine in the water.
Most water filtration units will have a means of alerting you to the need to change your water filter cartridges by means of an audible or visual alarm.
At the very least, water filter cartridges should be changed in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
How would you go about changing a water filter cartridge?
The following steps are a generic guide to changing a water filter cartridge. For more specific instructions you can turn to the manufacturer’s hand book.
Step #1: Assemble the tools that you will need. This will include items such as a screwdriver, a bucket to hold the old cartridge, a bucket of clean water containing a warm, mildly soapy solution, a bucket with clean, warm water mixed with a teaspoon of plain, unscented bleach, and a couple of soft, clean lint free cloths.
Step #2: Turn off the valve that controls the water that flows to the filter.
Step #3: Open the tap from where you normally draw filtered water. This will relieve all the pressure in the system.
Step #4: Carefully remove the covering from the cartridge housing and lift out or unscrew the old water filter cartridge.
Step #5: Carefully wash the interior of the housing with warm, mildly soapy water.
Step #6: Rinse the interior with the clean, water mixed with bleach. Make sure you remove all the soapy water and dry the interior of the housing.
Step #7: Take the new water filter cartridge from its packaging and install it in the clean, dry housing.
Step #8: Replace the cover. At this stage, check any seals or o-rings that may be used to ensure a water tight seal. If any of them look damaged or worn, replace them at the same time.
Step #9: Turn on the valve supplying water to the unit.
Step #10: Allow the water to run through the unit to waste for a short time or until the water runs clear.
Step #11: Make a note on the calendar or in a diary for when you next expect to have to change the water filter cartridge. In this way you will be sure to have a new water filter cartridge on hand when it is needed.
Why must I allow the water to run after installing a new water filter cartridge?
Every cartridge manufactured is done so with due regard for hygiene but the first few gallons of water run through a new water filter cartridge will pick up and carry away small specks of dust that have found their way into the system. It will also soak the filter material of sediment filters ensuring their efficient operation when filtering water for consumption.
Carbon filters, especially, need several gallons of water to clear all the carbon dust that may have collected during the transportation and storage of these cartridges. The few gallons of water that are run through these filters after changing will run black or will, at the least, contain specs of black matter which is the carbon dust washing away. Once the water runs clear the new water filter cartridge is starting to do its job.
Water filter cartridges are essential to the effective and efficient filtration of water in your unit. Ignoring the manufacturer’s recommended life for each type of cartridge is false economy as this will result in the unit not filtering the dangerous elements that you are trying to remove.
Another thing to remember is that generic water filter cartridges are not recommended as they may not fit your filter housing perfectly. Any small gap left between the filter and the housing may let hundreds of gallons of water through unfiltered, a scenario that could be dangerous to your family.