Written by: Gene Fitzgerald // Last Updated:
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A whole house water filter can leak due to plenty of reasons. It might be regular wear and tear, a faulty O-ring, or a crack in one of the fittings, amongst other things.
Therefore, the first step towards fixing a leak is to identify what caused it in the first place. The question is: Do you need to dial a plumber right away, or can you fix it yourself?
The good news is most leakages can be fixed by replacing a few components. So we suggest you remove your plumber’s number from speed-dial and bring out your trusty toolbox. We shall also highlight some precautions you can take to prevent further leaks – better safe than sorry!
If your whole house water filter is leaking from the top:
If the leak is from the red pressure-relief button:
If the leak is at a fitting:
Whole house water filters are exceptional appliances that provide clean and pure water for your household. But that doesn’t mean they will never malfunction.
The first step to stop a leak is to find it. However, when too much water is leaking, it can be tricky to pinpoint the origin. Fortunately, if you know the most common areas that can cause leaks, you save valuable time and energy.
So, keep calm, and we will guide you on how to troubleshoot any leaks from your unit.
Unmistakably, most whole house water filter leaks originate from inside the canister/housing. Now, unless you want to flood your basement or garage, do not remove the filter housing right away. Here are the steps to follow:
Have you removed the filter housing successfully? Then onto the next step!
Filter cartridges require periodic replacements depending on the quality of feed water and your household’s daily usage. Sometimes filters clog earlier than usual and become too jammed to let any water pass through.
Under these circumstances, the housing may leak since incoming water has no other place to go. Not only does it pose a serious health risk if left untreated, but it can also lead to cracks in the housing.
Therefore, make sure to replace any filter cartridge that has exceed its service life.
Rubber O-rings may seem tiny and dispensable at first glance, but they serve a vital part in any plumbing unit. For whole house water filters, they create a seal at the interface where the housing cap comes in contact with the housing sump.
Most O-rings must be adequately lubricated with FDA food-grade silicone grease to ensure a tight seal. At times, an O-ring can get misplaced, hard, or broken, which compromises the seal.
A dirty O-ring recess could also be causing trouble. A small amount of sand or dust is not a major concern, but pebbles or debris will require cleanup.
Thus, inspect all O-rings and check whether they are properly seated. Replace with new ones if needed, but don’t forget to lubricate. A common mistake that most people make is using petroleum jelly instead of silicone. Using petroleum jelly on the rubber will cause it to swell and eventually risk the seal.
Due to external or internal overpressure, filter housings can crack and lead to a trickle or heavy leakage. Therefore, you should carefully check any hairline cracks on your filter housing’s interior and exterior.
Use torchlight or slowly submerge the housing in a water bucket to check for invisible cracks. Moreover, check the threads for any cuts due to over-tightening or lack of plumber’s tape.
Once you have carefully checked the unit and ensured that all parts are in working condition, you can reinstall the filter housing to the head. Ironically, over-tightening and under-tightening can both lead to leakages.
Use a proper housing wrench or a strap wrench to tighten the housing securely. Finally, turn the water supply back and allow the whole house water filter to run. If the unit is still leaking, there might be some other faulty part. In that case, it’s time to get in touch with the customer service department or your dealer.
It can be pretty frustrating to see your whole house filtration system leaking from the top. More often than not, it’s because of a faulty O-ring disrupting the seal.
Don’t worry; our step-by-step guide is enough to sort out the issue and stop the leak.
Again, before you start working on your filtration system, it’s essential to turn off the feed water. The corresponding valve is usually located 3 to 5 feet from the point where water enters your home.
If you don’t know where the water supply valve is, now is an excellent time to find out.
If you’re lucky, your system comes with a bypass valve that will help you shut down the filters without disrupting the water supply to the house. Bring the valve into bypass mode before removing the housing.
Next, it is best to drain the existing water from the plumbing. Open a few faucets around the house and wait for all the water to flow out. Since removing all the water and air from the plumbing is essential, it’s best to open faucets on the ground floor, not on the top floors.
If you see a small button on the top or side of your whole house water filter, press it to depressurize the housing. Keep a small tub under the unit before removing the filter housing.
Use a housing wrench to twist the filter housing carefully.
