Any refrigerator that makes ice and/or dispenses cold drinking water has a water filter. This is a necessary part of the fridge that ensures the ice or water that enters your glass is clean and safe to drink. The water filter is meant to protect your family from any local, pipe, or water-line contamination. However, water filters don’t last forever. It’s necessary to change them somewhere between once to four times a year, depending on the model of the fridge and how frequently you make ice or dispense water.
If you know it’s time to change the filter (or can’t remember the last filter change), then the first step is– of course– finding your water filter location in the fridge. This isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Different brands and models of fridge keep their water filter in different places, and the options are surprisingly vast.
So if you’re looking for your refrigerator water filter, we’re here to help with a step-by-step process that’s sure to result in victory. If your fridge has a water filter, that is.
Read the Manual
The best place to start is with your refrigerator’s instruction manual. Usually, there will be a diagram of parts, controls, and locations that will tell you where to look for the water filter. There are often instructions on how to remove and replace your water filter.
If you still have your fridge’s instruction manual, then you’re in luck. All the answers should be within. However, we know that most residents have a fridge that came with the house and you have no idea where the manual is. Using insignia on the fridge, you might be able to look up the manual online, but unfortunately, this is not a guarantee. So if you don’t have a manual, follow us to the next steps in the search.
Check the Online Filter Changing Guide
Your brand of fridge might have an online guide for changing the water filter. Even if you can’t find a printed or online manual, there are often videos, diagrams or other online resources to point you in the right direction. Search by brand and then the layout of your fridge (ex: Top-freezer, side-by-side, or three-door). These details will often be enough to determine where your fridge brand -usually- puts the water filter for your style of fridge. Even if your fridge is older than the online guides.
For most brands, there will be two or three common filter locations, which gives you a shorter list to check than the total fridge filter possibilities.
Check the Fridge Compartment Four Corners
If you had no luck getting direct information about your fridge’s water filter location, it’s time for a point-to-point search. Start with the inside of your refrigerator compartment. Don’t bother with the freezer, the filter is never in there. In your fridge compartment, look at the four corners of the space. The top-right, top-left, bottom-right, and bottom-left are the four most common places to put the filter, with top-right taking the lead.
The filter will likely look like a somewhat cylindrical compartment or a slot with a cylinder inside. It may be very obvious or built into the lines of the fridge compartment, and will almost universally be white plastic.
Check the Space Between Fridge and Freezer
Not in any of the fridge corners? Check the space between the fridge and the freezer. This is less likely to be between the doors and more likely to be nestled into the lining of the refrigerator compartment, toward the freezer. This is because the water filter provides filtration for the ice machine as well as any dispensed filtered water. The water filter may share this wall with the vent that goes between the fridge and freezer compartments.
Check Behind the Kick-Plate
It might seem crazy that the water filter would be near the floor, but sometimes it is. Most fridges have a vented kick-plate below the compartments, just above the feet. In older models of the fridge, it’s more common to find the water filter nestled behind that kick-plate. You may need to release a few clips or even take out a few screws to remove the kickplate. Do so and check out what’s behind. You might see a fan motor or condenser coils. Look for a circular or rectangular slot, about the size of the palm of your hand. If you see it, this is the old water filter, ready to be removed and replaced with a new one.
Check Behind the Top Vent
Just as the water filter can be hidden behind the kickplate, it can also hide behind the top vent if your fridge has one. Look up to the top of your fridge. If you see a vented panel above the top compartment(s), then there’s a chance that the water filter is inside. Just as before, check for clips, snaps, or screws that hold the top vent in place. Release these and carefully set the top vent cover aside. Inside, you’ll likely see a fan and wires and, quite possibly, the slot for your water filter. Don’t be afraid to use a step-stool to perform this repair safely if it is not an easy reach.
Turn the Fridge Around
Finally, if all else fails, check the back. It’s rare for a fridge model to store the water filter in the back or behind a back panel, but it’s not unheard of. Especially if you have an older fridge, it’s possible that your water filter is back there with all the other essential components. Slip behind your fridge, pull it out, or turn it around to check if you can find that distinct water filter compartment in the back.
By now, you should have found that water filter in one of the possible locations. If you haven’t yet, do a reality check. Do you have a water dispenser? Do you have an ice maker? If the answer to both questions is no, you might not have a water filter either. And if you do have a water dispenser or ice maker and still can’t find the filter change location, we can help. Contact us today for guidance on your refrigerator maintenance or for more appliance repair services!