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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 '20 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 '20 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. – Stephen Daddona Sep 27 '20 at 2:10
  • 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 at 22:20
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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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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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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 '20 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 '20 at 19:41

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