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How to Change Water Softener Filter in a Few Quick Steps?

Fact checked by Stephen Conklin

how to change water softener filter

We love home improvement products that will provide long-lasting service for our household necessities. For instance, a labor-saving device like water softener is essential for our home to eliminate hard water that constitutes numerous problems.

Water softeners remove foreign particles in hard water such as magnesium and calcium, and other mineral compounds which cause limescale deposits on your pipes and water-heating appliances.

Learning how to change water softener filter will help you satisfy your family’s needs for soft water. We must change the filter every three months to ensure that the system will accomplish its task effectively.

Table of Contents

What Will You Need in This Tutorial


I recently installed my GE water softener filter replacement, and the process was manageable. Below are necessary DIY tools and equipment that could help you accomplish the task smoothly:

Water Filter Wrench


A water filter wrench is a unique hardware used to unscrew the housing sump that holds the filter cartridge. This wrench is the first thing you would grab when changing your water softener filter. After using it, you may hand-turn the housing to detach it from the system.

Pick the right size of wrench that will fit around the base of your water filter housing as it will help you remove the housing easily.

Replacement Filter


Your DIY journey isn’t complete without the new filter. You can insert this in your filter housing after removing the old filter. Typically, you’ll hear a pop sound once it is inserted inside, a sign that it fits securely.



For every water treatment system repair, it’s convenient to bring a bucket with you so you can dump the water coming from the filter once it is detached from the system. A lot of water will come through an old filter, so you need to put a bucket underneath to prevent water spillage.

Silicone Sealing Compound


If your filter housing’s gasket or O-ring is loose, you would want to add a generous amount of silicone compound to add a secure seal on the groove walls of your filter housing. This way, it won’t easily come off when you put it back in the housing cap.

This lubricant is optional if you have no issues with your current O-ring. But I recommend using it occasionally because O-rings generally require an ample amount of lubrication at some point to perform in their top condition.

I prefer Silicone compounds because they have excellent resistance to chemicals, moisture, and weathering compared to other adhesives. They can maintain their elasticity and stability in both high and low temperatures, thus, providing a superior grip to your O-ring.

Extra O-ring


This is optional, but some manufacturers recommend changing O-rings once a year because they fail and sometimes break because of rapid water pressure changes. It’s good to have an extra supply if your current O-ring has irreparable damages leading to leaks (minor cuts, pocks or pits in the surface, etc.).

Step-by-Step Instruction


When your water softener filter is clogged with hard minerals, you will notice drastic changes in your home water quality. That’s a tell-tale sign that it’s time for a water softener filter replacement.

Below are the quick and easy steps I followed in changing the filter on GE water softener at home :

Step 1: Switch off the water supply line connected to the filter to stop the water from flowing inside. Switch off the main water valve. It will block the water from coming back then the filter will now be isolated from the system.

Pro Tip: Depressurize your water system before you shut off the main valve. You can open the nearest faucet of your home and allow water to drain for 5-10 minutes. It will prevent severe leaks in the pipelines when replacing your filter.

Step 2: Position the bucket underneath your filter housing to catch any water coming out when you detach it from the system. There can be a massive amount of water, and you wouldn’t want it to spill on the floor.

Step 3: At the inlet cap of your water filter, you’ll see the pressure relief button on the left side. Press this button, and you may see excess water dripping off from its side. It means that the pressure has been released, and you may now remove the filter housing.

Pro Tip: This button usually comes in two colors such as red and black. You can easily see this button as it is the only button on your filter housing.

Step 4: Use the filter wrench and insert it around the housing to unlock it from the cap. Turn the wrench clockwise, and it should loosen the grip—hand-turn the housing to detach it completely but do it cautiously because it will be brimmed with water.

Step 5: Discard the water in the bucket, pull out the old filter inside the housing, and set it aside. Inspect the housing to ensure that no sediments are obstructing the threads.

Step 6: Locate the O-ring and see if it is seated properly. Use the silicone compound and apply the sealant around the groove if it’s loose. Otherwise, if the O-ring is damaged, replace it with a new one before using the lubricant.

Step 7: Insert the new filter into the housing. You’ll probably hear a clicking sound that tells you that you have successfully replaced the filter.

Step 8: Hand-turn the housing counterclockwise to reattach it to your system.

Pro Tip: Don’t use the filter wrench this time because it will tight-fit the housing, and it will be difficult for you to remove it next time.

Step 9: Turn the two water valves back on, open the faucets and let the water sputter and flow. The water should be unclouded if the filter is installed correctly.


  • Water softener maintenance is more straightforward than most of us might think. Typically, you can always check your water softener’s operating manual to determine the best practices you can do to extend its lifespan. One of the main culprits of a malfunctioning water softener filter is poor maintenance.
  • Water softener filter replacement cost will depend on the household size, types of water softening device, site conditions, and installation labor (D. I. Y. or professional plumber). On average, changing a water softener filter costs anywhere from 30 to 200 dollars.


Water softeners have been a convenient companion for homeowners in day-to-day household chores. A faulty filter will indeed interfere with our daily water-using activities.

Now that you have learned how to change water softener filter, you can easily replace it anytime you detect any issues. It also means an uninterrupted supply of soft water for you and your family! How does that sound?

If you have any tips on how you maintain your water softener filter, feel free to share them in the comment section below. Let’s DIY together!

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