How Long Does a Water Filter Last When Not Used?

It’s spring cleaning time, and while cleaning out your closet, you stumble upon an unopened box. Inside of it is an unopened, unused water filter from months ago. But since it’s been months since you bought it, is it still good?

As it turns out, water filters don’t expire as long as they’re not exposed to moisture. If it was sitting out in an open box under your leaky kitchen sink, then there’s a chance it has developed mold. Otherwise, it should be completely fine to use as an old spare water filter replacement. 

There are a lot of reasons to use a water filter system, but they’re not meant to last forever. Here’s everything you need to know about using a water filter, how long they last, and the different types available. 

Signs You Need a Water Filter Replacement

The signs that your water filter needs to be replaced aren’t that obvious. It’s not like your tap water will turn brown or show floating particulate.

Most people can go months using a water filter that’s gone bad and not even notice it. While you may think that at worst they’re losing out on the benefits of a water filter, a clogged or bacteria-ridden filter can actually be worse than going without a new one.

Here are some warning signs that you need to buy a new one.

Water Odor

One of the more obvious signs that you need a new filter is water odor. 

There are a lot of different reasons why your water might start to smell off, such as chemicals in the water, bacterial activity, or a contaminated water supply. A functioning water filter should eliminate most associated odors by removing them from the drinking supply. 

If you’ve replaced your water filter and still detect a strong scent to your water, then you’ll need to report the problem to your county health department. At the very least, your default water supply should have clean water at all times.

Water Taste

If you’ve been drinking as much water as you should be, you probably know how your water tastes with a new, clean filter. When it starts to taste different, that’s because your filter isn’t working as well anymore.

At best, you’re drinking unfiltered water. At worst, the old filter is passing bacteria into your glass. 

A Decrease in Water Pressure

You may need a new filter if your water pressure from your water source has decreased. This can apply to faucet mount filters, as well as refrigerator water filters.

Your water pressure may decrease with an old filter that has become clogged with particulates, stifling the flow of water. Replacing the filter will fix the issue. 

Filter Notification 

Some water filters come with some kind of notification system, whether it’s a light that tells you to replace it or a sticker with a date written on it.

The light-up notification is the easiest to remember because you’ll see it happening. With a sticker, you might have forgotten to place it on your filter, it could have fallen off, or you could forget to check it at all. 

The best way to remember to change your filters is to purchase filters from a company that will handle the filter change reminders for you. Every fridge water filter purchase from Discount Filters gets complimentary, customizable reminders.

Chemical and Physical Filters

Your standard water filter replacement will be a combination of physical and chemical filtering

The physical filter catches larger particulate material in your water supply, which is more important if your water comes from an underground well. This particulate can include general debris or dirt. 

A chemical filter removes chlorine, pesticides, and other organic contaminants from your water. Chemical water filters most commonly use activated carbon due to its adsorptive nature. In other words, chemicals in the water stick to the filter.  

Filtered water pitchers will filter your water as it’s filled. They’re affordable and easy to use, but they’re slow to filter and must be refilled frequently. Conversely, a faucet-mounted filter provides filtered water whenever needed. It can easily be switched between filtered and unfiltered water, such as when you’re using it to wash dishes. 

whole-house water treatment works with all water entering your house and can help with hard water and preventing outside contaminants from affecting your water supply. While this is the most comprehensive water filtration system, they can be pricy.

Water Filter Care Tips

Caring for a water filter can be as simple as keeping up with it and replacing it when needed. 

To make a sink water filter last longer, only use it when needed. If you’re washing dishes, switch to unfiltered water.

If you utilize your fridge’s water dispenser for your drinking water, remember to replace your filter every six months. Pro Tip: Save money on your fridge filters by switching from manufacturer brand filters to American-made ClearChoice Filters that cost much less.

For more elaborate and expensive filtration systems, regularly clean them or hire an expert for routine maintenance. 

Buy a New Water Filter

A dry water filter can last years without going bad, so they’re completely safe to stock up on. Once it’s wet, however, the clock is ticking on its lifespan, regardless of whether you’ve actively used it or not. 

Whether your filter is for a pool, your sink, fridge, or the shower, you’ll need to buy a water filter replacement eventually. When that happens, turn to the filter source that everyone trusts, Discount Filters.