Can You Leave Water Filter Out of the Refrigerator?

Refrigerators have changed significantly over the decades since they became a household standard. Newer refrigerators have a lot of fun features that help make your life easier, including a water dispenser. This allows those that may not otherwise have access to clean drinking water to have clean water in their homes. On top of this, it makes it a lot easier to make ice.

But since the inclusion of water dispensers in most refrigerator models, each of them now contains a water filter. We’re going to take a look at if you can leave a water filter out of the refrigerator and still have it work efficiently to deliver safe, healthy drinking water to your household. So without further ado, let’s jump right into it.

Will a Refrigerator Run Without A Filter?

The simple answer is yes. A refrigerator can be used when there is no water filter in it. But this is not something that most experts suggest. After all, if you consume water that hasn’t gone through a filtration system, it could potentially cause health risks that you don’t want. 

On top of that, by operating a refrigerator that is supposed to have a water filter unless you use a bypass plug, which we’ll talk about later, the unit itself will struggle to maintain its lifecycle. Of course, there are some instances where you can, as we said, run it without a water filter. But what happens to a refrigerator when you run it without one?

What Happens to The Refrigerator If It Does?

If you have gone through any home goods store, you’ve noticed that all of the refrigerators you look at tend to have water dispensers and ice makers built into them. These refrigerators, because they have these features, now have extra components; as we said, we’ll need water filters. 

When the refrigerator has a water filter, it’s best to go ahead and utilize it because it is intended to filter out the heavy sediments and all the impurities in the water so that you can enjoy freshwater and the system runs right.

Because it is built like this, running a refrigerator without a filter is counterproductive. When a filter is not present, the water coming through the system is straight from the water supply. This means it has all the minerals, sediments, particulates, and potentially, pollutants. To utilize the refrigerator without the filter, you will have to invest in a separate piece called a bypass plug. This actually helps the water move through the filtration system without going through the filter itself.

One thing to keep in mind is that not all models will allow you to utilize a bypass plug to work your way around the filtration system. In general, running the system without the filter and a bypass plug will lessen the unit’s life cycle and leave you with undrinkable water.

What is a Refrigerator Bypass Plug?

Above, we mentioned that you would be able to utilize your system without a filtration system if you purchased a bypass plug. If your unit allows it to be used, this is an object that actually acts as a stand-in for the water filter. This will block the water from entering the area so that the filter will not be a part of the project. If this plug is not present and that unit is not outfitted with the filter, the water will not run properly.

Most of the time, when you’re dealing with a system that isn’t able to be utilized with a bypass plug, the water filter in the unit will not be able to be removed. This is important to note as there will be no way to run your refrigerator without a water filter in these systems.

Water filter status light

Do You Have to Change A Refrigerator Water Filter?

So you CAN run the refrigerator without a filter. It’s highly suggested if it’s designed to be run with one not do it. In this case, you might wonder if you can change the water filter in your refrigerator. The answer is yes; just like with anything else, you can replace the filter. You may have to call a professional as sometimes it might be more difficult than you would like, but the water filter is easily removed.

Of course, the process depends on the type of refrigerator you’re dealing with. Ideally, most of the time, experts will tell you that those filters need to be removed and replaced about every six months. But if you have heavier water or use water very frequently, you might have to do it more often.

How to Remove Or Replace One

If you’re not inclined to be handy, you may consider asking a professional to come into your home and change the filter, but it is unnecessary. It is actually very easy to change the filters in most refrigerators. The first step is to take out your owner’s manual and look at how the system is set up and the proper water filter removal process. 

Typically though, it starts by executing the following steps:

  • The first thing you want to do is look for the housing where the water filter is held. The best way to do this is to use your manual and look at the system layout of your refrigerator.
  • Then you want to take the filter in your hand and move it counterclockwise until you can remove it. There may be a button on some refrigerators that has to be pressed to release the filter at this stage.
  • After you’ve removed the filter, all that is left is to put the new filter in. Of course, you’re going to place it in the same housing, turn it clockwise, or push it into place in some models. And that’s all it is to remove or replace the water filter in your refrigerator.

Final Thoughts

Ensuring the water filter system in your refrigerator runs properly and that you are bringing healthy water into your home is important. We understand that water filters might be a necessity that you don’t have the time or money for, but it is a vital part of your home, so it’s better to spend the money than risk your and your family’s health and well-being.

Ensuring your refrigerator is using the right components means you’re not only extending the life of that appliance but also ensuring you have a happy and healthy home. After all, water is the elixir of life, and making your water as pure as possible is a crucial part of a healthy diet.

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