How to Clean a Water Filter – Step by Step Guide

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We all enjoy a nice, fresh glass of water now and then, but knowing that your drinking water is filtered is even better. It makes you feel even safer and more confident in consuming it. However, with the benefits also come the drawbacks and one of those is the cleaning and maintenance of your water filter. As is true with everything you own, such as your car, your house, your computer, not taking proper care of your water filter will lead it to degrade and eventually break down completely. Besides which, not giving your water filter proper maintenance will eliminate the benefits and harm the standard and purity of your water.

So if you’re planning on tackling the cleaning of your water filter for the first time, you’ll find all the information you need in this How to Clean a Water Filter — Step by Step Guide:

How Do Water Filters Work?

This is How Water Filters Work

Source: ZeroWater

There are many varying kinds of water purifiers, from your industrial-size to residential, and they are all designed to remove impurities from your water so that it’s not only safe to drink and use, but healthier too.

The usual way that a water filter operates is by forcing water through a special mesh that only water molecules can pass through. What this boils down to is that any other molecules, whether they are contaminants or perhaps minerals such as salt, can’t break through this mesh.

How much maintenance and the type needed is dependant upon what type of filter you use.

How to Clean Reverse Osmosis Filters

How to Clean Reverse Osmosis Filters
Don’t let the name intimidate you. It’s not that difficult to clean a reverse osmosis filter.

These water filter systems operate on two distinct levels. The first level is called the reverse osmosis membrane filter, and this is where your system does most of its work. The second level is located in the pre-filters, which normally are composed of or use activated carbon.

It’s important when cleaning these that you wash your hands or don clean rubber gloves before beginning. Also, don’t forget to shut off the water supply going to the filtration system before attempting to work on it.

Step 1: Release the water from the filtration system and tank. Shut off the faucet which is attached to the system as well.

Step 2: Open the casing and take out the pre-filter and also the reverse osmosis membrane. You may require a wrench for this.

Step 3: It’s best you use chemical cleaners to sanitize the system. The manufacturer should tell you which type to apply. If you are unsure, two or three tablespoons of unscented bleach will work just as well.

Step 4: Pour your cleaner into your pre-filter housing. Afterward, completely open the bypass faucet and allow the water to run through and rinse to completely get rid of any build-up.

Step 5: Wash or firmly wipe the membrane with the cleaner. Be certain to rinse thoroughly as you don’t want any of the chemical cleaner to remain.

Step 6: Now you can reassemble your system and restart it. All of the above should be done at least once annually.

How to Clean Activated Carbon/Charcoal Filters

How to Clean Activated Carbonwater Filters
This process is similar to cleaning reverse osmosis filters, with the notable exception being that you have to be very careful with these filters. Also, keep in mind that since you are using chemicals, you need to be in an area that has excellent ventilation.

Once again, don your gloves and read the instructions carefully. If possible, cover your skin due to the chemicals and wear a mask or goggles to protect yourself and your eyes.

Step 1: Take a bucket and fill it with half a gallon of clean water that is room temperature.

Step 2: Carefully using a plastic stirrer to add two cups of muriatic acid, stirring constantly.

Step 3: Rinse your filter thoroughly using a hose to rid it of any debris or build-up that may cling to it. Afterward, put it inside the solution and allow it to sink.

Step 4: It will take at least five days before you will be able to remove the filter as you want to be certain to rid it of all contaminants. Check to be certain that the mixture stays at precisely room temperature.

Step 5: Take your filter and place it in clean water for a five-minute soak.

Step 6: Rinse the filter using a hose. When you are sure it’s clean, then reinstall it.

It is also acceptable to just rinse your carbon filters, but it should be kept in mind that doing so won’t effectively remove toxins or other build-ups from them.

How to Clean a Refrigerator Water Filter

How to Clean a Refrigerator Water Filter
Changing the refrigerator filter may seem unnecessary, but it is important to the longevity of your most essential kitchen appliance.

Step 1: With modern refrigerators, there is a slim filter located in the back and the top of the refrigerator. The reason for this filter is to aid the bigger filter and lines which are found at the bottom of the refrigerator. Check on that filter too.

Step 2: There should be a release button. Turn it to the left to pull the filter from the refrigerator. Empty all the crud from the filter and soak it in either rubbing alcohol, vinegar, or soap. After about 15 minutes, take it out and give it about an hour to dry.

Step 3: Replace the filter in its compartment and be sure to secure the threaded openings and/ or lines.

How to Clean a Water Filter With Vinegar

How to Clean a Water Filter With Vinegar
Cleaning a water filter for an air conditioner or humidifier is very important. You need to rid the filter of dust, dirt and whatever particles may accumulate inside it. Also, you want to avoid the build-up of bacteria, which is a health hazard. One economical way of doing this is by using vinegar.

Step 1: Making the vinegar mixture —Combine equal parts of white distilled vinegar and warm water.

Step 2: Remove filter — Place the filter in the mixture of vinegar and warm water and let soak for 1 hour.

Step 3: Dry — Carefully squeeze the filter dry when you are finished soaking it. Let it air-dry as well before you reinsert it.

FAQ Regarding Cleaning Water Filters

Can carbon filters be washed?

The answer to this is yes, however, you should be aware that the filter will gradually lose it’s effectiveness if you continue doing this repeatedly.

Why is my water filter so slow?

It just might be because there are trapped water bubbles in the filter. So to find out if this is the case, place the filter in a large water-filled jar and see if it floats. If it does, you have your answer, air bubbles. Just hit the filter against the sink and that should solve the problem.

How do I know if my water filter is clogged?

If your water is slow in coming out, has a strange smell, or tastes odd, these could all be signs that you need to replace your water filter.

How do you know when your water filter needs to be changed?

Perhaps your water or ice will be discolored. Also, the water can have a strange smell or taste. And lastly, your water may slow down.

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