Getting the right refrigerator water filter and knowing when to replace it are the two most important aspects to help ensure that you and your family always have clean, healthy water to drink. There are impurities in all natural water, regardless of the source. Even minerals, when they reach a certain level, can make your water unsafe. A local water quality report, sometimes called a consumer confidence report, can provide information on the type and level of contaminants in your drinking water and the source of these contaminants.
Whats in your water?The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) posts many local water quality reports online, and also operates a Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791). The hotline can give you information on state-certified testing labs and your local health department, many of which offer free testing kits.
Some potentially hazardous contaminants also may already be present in your home plumbing system. You may want to have your water tested if you think your pipes may be leaching lead. Check the EPA website to find a local lab that will test for lead in your water.
Choosing the right filterMost refrigerator water filters use carbon, because of its ability to absorb many of the chemicals found in water. Filters that meet NSF/ANSI 42 certification standards use GAC (granular activated carbon) to attract chemicals and impurities that create odor and bad taste and may cause health problems. Some refrigerator water-filter systems also include fiber water filters made of tightly wrapped rayon or spun cellulose fibers. These filters trap rust, lead, and other sediments and work best when used with other types of filters such as the GAC type.
The more your filter is used and the more contaminants your water contains, the more often your filter should be replaced. As a general rule, you should change your filter every six months. However, if the level of contaminants is high and your household water usage is above average, you should consider replacing your filter more often.
Refrigerators with the water filter in the base grille make replacement easy. Another good feature to look for is a water filter status light, which lets you know when it's time to change the filter.
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