Water Filter Cartridges, Guide To Buying And Replacement

A water filter cartridges buying and replacement guide that tells you all you need to know about the different cartridges for water filtration systems.

Cartridges are used in water filtration systems to purify your water. It is the water filter cartridge that requires replacement, not the entire filter system. It is crucial to maintain the cartridge and replace them on time for optimal results

How long does a cartridge last for?

All filter cartridges come with an approximate working life which is known as the Life Span. The life span of the filter is also what is referred to as its capacity. Capacity is the amount of water that a cartridge can filter before it needs replacement.

Counter-top, under counter and faucet filters have more filtration capacity than water filter pitchers. You must factor in the cost of filter replacement to get a better idea of the annual cost of installing a filtration system

How do water filter cartridges work?

The filter cartridge is made up of media that captures contaminants from the water and removes it from your water flow. The impurities get left behind in the filter media. Once the media reaches its saturation point, the filter is no longer able to remove the contaminants and becomes useless.

Not only will it become useless, it may start collecting harmful bacteria. Another problem is that the collection of contaminants will clog the system and reduce the water flow.

In some systems you may be able to remove the contaminants by washing and cleaning the cartridge, however most times a replacement is needed.

Water softeners and reverse osmosis filters require more maintenance. Reverse osmosis filtration system require not only replacement of their cartridges but also have a membrane that needs replacement every 2-3 years.

Water softeners work by using salt ions to remove magnesium and calcium from the water supply. This salt gets used up as time passes by and requires replacement.

Manufacturers will have additional instructions on how to maintain these two types of filter, therefore it is important to follow those guidelines

Quick guide to water filter cartridges

Below is a quick guide to the different types of cartridges available. If you want to know more about the different filtration systems just click on the links above each brief description. Those links will take you to pages on this site that contain more in-depth detail on the specific types and how they filter your water.

1. Carbon Water Filters

These cartridges are excellent for removing particles such as chlorine, volatile organic compounds (VOC), and sediment. However, they are not suitable for removal of salts, minerals or dissolved inorganic compounds.

Certain particles like nitrates, sodium, fluoride and other toxic metals would slip right through.

2. Ceramic Water Filters

These are an effective and reasonably cheap method of drinking water filtration. They operate by filtering dirt, bacteria and debris from the water by passing it through the small pores of the ceramic material.

They contain two cylinders, one for pouring the unfiltered water, which blocks anything that is bigger than the pores of the ceramic and the second one filters the clean water onto the other side. This filter is great for blocking protozoa, bacteria and microbial cysts, but viruses are small enough to slip through, so this form of filtration will not provide protection against the previously mentioned contaminants.

3. Reverse Osmosis Filters

Reverse osmosis is good filtration system for removing contamination such as arsenic, chlorine, fluoride, sediment, iron, bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, nitrates, many microorganisms, bad tastes and odor.

All Reverse osmosis systems operate in the same basic manner. However, there is a significant difference between the basic and the more advanced versions of this type of water filtration system.

4. Refrigerator Water Filters

Most water filters for refrigerators use a filter medium known as activated carbon water filters. The use of Carbon for filtration purposes is ancient and still very much in use. The simple reason for its continued popularity is that it is an extremely effective method of water filtration. Carbon has an amazing ability to absorb whatever it comes in contact with. The purified wtaer passes through but leaves the contaminants behind in the carbon. These are also referred to as charcoal water filters.

Tips for buying and replacing water filter cartridges

1. There are a few things to consider before you decide on buying a filtration system. You must consider the frequency at which the cartridge needs replacement. This information can easily be found in the manuals.

2. Unless you are tracking every gallon of water used, it will be hard for you to know how much you have used before you need to replace the cartridge. It is not a bad idea to invest in a filtration system that comes with an indicator.

3. Avoid a lower capacity cartridge because that means more frequent changes, therefore will be more expensive in the long-run.

4. Figure out what other components would require regular maintenance and any additional costs of replacement e.g membranes of the reverse osmosis filters.

5. If you are buying a replacement water filter cartridge make your you have the exact model. Just because the same filtration method is being used by different manufacturers does not mean that any cartridge will do. make a note of its serial number and when it was installed.

6. Always change your filter cartidge before or on the recommended date. Never let it go past the change date. If the water starts to smell or taste bad before that, change it immediately.The same rules apply to refrigerator water filters, the health threat to your family is as real there as it is anywhere. As soon as the recommended time expires, or even sooner if you have any doubts, it is time for a refrigerator water filter replacement

7. Always look for warranties on your filter system, the longer the warranty period, the better. Usually a long warranty is an indication of the manufacturers faith in their product.

8. Only buy water filter cartridges that remove the contamination specific to your water. If you have not had a test performed on your water get it done as soon as possible. With this information you know what you need to get rid of and can act accordingly.