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Appliance Repair | The Guide to Refrigerator Filter Replacement

Mar 14

A modern refrigerator has two types of filters—an air filter and a water filter. Food and dust particles, mineral buildup, and bacteria can impact either filter’s performance. Performing periodic maintenance and refrigerator filter replacement will keep the appliance working optimally. Luckily, giving these components a little TLC doesn’t require much time.  


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Finding and Troubleshooting Your Filters 

Where is the refrigerator water filter located? 

Most refrigerator water filters are either in the back, upper-right corner of the fridge interior, or behind the front grille at the fridge base. You will know you found the water filter when you see a button or knob that you can use to remove the filter, which is a tube about as wide as your palm.  

Signs it’s time for refrigerator water filter replacement include: 

  • Water coming from the fridge dispenser tastes or smells bad. 

  • There are black specks or debris in the water.  

  • The water has a cloudy appearance. 

  • The water filter light turns on. 

  • It’s been more than a year since the last water filter replacement.   

Where is the refrigerator air filter located? 

Not all refrigerators have air filters, but most newer models do. To find the air filter, look in a few different places: under the bin in the door panel, near the rear wall at the top of the refrigerator compartment, or anywhere along the fridge walls. The filter housing compartment is typically slightly raised.  

Like the water filter, there are signs indicating it’s time for an air filter replacement. These include: 

  • There’s a foul odor with no obvious cause when you open the refrigerator door.  

  • Newer food doesn’t taste fresh.  

  • Produce loses its crispness and freshness sooner. 

  • The air filter light turns on. 

  • It’s been six months or more since the last air filter replacement 

If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to change the refrigerator filter as soon as possible. 


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How to Change a Refrigerator Water Filter 

When your refrigerator is ready for water filter replacement, it’s best to turn to a refrigerator repair professional like Mr. Appliance®. Due to the project’s complexity and risk of error, avoid a DIY job for best results.  

Here are the steps an expert takes when replacing the water filter: 

  • Place a towel under the refrigerator to catch water drips. 

  • If it’s a twist-on fridge water filter, twist the filter housing a quarter-turn counterclockwise, and pull the filter straight out. 

  • If it’s a push-in fridge water filter, push a button or the filter itself to release the spring and remove the filter. 

  • Replace with a fresh filter, and turn or push in the filter until it locks into position. 

If your filter is located at the bottom of the refrigerator or in the water line behind the appliance, the process will be longer. It will also require tools and professional skills. 

Knowing how often to replace the refrigerator water filter will keep your ice and water tasting great. A good rule of thumb is to change the fridge water filter every six months. If you have a touchscreen refrigerator with a filter indicator light, simply change the filter when the light flashes. 

Related content: Ice Maker Not Making Ice? Here’s What to Do 

How to Change a Refrigerator Air Filter 

The more modern your refrigerator is, the more likely it is to have an air filter. If you aren’t sure, refer to your fridge owner’s manual or look inside the appliance for a flat or cylindrical housing. 

Instructions for changing the refrigerator air filter: 

  • Press one side of the housing compartment outward while pulling on the center of the filter. 

  • Remove the old filter. 

  • On the new filter, locate the side with the word “front.”  

  • Install the new filter with the word “front” facing outward. 

  • Reinstall the filter cover on the housing compartment. 

  • Depending on your fridge model, you may have a cartridge-style filter that requires you to remove the cartridge, replace the filter, and insert the cartridge back into the slot. 

Care for Your Fridge  

Changing the refrigerator water filter and air filter regularly will help your appliance perform perfectly. You’ll enjoy fresh, clean water and an odor-free refrigerator for months to come. 


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