How To Change a Fridge Water Filter

Person filling a clear glass with water from a refrigerator water dispenser

Without a refrigerator water filter, the water your fridge dispenses would be no cleaner than water from the faucet. A modern or smart refrigerator has two types of filters: an air filter and a water filter, both of which remove unwanted bacteria and particles.

It's important to know when and how to change your fridge water filter to maintain its efficiency and prevent the buildup of food, dust particles, and minerals. Here, we'll walk you through changing different types of fridge water filters, explain maintenance best practices, and answer some commonly asked questions.

When Should You Change a Fridge Water Filter?

A good rule of thumb is to change the fridge water filter every six months. However, if you notice poor water flow, a change in water taste, or an odor, you should change the filter right away. If you have a touchscreen refrigerator with a filter indicator light, simply change the filter when the light flashes. This will keep your ice and water tasting great.

Six signs it’s time to replace your water filter

Signs it’s time for refrigerator water filter replacement include:

  • Water coming from the fridge dispenser tastes or smells bad.
  • There are black specks or debris in the water.
  • The water has a cloudy appearance.
  • The water filter light turns on.
  • It’s been more than a year since the last water filter replacement.
  • Your refrigerator is not dispensing water.

Why You Need To Replace Fridge Water Filters

Changing your refrigerator's water filter is beneficial for your health. Impurities like rust, loose particles, bacteria, and debris clog the fridge water filter over time, resulting in poor water quality. Regularly replacing your water filter ensures it functions properly, preventing strain or long-term damage to your refrigerator.

How To Change a Refrigerator Water Filter

Close-up of the red water filter sign lit up on a refrigerator

Different types of fridge water filters have different installation methods. Most filters are either in the back upper-right corner of the fridge interior or behind the front grille at the fridge base. You will know you found the water filter when you see a button or knob that you can use to remove the filter, which is a tube about as wide as your palm.

If you need help locating your filter, consult your refrigerator's user manual or check the manufacturer's website for specific instructions based on your model. Here, we will explain how to change the most common types of fridge water filters.

How To Replace a Twist-on Refrigerator Water Filter

To replace a twist-on water filter, do the following:

  1. Begin by looking in a drawer or the back of your fridge for the filter.
  2. Turn the old filter counterclockwise to remove it from its compartment.
  3. Gently pull the water filter out.
  4. Secure the new filter by turning it clockwise.
  5. Run water through the dispenser for three to four minutes to clear away any air or debris.
  6. Reset your refrigerator filter's indicator light if necessary.

How To Replace a Push-in Fridge Water Filter

Person changing the water filter inside a fridge.

  1. Find the filter inside the refrigerator compartment.
  2. Push the spring or release button to unlock the water filter.
  3. Pull the old filter straight out.
  4. Remove the cap cover from the old filter and add it to the new one.
  5. Push in the new filter until it’s secured.
  6. Run water through the dispenser for a few minutes to clear any air or debris.
  7. Reset the filter indicator light on your refrigerator, if necessary.

How To Replace an Inline Water Filter

Some water filters, such as inline, require specialized tools and procedures to replace. These filters can be found under or behind the fridge, depending on the model. For these filters, seek professional assistance.

How To Replace a Water Filter on the Bottom of the Fridge

To replace a water filter on the bottom of the fridge, do the following:

  1. Locate the filter at the bottom of your refrigerator.
  2. Depending on the model, you may need to remove a cover or grille to access the filter.
  3. Remove the old filter by turning it counterclockwise.
  4. Insert the new filter and turn clockwise until it’s secured.
  5. Replace the cover or grille, if applicable.
  6. Flush the new filter by running water through the dispenser for a few minutes.

