How To Change A Whole House Water Filter (2023 DIY Guide)

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How To Change A Whole House Water Filter

A whole house water filter is the ultimate investment for healthy and clean water. But in order to keep your filtration system working properly, it requires regular maintenance. Changing a whole house water filter doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive; with the right tools and knowledge, anyone can do it!

There are two kinds of whole house water filtration systems:

  1. Cartridge Water Filters
  2. Tank Based Water Filters

In this guide, I will explain how to change a whole house water filter cartridge or filter media so you can enjoy cleaner water in no time. We’ll go over everything from gathering necessary supplies to safety precautions before beginning work on replacing the old filter.

How To Change A Whole House Water Filter Cartridge

When it comes time to replace your whole house water filters, the first step is selecting the right size for your system. This can vary greatly depending on the type of filtration system you have installed in your home, so make sure to check the owner’s manual if you’re unsure. From start to finish, changing your filter cartridge should take less than 30 minutes.

How To Change A Whole House Water Filter Cartridge System
Whole House Water Filter Replacement

What You Will Need

Once you know what size filter to purchase, gather together the necessary supplies you’ll need to complete the job. These include:

  • A new filter cartridge of the correct size
  • Safety goggles and gloves
  • A pair of pliers
  • A filter wrench
  • An old towel or rag for wiping up any spills
  • Bucket for catching any water leakage

Now that you’re all set, it’s time to start the process of changing your filter cartridge.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Turn Off Main Water Supply: Begin by turning off the main water supply to your home. After you do this, turn on a faucet in the home to remove excess water from the plumbing system. Preferably use a faucet in the lower level of the home. Make sure you do this to relieve excess water pressure before you begin.
  2. Shut Off Filter Inlet And Outlet Valves: Start with the inlet valve first and then the outlet. The valve handles should be clearly labeled, so it’s easy to tell which is which. Your system may also have a water pressure release button, so make sure to press that as well. If your system has a bypass valve, you can also turn that on now.
  3. Place An Empty Bucket Under Water Filter Housing: This will catch any water that might leak out during the process of replacing the water filter cartridge. And it’s always a good idea to have an old towel or rag nearby in case of any spills.
  4. Remove Filter Housing: Gently twist it off clockwise, using either a pair of pliers or a filter wrench. The O-ring should still be intact, so make sure not to lose it during this step.
  5. Remove The Used Filter Cartridge: Carefully remove the old filter. This will help ensure that any trapped contaminants are completely removed from your filter system. Even if the water filter cartridge doesn’t look particularly dirty, it’s still important to replace it as recommended. And make sure to empty the filter housing into the empty bucket.
  6. Remove O-rings And Clean Any Lubricant: Take care not to damage or tear the rubber seal during this process, as it’s vital for keeping your system working properly. Once cleaned, set aside for now. Your new filter should come with a new O-ring, so you may not need to use the old one.
  7. Fill Cartridge Housing 1/3 With Water And Add 1 Tbsp. Bleach: This will help keep your filter cartridge free of debris and sanitize it before use. Once the filter housing is filled, let it sit for at least 5 minutes.
  8. Properly Seat The New Filter Cartridge In The Housing: This will ensure that the filter installs properly while also helping to prevent any water leakage. During this step, make sure to check the O ring for any damage and make sure it is lubricated with silicone grease.
  9. Tighten The Filter Housing Clockwise: Once you’re sure that everything is in place, screw the filter housing back on the manifold and tighten using a filter wrench. Even though the housing should be secure, it’s always a good idea to double-check, but don’t over-tighten.
  10. Open The OUTLET Valve To Purge The Water From The Line: This is an important step in ensuring that your new filter won’t leak. Once all of the air has been purged, close the outlet and turn on the inlet valve.
  11. Flush The System For Several Minutes Before Use: Slowly turn back on the main water line a quarter turn. Once the water is flowing freely through your system, it’s time to test it out. Turn on several faucets throughout the house and let them run for at least 5 minutes. This allows any trapped air pockets or debris to be flushed out, ensuring that your new filter is working properly.
  12. Check For Leaks: This should be done around the edges of the filter housing as well as any other visible joints or connections in the system. If you notice any water leakage, immediately turn off the valves and check to see if there’s a problem with the O ring. If you spot leaks, double check to make sure the O ring is properly lubricated with silicone grease. If everything is working properly, turn the main water line on all the way.

