Whirlpool Refrigerators use cutting-edge water filtration systems to remove unwanted contaminants from your home’s water supply and provide you with the cleanest drinking water possible.
Consuming water from your Whirlpool fridge using a reusable water bottle is far more preferable to using bottled water as it reduces the amount of waste plastic you produce. It’s estimated that a single Whirlpool Water filter can eliminate the use of 1500 plastic bottles; incredible!
However, these filters require replacing over time to keep your drinking water as clean as possible. So in this article, we will walk through both when you should think about replacing the filter and give you a simple step-by-step guide on how to do it.
When do I Need to Replace the Whirlpool Water Filter?
One of the biggest points of confusion for Whirlpool refrigerator owners is understanding when they need to replace their water filters and what happens if they don’t.
So let’s first understand what happens as the filter ages and the main signs to look for that let you know it’s time to swap it out for a new one.
1. Water Flow Becomes Restricted
Whirlpool-approved water filters do a great job of allowing high water flow levels while maintaining maximum filtration; this is helpful as you don’t have to wait too long to fill up a bottle of water.
As the water filter ages and contaminants build up inside, the water flow will become progressively more restricted or blocked completely. So if you notice the water is flowing out very slowly and is taking ages to fill up a single bottle, it’s a good indication that the filter’s getting old and will need to be replaced.
2. The Water Doesn’t Taste as Good
There’s a reason why water that comes from Whirlpool refrigerator models tastes so good; that’s because it removes all of the foul-tasting impurities that you may naturally find from your regular tap water.
So if you notice an odor or an obvious degraded taste, it might mean that the filter can no longer hold any more contaminants and is letting them through into the water.
3. The Water Turns Cloudy or Murky
Sometimes there won’t be any noticeable change in water flow or taste, but you may notice the water changing color.
If you have hard water, natural minerals may make it through the filter, indicating it’s no longer working. So even though the water tastes ok, it may still let contaminants through and must be replaced.
4. Bacteria Growth
As contaminants extracted from the water sit in the moist filtration system for a long time, new mold, fungus, and bacteria can start to breed inside the filter.
You can often spot this by looking for slimy residue or black mold spots in the water. If you notice any signs of this, you should replace the filter immediately.
5. Poor Results from a Water Test
While not always an easy option for everyone, if you have tested the water coming from your Whirlpool fridge water dispenser and received poor results where it shows signs of impurities, your filter should be replaced as it’s no longer removing these impurities.
6. The Filter Indicator Light has Turned On
While not applicable to every refrigerator model, most modern Whirlpool fridges have a handy filter replacement indicator light.
This is most commonly located on the temperature control panel, and if lit blue, it means the filter has just been changed, but when it changes to purple, it means the filter has passed its allotted timeframe and should be replaced.
However, it’s important to note that this filter indicator works purely off of time passed, and it doesn’t take into account how frequently the filter has been used. So just because the filter indicator light isn’t lit, if you use the filter very often and notice any of the signs mentioned above, you may still need to replace the filter early.
Likewise, even if the allotted time has passed, provided you have not used the water dispenser often, the filter may still work fine and not necessarily require replacing. Although to be safe, we still recommend replacing it anyway.
7. The Allotted Use Duration has Passed
If your fridge doesn’t have a filter indicator, the general rule of thumb with Whirlpool-approved filters is that they should be replaced every 6 months.
It’s worth noting the date that the filter was installed and then replacing it once the allotted time has passed to ensure it can remain in good working order for as long as possible.
How to Replace Your Whirlpool Water Filter?
So you’ve decided that it’s time to replace the filter. This process is quite simple and can be completed in just a few minutes, but there are a few things you need to be mindful of during this installation to make sure it mounts correctly and makes a solid connection.
Otherwise, you may find your filter not working optimally.
1. Make Sure you get the Correct Replacement Filter
One of the most vital steps in replacing your refrigerator water is ensuring you get the correct type for your machine.
Whirlpool fridges utilize filter types that are numbered from 1 to 4. So you need to identify which number is the correct filter type for your specific fridge model.
Here are a few easy ways to do that:
- Check your fridge’s model number; this is usually found on the label inside the fridge.
- If you still have your owner’s manual (or you can often find a digital copy online), it should tell you which type of filter you need.
- Whirlpool also has an online tool in which you can enter your fridge’s model number, and it will let you know which filter type you need.
- Lastly, you can also remove your old filter, look at the label/model number, and simply ensure you purchase one of the same type.
2. Turn Off the Water Supply
Once your new water filter has arrived, it’s now time to install the new filter; start by turning off the water supply to your fridge. Otherwise, you may find water leaking out as you replace the filter.
You might have to pull the fridge out and turn off the water supply line if you don’t have convenient access to your home’s water supply taps.
3. Locate the Filter Compartment
Next, you need to locate the old filter, usually concealed in a compartment in the upper right-hand corner of the fridge’s inside. Open this compartment to reveal the old filter.
4. Remove the Old Filter
Grab the handle on the top of the old filter and turn it counterclockwise to release it from the enclosure. Then pull it straight out to remove it from the fridge.
The old filter can now be discarded or put into a mailer to be recycled.
5. Prepare the New Filter for Installation
You can’t just immediately insert the new filter. First, you must remove the protective wrapping covering the filter and o-rings.
Remove this wrapping; there is a slight chance you might accidentally knock the o-ring out of position, so ensure you move it back into the allotted groove before installing, as this is needed to create a water-tight seal once installed.
6. Install the New Filter
Partially insert the new filter into the housing, then line up the arrow pointing towards the top of the fridge and gently push it into place. If it doesn’t slide in smoothly, do not force it, you may need to adjust the angle slightly so that the notches of the filter line up with the allocated grooves inside the fridge.
You should hear a click when it’s pushed into position, then turn it clockwise to lock it in place. Then you can close the water filter cover.
7. Flush the New Filter
Now that the new filter is installed, some trapped air or loose carbon particles inside the filter may need to be flushed through before you can drink from it.
This is a very simple process; you just need to take a large cup and depress the water dispenser, which will then send the water flow through the filter and out of the dispenser.
You may hear a lot of gurgling and sputtering as you do this; this is normal as the trapped air is removed from the old filter. Once your bottle/mug is full, discard the water and repeat the process until you have flushed a total of 4 gallons of water through the new filter.
8. Reset the Filter Indicator Light
Not all Whirlpool fridge model indicator lights will reset by themselves after installing a new filter. So you will need to do this manually.
Usually, the button to reset the indicator light is located right above the filter indicator light. For French door fridges, you may find this button in the upper right-hand corner inside the fridge.
Once you have located the button, press and hold it down for 3 seconds, and you will hear an audible beep which indicates it’s now reset. The timer will tick for another 6 months before alerting you that the water filter should be changed again.