How to Install a Refrigerator Water Filter

Refreshing water from fridge
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If you have a refrigerator with a water dispenser, you know it has a filter that needs to be changed. Calling someone out to change your refrigerator water filter can waste time and be expensive. Knowing how to do it yourself will save you the expense and have you drinking clean water again quickly.

What Type of Filter Does Your Refrigerator Have?

Before changing out the water filter, you need to determine which of the three filter types your refrigerator has and where the filter is located before changing it out.

  • The Push-In: This one is installed in the refrigerator. You'll find it in one of three places–a compartment in the front bottom, behind the grille or inside the refrigerator in the upper right corner. It will have a push button.
  • The Twist-In/Quarter-Turn: Some people call this a twist-in filter, while others refer to it as the quarter-turn filter. Typically, the manufacturer will have installed this filter inside the refrigerator, also in the upper right corner. Look for a twist release.
  • The In-Line: This one is attached to the incoming water line at the back of your refrigerator. You will have to pull the refrigerator out and look at the back.

Look at the old filter for a serial number, this will help you find the correct filter model for your fridge. If there is no number or identification on the old one, you can search for the filter you need here. Make sure your local home improvement store has the appropriate filter or find and purchase it online.

Changing a Push-In Filter

For the push-in filter, you should only need the new filter.

  1. Eject the old filter by pushing the button next to it, and remove the filter cap (you'll use it again).
  2. Put the filter cap on the new filter, making sure to place the cap so it lines up properly on the filter.
  3. Slide the new filter into the spot you removed the old one from. You will know it is in place when the eject button pops back up.

    Changing a Twist-In/Quarter Turn Filter

    For the twist-in filter, have your new filter and a wrench handy in case the twist release sticks.

    1. Give the twist release a quarter turn counterclockwise. Use the wrench if it is twisted in too tightly. When the filter cap is in a vertical position, pull it and set the cap aside to reuse.
    2. Put the cap on the new filter.
    3. Slide the new filter in and turn the cap clockwise until it clicks back into place.

    Changing an In-Line Filter

    For the in-line filter, make sure you have copper or plastic tubing cutters, steel wool or a file, and a bucket.

    Because of where an in-line filter is and how it connects to the water line, the process for changing it can be more complicated. FiltersFast recommends taking the following steps to change this filter type.

    1. Turn off your cold-water supply.
    2. Between the shut-off valve and refrigerator, locate an easily accessible portion of tubing. Cut tubing, by using tubing cutters for copper/plastic. Cut square not angled to avoid leaks. Smooth cut edges with steel wool or file if necessary.
    3. Remove the end cap on the new filter and insert tubing. Lock into place by holding down the end cap.
    4. Turn the water supply back on.
    5. Hold filter over a bucket and run water until clear. Do this for both ends of the filter.
    1. Make sure to check for leaks.

    Other Steps to Take

    If your refrigerator has a filter change indicator on the front, you will need to reset it using instructions from the owner's manual. Otherwise, use masking tape and a felt-tipped pen or marker to note the date you changed it on the new filter before putting it in. Plan to change your filter out every six to twelve months.

    Once you've changed the filter, run one or two gallons of water through it to clear out any impurities from the manufacturing process. After that, drink up!

    If you like the idea of purified water from any faucet in your home, check out this guide for cost estimates and details.