Whole House Water Filter Problems Troubleshooting Guide

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Even though whole house water filters are designed to be robust and long-lasting, they are not immune to problems.

You will still occasionally find yourself fixing issues here and there, sometimes directly related to the filter itself, sometimes involving your plumbing system in general.

And this is what this article is all about: Whole house water filter problem troubleshooting. Let’s go!

Key Takeaways

  • Problem: Whole house water filter not working at all
    • Most obvious potential cause: Lack of power.
    • Filter may be clogged. Remove any debris blocking the flow.
    • Check for signs of exterior/interior damage.
  • Problem: Issues with installation
    • Most common right after installation or after replacing filter
    • Fix misplaced filter cartridges.
  • Problem: Trapped air inside system
    • Flushing system thoroughly for a few minutes.
  • Problems with leaks
    • Damaged housing – Replace.
    • Leaking from top – Check O-rings and tighten housing.
  • Bad water taste or odor
    • Check current state of filter. It might be time to replace.
    • If mold or mildew has developed, clean or replace immediately.
  • Pressure issues
    • Clogged filter. Clean or replace.
    • Pipes might be of the wrong size.
    • May be due to circumstances outside of your household and beyond your control.
  • Problem: Stuck filter housing
    • Gently try to free it with your hands or a wrench.
    • Try tapping on the housing thread with a rubber mallet to dislodge any buildup.
  • Problem: Noises
    • Faint humming – Should subside on its own.
    • Sputtering or hammering – May be due to trapped air. Flush system.
    • Whining sounds – May be due to excessive pressure in your water system. May dissipate on its own. If not, check for faulty valve.

Troubleshooting Common Whole House Water Filter Problems

If you run into any problems with your whole house water filter, don’t panic – you’re very likely not alone. Many of these issues have an established resolution process that boils down to following a few steps.

In some cases, however, you may have to consult an expert, especially when there’s a risk of compromising the integrity of your plumbing or the water filter.

Whole House Water Filter Not Working at All

If your whole house water filter doesn’t work at all, start with the most obvious potential cause: Lack of power. While the filter itself doesn’t need electricity in most cases, you may be using auxiliary systems that do. For example, if you’re using a pump to provide additional water pressure, it’s possible that it’s been shut off due to a lack of power.

Your filter may also be clogged. Open it up and verify that there’s no debris blocking the water flow at any stage.

Finally, check if there are any signs of damage on the exterior, and if possible, the interior of the filtration system. A damaged whole house water filter is something you usually won’t be able to handle yourself, requiring additional help from a specialist.

Issues with Installation

Did you recently install your whole house filter or replace its cartridge? It’s possible that you didn’t do a proper job.

For example, you might have to twist the cartridge or push it in until it clicks. It’s very common for new owners of whole house water filters to do that part incorrectly, leaving them with a malfunctioning unit or one that doesn’t work at all.

Trapped Air

You might have air trapped along the water supply. This could happen inside the whole house filter itself or at some point before or after it in your plumbing. If you notice any irregularities with your water flow, that’s a likely cause. You might also hear an occasional banging noise when water is running. In this case, you should flush the system thoroughly for a few minutes. This should remove most issues with trapped air.

Big Blue Whole House Water Filter

Problems with Leaks

Leaks can cause various problems, including affecting your water pressure and flow. Check all points of your plumbing – or at least the ones you have access to – to see if you can identify any leaks. If you can’t easily reach certain parts of the plumbing system, try to listen for telltale dripping sounds.

Leaking Filter Housing

If your filter’s housing is leaking, this is rarely a simple fix and would often require replacing the entire housing to stay on the safe side.

Plugging the leak is usually not an option and could actually void the warranty of your entire filter.

Always consult your manufacturer to ensure that you’re not about to do anything dangerous or void your warranty.

Leaking from Top

If an O-ring has degraded over time, it could cause a leak from the top of your whole house water filter. In this case, you should shut off your water supply, remove the housing, clean it, and replace any O-rings.

Leaking Valve

A leaking valve is another annoying problem that can develop over time without you doing anything wrong. Try tightening up the valve’s connections, but don’t expect that fix to last for long if a leak has already occurred once. In the long term, you should look into replacing that valve.

Bad Water Taste or Odor

  • If your water has an unusual and/or unpleasant taste or smell to it, you should check that the filter hasn’t gotten clogged up with debris. This may result in additional contaminants making their way into your water supply.
  • It’s also possible that mold or mildew has developed, in which case you should replace the filter cartridge immediately.
  • And of course, check that the filter is simply not overdue for a replacement in general. Remember that you should keep your filters fresh and each model has its own requirements for the ideal frequency of replacements.

Pressure Problems

Pressure problems can be difficult to identify and troubleshoot if they only manifest randomly. It’s possible that you’re just dealing with a random drop in pressure due to circumstances outside of your household and beyond your control. Check if there’s any repair work being done in your vicinity, especially if it affects plumbing.

You may also be using a filter that’s not capable of sustaining a strong enough water flow for the needs of your household. In this case, you will often notice pressure problems when you have too many faucets running at the same time. Try turning on all faucets in the house briefly and see if that affects the pressure even further.

If you only installed your whole house water filter recently and the problem started after its setup, you may be using pipes of the wrong size. You may need wider pipes to accommodate the filter’s throughput.

Stuck Filter Housing

Occasionally, your whole house water filter’s housing may get stuck. If you can’t free it with your hands, try using a wrench. Be gentle at first, because you don’t want to risk damaging any parts with excessive force, especially any plastic pieces.

Try tapping on the filter with a rubber mallet. This will dislodge any mineral buildups that may have developed around the threading.

replacing dirty whole house sediment filter

You can also try releasing the system’s pressure. This won’t always work, but if you’ve tried the above to no avail, it’s worth a try.

Weird Noises

Some types of unusual noises are to be expected when running a whole house water filter.

  • You may notice a faint humming sound during the first few days, which should go away on its own within a week or so. This is especially common with PVC and plastic pipes due to their lighter design.
  • If you hear sputtering or hammering, this may be due to air bubbles trapped inside the plumbing. Fixing this is as simple as opening a faucet and letting it run for a while. If the problem persists or reoccurs frequently, you may need to adjust your plumbing or filtration system with the help of a professional.
  • If the sound resembles whining, this may be due to excessive pressure in your water system. The sound may dissipate on its own after the system has reached a stable state. However, it could also be caused by a faulty valve, in which case you should either try to repair the valve, or ideally, replace it altogether. Repairing is almost always going to be a temporary fix and you risk having the problem come back at a later point.

If you have any questions about whole house water filter troubleshooting please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

About the Author Gene Fitzgerald

Gene Fitzgerald is one of the founders of BOS and currently head of content creation. She has 8+ years of experience as a water treatment specialist under her belt making her our senior scientist. Outside of BOS, Gene loves reading books on philosophy & social issues, making music, and hiking.
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