Most people will think that a water filter for their American fridge freezer is a standard thing and that they're all the same really, the only difference is the price you pay.
To anyone that knows little or nothing about fridge water filters that would be the case usually and people will just hunt around for the cheapest one they can buy and think they're done. Sadly, this is a mistake.
Like most spares and, especially, consumables like water filters, vacuum cleaner bags and the likes that you HAVE to replace regularly, it's big business for many people with some of these water filters used the world over. So, if you can come up with a cheap one that beats all the rest on price then you're onto a winner as people will buy them in droves thinking that they're all the same.
The water filter in your fridge does a few things or at least, it should do two specifically.
The first of course is to filter the contaminants out of the water supplied from the mains water supply but we'll get to that in more detail in a bit.
The second and the answer to the question, is that over time the filters collect not only the contaminants in the water but also tiny particles of grit, dirt and sand etc that are found in every supply virtually without exception. Over time this sediment builds up and restricts the water flow into the fridge and so the filter must be replaced to ensure a good flow of water.
You can tell when the filter needs replaced as the water dispenser supply will start to run slower than it should but, as that happens very gradually over a period of time, it's not uncommon for people not to notice it.
The icemaker will also start to produce smaller and smaller cubes of ice as the water is restricted. Again, this takes time and is an easy thing to miss.
So, as you can see it is important that the water filter in the fridge is replaced regularly.
Let's face it, the point of having a fridge with filtered water on tap is so you can enjoy clean, cooled filtered water and not be buying bottled water and storing litres of the stuff in the fridge. Asides from which it's a real pain to heave around from the store to the house etc.
But how well the water is filtered and, how long the filter will be effective are the pertinent questions when it comes to choosing a replacement fridge water filter.
Almost all the original manufacturer water filters used tried, tested and well proven filtration systems. They have to really as if they didn't perform well they'd get slated, so they are usually about the best water filters you'll get. The "but" is that these are often more expensive than the "compatible" filters, sometimes massively more expensive than the copies are.
What they do to make the cheap copies is to leave out some of the filtration levels. And, trying not to be too technical, they will use a granular type of filter instead of the much more expensive and, far more effective, charcoal type water filter.
The really cheap copies do filter don't get me wrong, they just don't do it as well as perhaps you may expect and if as I said at the beginning of this article, you are one of the people that think it doesn't matter and still don't, go buy a cheap water filter.
We tend to avoid them in all honesty as, continuous use of the poor quality filters leads to problems like blocked internal pipework, sediment blocking, restricting or tainting the water supply in the fridge water tank. It's not good.
That said, some people will never have an issue with them but we'd prefer not to take the chance thanks.
The other thing to note about the expensive versus the cheap fridge filters is that the good ones will often use a multi-level filtration system. I'm not going to bore you with the technical details of it all but, essentially, it means that they filter better and last longer as they don't clog up so fast.
Most fridge freezers with water filters need them changed every six months or one year in a few cases. Some do record the volume of water drawn but, very few, most are on a simple timer. The timer expires and the warning light will come on telling you to change the water filter.
On most fridges that have a water filter fitted there is normally some sort of filter change light to tell you when to change the filter it usually won't come on until you actually need to replace the filter. Obviously it is normally a few days before you can get one and swap it over but, if you use the water and ice a lot this can be an inconvenience. So we will usually say, as you would expect, that it can be an idea to have an extra filter to hand, especially in the summer months when the ice and water is being used more.
However, there are a whole load of fridge freezers out there that don't have this facility, usually to reduce cost and almost always on the fridge freezers where the filter is fitted externally, i.e., not within the fridge itself or, like the Whirlpool ones, in the grill under the doors.
In order to solve this problem for the vast bulk of people and, to save you having to buy and store an extra filter before you actually need one, we introduced a nifty little device called Timestrip that is supplied with all the six month life water filters that we sell. Free!
This cool little device lets you see at a glance how long the water filter has been in use and, importantly, how much life it has left before it requires to be replaced. That saves you money on buying extra filters that will lie in a cupboard for months until you need one and, where you don't have a filter change lamp, you know exactly when you need to replace your water filter.
The Timestrip is activated by simply squeezing the bubble on the label and a red line appears almost immediately to confirm that the indicator is active. That's it, it really is incredibly simple to use.
You can find more information about Timestrip from this link
We've learned that some of the really cheap water filters, often found on Ebay and places like that have, "issues".
Some of the engineers have reported having to be called out for poor water or, in most cases like this, no water to the fridge freezer. What they've found is pretty worrying.
It appears that these cheap filters break up internally and that the charcoal or whatever has been used in their construction, has broken down and actually passed into the water supply to the fridge. In turn this has blocked the internal pipework, sometimes the water tank and wrecked a couple of icemaker units as well. Asides from the financial cost of sorting out the mess, which is the secondary concern although it has been known to cost well over £100 to fix, there is the fact that you have no idea what you've been drinking in the water as this gunk got into and clogged the water system. This is not at all good and worries us greatly as there's loads of these cheap copy filters around now and, no way to know which ones are good and which are bad.
We think that these are cheap Chinese copies with false and, quite probably, illegal certification printed on the filters themselves or on the packaging. In other words, counterfeit water filters.
We check and monitor our suppliers for this very reason very carefully as water filters is a huge global market and is therefore highly likely to get this sort of thing happening. It is vital to us that our customers recieve high quality replacement water filters and other spare parts. This is also the reason why you will not find the stupidly cheap filters on this site nor will you find any that have not come from a good and reputable supplier. If there is no good budget alternative available, we will only sell the original water filter and not a poor copy.
We do this to protect our customers, our reputation and our business ethic which is to supply the best possible replacement part of filter in this case, at a keen price with the highest level of service.
In the end, it's your choice but we'd advise that having a quality assured water filter is well worth the extra for the sake of a few extra pounds a year. The cheap and nasty ones just aren't worth the risk.
The conclusion is simple, buy a decent filter and don't have any problems.
Or you pay your money and take your chances.
We, as usual, take the moral high ground and only sell filters that we know are good and of a sufficient quality, we don't do inferior well at all.
Most of the common filters like the Maytag etc, fridge filters are not that much more expensive anyway and, for the few pounds difference, it's just not worth the risk or bother. Pretty much it's the same for the Whirlpool one, they are at pretty sensible prices when you think how much bottled water would cost if you bought the same amount that one of these filters will process, in fact, they're very cheap when you look at it that way.
The real Samsung ones, the dumpy one as we call it (this one) can be had for half the price, we know that. But they're copies, inferior and a water tanks for a Samsung American fridge is not exactly cheap and we sell them to people as they get clogged up due to poor filtration. And yes, we think it's too expensive as well!
In the end it really is down to you what you buy but the filters that we will sell are available in the store at as sensible a price as we can get them for good quality filters.