Getting clean water is easy, right? Of course, it is! That is because there are so many filters out there that anyone can find one that’s virtually perfect for their needs. However, you should learn about maintenance, namely how to clean a water filter cartridge as it is an essential step towards keeping the water safe to drink.
The product’s manufacturer usually gives guidelines on how and when one should clean a filter or filter cartridge casing. While one might be familiar with how to clean a water filter, cleaning the cartridge case involves some extra steps.
Generally, cartridges are found in prefilters, which are devices placed strategically to filter the water before it reaches the tap. Hence, let’s talk a bit about prefilters before we discuss what the general consensus on the best ways to clean these items is.
What are Prefilters?
Take the classic water filter. It’s usually used in treating water for odor and taste. It might come in the form of a countertop filter, a tap filter or a water pitcher. They’re all great devices, and anyone should own at least one of them to ensure a clean and great-tasting water supply, but they’re usually inefficient in treating water hardness.
What is water hardness? How can a fluid be hard? Well, hard water is water that has high mineral content, and it will usually appear white and murky, but it will taste the same as any other type of water.
This occurs because the water supply comes from an underground source rich in limestone and other types of contaminants. While these aren’t the most harmful contaminants, the minerals can accumulate and do damage to the pipes or the body.
In fact, conditions such as kidney stones are believed to be caused by drinking hard water on a daily basis. While they’re hardly life-threatening, they can sure cause some pain and damage in their way.
So, that being said, what is a prefilter? The prefilter is usually installed somewhere along the plumbing, like under the sink. It consists of a tubular filter cartridge that’s protected by a housing. In this case, the filter will oftentimes be a porous material and will trap the particles found in hard water before they reach the user.
How to Clean a Water Filter Cartridge Casing?
First off, forget everything about cleaning products. Filter cartridges and masks are very frail, which means that any sort of concentrated cleaning product will damage them irreversibly.
With that in mind, let’s get to the practical steps on how to clean a water filter cartridge casing.
- Determine where the filter or pre-filter has been installed
Softeners, for instance, can be installed anywhere along the plumbing. It’s common for people to bypass the cold water supply (to avoid an increase of sodium in the drinking water) and install them for just the shower or the kitchen sink. They’re usually of a tubular shape, with one or two elements.
- Cut its Water Supply
Water filter systems usually have a dedicated valve that allows users to direct the filtered water to a designated appliance or part of the household. So, the second step would be to turn off the water supply that runs through the filtration system. Afterward, go to the corresponding tap and drain out all of the remaining pressure from the system.
- Expose the Cartridge
Find the filter and use a wrench (or your hands) to remove the outer casing gently. Depending on how often this process takes place, the user might opt to keep or replace the rubber gasket that seals the mask. It’s usually recommended to replace the gasket around once or twice each year (twice to be extra safe).
- Remove the Cartridge
Now, here’s where things get tricky. Cartridges shouldn’t be cleaned; they’re one-time products that need to be swapped with reserves in order to keep a clean water supply. Whether it’s a sediment filter or a charcoal filter, there isn’t really much difference. The number of contaminants that builds up in the fabric will definitely render it useless.
- Scrub the Mask Clean with Lukewarm Water
Scrub the outer casing with a mild detergent and lukewarm water. Use a soft brush in the process as damaging the casing might result in a faulty or leaking system, something that can become a real pain.
- Make Sure to Run Water Through It
After scrubbing and rinsing, allow water to pass through the casing for a couple of minutes. Better yet, let it sit for half an hour and run some water through it again. It’s a great way of ensuring that the casing has been properly cleaned and that everything goes back into place, preventing leaks and other issues.
- Install the New Cartridge
Open the casing and place the new cartridge in it. Again, allow some cold water to pass through to ensure that everything fits in place. At this point, the system should be fully operational and ready to work.
How to Clean Pitcher and Tap Water Filters
Pitcher and tap water filters require maintenance too. Apart from changing the filter, they require a good scrub before putting back together. It’s recommended to change a filter once every three months, so it’s easy to get used to it and perfect the technique.
- Disassemble the pitcher or tap water filter.
- After doing so, separate the filter from the rest of the system.
- Place the pitcher or tap water filter in a mixture of lukewarm water and white vinegar.
- If they sit in the mixture for around 10-15 minutes, most (if not all) impurities should dissolve and disappear with nothing more than a quick rinse.
- If impurities are persistent and latch onto certain places of the filtering system, then use a Q-tip or a soft brush, along with a mild soap, to scrub down and dissolve any remaining goop.
- Replace the filter and put everything back together and give it a try.
It’s really easy to perform maintenance on these simple (but very efficient) products. Most of the time, the user will only require household items and time. In addition to keeping the drinking water crystal-clear, performing regular maintenance will increase the lifespan of the filtering system.