How to Replace a Whole-House Water-Filter Sediment Cartridge
Why Use a Whole House Filtration System?
"OH, CULLIGAN MAN!"
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 for just 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.
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:
- Turn off water supply. Press red pressure-relief button. Rotate handle to OFF or BYPASS position.
- Unscrew housing. Remove large O-ring, wipe it clean, and set aside.
- 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.
- Lubricate O-ring with clean silicone grease and insert it back into 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.
- Replace new filter cartridge over standpipe in the bottom of the housing.
- Screw housing onto cap and hand-tighten. DO NOT OVER-TIGHTEN. Make sure cap standpipe slips into cartridge.
- Turn on water supply. Rotate handle slowly to ON position for valve-in-head units. Press 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 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 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!
This is Why You MUST Run the Water for a while After Changing the Whole House Water Filtration Cartridge!
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!
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 large diameter, but thin black rubber band. You will need to wipe it clean with a soft cloth and place 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.
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 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.
Step 5: Install New Water-Filter Cartridge
Now replace the filter. Look into the housing and you will see a standpipe positioned at center bottom. It is the 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.
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 to 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.
Water-Filter Cartridge-Replacement Project Conclusion
After completing the filter replacement project, we ran the house water for several minutes and 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