How often should you replace the cartridges of your water filter

How often should you replace the cartridges of your water filter?

Nowadays, we see water filters everywhere. From homes to offices, this product is becoming more and more common with each passing day.

There’s a high chance you also have one installed in your home as well. So, buying one filter is only a job half done. You also have to take care of it as well.

  • By taking care, we mean that you have to do regular maintenance work on the filter. But, we’re so accustomed to using the device that we tend to forget about the routine.

So, in this post, we will talk into the specifics about how regularly you should change your filter’s cartridges. I hope you’ll find it helpful.

Why is replacing filter cartridges regularly important?

Why is changing water filter cartridges so important?Before we go anywhere else, let’s first understand why it’s so important to regularly change filter cartridges. This is related to our health directly.

As you probably know, in a single filter, there are quite a few stages. These stages or chambers, whatever you might call, work in a coordinated manner to keep our water clean.

  • We all know that tap water is not completely safe to drink directly. They might have some sand, dust, or clay particles floating within.

That’s not all.

  • Some harmful organisms might sometimes come with tap water. For example, in pristine tap water, you will come across various bacteria like E.coli and others.

These microscopic organisms pose a real-time threat to the health of our families. Furthermore, you can find detrimental chemicals like Arsenic, Chlorine, or Lead from time to time.

The water filter is the only defense against these threats. As a result, keeping it healthy is one of your top priorities.

Also, doing regular maintenance makes sure you can use the product for a long time. This can surely help you in the monetary aspects as well.

  • You can keep on using your filter for up to 6 years or more. To make this possible, you should replace the filter cartridges regularly.

Do I have to know about my filter’s design to replace the cartridges?

Understanding the design of your water filterAs we’ve discussed in the previous section, it is very important to regularly replace the filter cartridges. Now, to do that you need to clear some basics first.

The modern filters that we tend to use today are very well designed. Therefore, you need to learn about your filter’s inner structure before replacing anything.

For instance, the filters come with lots of different stages. There are stages like the sediment filter stage which cleans the water from clay, sand, dust, or rust.

Moreover, some filters have stages that can remove chemicals like Arsenic or Chlorine. We name these stages as activated carbon blocks.

That’s not all. In most filters nowadays, you will see the presence of a reverse osmosis membrane. They can purify at such precision the likes of which you’ll never see anywhere.

There are other stages like ion exchangers, alkaline filters, or UV chambers. So, why am I mentioning all these things here, right?

So, let’s come to the point. The thing is most of the modern filters do not only come with only a single-stage. The manufacturers create them as a combination of different stages.

As a result, you’ll see most filters have a RO (reverse osmosis) membrane along with stages like the sediment filter, or a carbon block.

Consequently, the filters have become more and more complex. Their maintenance has become tricky as well. 

Why? Because all these stages don’t have the same materials, to begin with.

On top of that, the product quality varies significantly with the brand. As a result, you might buy a cheap water filter but will end up spoiling more on its maintenance.

So, you realize you need to learn about your product first. Knowing that will help you a lot during the maintenance. 

If you’d like to know more about the different filter stages, you should visit our post here. In this post, we’ve outlined how many stages you need to have in your filter. So, I guess, take a look.

Why do the sediment filters need replacements?

So, you already know there are multiple stages in most filters out there. The first of them all is the sediment filter. 

Now, what’s a sediment filter? How does it work? Let’s first talk about that for a bit. You probably already know what sediment is.

Sediment is tiny clay or sand particles that float within water. Water from rivers, lakes, or other open sources tends to contain these in large quantities.

As a result, the water from these sources is opaque most of the time. Also, if you’re using water from a personal well instead of tap water, you will find more of these sediment particles.

As you can realize, the sediment filter works to remove these contaminants. So, how does this work? Consider a net.

When we throw a net into the water, the water can easily come in and out of the filter. But, a fish cannot. 

That’s because of the presence of the fabric and the gaps between them aren’t large enough.

Sediment filters follow the same principle. They consist of a wirework that only permits small particles to pass through. 

Now, you can realize the smaller the gap between the wires, the better the filter. Therefore, the performance greatly depends on the design of the filter.

Nowadays, you will find a sediment filter almost in every filter. This works as the first line of defense and makes the water free from dust, rust, or clay particles.

Even some faucets come with their very own sediment filter. Now, there’s a problem. Due to filtration regularly, clay particles continue to accumulate around the wires.

As a result, the filters get jammed and the performance deteriorates. That’s why you need to replace these filters periodically.

How often should I replace the sediment filters?

How often should you replace the cartridge of sediment filter?Now, let’s discuss one very important issue. How often should you replace the sediment filters?