Once everything looks good and your system is running smoothly, you’re all set! With these simple steps, you can easily change a whole house filter cartridge and keep it functioning correctly for years to come.

How To Replace Filter Media In A Whole House Tank Filtration System

The filter media in a whole house tank filtration system plays an important role in keeping your water clean and safe for drinking. Over time, the filter media will become saturated with impurities and need to be changed. Replacing the filter media is not a difficult task and can be done in under two hours. Here’s what you will need and step-by-step instructions on how to change a whole house filter media in your tank based system.

How To Change Filter Media For A Whole House Water Filtration System
Whole House Water Filter Media Replacement

What You Will Need

  • Replacement filter media
  • Ratchet wrench (optional)
  • Container for drained water
  • Funnel

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Turn Off The Main Water Supply: Start by turning off the water supply to your whole house tank filtration system. Open several faucets in your home to reduce water pressure and drain excess water from the plumbing system.
  2. Detach Filter Tank Assembly: Remove the filtration tank from the plumbing connections so it is free to be removed. At this point, you can turn your bypass valve on so the water supply to your home is not interrupted.
  3. Unscrew Tank Head: Now that the tank is free from the plumbing, you can remove the tank head unit. The interior of the tank will now be exposed so you can remove the filtration media inside.
  4. Remove The Old Filter Media: Place the tank on its side so it is parallel to the ground. It is ideal if you have a pair of stands or something to place the tank on as you do this. Be careful as the tanks are heavy when moving them. Take a garden hose and spray it inside the opening on the top of the tank to flush out all the old media. You can also flip the tank upside down to help the media fall out of the tank. Do this several times until all the carbon filter media is washed away.
  5. Refill The Tank With Replacement Media: Before starting the process, make sure to place a cap over the central tube of the tank. This will ensure no media gets in the tube. Now place the provided funnel on top of the tank. Pour the replacement carbon filter media into the tank. If you have any other media like KDF, pour that in after the carbon. After filling the tank, remove the tube cap.
  6. Attach Tank Head Unit: Screw the tank head back on the top of the tank. Make sure any gaskets and o-rings are still in good condition. To ensure the head is tight, insert the handle of a screwdriver into the tank valve and use it to rotate the head until snug.
  7. Activate The New Filter Media: Attach the inlet valve of the tank head to your garden hose with the provided adaptor. Turn on the hose until water begins to run through the tank and exits the outlet valve. Once that happens turn off the hose and disconnect it. The tank now needs to sit for 48 hours to allow the media to activate. After 48 hours, repeat the hose flushing process to rinse the media.
  8. Reconnect Tank To The Plumbing: The tank is now ready to be reconnected to your home’s plumbing. After reconnecting, open the bypass valve assembly if you have one.
  9. Turn On The Water Supply: Slowly open the water supply to start with low water pressure. This will begin filling up your whole house filtration system. Open a faucet in your home to let the system flush for 10 minutes. Note it is not unusual to see a little carbon sediment flow in the water during this time.
  10. Inspect The System For Leaks: As you are flushing the system, check for any leaks around the filter housing unit to ensure a good seal. If there are no leaks you can turn the main water supply on all the way. That’s it, I have led you through a filter media change! Now go celebrate by jumping through your sprinklers with pure filtered water!

Pro Tip: The old carbon filter media from the tank is non-toxic so it can easily be disposed of with your normal garbage. 

With these steps, you can easily change a whole house filter media in your filtration system! Just make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for any system-specific notes. If your system came with a whole house sediment filter, follow the above cartridge filter instructions to change that as well. This will help keep you safe and ensure your whole house water filters are functioning properly.

