The need for clean, safe drinking water has led to all kinds of filtration innovations. Some ancient civilizations used gravel and cloth to trap contaminants, while others designed systems to filter water by cleverly leveraging the force of gravity. Humans have never stopped looking for better, more effective ways to clean our drinking water — and now, water filtration is as convenient as walking to your refrigerator.
But what’s most convenient is always most effective. Here’s what you need to know about fridge filters and whether they’re really the best choice for water filtration.
Why You Might Want a Fridge Water Filter
Why might you look for a refrigerator model with a built-in filtration system? Many homeowners end up with these simply by default, as many refrigerators today come with filters as a standard offering. Here are a few other potential reasons:
- Convenience: Refrigerator filters are nothing if not simple. Just grab a glass, head to the fridge and get all the water you need.
- Water test results: If water test results indicated you might have contaminants in your tap water, you likely went looking for a simple solution.*
- Aesthetic issues: Aesthetic issues include unpleasant odors, tastes and colors. They’re not necessarily a health risk but are still a good reason to consider filtration.
Although any one of these is a good enough reason to want a water filtration solution, fridge filters aren’t necessarily the best choice. It’s important to know what these filters can and can’t do before you trust them with your water quality.
How Do Refrigerator Water Filters Work?
Fridge filters are built right into your refrigerator and connected to your water supply via a small plumbing line. While some filters have multiple stages to trap contaminants of different sizes and types, most filter water using activated carbon, which focuses on reducing chlorine, a common issue with municipal water.
Do Fridge Water Filters Really Work?
The short answer is that fridge water filters do work for some simple needs — mainly those related to chlorine, like unpleasant tastes and odors.
However, the list of things a refrigerator filter can’t do is far longer. For example, fridge systems won’t reduce contaminants like arsenic, pharmaceuticals and fluoride. Most aren’t certified to reduce lead.
Put simply, you might be able to rely on a fridge filter if you could guarantee that your water will only ever have chlorine problems. However, since many things can impact water quality — from agricultural runoff to your home’s plumbing system — many people may not feel comfortable taking this chance.
Refrigerator Water Filters: Pros and Cons
Like all filter systems, fridge filters have advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a breakdown of the key considerations:
Advantages of Fridge Water Filters:
- Convenience: With a fridge water filter, all you have to do is fill your glass.
- Space: Because they’re built into your refrigerator, these filter systems don’t take up space on your countertop or kitchen faucet.
- Simplicity: Most newer fridge models already have filters, so you don’t need to go out of your way to find one.
Disadvantages of Fridge Water Filters:
- Reliability: Fridge filters often only address chlorine and can leave other water problems unresolved.
- Price: If you have an older fridge, you’d need to buy a whole new model to get a built-in filter.
- Effort: A fridge filtration system requires frequent filter changes to remain functional. This is typically recommended every six months.
Are Fridge Filters Worth It?
Although it’s ultimately your decision whether fridge water filters are worth it, it’s important to remember that these systems aren’t as comprehensive as they might seem. If you have any water quality issues beyond the presence of chlorine, it’s probably best to find a different solution.
Already Have a Fridge Water Filter?
If you have a newer fridge, you probably already own a fridge filter system. That means you have the opportunity to see for yourself how effective the filter is.
All you need to do is have two water tests performed — one on unfiltered tap water and the other on water from your fridge filter. Then, compare the results. You’ll be able to see what your filter is catching (and what it isn’t).
To put your refrigerator filter to the test, start by scheduling your free water consultation.
Alternative Solutions to Refrigerator Water Filters
Fridge water filters aren’t your only option for improved water quality. Instead, consider more comprehensive systems like these:
- Under Sink Water Filtration Systems: These systems often use reverse osmosis to filter your water. They provide filtration for drinking water and are among the most comprehensive filtration options available. Some, like Culligan’s Aquasential® Reverse Osmosis Systems, are certified to reduce as many as 61 contaminants.
- Whole House Water Filtration Systems: A whole house system addresses all the water that enters your home. Its purpose is to target specific problem water issues like sulfur, iron, arsenic and chlorine.
Are you ready to stop relying on your fridge filter? To learn more about your water quality and choose the filtration solution that’s best for you, start by scheduling your free water test and consultation.
*Contaminants may not be present in your water.
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