As we’ve previously mentioned, the sediment filters get jammed after a certain period. It also depends on the frequency of usage.

For example, if you’re out of your home for a long period and meanwhile, no one uses the filter, in that case, the filter will last longer.

There’s another factor at play here. It also depends greatly on the source of water. If you’re using tap water, you will need to replace the sediment filter less often.

On the other hand, if you’re getting your water from a personal deep well, in that case, you’ll have to change the filter more often. 

That’s because deep well water contains particles from debris and dust at higher quantities.

On average, you will have to replace the sediment pre-filters at a rate of every 6-12 months. 

You should check the following table where we’ve listed the schedule to replace the sediment filters by some top filter brands.

Take a look.

Name of the Water Filter’s BrandHow often should you replace the sediment filter?
APEC Water Filters6-12 months
iSpring Water Filters6 months
Express water system Water Filters6-12 months

Why is it necessary to change cartridges of pre and post activated Carbon filters?

Now, you know how often it is necessary to change the cartridges of the sediment filters. Next comes the activated carbon part.

So, let’s first gather some basics about activated carbon blocks. After the sediment filter, this one works to remove most of the odor, organic contaminants, and others.

Let’s start with how it works. Activated carbon primarily comes at two distinct shapes. One is granular carbon, the other one comes as a block.

The carbon has an amazing ability to absorb materials from the water. Only in this case, this is not absorption, but rather adsorption.

So, what’s adsorption? The thing is carbon efficiently takes in contaminants from the water and doesn’t let them go. As if it works as glue to attract all these materials.

That’s why we call this special process as adsorption. Get it, because of the adhesiveness of the carbon structure. Now, what do we mean by “Activated”?

The thing is carbon needs more surface area to absorb volumes of materials. So, the higher the surface area, the higher will be the quality of the water.

To increase the surface area, carbon from various sources is heated and crushed. Then, we use this crushed carbon to produce granular Carbon or Carbon blocks.

After grinding, the surface area of the Carbon block significantly increases. That’s why we call them activated Carbon. As a result, they can easily filter out huge amounts of pollutants.

So, you can realize you need to keep these carbon blocks fresh to ensure clean water for you and your family.

How often should you replace the cartridges of the activated carbon filters?

How often should you replace the activated Carbon filters?In the previous section, we got some idea about how activated Carbon purifies our water. That’s why in most filters nowadays this is added as extra security.

Activated carbon is very effective to clean up chemicals like Chlorine. It can also remove pesticides, fertilizers, and other harmful substances. 

Most importantly, it makes water odorless. Now, like all the sediment filters, it also needs routine maintenance. Why?

We’ve previously mentioned activated Carbon absorbs chemicals and deposits them in its huge surface area. Although plentiful, it also has its limits.

As more and more materials get trapped, the surface area becomes narrower. So, when there’s no blank area left, the odor and other contaminants can easily seep through.

That’s why you need to make sure the Carbon block is fresh and working. You need to replace them before they run out of space.

In most filters, you will see two different stages of Carbon filters. One stays before the reverse osmosis membrane, the other stays after.

That’s why they are better known as pre and post-filters. You need to run maintenance regularly for both.

Now, what’s the timeline of that, right? The answer can vary largely. Depending on the quality and the brands, some Carbon cartridges might need replacement within 6 months.

Unlike those, some other activated Carbon cartridges may give you almost 2 years to spare. On average, you should at least replace the activated Carbon cartridge once a year.

To help you with that, we also have compiled a chart showing how much time you will get depending on the brand. Please, take a look.

Name of the Water Filter’s BrandHow often should you replace the Carbon blocks?
APEC Water Filter2-4 years
iSpring Water Filter12 months
Whirlpool Water Filter6 months
Express water system Water Filter12 months

Is it necessary to replace the Reverse osmosis membrane?

Next up, let’s talk about the heart of most modern filters. That would be the reverse osmosis (RO) stage. You probably know by now that it is the most vital portion of any filter.

The RO stage consists of a very sensitive membrane. This membrane has some very distinct characteristics. It only lets water pass through it while disrupting other chemicals in the water.

Depending on its selective nature, we call this one the semipermeable membrane.  So, you realize, this is the stage that needs all the attention.

The reason is pretty straightforward as well. If you want to remove chemicals like Lead or Arsenic, this is the stage you turn to.

Therefore, you need to make sure the RO membrane is functional all the time. It, in turn, ensures you get fresh and clean water.

How regularly should you replace the Reverse osmosis membrane?

How often should you replace the Reverse osmosis membrane?The lifespan of the RO membranes can vary largely. It depends on more than one factor. So, let’s first learn about them one by one.

