Is Fridge Water Filtered? (Not Always, Here’s Why)

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Wondering whether your refrigerator water is any more special than the drinking water from your kitchen faucet?

In this guide, we’ve answered the question: “Is refrigerator water filtered?” We’ve also discussed how to know if your fridge’s drinking water is filtered, and, if not, how to take your refrigerator water quality into your own hands.

πŸ“Œ KeyTakeaways:

  • Your fridge water might be filtered, or it might be normal water like your kitchen faucet water.
  • Fridge water is only filtered if the fridge contains a refrigerator filter.
  • Refrigerator water filters work to trap contaminants like chlorine, some heavy metals, and poor water taste.
  • You can find out whether or not you have a refrigerator filter by taste-testing your water, checking the common filter locations in your fridge, and consulting your user manual.

πŸ“₯ Is Refrigerator Water Filtered?

Refrigerator water is sometimes filtered; however, this depends on the refrigerator brand and model and whether or not it comes with a built-in fridge filter.

πŸ”Ž How To Know if Your Fridge Water is Filtered

If you’re not sure whether or not your refrigerator drinking water is filtered, here are three easy ways to find out:

Do a Taste Test

First, if you have sensitive tastebuds and you can tell the difference between different water types, try doing a taste test of your refrigerator water and compare it to your normal, unfiltered tap water.

If a refrigerator water filter is installed, your fridge drinking water should have a greatly reduced chlorine concentration. In comparison, your tap water should have a distinct chlorine after-taste and a faint “swimming pool” odor.

Getting water from fridge dispenser

Check Your Fridge for a Filter

Not sure you can determine the presence of a refrigerator filter by tasting your water alone? Follow this up with an inspection of your fridge.

Most fridge water filters are installed in one of three locations:

  1. Inside the refrigerator in a slot in the top right-hand corner.
  2. Inside the fridge in a slot between the two crisper drawers
  3. On the outside of the fridge at the base grille.

If you can’t find a water filter in any of these locations, move on to the next step.

Consult Your User Manual

Finally, check your user manual to see whether or not the fridge comes with a filter.

The manual should document the location of any filter housing. So even if there are no fridge filters installed, you should be able to consult the manual to find out where a filter would usually be located.

If you can’t find your user manual, try searching for your refrigerator model online. This should bring up the information you need.

πŸ€” Do All Refrigerators Use the Same Water Filters?

No. As we mentioned in this guide, some fridges don’t use refrigerator filters at all, and those that do don’t all use the same type of filter.

For instance, some of the more basic built-in refrigerator filters remove contaminants like chlorine and poor water taste – and that’s about it. While these filters will improve your water quality somewhat, they won’t remove all the contaminants from your fridge water supply.

Some fridges have a more advanced activated carbon filter that can remove a greater selection of contaminants, including heavy metals, PFAS, and chromium-6, giving you fresh-tasting water that’s also safer to drink.

If you want to get the best-quality water from your fridge, we recommend looking beyond built-in refrigerator water filters to the bigger, more capable and comprehensive in-line refrigerator filters that are installed at the water pipe behind the fridge. These water filters can remove tens, even hundreds, of trace contaminants from your fridge water.

Removing fridge filter from housing

πŸ“ How To Filter Your Fridge Water

If you’ve discovered that your refrigerator water isn’t filtered, here’s how you can filter it:

Install a Fridge Filter

Your fridge might have a dedicated slot for a built-in filter, even if a water filter isn’t currently installed. In that case, you can install a fridge water filter in this space. Make sure to install the right filter (it should be recommended in your user manual) or check that a filter is designed to fit in your refrigerator model before you spend your money.

If your fridge doesn’t have a dedicated built-in filter slot, you can still install a filter on the water line connecting the fridge to your cold water pipe. This type of filter is known as an inline filter and has a few benefits compared to a fridge filter: it’s usually larger and has an improved contaminant removal capacity and longer lifespan.

Use a Post-Filtration System

You could also consider filtering your fridge water after dispensing it from the refrigerator. There are a few water filters that allow you to do this, including:

  • Water pitcher filters
  • Gravity water dispensers
  • Countertop reverse osmosis systems
  • Countertop gravity filters

The type of system you opt for depends on your budget and will determine the contaminants removed. If you have a smaller budget, go for a water pitcher filter or dispenser. These usually cost less than $100, and the best systems can remove hundreds of contaminants.

Countertop gravity systems are usually more expensive because they have a bigger water holding capacity and longer filter lifespan. Countertop RO systems provide the most thorough water purification and are the most expensive due to their comprehensive designs.

Water filter pitcher in fridge

πŸ“‘ Final Word

Enjoying filtered water from your fridge is a luxury, so if you discover that your fridge has a water filter, great news!

With that said, refrigerator water filters require maintenance to keep them in good working condition, so don’t assume that your fridge drinking water is protected just because you have a filter installed.

Most refrigerator water filters need to be replaced every six months, and replacing the filter is essential to prevent a buildup of contaminants, very slow flow rates, and the accumulation of bacteria and other harmful substances in the filter media.

If you’re not sure how often to change your fridge filter, check your user manual, search for your filter online, or contact the manufacturer.

  • 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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