USA Water quality is supported by its audience. If you buy something through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more

How Long Do Water Filters Last?

Fact checked by Stephen Conklin

How Long Do Water Filters Last

Water filters are as important as water itself. Without them, you could be drinking the undrinkable – contaminants, sediments, and who knows what else? Now you might be wondering – How long do water filters last?

Although they don’t expire, water filters do lose their effectiveness. Within the few months of its lifespan, it will build up with the stuff it kept from you.

You will notice the color of your water looking strange, and you’ll catch a whiff of a stench. Fill your noggin with the know-how on water filters and save yourself the dangers of downing pollutants.

Table of Contents

What Are Water Filters, And How Do They Work?


The importance of clean water dates as far back as the Ancient Egyptians’ time, when water was filtered using sand. Filters work as a super-fine sieve that catches the super-fine particles you shouldn’t be drinking. A water filter’s gatekeeping abilities are microscopic, but its effects are enormous.

What Kind Of Water Filter Do I Have In My Home?

The first step to water filter maintenance is to know what type of filter you have. Most standard domestic filters are mechanical and absorptive. They are built with a fine porous mesh and contain activated carbon granules that filter out contaminants. They are also aptly named according to where they are installed.

A Whole House Water Filter attaches to the main pipeline of your home. It’s recommended that you have this checked by a professional every six months. If your source is well water, it may only last for three months. You can learn more about how long whole house water filters last here.

Refrigerator Water Filters keep out contaminants from the water dispenser built into the refrigerator, providing you with cold water and ice as you please. These water filters usually last about six months.

Low-cost filters like Faucet Water Filters need to be changed regularly. They usually last for about 3 to 5 months but may not last as long in busy households.

On the other hand, Pitcher Water Filters can last for up to six months but will need to be changed more frequently if used multiple times in a day.

Under Sink Filters can last 9-12 months, but a more iffy water source will cut down its estimated lifespan to six months.

The ever-so-popular and highly recommended Countertop Water Filters can last up to 12 months before being replaced (manufacturers claim). Of course, this will still be dependent on usage and water quality and may only last for six months.

Depending on the number of people who use the shower in a day, Shower Filters can last from 2-3 months to six months. If this is your first time hearing about shower filters, these reduce chlorinated water’s dangerous effects on the skin. Find more information about shower filters here.

Can You Measure The Lifetime Of A Water Filter?

Manufacturers will try to convince you that their filter can filter up to x gallons after y months of use. However, this will be influenced by your water supply quality and the number of people in your household.

Here’s a little word problem for you: a company advertises its water filter as being able to filter 40 gallons before becoming ineffective. Two households purchase this filter. The first house consumes a gallon per day, while the second consumes half a gallon per day. Which family do you think will need to replace their filter after just 40 days?

Do take note that if your primary source is municipal water, this means the water coming into your house has already been treated. Treated water means that most of the contaminants have already been taken out for you. Your filter’s job here is mainly to remove sediments and that chlorine taste.

However, if your primary source is well water, your water filter will have its work cut out for it. Your water filter may need to be replaced as often as every two weeks, depending on your well water quality. Know more about well water testing here.

How Will I Know When To Change My Water Filter?

In the case of changing your water filter, you’re better off nipping it at the bud. You should keep an eye out for how your water tastes, smells and looks. If the water is having a hard time getting out of your faucet or dispenser, it’s probably already clogged with gunk.

Ideally, you replace your filter before any of these happen. You can use stickers and a cling calendar to keep track. Set up alarms on your phone. Conveniently, some water filters even come with electronic indicators that notify you if your filter needs changing.

How Much Does A New Water Filter Cost?


A water filter manufacturer will sell replacement filter packs made, especially for the filter. Generic brands are cheaper and easily found, but they usually don’t last as long.

According to this website, a whole house water filter system is estimated to cost you somewhere around $1,000 to $4,200, with replacement cartridges usually costing less than fifty bucks. A new under sink system is about $50 to $200, while countertops range from $60 to $500. Their replacement packs usually cost less than $50.

Shower filters usually cost less than $50, with pricier ones showcasing filters already built into the shower. Faucet filters go for as cheap as $2 to as costly as $200. Replacement refrigerator water filters will depend on what fits into your refrigerator. Generic ones are sold for as low as $5, while branded ones go for more than $500.

Are There Other Ways To Filter Water?

The mechanical-absorptive filters installed in your home does an excellent job at keeping bacteria at bay. Still, it comes with its own set of limitations. For water to be purified entirely, it needs to undergo immense pressure. Individual particles need to be removed chemically to ensure that water is safe for boiling.

Other filtration methods you should know about, besides absorption, are mechanical, sequestration, ion exchange, and reverse osmosis. A lot of water filters in the market combine some of these methods.

  • Mechanical filters are made of ceramic or mesh that will filter out large debris and ultra-fine dirt. Their ability to remove different sized particles are rated in microns.
  • Sequestration chemically isolates substances that need to be removed.
  • Ion Exchange softens hard water by exchanging magnesium and calcium with sodium or hydrogen.
  • Reverse Osmosis is highly effective in water purification. The process involves applying pressure on inorganic solids into a semipermeable membrane. The process forces the water to go through, leaving most of the contaminants behind. You can learn more about these different filtration methods here.

Health, Safety, And A Trusted Water Filter

A well-built water filter will be worth the time and money you’ll be investing in it. Nothing is built to last, but the effects of taking the proper precautions will carry on for a lifetime.

Hope you learned something from this post on how long do water filters last. Stay tuned for more from us!

5/5 - (1 vote)