The presence of Chlorine in the water can be very damaging for the RO membrane. That’s why most reverse osmosis filters provide carbon blocks to reduce Chlorine content in water.

That’s why you need to keep the pre Carbon filter in check. These pre-filters will significantly reduce the Chlorine in water and will lessen the stress on the RO membrane.

One other important factor is the number of chemicals in the water. You can measure it through TDS (total dissolved solids) of the water.

If TDS is high, the RO membrane will need to remove more chemicals to produce clean water. On the other hand, if TDS is low, the RO membrane will last longer.

To reduce chemical content from water, you can use water softeners. So, to keep your filter safe and secure, you should test the water quality regularly.

One other thing, some RO filters have their indicators to show the condition of the RO membrane. If this shows the red flag, you should replace the RO membrane then and there.

On average, if everything is fine, the RO membrane can last 2 to 4 years. It also largely depends on the quality of the product.

Based on whatever product you have, you should at least replace the RO membranes every 1 to 2 years. 

To help you in this, we’ve compiled a list of different brands of water filters with the corresponding life span of the reverse osmosis membrane.

Please, take a look.

Name of the Water Filter’s BrandHow often should you replace the RO membrane?
APEC Water Filter2-4 years
iSpring Water Filter2-3 years
Whirlpool Water Filter6 months
Express Water Systems Water Filter1 year

Is it necessary to replace the alkaline filter or ion exchangers?

The ion exchangers are not always present in the water filters you see. You will only find this one in the high-end ones. But, that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful.

The ion exchanger unit is also known as the alkaline filter. You can probably guess from the name what it is. Its primary function is to increase the pH of the water.

There is a tiny problem with the RO membrane. When water flows through it, it strips the water off the chemicals. But, among these chemicals, there are some mineral contents as well.

Due to the loss of these mineral substances, water becomes slightly acidic. To lessen the acidity, some filters come with an additional stage of an ion exchanger.

What this ion exchanger does is pretty simple. It adds some healthy ions like Sodium, Calcium, and Magnesium. These ions reduce the acidity and keep the pH at the natural level.

So, if you have a problem with acidity, this one can be very handy. And, like all the other stages, it also needs some maintenance.

How often should you replace the ion exchangers?

How often should you replace the alkaline filter/ ion exchangers?As we’ve previously discussed, the alkaline filter i.e. the ion exchanger can be very helpful for your health. Therefore, you need to make sure this is working properly.

To ensure this, you need to run maintenance periodically. As only a very few water purifiers come with ion exchangers, you need to first make sure whether your filter has one or not.

In general cases, an ion exchanger will last about 6 months. Therefore, if you have a filter with an ion exchanger, you should replace its cartridges every six months.

To assist you, here’s a list showing you how regularly the ion exchangers need replacement. I hope you’ll find this helpful.

Name of the Water Filter’s BrandHow often should you replace the ion exchangers?
APEC Water Filter6-12 months
iSpring Water Filter6 months
Express Water Systems Water Filter6 months

How often should you replace the battery of the UV filter?

How often should you replace the batteries of uv filter?Some of us also use filters that have a UV chamber inside. This one works as a sterilizer. So, you realize this one removes all the harmful organisms from the water.

The UV chamber works as extra security for this type of filter. Most of the microorganisms get filtered in the Carbon block and reverse osmosis membrane.

So, the UV chamber kills those bacterias and viruses that got through the above stages unharmed. You will find this additional stage only at a handful of filters.

How does that work? UV chambers throw ultra-violet rays towards these harmful organisms. In turn, those decompose. To produce UV rays, it uses a battery.

The UV battery like all other natural batteries won’t last forever. But, on average, it will stay functional for up to 6 to 12 months based on your usage.

For example, the batteries of the Express water system 11 stage water filter can generally last up to 6 months. So, you will need to replace it every 6 months.


This goes without saying the water filters are becoming more and more useful in our everyday life. Keeping it functional means you don’t have to worry about your water.

Like all other products, it needs routine checkups as well. But, we can hardly find time in our day to day life. Therefore, you need to keep a timetable to ensure your filter is working properly.

Worry, not. In this post, we talked about how regularly you need to replace all the different portions of your filter. To assist you further, we’ve compiled a table showing everything.

Take a look. And, if you find this helpful, don’t forget to share it with all your friends. They can also find answers to some of their questions as well.

Water Filter’s BrandSchedule to replace the sediment filterSchedule to replace activated Carbon blocksSchedule to replace RO membraneSchedule to replace Ion exchangerSchedule to replace UV Battery
APEC6-12 months2-4 years2-4 years6-12 months
iSpring6 months1 year2-3 years6 months
Whirlpool6 months6 months
Express Water6-12 months1 year1 year6 months6-12 months

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