If your refrigerator dispenses water, chances are it uses a filter.
Most manufacturers recommend replacing the filter every six months to nine months, but certainly your fridge won’t blow up if you don’t. You might just drink some stanky water or notice a “decreased flow.” Or your ice maker won’t function as well.
Or you could just replace your filter when your status indicator light (or “change filter” light, as many customers call it) tells you to. Usually, this light lives on the temperature control panel. If you don’t have a change filter light, replace the filter based on the time frame recommendations outlined in the Use & Care manual you tucked away for safekeeping because you’re a responsible appliance owner.
Mostly, just use good sense, as the life of the filter depends on your usage and the quality of the water. If you notice a change in your water, replace your filter more frequently.
Many of you don’t know this, but I used to be somewhat of a water filter whisperer back in my Warners’ Stellian receptionist heyday. Customers never remember what the heck brand their fridge is when they come in for a replacement filter — not that I judged them. Picking up a replacement water filter falls under the “lost bet to spouse” level of fun errands. (On a related note, we offer free shipping on accessories totaling more than $50.)
I could generally qualify someone based on sketchy info, but not all receptionists possess such amazing skills, so do your homework. And even if you know your brand of refrigerator, it’s important to look at the filter itself as some brands make several types. Here’s how you replace your refrigerator water filter:
For the filters like the one picture above left, rotate the cap counterclockwise until its vertical pull the cap and filter cartridge out through the base grille. Push the new filter cartridge into the base grille until it stops with the cap in the vertical position. Rotate the cartridge cap clockwise to a horizontal position.
For the filters like those on the above right, press the eject button and pull the cap straight out. Don’t twist the cap or it will detach from the filter, and you’ll have to put the cap back on and try again the way I told you to in the first place. Got it? OK. Push the new filter into the opening in the base grille. The button will pop out when the filter is in place, but give the cap a tug to make sure.
This kind of filter, found in the upper right corner inside the refrigerator, is pretty easy to replace. Just turn the filter counterclockwise until it come out, drain it into the sink and trash it. Next, remove the seal from the new filter, insert the filter into the filter head and turn it clockwise until it stops. Easy.
This filter to the right often sits in the back right of the fridge.
To remove, turn the water filter 90 degrees counterclockwise (aka your left) until the filter releases. Take all the packaging crap off the new one, push it up into the housing and turn 90 degrees to the right. (Here’s where the directions include “close the door,” but I figure you can make that decision on your own.)
Once you replace the filter, make sure you flush air from the water system, otherwise you’re going to have a drippy dispenser in your kitchen driving you absolutely nuts. Watch this fun video or follow these directions:
Hold a container to the water dispenser lever for 5 seconds, and then release it for 5 seconds. Repeat until water comes out. Continue holding and releasing the dispenser lever (5 seconds on, 5 seconds off) until a total of 4 gallons has been dispensed. You might get a little spurting as the air clears out, so beware.
Can’t get to the store for a new filter? You can still remove and use the water dispenser in bypass mode. You just won’t have filtered water.
For about $400, the FGHB2869 (in smooth white or black — pearl/ebony) you move up to an ice and water dispenser, slick showcase LED lighting, in-unit air filtration (i.e. no icky smell or ice taste) and a really sweet wine/2-liter/can caddy holder thing.
For another $300, the FGHB2869LF moves you up to stainless steel pictured above right.
Also — and this is totally aesthetic, I-want-you-to-envy-my-fridge feature — I had a slight oh-ah moment over the IQ-touch control panel on the inside of the left door, just like the Electrolux models.
A small amount of condensation on the fridge or freezer is normal, especially during humid weather and summer vacation, if you have kids who don’t know how to keep the refrigerator doors shut.
If you see more condensation than normal, check the seal (or gasket as we appliance nerds call it) for any obstructions and clear them. If there aren’t any, try moistening the gasket with Vaseline. Seriously, it works. If you don’t have any petroleum jelly, I’ve used Neosporin in a pinch (What won’t that stuff do, honestly?).
After applying a thin layer of Vaseline, organize your fridge. It doesn’t have anything to do with the seal, per se, but it will help you find what you need faster, meaning the door won’t be open as long. If Warners’ Stellian installed your fridge, we leveled it to tilt slightly back to encourage the doors to swing shut.
If someone else installed your fridge, consider leveling it in a similar way.
Clean your coils
New refrigerators have self-cleaning condensers. But if you have an old fridge, you might still have coils that need to be cleaned once or twice a year. Some fancy vacuum cleaners have attachments to suit this purpose. But otherwise, you’ll have to get a coil brush from an appliance parts store.
(If you find yourself driving to an appliance parts store to buy a coil brush, make a detour and buy a new fridge instead because yours is pretty darn old. The energy grid will thank you.)
To clean the coils, remove the base grille and use the brush or vacuum attachment to clean it, the open areas behind the grille, and the front surface area of the condenser.
If you have pets or hairy, shedding family members, take care that the area around the refrigerator stays clear to ensure proper heat exhaust. Otherwise, that thing will be running all the time.
Change the water filter
If you have a water dispenser, you likely have a water filter. Replace it every six months or take direction from your indicator light, if you have one. Or, if odor and odd taste don’t cramp your style, stretch the life of it. But seriously, beyond water quality, an old water filter can cause sediment to build up and cause problems.
There are probably seven different types of water filters. Yours is either is the top back corner of the interior, down in the kick plate, or along the top interior of the fridge. ALWAYS bring your filter into the store when you’re replacing it because we don’t necessarily know the type a filter goes with a model number we looked up in your order from two years ago. We can guess, but it’s still a guess.
Your freezer is probably “frost-free,” meaning it defrosts itself. You may have purchased an all-freezer unit that is manual defrost for storing foods long-term, but that’s another blog post (or e-mail me).
Just take care to clean your fridge and freezer every month.