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How Long Do Water Filters Last?


*Reviewed by Ken Christopher, Senior Vice President at Rayne Dealership Corporation

One important aspect of installing and owning a water filter is performing regular maintenance so you can enjoy drinking water from your faucet. Most often this maintenance requires a simple and quick exchange of the filtration media used in the system. First, learn the types of water filters there are to understand how to change yours.

Why do you Have to Change a Filter?

Many water filters require you to periodically exchange the water filter within your water filtration system. Understanding why this is necessary can help you better comprehend the question: how long does a water filter last. 

Your water filtration system may have one or more filtration media that are used to remove bacteria and impurities from tap water. If you have a reverse osmosis water filtration system it may have pre- and post-filters that consist of activated carbon, particulate filters as well as the semi-permeable membrane that is used for reverse osmosis. 

Let’s take the activated carbon post-filter as an example. Activated carbon is a special type of carbon that has been treated with oxygen or heat to give it a large internal surface area. This surface area is important because activated carbon filters trap impurities through a process known as absorption, which occurs when a solid traps a liquid or gas along its surface. 

Activated carbon has a large surface area, approximately 32,000 feet per 1 gram, but it isn’t infinite. Eventually, the surface area within the carbon will be occupied by contaminants, which will lessen the filter’s ability to trap new contaminants.


How Often Should You Change a Filter?

The answer to “how long do water filters last?” really depends on a number of factors. These include what type of filter you are using, how many contaminants are in your tap water, how hard your water is, and other factors. 

The product documentation that came with your water filtration system should provide clear instructions for how often you should replace the filters in the system, and some filtration systems have indicators that will provide a warning that a filter needs to be replaced. As a general rule, many water filters last anywhere from 6-12 months before they need to be replaced.

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How to Tell When to Replace Your Filter

If you are asking yourself, “how do I know when my water filter needs replacing?”, there are some helpful tips that let you know you should replace your filter.

The first thing to be mindful of is your product documentation. The manual and instructions that came with your filtration system should let you know when you should replace the filters in your system. It will be helpful to have a replacement filter on hand when the time comes to change it.

If you lost your documentation or aren’t sure when you last replaced your house water filter, you may be able to tell from your water supply itself. As your water filter life-span gets older, it will remove fewer contaminants from your water. This will leave your water tasting and smelling different than when it was fully filtered.

For example, if your water tastes or smells like chlorine, it’s probably past time to change the carbon filter in your system. Carbon filters are excellent at removing disinfectants like chlorine that are used in water treatment. When the filter is functioning properly you’ll have filtered drinking water that is crisp and clear, without any of the disinfectants used in treatment. 

If you still aren’t sure how to tell when a water filter needs replacing, it might be a good idea to have a Rayne Water technician come out and take a look at your system. Our technicians have a deep understanding of all of our filtration systems and will be able to quickly tell whether you need a replacement filter and can even replace it for you if you’d like.

Final Thoughts

To keep your house water filter functioning properly you will need to replace the filtration media inside of it at regular intervals. The exact length of time that water filters last will depend on your system and what type of filtration media are used in your system. Other factors may influence how long your filters last as well, such as how contaminated or hard your water is. If you need more information, visit our guide on what to look for in a water filter.

It is best to replace the water filters in your system according to the product documentation that came with your system. Replacing filters according to the scheduled cycle will ensure that your system is always operating at peak performance. However, if you’ve lost track of time and aren’t sure whether your filter needs replacing the condition of your water supply may be an indicator. If the water from your tap has unpleasant smells and tastes or appears cloudy or discolored, it’s probably time to replace your filters.

If you still aren’t sure whether it’s time to replace the filters in your system, please contact Rayne Water today so that we can have a technician come out and service your system. Our technicians can quickly determine whether your filters need replacing and even replace your filters if necessary.

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Expert Reviewer – Ken Christopher