How to change and disinfect a water filter
If you regularly change your water filter and disinfect anything you’ve touched during the process, your home water treatment system will operate at maximum efficiency and reliably provide clean, delicious water for years to come.
Like most major home equipment, your water treatment system occasionally needs a little TLC. To keep your system operating efficiently and prevent the build-up of some really nasty bacteria, you’ll need to change and disinfect your water filter every three months.
What Happens When You Don’t Change and Disinfect Your Water Filter?
Bacteria that is commonly found in water are Coliform and E. coli. These are naturally occuring. Legionella, E. coli and Salmonella are very dangerous to consume. These are the types of bacteria that can get introduced into water when customers do not wash their hands before changing filters or by not disinfecting when they are done. E. coli and Coliform can and do show up in lab tests because these are what labs specifically test for and are health concerns.
Most of the time in a drilled well it is not common to find E. coli, which is fecal bacteria. When it is found in drilled wells, it is usually due to the well cover not being sealed correctly or from people not disinfecting well after changing a filter.
Here’s the yucky part: When you don’t change and disinfect your water filter, you allow bacteria to grow in both your filter and your household plumbing. That bacteria can develop a slimy, jellyfish-like consistency and, although mostly harmless, could cause an unpleasant odor or taste.
Because seeing is believing, here are a couple pictures we took of bacteria build-up collected from a customer’s site.
How to Change and Disinfect Your Water Filter
If you live in New England, the easiest way to ensure you regularly change and disinfect your water filter is to do it at the start of every season. Or, solstices and equinoxes can provide a great reminder, as well.
Changing and disinfecting your water filter is relatively simple and only takes a few minutes. Read through the steps below and watch the accompanying video to learn how to change and disinfect a water filter.
Tools include a washing machine hose, five gallon bucket and a wrench – and unscented chlorine bleach for disinfecting.
- Make sure that you turn the water off and isolate the system. Turn your number one ball valve so it is perpendicular with the plumbing. Then, turn the number three ball valve so it’s perpendicular with the plumbing, too.
- Here’s a helpful “cheat:” Attach one end of a washing machine hose to your water supply and place the other end of the hose in the bucket.
- Press the red button on top of your filter to open this valve and siphon the water from the lines into the bucket instead of getting water all over your basement floor.
- Once you have enough water siphoned into your bucket, stop and turn the valve off.
- Take your wrench, get it in a good position over the filter case where you can get some torque on it – and remember “Lefty Loosey.”
- Once you get it loose, you don’t need the wrench anymore. But you always want to keep a hand underneath the filter case; it’s going to be a little bit heavier than you might think.
- It takes a few spins to remove it.
- The filters come with an O-ring on the top, so when you go to dump your filter’s water into the bucket, you don’t want to lose the O-ring.
- Dump your water into the bucket.
- Take the old cartridge filter out of the case.
- Grab your new sediment filter.
- Place that in the filter housing.
- Anytime you open up the plumbing or touch anything in your water, you always want to make sure that you disinfect. We use household bleach. Just place a drop in the middle of the filter and around the sides.
- Then, take your filter and put it back on. Turn “Righty Tighty.” Once it’s hand tight, grab your wrench and add a quarter turn. Make sure that the valve is closed or you could get soaked!
- Next, open up the number one ball valve and slowly turn the water back on. You’re going to hear water rushing into the filter. Turn it on slowly because you’re checking for leaks.
- Then, open up the number three ball valve.
Don’t Forget the Salt
While you’re changing and disinfecting your water filter, be sure to check your salt level.
You’re accustomed to getting clean, delicious water every time you turn on your tap and regularly changing and disinfecting your filter ensures that. If you have questions about your current water system, contact the home water treatment professionals at Secondwind Water.