by Timothy Heidemann, Product Technical Support Specialist
Whether it’s for drinking, or just for general use (cleaning, cooking, showering, etc.), we want the best water possible, plain and simple. When the quality of that water, or its source, comes in to question, the do-it-yourselfers of the world want to take matters into their own hands. After carefully picking out a Culligan water filtration product for your home and installing it, you kick back, relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor (great-tasting water that is). Don’t you wish your water would taste just like that for years and years to come? Well, with a little bit of maintenance, it can. Just like changing the oil in your car, your new water filtration product requires a little maintenance for you to enjoy its full benefits.
But, let’s be honest. Nobody likes a chore, especially one that stands in the way of your favorite beverage. So let’s go over the basics so you can see just how simple and easy it is to maintain your drinking water filter system whether it’s a drinking water pitcher or an under-the-sink water filtration system.
Most filter maintenance includes replacing the filter cartridge. The cartridge element of a water filter is manufactured to have an approximate lifespan measured in both gallons and months. Cartridge life varies in accordance with two key factors: the quality of the water that is being filtered, and the amount of water that is being consumed on a daily basis. However, this raises a very good question. Unless you have your own in-home water lab, what determines when it’s time to replace the cartridge? The rate of water flow is a key indicator. As sediment and particulate matter accumulate, the cartridge will clog and the water pressure will drop. For drinking water filters using carbon (GAC) media, a change in the taste/odor of the water is another key indicator. But those changes typically occur slowly, making it more likely that you will gradually become accustomed to the change, rather than notice it. Be sure to mark your calendar at each cartridge change – the date you replaced the cartridge and its expiration date as indicated on the product box. That way you will know exactly when you need to replace it. Be careful not to excessively stretch the life of the filter past its estimated life span as it may alter the quality of your water.
Along with replacing filters, you will also want to perform regular filter maintenance. At the very least, scheduled maintenance should include the inspection of the O-Ring gaskets, which are used to prevent leakage, to ensure that they are properly lubricated. Always use silicone lubricant, and not petroleum jelly. While petroleum jelly works in a pinch, the petroleum corrodes the O-Ring over time. Regular sanitization of the inside of the filter housing is also a good idea. Housing sumps should be regularly disinfected with bleach. It doesn’t hurt to put some bleach in the housing and run water through it to disinfect the entire housing, cap assembly, line, and water dispenser. Take this opportunity to look for signs of wear or stress marks that could lead to cracks. Cracks in the system can lead to leaks which can be a tough clean up. Remember to regularly check your unit once it is installed. Make the time to do the maintenance in order to maintain water quality. If you have questions about filter maintenance, your local Culligan Man is a trusted professional that knows about the product and your area’s water quality. He’ll be the perfect person to help you out.
Alas, nothing lasts forever. DIY water filtration systems should be replaced every 5-10 years depending on the application and the quality of the water. Water changes constantly as municipal water treatment facilities try to keep up with growing populations, property development, and aging infrastructures. Adverse weather can also provoke drastic water treatment measures that can wreak havoc on a water filter. A good way to make sure your water filter is meeting your specific needs is to have your water tested every one to two years. That way you will know exactly what is in your water and if your water filter is providing the type and amount of filtration you need. As is true with many of life’s mundane activities, it simply boils down to making the time to get educated and assume responsibility of the situation.
If you have any questions about water filtration and your specific needs, contact your local Culligan Man.
Timothy has been a member of the Culligan International team since 2009 in the Tech Services – Retail Products Division.