How to Replace a Refrigerator Water Filter

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If your refrigerator has a water or ice dispenser built in, it also has a water filter, which needs to be changed periodically. Replacing the filter is relatively easy, as most fridge models have a button or turning cap that lets you easily release the old filter. Once the job's done, you can enjoy fresh-tasting, clean water from your fridge dispenser.

How to Replace a Refrigerator Water Filter
Image Credit: Douglas Sacha/Moment/GettyImages

Locate Your Water Filter

Not sure where your water filter is located? You can usually find it on the grille along the bottom edge of your refrigerator. You can access the filter without removing the grill. In some models, you'll need to look in the upper right corner near the back of the fridge. The filter should have a cap over it. Most fridge water filters have a release knob or button, which can also help you spot the filter.

Remove the Old Filter

Before you pull out the old filter, grab a towel to put down beneath it, as some water may spill out. Keeping the filter upright after you remove it also helps minimize spills. The way you release the old filter depends on the type of mechanism your refrigerator has. For push button filters, you simply push the button that's next to the filter. At the same time, pull on the filter to remove it. The cap will still be attached to the filter, so you'll need to twist it in a counterclockwise motion to release it. Put the cap somewhere safe so it doesn't get thrown away with the filter.

The quarter-turn cap type of filter has to be unscrewed from its position to release it. If you can't turn the knob or cap counterclockwise with your hand, grab a wrench to help release it. You need to twist the cap until it's in a vertical position. The filter slides out of the refrigerator. Remove the cap from the filter before throwing it away.

Insert the New Water Filter

You'll do the reverse steps to put the new filter in place. For push-button models, start by twisting the cap onto the filter until it clicks to indicate that it's in place. Line up the filter cap with the filter opening. Push the filter into place until the release button pops to show that the filter is in position.

A turning filter cap will slip onto the new filter without twisting. Push the filter into the spot, then turn it in a clockwise direction without overtightening it. You'll hear a click when you've twisted it enough.

Run Water Through the Filter

When you first replace the water filter, you might notice some debris in the water. Pieces of carbon can come through the dispenser. You might also notice that the water sputters for a while after changing the filter. You can make sure the water you get is clean with a consistent stream by running at least two gallons through the new filter.

The final step is to reset the change filter indicator light. The refrigerator manual can tell you how to do this. Some models may also have the instructions on a sticker next to the light. There's usually a reset button, which you push a certain number of times or hold down for a certain amount of time.


Shelley Frost combines her love of DIY and writing in her freelance career. She has first-hand experience with tiling, painting, refinishing hardwood floors, installing lighting, roofing and many other home improvement projects. She keeps her DIY skills fresh with regular projects around the house and extensive writing work on the topic.

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