How To Replace a Water Filter Behind the Fridge

To replace a water filter behind the fridge, do the following:

  1. Go to the back of the fridge, ensuring it's unplugged.
  2. Locate the filter compartment near the top or bottom of the fridge.
  3. Turn off the refrigerator's water supply by turning the valve to the right.
  4. Disconnect the water supply line from the filter housing using a wrench.
  5. Remove the old filter from its compartment.
  6. Install the new filter and reconnect the water supply line.
  7. Turn on the water and look for any leakage.
  8. Push the refrigerator back into place.
  9. Run water through the dispenser for a few minutes to flush the new filter.

Tips To Maintain a Refrigerator Water Filter

Now that you know how to change the fridge water filter, it's essential to check it every couple of months to maintain its efficiency. Here are some preventative maintenance tips to keep your water filter running smoothly:

  • Change filter on schedule: Be sure to change your filter every six months or follow the manufacturer's recommended filter replacement schedule if you’re unsure when to do so.
  • Clean fridge and freezer: Keep your fridge and freezer clean to avoid any potential water supply contamination.
  • Check filter light indicator: Check your light indicator regularly to ensure it is always green. Yellow or red means it's time to replace your water filter right away.

Where Is the Refrigerator Air Filter Located?

Not all refrigerators have air filters, but most newer models do. An air filter cleans the air in your fridge, preventing odors and food contamination from bacteria. Most air filters are white, square, or rectangular, and located behind a vent inside the refrigerator. To find the air filter, refer back to your use and care manual from the manufacturer. Look near the rear wall at the top of the refrigerator compartment or anywhere along the fridge walls.

There are signs indicating it’s time for an air filter replacement. These include the following:

  • There’s a foul odor with no obvious cause when you open the refrigerator door.
  • Newer food doesn’t taste fresh.
  • Produce loses its crispness and freshness sooner.
  • The air filter light turns on.
  • It’s been six months or more since the last air filter replacement.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to change the refrigerator air filter as soon as possible.

How To Change a Refrigerator Air Filter

The more modern your refrigerator is, the more likely it is to have an air filter. If you aren’t sure, refer to your fridge owner’s manual.

Instructions for changing the refrigerator air filter:

  1. Locate the air filter compartment inside your refrigerator.
  2. Remove the old filter.
  3. On the new filter, locate the side with the word “front.”
  4. Install the new filter with the word “front” facing outward.
  5. Reinstall the filter cover in the housing compartment.
  6. Close the compartment.

Depending on your fridge model, you may have a cartridge-style filter that requires you to remove the cartridge, replace the filter, and insert the cartridge back into the slot. Check the user manual for instructions on resetting the air filter indicator, if necessary.

Refrigerator Water Filter FAQ

Explore the following questions about refrigerator water filters to keep yours in good working order.

Do You Have To Turn Off Your Water Before Replacing a Filter?

You should turn off the water supply to your refrigerator before replacing the filter to prevent leaks or water damage.

How Much Water Should You Run Through a New Refrigerator Filter?

To ensure the best water quality, run one or two quarts of water through a new refrigerator filter to flush out carbon debris.

How To Choose Between Professional vs. DIY Water Filter Replacements?

If you are comfortable working with appliances and following instructions, you can easily replace your fridge water filter yourself. However, if you are unsure or uncomfortable with the process, it's best to hire refrigerator repair professionals to ensure proper installation and avoid any potential damage to your refrigerator.

Keep All of Your Appliances Running Efficiently

Regularly changing the water and air filter on your refrigerator will help your appliance perform perfectly. You’ll enjoy fresh, clean water and an odor-free refrigerator for months to come.

If you’re having air or water filter issues with your fridge that you can’t resolve, schedule an appointment online with Mr. Appliance or give us a call. Our local service professionals will promptly address your concerns and get your appliance back in top shape.

This article is intended for general guidance only and may not apply to every situation. You are responsible for determining the proper course of action for your property and your situation. Mr. Appliance is not responsible for any damages that occur as a result of any advice or guidance derived from blog content. For the most accurate guidance, contact an independently owned and operated Mr. Appliance business for a professional custom and on-site assessment.