Whole house water filters are effective long-term water treatment solutions – but only with proper maintenance.
In this guide, we’ve shared our top tips for maintaining a whole house water filtration system.
📌 Key Takeaways:
- Most whole house water filters need maintenance in the form of filter changes, cleaning, and small repairs.
- You might need to do special maintenance on your whole house water filtration system before a vacation or before the system is exposed to freezing temperatures.
- Regular maintenance is essential to keep the filter producing high-quality filtered water and to maintain a good water flow through the system.
Table of Contents
📋 5 Essential Whole House Water Filtration System Maintenance Tasks
1) Replacing The Filters
Replacing the filters is the most important routine maintenance task for all water filtration systems.
Most whole home systems have multiple filter stages, including a sediment filter, one or several carbon filters, and, in the case of reverse osmosis systems, a reverse osmosis membrane. You’ll need to buy replacement filters about once or twice a year, depending on the filter lifespan.
- Shut off your water and open a faucet to relieve pressure and drain the water. If your system has a pressure release button, press it now.
- Untwist the filter housing and remove the old filter cartridge.
- Clean out the housings if necessary (see below).
- Dispose of the old filter and replace it with a new filter cartridge.
- Screw the filter housing back onto the system.
We’ve shared a much more in-depth guide on how to clean your whole house water filter system here.
2) Cleaning The Filters
Certain types of filters, such as ceramic filters and spin-down sediment filters, can be cleaned and reused, minimizing costs associated with filter replacements.
You should follow the manufacturer’s instructions in your user manual to properly clean a filter.
📌 We DON’T recommend cleaning filters that aren’t designed for cleaning and reuse, such as carbon filter cartridges.
These filters may be damaged by cleaning, and you won’t be able to effectively remove all the contaminants, so you probably won’t extend their lifespans by much. Plus, many filters need to be replaced to prevent bacteria buildup, so it’s not worth the risk of getting sick.
3) Cleaning The Filter Housings
It’s also recommended that you clean your filter housings at least once a year, or every time you replace a water filter.
The filter housings become coated with sediment and debris over time, as the filter media becomes clogged with contaminants.
When you remove the old filter and install a filter replacement, it’s a good idea to wash out the filter housings. To remove tough stains, soak the housings in warm, soapy water before scrubbing them with a sponge.
Here’s how to clean the filter housings in a whole house water filter system:
- Shut off the water, open a faucet to relieve pressure, and unscrew the filter housings.
- Fill a bowl with warm, soapy water.
- Remove the filter cartridges from the housings and put them safely to one side.
- Put the filter housings in the water and let them soak for 5-10 minutes.
- Use a sponge to wipe down the insides of the housings.
- Thoroughly dry the housings or allow them to air-dry, then return the filters and screw them back onto the system.
4) Sanitizing The Filter Housings (Optional)
In some cases, simply soaking the filter housings in warm water might not be enough to get them fully clean and bacteria-free.
You can sanitize the filter housings once every 1-2 years if you want to give the entire system a proper deep clean.
To sanitize a whole house water filter, follow these steps:
- Remove the filter cartridge from each housing.
- Make a sanitizing solution by diluting 1/3 teaspoon of unscented bleach in 1 gallon of tap water.
- Unscrew the housings, fill them each with a cup of the sanitizing solution, and screw them back on.
- Open a faucet and wait for water to come out.
- Switch off the faucet and leave the sanitizing solution in the filter housings for 30 minutes.
- Unscrew and drain the filter housings, then rinse them out, return the filter cartridges, and run water through the system for 10 minutes to remove the lingering bleach.
5) Making Small Repairs & Changes
If you want your whole house water filtration system to last well beyond a decade (maybe even two decades), you’ll probably need to replace various components when they become worn.
An obvious example is the filter o-rings. These need lubricating or replacing every few months. Some people choose to do this every time they replace a water filter cartridge.
To replace an o-ring in your whole home water filtration system, follow these steps:
- Shut off your water supply, open a faucet to drain the water, and unscrew the filter housing.
- Remove the filter. You should find the o-ring sitting underneath.
- Check the o-ring for cracks and wear. If necessary, replace the o-ring.
- If the o-ring looks okay, clean it and rub it with lubricant, then put it back in place.
- Make sure the o-ring has formed a proper seal before putting the filter back in the housing.
Over the years, other parts of the system may become cracked, worn, dirty, or damaged. You might need to repair or replace the filter housings or tubes if the quality of the system begins to affect its performance or poses a leak risk.
You should be able to find replacement parts on the manufacturer’s website or in your local hardware store. Contact the manufacturer if you need to replace a specialist component.
🔂 One-Off Maintenance Tasks For Whole House Water Filter Systems
There are a few maintenance tasks that are required for a whole house water filter system on an as-and-when basis.
Whole House Water Filter Maintenance Before A Vacation
If you’re heading away from home for 1 or 2 weeks, you don’t have to worry about any special maintenance for your whole home water filtration system.
But if you’ll be on vacation for more than a month, there are a few things that you can do.
First, shut off your water supply. This is recommended even if you don’t have water filters – it means you won’t come home to discover it’s been flooded by a catastrophic leak.
If you plan to turn off your heating in the cold months, we advise draining the system to prevent the inside from freezing.
Maintenance To Prevent A Water Filter System From Freezing
Some whole home water filtration systems are installed outdoors or in a room that may not be heated during the winter months (such as a basement or a garage).
To prevent your water filter system from freezing, install an insulating box around the filter. This should keep the filter warm enough that the media won’t be damaged if the temperatures outside drop below freezing.
❔ Whole Home Water Filtration System Maintenance: FAQ
Why is maintaining whole house water filtration systems so important?
Regular maintenance for a whole house water filter is essential. Changing the filters and keeping the houses clean will keep the system properly maintained and prevent problems associated with an accumulation of dirt, including reduced flow rate and potential bacteria buildup.
Is water filter maintenance easy?
Yes, anyone can perform maintenance on a whole house filtration system. You don’t have to hire your local water treatment professional – maintenance is as simple as shutting off your water supply and unscrewing the filter housings.
How often should a whole house water filter be changed?
You should change a filter in a whole house filtration system every 3-12 months on average, depending on the filter size, type, and complexity, your water usage and TDS (total dissolved solids) count, and the manufacturer’s advice.