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I have a new GE refrigerator with a water filter with a capacity of 170 gallons. I use less than 0.5 pints of water per day. At this rate, the filter should last at least 2720 days. However, after about six months of use the water filter replacement indicator light shows that I need to replace the filter. This is my first refrigerator with a water filter.

EDIT Prior to this refrigerator water filter, I have never used any kind of water filter.

I have never had a problem with odor or taste of the water. The water has a light brown color for a few hours after water is flushed through the fire hydrant near my house. END EDIT

How does the refrigerator determine when the water filter needs to be replaced?

What issues could I encounter if I do not replace the filter?

Refrigerator model GSE25GGHKCC

Filter XWF

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    Probably just a pre-programed notification based on averaged use. "What issues could I encounter if I do not replace the filter?" if it gets to much sediment, or whatever it is filtering, in it it could result in slow or no water.
    – Alaska Man
    Sep 26, 2020 at 19:18
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    I think mine is based on days as filters do tend to grow things even if the filter media has not exceeded its volume requirements. As far as problems outs had always leaked after the first filter even with OEM replacements.
    – Ed Beal
    Sep 26, 2020 at 19:32
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    My "change filter" light comes on every six months regardless of how much ice or chilled water I use. Sep 27, 2020 at 2:10
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    I have a Whirlpool refrigerator which I faithfully replaced the filters on when the annunciator lit up. Then I cut open a few filters. Then I ran the same filter for almost 10 years and cut it open. It had a few more grains of sand in it. The water flow was the same with the 10 year filter as the 6 month filters. I am on municipal water, not a well. On a well, or a line from the lake, the situation might be quite different.
    – mongo
    May 11, 2021 at 22:20
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    If you are happy with the taste and quality of your water but you want to use the fridge dispenser, perhaps because it cools the water a little, you can buy a filter-bypass cartridge (or perhaps one came with your fridge and it's in a shoe box somewhere) that will allow the dispenser to work without a filter. Perhaps then the alarms can be turned off or else you would just ignore them. If you use an actual filter but never change it, it will get clogged up with the filtered compounds and the dispenser will stop working.
    – jay613
    Jan 26, 2023 at 17:56

6 Answers 6

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The replacement cycle is clock based not usage based, so if your usage is below average you can probably extend the interval to almost a year, but as Ed mentions, they can begin to introduce problems if left unchanged too long. (Early fridges with water and ice had NO filtration)

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I can tell you this, the filters are definitely time-based and not usage-based. I just got a new GE Profile refrigerator that we have never used for ice or water. As a matter of fact, we never hooked up the water line so the filter has never had any water run through it, but 6 months to the day from when I got my refrigerator I got the notice that the filter needed to be changed. I had to laugh, kind of funny that something that has never been used has to be thrown away and replaced. Kind of comical when you think about it.

So yes!! It is definitely time-based and just a ploy by the manufacturers to make more money by forcing people to buy filters even if they don't need them. Not very ethical or environmentally friendly when you think about it.

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    No one is forced to buy anything, the filter alarm can be ignored and/or reset readily.
    – kreemoweet
    Sep 9, 2023 at 1:59
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Thanks to all for your input.

I will not replace the filter for now. I will be on the lookout for issues such as slow water flow.

I was able to reset (turn off) the water filter replacement indicator light. I did not do anything with the water filter. However, I did hear some noise coming from the filter for a few seconds after the reset.

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  • you will have to note somewhere that you are resetting the "timer" since you aren't really changing the filter and you probably don't want to forget and do this over and over... the really high end fridges, have a code in the filter so that they will only reset when using OEM replacements
    – mark f
    Sep 28, 2020 at 18:57
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    I replace my refrigerator filter every other time the "replace filter" indicator shows up. At $50/filter, I don't change it more often than necessary. To help keep track of when it needs to actually be changed, I don't buy a replacement filter after I change it. Instead, I buy a replacement filter when the indicator comes on, which I reset, giving me another use cycle. Then, the next time the light comes on, if I have a filter on hand, I know it's time to replace it. If I don't have a new filter, I know it's the "don't replace yet" time, just reset the indicator, and order a new one.
    – Milwrdfan
    Sep 28, 2020 at 19:41
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I have an inline filter in addition to the refrigerator filter. I don't feel that my filter would getas much sediment or clog as quickly so I replace after 2nd notice.

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I know that for F&P brand frige that we have, it is time based.

Others could be usage based or even pressure based.

However, any filter (whole house, under bench or inline fridge) shoukd be replaced between 6 to 12 months. This is because amongst the trapped sediment, bacteria start growing. And some of them may be detrimental to your health.

I know this, as I have been using all three filters, the whole house ones, in particular for 30 years. I replace mine every 6 months. Even then, they are so filthy, that you really wouldn't want to drink the water passing through them.

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It is possible that:

  • The filter replacement indicator is based purely on time - I doubt this.
  • The filter replacement indicator is based on number of uses. This is simpler to calculate (i.e., count the switch presses instead of timing the water flow to determine volume used) and would be reasonable, except that it wouldn't distinguish between "cup of water" and "pitcher of water".

But there is one more possibility that comes to mind:

Ice, ice baby!

The water for the icemaker normally goes through the same filter. For many people this is actually more important than the cold water dispenser, because the cold water dispenser can always be replaced with a Brita or similar filter pitcher or a sink tap filter.

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