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I have a filtered water dispenser in my Whirlpool refrigerator door. Lately I've noticed when dispensing water into a clean glass, that there are patches of a thin transparent film suspended in the water. The filter cartridge is about 3-4 months old.

I suspect that I'm seeing a thin layer of mold, slime, or other growth peeling off from somewhere within the refrigerator's water line.

I'm looking for guidance on what this film is, and how to deal with it. The filters are rather expensive and I'd rather not drop a new one into the refrigerator if that's not likely to eliminate the problem.

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Are you on a city water system, or a well? Do you get the film from your tap? If not, then it's something in the water line to the fridge, or in the filter. In my whirlpool fridge, the "reservoir" for the chilled water is simply a coiled up roll of the plastic tubing. Clean out the fridge, and take a look at that to see if you can see any obvious discoloration or contamination - it should be clear. You could try replacing the tubing if you're suspicious.

If there nothing else obvious, then I'd try changing the filter, and run water through the new filter for a bit to clean everything out of the lines. The filter, after all, is designed to collect gunk from the water, and if it's been a while, it could simply be full.

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Yes, the filter is not so much a mesh physical filter as a solid material with lots of surface area that the water flows over, and the organic contaminates prefer the solid and stick to it (thus getting them out of your water). If you continue to use the filter after it is "full", you will eventually begin to wash off the trapped organics, which could result in the film-like behavior you describe. –  AWMoore Mar 22 '11 at 21:46

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