How to Change a Fridge Water Filter

Your refrigerator’s water filter helps to keep water clean and tasting fresh. To keep your fridge water crisp, the filter typically needs to be routinely replaced every six months. Luckily, this process can be done in just five simple steps: find a replacement filter, remove the old filter, install and flush the replacement and set up your refrigerator for continued use.

From sipping water to mixing up cocktails or brewing coffee or tea, you want to ensure your refrigerator water dispenser provides the best quality water. You can use the step-by-step directions provided in this guide and watch these instructional videos for different types of filters to help maintain the quality of your refrigerator’s water.

Water and ice dispenser on a stainless steel refrigerator Water and ice dispenser on a stainless steel refrigerator

Refrigerator Water Filter Replacement in 5 Steps

The model and location of a refrigerator water filter can vary depending on the brand of your appliance, but the basic steps to replace it are usually the same. When your refrigerator water filter needs to be replaced, you may notice a change of taste in both the water and the ice maker. In select KitchenAid® models, your refrigerator will signal that it’s time to replace the filter with an indicator light on the fridge’s control panel. Learning how to replace a water filter in your fridge will help to keep your water tasting crisp and refreshing. Select KitchenAid® built-in, French door and side-by-side refrigerators offer water dispensers with filters that keep your water tasting fresh with proper maintenance.

Water filter inside a refrigerator


Water filters are typically located on the bottom grille, between the crisper drawers or in the upper corners of your refrigerator. You can consult your product manual to determine its exact location. Before purchasing a new filter, compare it to the one you already have. It is recommended to replace your water filter with a new part made or approved by the manufacturer of your refrigerator. When you’re replacing your KitchenAid® refrigerator water filter, KitchenAid brand and everydrop® water filters are recommended to keep your water tasting fresh and clean.1

1. Select filters are certified by NSF Int’l against NSF/ANSI Standard 42 for reduction of certain taste and odor contaminants. Substances reduced may not be present in all users' water. 


Hand removing an old water filter from a refrigerator


Depending on the model, filters either twist or pull out. Consult your product manual for specific instructions. To remove the old filter, lift the filter door cover. This should release the old filter. With the refrigerator door completely open, twist or pull the filter straight out. There may be some residual water in the filter, so have a towel on hand in case of a spill.


Some filter manufacturers offer a recycling service for used water filters through their own facilities. Check with your product manual to see if this option is available for you.

everydrop® water filter


Remove your new water filter from its packaging and take off the protective coverings from the O-rings. Double check that the O-rings are still in place after the cover has been removed. Water filter installation instructions vary by model, so be sure to consult your product manual for specific instructions. For twist-on water filters, you will need to push the new filter straight into the housing and turn it until the filter locks into position. Some water filters are secured in place by screwing the filter into a cap before pushing it into the housing until it locks into place.

For KitchenAid® refrigerators, be sure that the arrows on the filter are pointing up to align with the filter housing. As you slide the filter into place, it will begin to close automatically. Using pressure, close the filter door completely to snap the part into place.

Man filling a tall glass mug with water from a fridge water dispenser


Once you’ve installed the new water filter, you’ll usually need to prepare the filter for use by flushing it out with water. Grab a sturdy container, like a large bucket, and place it under the water dispenser. Hold the dispenser pad down for five seconds, then release for an additional five seconds. Repeat this process until water begins to flow. 


Once water starts to flow, continue holding down the dispenser pad until at least three gallons of water have been dispensed into your bucket. Though you won’t be drinking it, this water doesn’t have to go to waste–you can use it to water your houseplants or garden.

Finger touching the control pad of a refrigerator water dispenser


Depending on the model of your refrigerator, resetting instructions may vary. Check your product manual for directions specific to your refrigerator water filter.

For KitchenAid® models with the “Options” button:

  • Press the “Options” button then the “Lock” button to initiate the reset.

  • Then, press the “Measured Fill” button to confirm the reset.

  • When the reset is complete, the “Order” and “Replace” icons will no longer appear on the display screen.

For KitchenAid® models with the “Filter” button:

  • Press and hold the “Filter” button for 3 seconds to reset.

  • When the system has reset, the “Order” and “Replace” icons will disappear from the display screen.

For KitchenAid® models with the “Temp Setting” button:

  • The reset button will be located on the control panel inside the refrigerator compartment.

  • To reset the status light, press “Temp Setting” for 3 seconds.

  • When the system is reset, the status light will not be illuminated.

For KitchenAid® models with the “Light” and “Ice Type” buttons:

  • Reset the filter status light by pressing and holding “Light” and “Ice Type” buttons for 3 seconds. 

  • The status light will turn off when the system is reset.

Refrigerator ice dispenser storage bucket filled with ice Refrigerator ice dispenser storage bucket filled with ice

Do You Have to Turn the Water Off to Change a Refrigerator Filter?

You do not have to shut off the water supply from your refrigerator to change out an old water filter.

Woman filling a container with water from a refrigerator Woman filling a container with water from a refrigerator

Can You Drink Water Right After Changing the Fridge Filter?

As long as you have followed the proper instructions to flush your new water filter with three gallons of water, you can usually drink the water right after you’ve finished the replacement. Check the instructions for your filter to make sure.

KitchenAid® water filter replacement KitchenAid® water filter replacement

How Long Does a Refrigerator Water Filter Last?

A fridge’s water filter typically lasts about six months before it needs to be replaced. The exact time depends on factors like your water quality and plumbing along with how often you use the filter. Over time, mineral deposits and other debris can build up in the filter, and as a result those contaminants may get into your water and affect its taste and appearance. If you need a new water filter for your KitchenAid® fridge, shop water filter options to find the proper model you need for your fridge.

Finger touching the control pad of a refrigerator water dispenser Finger touching the control pad of a refrigerator water dispenser

How Does a Refrigerator Water Filter Work?

Water filters can help reduce impurities and contaminants from water by forcing the water through a filter of activated carbon. The carbon attracts dirt and debris and pulls it from the water, leaving fresh tasting and clear water for you to enjoy.

Depending on the model, refrigerator water filters may help reduce contaminants like lead, pesticides and pharmaceuticals. Check the product details before purchasing a water filter to make sure it has the capabilities you’re looking for.

What Happens If You Don't Change Your Refrigerator Water Filter?

If you don’t replace your fridge water filter regularly, it can become so clogged with scaling and debris deposits that your refrigerator will no longer dispense water or ice. To keep your fridge’s water and ice dispensers working optimally, it is important to perform regular maintenance.

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KitchenAid offers a wide selection of refrigerators that are designed to keep your ingredients your fresh and your water tasting great. Explore fridge options with a water filter and dispenser for clean, fresh-tasting water in everything you make.

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