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How to Replace a Whole-House Water-Filter Sediment Cartridge

Why Use a Whole House Filtration System?


When a home is running off of a safely treated private well or your water has a high mineral and debris content, you can find an abundance of minerals, sediment, and even iron in your drinking, bathing, and cooking water that needs to be filtered out. In the past, many people bought a whole-house filtration system and installed it just for this purpose.

We ran across one of these properties and discovered it was well beyond time to change the sediment cartridge, so we decided to take on the challenge. Being our first try at such a thing, we took pictures of our adventure. Changing a water-sediment cartridge was a pretty easy task, even for first-timers like us; this is how we did it.

Home Plumbing Made Easy

Home Plumbing Made Easy

Water Filter Cartridge Replacement Guide

Following the written preview of steps 1 through 7 listed here, a picture-by-picture guide will take you through the filter-change process one step at a time with easy-to-follow directions for each photo. I recommend wearing safety goggles during the project, as water can spray towards your face, and it may have particles from the captured sediment of the old filter. You will also want to place a bucket under the water-filtration assembly to catch any water as it flows out of the housing during the project.

Preview of Project Steps 1–7

  1. Turn off the water supply. Press the red pressure-relief button. Rotate handle to OFF or BYPASS position.
  2. Unscrew housing. Remove large O-ring, wipe it clean, and set aside.
  3. Remove and discard used filter cartridge. Wash housing with dish soap and warm water. Rinse completely. Fill 1/3 with water. Add about 1 tablespoon of bleach and scrub to disinfect. Rinse thoroughly.
  4. Lubricate O-ring with clean silicone grease and insert it back into the groove. It is important to make sure the O-ring is seated level in the groove. Otherwise, the housing may not have a proper seal.
  5. Replace the new filter cartridge over the standpipe in the bottom of the housing.
  6. Screw housing onto cap and hand-tighten. DO NOT OVER-TIGHTEN. Make sure cap standpipe slips into cartridge.
  7. Turn on the water supply. Rotate handle slowly to ON position for valve-in-head units. Press the pressure-release button (if present). Check for leaks before leaving installation.

Important Information Regarding Your New Filter Change

After installing the whole-house sediment-filtration cartridge, run the water!

After you have the filter changed and the housing sealed properly, you will need to run your house water for about 5 minutes before using any. It is a good idea to run the tap water for drinking and bathing for about 30 seconds before using it for any consumer purpose. It will be apparent that the water sediments have found their way into the tap system, as the initial water that pours from your faucets will probably be a lovely shade of yucky!

Turn Off Water Supply

Turn Off Water Supply

Step 1: Water Supply Off and Pressure Release

Turn off the water supply either at the valve-in-head or main water feed to the filter. Press the red button to release any built-up pressure, be careful as a stream of water comes shooting out when the release button is engaged.

NOTE: The red button can be a great practical joke tool to use on someone who isn't aware of the thrust of water that shoots from the housing pressure-relief valve. Just make sure everyone has safety goggles on!

Remove Housing

Remove Housing

Step 2: Remove Housing and Clean O-Ring

Unscrew the housing unit and remove the large O-ring. The O-ring is in the housing and looks like a large diameter, but thin black rubber band. You will need to wipe it clean with a soft cloth and place it to the side until it is time to replace it into the housing. Check that it is still in good shape, if not, order a new one.

Lubricate O-Ring

Lubricate O-Ring

Step 3: Dispose of Old Filter and Clean Housing

Remove the dirty old filter and throw it away. You will need to clean the housing by first rinsing out the bulk of dirt. Then use dish soap and warm water to wash the housing using a low abrasive sponge or cloth, and then rinse it completely. Fill the housing 1/3 full with water and then add about a tablespoon of bleach to the housing and scrub gently to sanitize the interior surface. Rinse very thoroughly and several times.

Step 4: Lubricate O-Ring

Using a clean silicone grease, lubricate the O-ring completely, being sure to cover the inside as well as the outside surface of the o-ring. (It is very important to use a silicone-based grease for this application, as the silicone will not cause the rubber to swell or soften like a hydrocarbon-based grease will.) Replace O-ring back into its groove. Take extra care to properly seat the o-ring or the seal on the housing will leak, water pressure could degrade, and your water supply could become vulnerable to bacteria.

