By Mark Nelson President Nelson Water:

With more than 30 years’ experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space, Mark Nelson is a Class 1 Drinking-Water Operator and a CBWA (Canadian Bottled Water Association) Certified Plant Operator. As founder and president of Nelson Water in Ottawa, Mark focuses on dealing with challenging water treatment system designs for problem water. He also heads the largest water bottling plant in the city of Ottawa with a delivery network throughout the Valley. 

When you want to provide your family with clean, safe and delicious water for every faucet in your home, you will need a whole house water filtration system. These systems are incredibly effective and simple to use, but just like the air filter in your air conditioner or car, water filters have a finite useful lifespan. Changing the filter is fairly simple, the process will be detailed in your owner’s manual, but how often does a filter need to be changed? Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common questions that are asked about water filter replacement.

Do I Really Need to Change the Filters?

The filters in your whole house system are designed to prevent contaminants from entering your system. This includes materials, such as silt, rust, and sediment that are prevented from entering your water supply. These systems can diminish the quantities of chlorine, lead, and other contaminants, but more advanced systems may have multiple filters to deal with these contaminants. Depending upon your local water conditions it may also be a great idea to install a pre-sediment filter.

If these filters are not changed regularly, there is an increase in the likelihood that unwanted particles can enter your water treatment system. This will pass into your water supply, move through the pipes and enter your faucets and water using appliances. This could cause damage and/or decrease the lifespan of your plumbing and appliances. Of course, the water quality will also be compromised; you may notice a strange taste or odd odor that will persist until the filter is changed. In extreme circumstances, the water may even contain disease causing organisms that could lead to a variety of health problems.

How Many Filters Does My System Have?

This can vary depending upon your particular setup and local water conditions. The more relevant question to ask would be how many replaceable filters are there? Generally, the only filters that you can replace are the sediment pre-filter, and (if you have one) the sub-micron post filter. The majority of the filters in a whole house water filter system, such as activated carbon filters, UV filters, copper zinc and mineral stone filters, salt free water softeners and descalers, do not have replaceable filters. These filtration systems need expert attention during a regularly scheduled service visit.

How Often Should I Change the Replaceable Filters?

The necessary filter replacement could vary a little depending on your local water conditions. Generally, sediment pre-filter should be replaced every three to six months. If you have an optional sub-micron post filter, it should be replaced every nine months or annually.

When Do the Tanks Need to be Replaced?

The tanks will also need to be replaced regularly by a water treatment professional. The replacement will depend on the capacity of your whole house water filter. If your standard whole house filter system has a rated capacity of FB300, it will need to be changed every 300,000 gallons or three years. If the capacity is FB1000, it will need to be changed every 1,000,000 gallons or ten years. If you have a salt free water softener is will need to be replaced every six years.