Water Ionizer Filters – When You REALLY Need to Change Them

Water Ionizer Filters – When You REALLY Need to Change Them

A common question water ionizer shoppers ask is  “How will I know it’s time to change the filters in my water ionizer?”

Every water ionizer will have a filter life indicator that tells you it’s time to change the filter – but you can’t always rely on your water ionizer’s internal filter life mechanism.

Here are some things you should know about your water ionizer’s “true” filter life and tips to ensure you’re changing the filters when they really need to be changed…

Filter Life Indicator Basics

Every water ionizer worth owning will have some sort of built-in mechanism designed to notify the user that it’s time to change the filters.  The types of filter change indicators and notifications will vary.

  • On-screen reading that counts down from the maximum number of liters in the filter life to zero
  • On-screen reading that counts up from zero to the maximum number of liters in the filter life
  • On-screen reading that shows a percentage of filter life remaining
  • Voice alert or alarm indicating that it is time to change the filter and/or that you’ll need to change the filter soon
  • Combination of voice alert and on-screen indicators

Every water ionizer will have some sort of internal mechanism measuring the usage/remaining life of the filter so that the unit can let you know when it is time to change the filters.  These vary also – different water ionizers measure “filter life” in different ways.

  • Measuring the amount of water that has gone through the unit
  • Filter electrode that measures the amount of water that has gone through each filter
  • Internal sensor that measures how much capacity the filtration media has remaining

While all this sounds like effective measures to ensure you are changing your filters at proper intervals, there are some factors you should consider before relying solely on the filter life indicator of any water ionizer.

Time in Use

No matter how much life your filter life indicator says you have remaining if your filter has been installed for longer than 12 months it needs to be replaced.  If asked, most water ionizer companies will tell you this as well.

Every filter will have media specific to bacteria – either killing bacteria, preventing bacteria from developing inside the filter or both.  Whether or not water has been flowing through your water ionizer every day – or you have only been using it a couple of times a day – this “anti-bacterial” element never stops working.

Bacteria loves to grow in damp dark places – like the inside of a filter.  Whether or not you are actively using your water ionizer, bacteria may still try to grow and the filter media will continue to prevent its growth – as long as it can.  After about 12 months the filter will likely have lost its bacteria-fighting “ooomph.”

Although the electrical charge delivered during ionization will likely kill most bacteria that may have set up housekeeping in your overworked filter, you may find that your water develops an odd taste or odor.  Also, when you are using your water ionizer at the neutral/purified setting, no ionization is taking place – no electrical charge is being delivered to the water.

Bottom line – if you have filter that has been in use for more than 12 months it’s a good idea to replace it – even if your filter life indicator says you’ve got life left.

Source Water Matters

Pre-filters, well water, older pipes in your home – these can all have an impact on the true life of your filters.

If you’re using a “point-of-use” pre-filter for chlorine & sediment, the filters inside your water ionizer aren’t working as hard.   If you have a water ionizer that measures filter life simply by the number of liters that have gone through the unit, rather than changing the filters inside your ionizer you can just reset the filter life indicator.  Keep an eye on the filter life indicator after that – when it shows that you’re halfway through your filter life after the first reset, go ahead and replace the filters inside the unit.  This adds an additional 50% to the original filter lifespan.

If you choose to do this you’ll want to make sure you’re replacing your pre-filter on a regular basis – most pre-filters only need to be changed every 12 months.  As long as you’re changing your pre-filter at the recommended intervals you can squeeze a little more life out of your water ionizer’s internal filters.

Whether or not you have a pre-filtration system you still need to replace the filters inside your water ionizer at least every 12 months – regardless.

Homes with well water or with older pipes that produce excess sediment should consider changing their filters more often.   If you’re using well water we always recommend a KDF prefilter which removes heavy metals and hydrogen sulfide often found at higher levels in well water.  Hydrogen sulfide is what gives water that sulfur or “rotten egg” smell.  Some well water customers find that, while there is no smell in the water from their tap, after awhile they notice a smell in the water that comes from their ionizer.

This is an indicator that there is too much “stuff” in the well water and the filter no longer has sufficient capacity to effectively remove some contaminants.  If you start noticing that your ionized water has a sulfur or rotten egg smell, replace the filter(s) and consider getting a KDF pre-filter.

Other Filter Life Indicator Issues

When you travel or are going to be away from your water ionizer for more than a couple of days, unplugging the unit while you’re gone is always recommended.  The glitch with this safety precaution is that some units reset the filter life when the power is left off.  Same thing if there is a power outage.  After I’d been using my Chanson VS70 for over 9 months I called the company because the unit still indicated 100% for remaining filter life.  That’s when I learned about the automatic filter reset when the unit is unplugged for any length of time.  Between unplugging the unit when I travel and power outages during storm season, as far as my VS70 knew it had a brand new filter.

These days most of us keep a calendar that includes birthday’s, upcoming “to-do’s” and other important events.  Making a note in your calendar for the date you need to change your filters is a good idea.  You can also make a note on the date that you change the filter so you can go back for reference.  Another option is a simple post-it note on the back of your water ionizer with the date the filter was last changed and the estimated date for the next filter change.

If you keep your user manual near your water ionizer – which is a good idea – you can staple a piece of paper inside the front or back cover and create your own “maintenance log.”  There you can keep track of when the filter was last changed and the last time you went through the recommended cleaning protocol – whether it was a vinegar or citric acid flush or running the cleaning cartridge recommended by the manufacturer.

Stay Prepared

Finally, it’s a good idea to always have a replacement filter – or set if you have a dual filter unit – on hand.  Filter change time can sneak up on you.  If you keep a set of replacement filters available you’ll always be ready – just be sure to order another replacement filter or replacement filter set when you replace your old filter.  This way you’re always ready when your water ionizer needs a new filter.  Same thing for pre-filters, descalers or any other accessories that need to be replaced at regular intervals.

Changing your filters at recommended intervals, factoring in any source water issues you have, will ensure the water you’re producing with your ionizer is as clean and healthy as possible.

Need to order replacement filters?  Visit our store so you’ve got them available when you need them!

Replacement Filters

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