Install New Water-Filter Cartridge

Install New Water-Filter Cartridge

Step 5: Install New Water-Filter Cartridge

Now replace the filter. Look into the housing and you will see a standpipe positioned at the center bottom. It is a circular-shaped molded component with a short plastic-looking pipe protruding (See photo #5). It is important to fit the filter over this correctly, as this is the water access port, thus this is where all of your water will be coming from for filtration before heading to your house taps. Try to center the filter on the standpipe.

Screw Housing to Cap

Screw Housing to Cap

Step 6: Screw Housing to Cap

Replace the housing with the filter cartridge by hand-screwing it to the cap. Be sure to get the filter centered over the cap's standpipe. You won't necessarily be able to visually position it but you will be able to feel the standpipe slip easily into the cartridge opening. Take care NOT to tighten the housing too much, it can crack easily.

Step 7: Turn on Water Supply and Test Pressure

Slowly rotate the inlet handle to turn the water supply back on. Use caution because the water can come rushing in too quickly, and this can blow the housing off and destroy the unit. So, turn the inlet valve slowly and feel as the pressure arrives so you can control it while it fills the housing. We replaced a filter with a valve-in-head unit, but the same measure of caution must be used for any water supply inlet used. Relieve pressure by pressing the red release button, water will rooster- tail out of the unit so be prepared to get sprayed a little (or place a towel over the unit while conducting this step). Make sure you have a good seal where the housing and cap meet before leaving the unit.

Whole House Water Filter

Whole House Water Filter

Water-Filter Cartridge-Replacement Project Conclusion

After completing the filter replacement project, we ran the house water for several minutes. When we first opened the faucets, a loud, unfamiliar noise raged from the pipes. It was really startling at first until we realized what the cause was. The water was very dirty looking and spit and sputtered intermittently for some time. Even flushing the toilets and testing the shower offered this experience.

We began to ask the question, "Now what? Another unexpected project at this old property?" But then we realized all the knocking and spitting stemmed from the air that had gotten into the pipes during the project. It is a common occurrence and one you should expect to encounter when changing your water filter cartridge.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2011 India Arnold

Comments for "How to Replace a Sediment Cartridge on Your Well Water Filtration Unit"

India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on November 30, 2011:

dflood~ Check that the big black rubber gasket has been seated correctly, and that you have returned the pressure valves (inlet, outlet) to the correct position. If these do not work, you may need to replace your filter housing, or pressure release button. Good luck!

dflood on November 29, 2011:

Did all the steps above and now water is coming out of the red pressure release button. What did I do wrong?

India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on September 05, 2011:

Chin chin~ Thank you for the well wishes, you are very sweet. It pleases me you feel that after reading the instruction for changing a whole house water filter in this hub, that you have confidence to do it yourself! I appreciate you swinging by today.



Chin chin from Philippines on September 05, 2011:

We have a filtration system installed under our kitchen sink. It looks similar to what you have illustrated here. I have never worked on it but with your hub guide, I think I can do the filter cartridge change.

Congrats on writing and winning so many plumbing hubs.

India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on September 03, 2011:

PegCole~ Thank you! I hope you give it a try yourself if you ever have to change a whole house water filter. We found it pretty easy and kinda fun!

Sure appreciate your support!



Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on September 03, 2011:

Well documented and illustrated. Very thorough and understandable guide to this plumbing task. I feel like I could do this now.

India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on September 02, 2011:

Penny~ Wow, are you right! I have learned so much by having to do some plumbing things myself; and of course via my dad's brilliance, who has rescued me more than once. Thank you for your supportive comments, I really appreciate it!



SimeyC~ Thank you for the congrats and your kind words. I hope you have been enjoying the plumbing contest, as your winning work has been a wonderful contribution in "how-to"!



Simon from NJ, USA on September 02, 2011:

Awesome hub! There goes the bar way high!!! Great stuff - fully deserves the daily prize!

India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on September 01, 2011:

HRoger~ Hey, Thanks so much for the nice comments and votes! I sure appreciate you stopping by!



HRoger from Online where I can be! on September 01, 2011:

Hey K9 this is a awesome HUB!

Great information, very creative!

You got all my votes:

Useful (1)

Funny (1)

Awesome (1)

Beautiful (1)

Interesting (1)

Take care and keep it up!