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How Effective are Refrigerator Water Filters?

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Pentair Water Solutions
Pentair Water Solutions


How Effective are Refrigerator Water Filters?

Cool and refreshing water from the fridge. It may taste great, but just how effective is a fridge filter? After all, a refrigerator is designed to chill groceries, not eliminate contaminants from your water supply.

How Refrigerator Water Filters Work

The big question at hand — is fridge water filtered? Yes, but maybe not in the same way you're used to.

Most built-in refrigerator filters use activated carbon as a filtration medium. The process is quite simple. As water flows through the filter, contaminants stick to the carbon in the filter, removing them from the water. Activated carbon is honeycombed with nooks and crannies, so it provides a large surface area for catching these unwanted particles.

It's an effective system, but it's not foolproof. You need to consider both the size and length of time the water is in contact with the filter. Obviously, bigger filters are able to catch more contaminants and won't fill up as quickly. The filter in your fridge? It won't be that large.

The length of time water spends in contact with the filter is also crucial. You want the water to really have time to soak so the carbon can do its job. Unfortunately, most fridges just don't have the capacity for this.

What Gets Filtered? And Do These Water Filters Remove Minerals?

The activated carbon in your filter typically comes from charcoal. What is a charcoal water filter? It's basically made of small, crushed up pieces of charcoal that work to attract and absorb a number of contaminants.
So what does a charcoal water filter remove? You'll be pleased to know it can do a good job of reducing numerous unwanted elements, including:

  • Chlorine
  • Volatile organic chemicals
  • Radon
  • Benzene
  • Other man-made chemicals

The result? Water that tastes and smells better. Within the limits of their small size, built-in refrigerator filters do a fair job, but they're less effective than larger systems. Activated charcoal alone isn’t enough to remove all waterborne contaminants. Fridge filtration misses a wide range of inorganic contaminants and heavy metals, including:

  • Arsenic
  • Barium
  • Beryllium
  • Cadmium
  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Fluoride
  • Mercury
  • Nickel
  • Selenium
  • Sulfates
  • Thallium

Highly specialized activated charcoal filters can remove lead, but such filters are rarely found in refrigerator units. Instead, you might consider an upgrade to something more powerful, like a whole house water filter.

Common Fridge Filtration Issues: Convenience & Expense

Built-in refrigerator water filter systems are convenient, but they're not comprehensive. And they only help your water in one location — your kitchen.

Activated charcoal filters also eventually clog up with contaminants and need replacing. While the same is true of a whole house filter, there's one big difference. A fridge filter is a lot smaller, meaning it'll need replacing more often. A whole house filter is bigger, and can therefore last longer in between replacements.

That's why we recommend a whole house filter from Pentair. It offers worry-free, great-tasting water from any tap in the house, whether you’re cooking, cleaning dishes, bathing, or washing clothes. Say goodbye to that metallic taste and smell with a 97% reduction of chlorine. You'll even be able to reduce sediment and debris down to 5 microns in size. When it comes down to it, you need water you can trust. And Pentair can deliver.

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Disclaimer: The information on this website has not been reviewed by the FDA. Products offered for sale herein are not intended to treat, cure or prevent any disease or health condition. No medical claims are being made or implied. Contaminants mentioned are not necessarily in your water.

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