How Often Should You Change Your Whole House Water Filter

How Often To Replace A Whole House Water Filter

It is important to change your whole house water filter regularly in order to keep your water clean and safe. The average replacement schedule for whole house filters is as follows:

  • Whole House Sediment Filters 3 – 6 months
  • Spindown Sediment Filter: 12 months
  • Whole House Carbon Filter: 6 – 12 months
  • Whole House Tank Filter Media: 7 – 10 years

The frequency of changing the whole house filter depends on the type of filtration system you have and how much sediment, dirt, and other impurities are present in your water. It also depends on the type and micron rating of the filter. If you notice that your water is discolored or has an unpleasant odor, it may be time to change the filter media sooner. If you also experience a water pressure drop, it is time to look at a filter replacement.

What Happens If you Don’t Replace Your Whole House Water Filter

If you do not replace your whole house water filter regularly, the filter media can become saturated with impurities, making it less effective at filtering out contaminants. This could lead to bacteria and other contaminants entering your home’s drinking water supply, which is a potential health hazard. Additionally, failing to change the filter media can cause damage to your filtration system, potentially leading to costly repairs or replacements. Lastly, your water pressure will begin to drop leading to weak showers and reduced efficiency in washing machines.

Can You Change Your Own Water Filter: DIY Vs Professional

Replacing the filter media or filter cartridge in your whole house water filter is a relatively easy task that most people can do on their own. However, if you are having trouble with removing or replacing the filter housing unit, it may be best to call in a professional plumber for help.

Changing a filter cartridge should take no more than 30 minutes to do on your own. It. is a very simple process that most people can complete for a DIY task. That said, a professional may charge $100 – 200 to come to your home and do it for you.

Replacing the filter media in a tank filtration system is more involved. This process will take approximately 2 hours from start to finish, and then the carbon filtration media needs to soak for 48 hours. It can absolutely be a DIY project for most folks. But because it requires more time, having a professional plumber do it will cost between $200 – $500. The good news is that you only have to replace the media every several years!

No matter which option you choose, it is important to replace your water filter regularly in order to ensure your home’s drinking water is safe and free from contaminants.

What If Your Whole House Water Filter Is Stuck

You made the leap to replace your filter on your own just to find out it is stuck! What to do now? If you are having trouble unscrewing the filter housing unit to replace the filter media, a filter wrench is usually the best tool for the job. If that doesn’t work, some filtration systems may have a red pressure release on the filter housing, so check there first. Another trick is to heat the filter housing canister with a blowdryer so it expands and contracts. Check out our full guide on how to fix stuck whole house water filters for additional steps.

FAQs 

Can I change the water filter without turning off the water?

Always turn the main water supply line off before changing a whole home filter. This will save a huge mess, but also prevent particles from entering your home’s drinking water while you are replacing the filter media. If your system has a bypass valve system, you can use it to have uninterrupted water while you replace your filter.

Can you clean and reuse the whole house water filter?

It is usually not possible to clean and reuse the filter media in a whole house water filter. The one exception is a spindown sediment filter that has reusable mesh. In most cases, the filter media in a tank needs to be replaced after being used for several years or a certain number of gallons. A filter cartridge system requires changes every few months.

How do I know if my whole house water filter is working?

You can test to see if your whole house water filter is working properly by taking some samples and testing them for contaminants. If the water sample shows a reduction in contaminants, then your filter is working properly. If not, it may be time to change the filter media.

Do you need to let water run after changing filters?

You should open a faucet in your home and let it run for 10 minutes after changing a water filter. This will flush the system and help to activate the filter. Note it is normal to see carbon debris during this time if you are using a carbon filter media.

Conclusion

Replacing the filter media in your whole house water filter is essential for ensuring that your home’s drinking water remains clean and safe for consumption. It is important to replace the filter media regularly, as failing to do so can lead to bacteria and other contaminants getting into your home’s drinking water supply.

However, changing out a whole house water filter can be tricky, so make sure to follow the instructions that come with your filtration system and use a ratchet wrench if necessary. If you’re still having trouble, it is best to call in a professional plumber for help. With regular filter changes, you can ensure that your home’s drinking water stays clean and safe!

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