How Long Do Shower Filters Last? (+How Often to Replace)

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Wondering how long a shower filter lasts? We’ve answered the question in this guide.

πŸ“Œ Key Takeaways

  • Shower filters usually last for 10,000 gallons, or 6 months.
  • Factors affecting the lifespan of a shower filter are your water usage and quality, and the filter size and type.
  • Signs you need to replace your shower filter include a significantly reduced flow rate and increased skin and hair problems.

πŸ“ˆ How Long Does A Shower Filter Last?

A typical shower filter can filter about 10,000 gallons of water before it needs to be replaced. This amount of water is equal to about 6 months, assuming that your daily shower time is fairly average.

shower head filter

πŸ“– What Affects The Lifespan Of a Shower Filter?

The lifespan of a shower filter cartridge is affected by:

Your Water Usage

10,000 gallons of shower water use might look different in your home than it does in other people’s homes.

If you have a large family, more people will use your shower per day, and more water will be used.

That means that 10,000 gallons might not last you 6 months – it might only last you 4 months.

Your Water Quality

The quality of your water affects how quickly a shower head filter will become clogged, and how frequently it’ll need replacing.

The more contaminants your water contains, the faster the filtration media will become clogged. A clogged water filter will reduce your flow rate to the point that a new shower filter is essential.

Water testing with tap score

The Filter Type & Size

The type and size of a showerhead filter will determine the number of contaminants trapped in the media, and the available space to trap these contaminants.

Certain filter types, like carbon filters, have a large surface area, which helps extend their lifespan by offering plenty of room for contaminants while still allowing water particles to pass through.

Some more complex filter media, or filters made from multiple media types, may trap a higher quantity of contaminants, resulting in a faster buildup and reducing the filter’s lifespan.

replacing a shower filter cartridge

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πŸ”Ž 3 Signs You Should Replace A Shower Filter

Most shower filters display the following signs when they need to be replaced:

Reduced Water Flow

Filtered shower heads do restrict water flow somewhat, but if your water’s flow rate slows by more than half, it’s a sign that the filter media is too clogged with contaminants and a replacement filter is needed.

The slower the flow rate and the lower the water pressure, the more clogged the media. Eventually, the filter will become so clogged that the flow of water from your showerhead will be nothing more than a trickle.

Increased Skin & Hair Issues

Shower head filters are supposed to remove chlorine, which is known to irritate skin and hair. So, an increase in skin and hair issues may suggest that your shower filter is no longer removing contaminants and a new filter is needed.

Dry hair and itchy skin

Changes To Water Smell

Chlorinated water has a mild chemical odor, which you shouldn’t smell if your shower filter is working properly. Shower water filters can only remove so much free chlorine from tap water, and when a filter reaches the end of its lifespan, your water might start to smell like chemical contaminants again.

πŸ“Œ We don’t recommend waiting for these signs before you replace the filter. Once shower filter cartridges reach the end of their lifespan, they’re at risk of bacteria accumulation and media degradation, so it’s wise to replace them after 6 months, NOT when you notice skin issues and poor water pressure.

If you think you might forget to replace your shower filter, make a note in your calendar 6 months on from the install date. That way, it’s impossible to forget.

πŸ“ Final Word

On average, shower filters last 10,000 gallons or 6 months before they should be replaced. Look for changes to the smell of water, increased skin issues, and reduced water pressure as signs that your filter needs changing.

  • Laura Shallcross
    Senior Editor

    Laura is a passionate residential water treatment journalist who holds an undergraduate degree in Print Journalism and a master’s degree in Creative Writing. Over a span of 5 years she's written on a range of topics including water softening, well water treatment, and purification processes.

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