Use warm water, mild soap, and a soft brush to clean the housing. Let it air dry for a few minutes.
Inspect the O-ring and check whether it’s in working condition. If not, replace it with a new one after lubricating it properly with food-safe silicone grease. Ensure it is seated properly in the channel.
Discard the old whole house water filter cartridge and slide in a new one making sure it sits properly inside. Ensure it doesn’t tilt or is off-center, or it will damage the top of the filter.
Plumber’s tape, or thread seal tape (PTFE tape), is a flexible white tape to seal pipe threads. To ensure a tight seal, only use real plumber’s tape and don’t overdo it either. Six to eight wraps are enough. If you go round more, you might end up cracking the top of the filter’s housing.
Not only does Plumber’s tape provide for proper seating of the threads, it also prevents threads from seizing when unscrewing.
Now it’s time to twist the housing of your whole house water filtration system back onto its head, ensuring the O-ring is in place.
If you turn on the water supply on full pressure directly, you are inviting a big problem for yourself. Releasing water at full force could inadvertently push out the housing, and you could be in a bigger mess than before.
Have someone else open the valve only a quarter way through while you stay near the filters and look for leaks. Don’t try to turn on the water entirely if you see even the slightest drizzle of tiny droplets at any interface.
If everything works fine, go ahead and open the valve halfway and then slowly move to full supply.
Water leaking from the red pressure relief button usually happens after replacing the filter cartridge in your whole house water filter. It could be due to a number of reasons, such as the O-ring not being seated properly, or debris stuck in the O-ring.
If the O-ring on the housing is not seated properly, here’s what to do:
If there is debris stuck in the O-ring, it might not create a proper seal, causing water to leak from the red pressure relief button. To fix this:
The best solution, however, is to replace the O-ring with a new one to ensure there is no leak.
If you notice leaking in the pipes or fittings within your whole house water filter system, it is most likely due to either a loose connection or a cracked pipe. In either case, it is important that you shut off the water to your home immediately and do not use any tap water until the issue is resolved.
If the leak is coming from a loose connection, you will need to:
If there are still leaks present, it is likely that one of the pieces is cracked and will need to be replaced.
If you have a cracked pipe, the best course of action is to:
If there are no leaks present, your whole house water filter system should be functioning properly once again.
If issues persist, however, do not delay calling a professional for assistance. Cracked pipes can cause even bigger issues if left untreated.
Now that we have identified the main culprits for leakages in a whole house water filter, it’s time to ensure we don’t find ourselves in this situation ever again.
While it’s true that servicing most home filter systems doesn’t require too much time, a little effort goes a long way. You can easily prevent premature failures and costly repairs.
Like all appliances, you can expect increased durability of whole house water filters with a little bit of care. Thankfully, you don’t need fancy equipment, cleaning agents, or an elaborate routine.
A bi-annual cleanup session is more than enough to remove the buildup of dirt, bacteria, and other contaminants or sediment inside the housings.
It’s also important to only use gentle, non-toxic products like household detergents or NSF-certified sanitizers. This is because you don’t want any harmful residues leaching in your filtered water.
Not only should you be cleaning inside the housing, but you must also wipe the top and the assembly line to prevent the growth of unwanted pollutants.
We can’t stress this enough! Timely replacements with standard filter cartridges are crucial for your system’s performance.
The lifetime of a filter cartridge will depend on your water quality and the number of people in your home. Therefore, the time when you need to change your water filter will be different than what it is for anyone else.
If you are lucky, your whole house filter system features a light signal to signify when it needs replacement. If not, you must make a mental note, write it down, or subscribe to programs so that replacements arrive in time.
Broken or hard O-rings lead to the whole system coming down. So if you want to ensure uninterrupted clean water supply to your house, you must regularly lube O-rings, especially when you replace the filter cartridges.
It also helps to keep a stash of O-rings handy that fit your filter model.
If your whole house water filter is set up outdoors, it might be prone to frequent wear and tear from exposure to extreme temperatures. Therefore, it’s wise to insulate the unit to prevent damage from the harsh sun rays or freezing winds.
Use reflective sheets or insulation material to cover the unit. Similarly, you can also use exterior-grade plywood to build a shed around it.
If you have any questions about whole house water filter leaking please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!