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How Do I Get My Water Filter Unstuck? | 10-Step Guide

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Tim Rhodes

Are you asking the question, “How do I get my water filter unstuck?”

If you’re constantly using refrigerator water filters or any other type of filter, it’s more likely to get stuck now and then.

Our filtration systems get clogs and they can get stuck due to pollution, harsh weather, rust, and mineral deposits.

These need to be checked at every given interval.

However, removing a stuck water filter can sometimes be confusing and difficult.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of measures to take with exact removal and installation instructions.


Definitive Guide On How Do I Get My Water Filter Unstuck?

In this 10-step guide, we’re going to troubleshoot you on how to get your water filter unstuck.

If you have any difficulties removing your water filter, consult your owner’s manual first.

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Last update on 2023-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1. Quarter Turn Filter

Water filters are situated around the bottom-front part of the refrigerators, generally in the base grill area located inside the refrigerator.

When they are stuck it could be due to a wrong turn or the button simply not being pushed in.

Installation and removing your water filter on these base grill-mounted systems are quite easy.

If The Water Filter Is Stuck

If your water filter is stuck and you have a bottom grill follow the instructions below.

Most of the steps require you to remove the bottom grill of your refrigerator in the grille area.

Step 1

For removing the water filter located inside the refrigerator, turn the filter counterclockwise a quarter to the left.

The caps are usually aligned vertically.

Step 2

Take out the water filter directly.

Step 3

If available remove the caps (depends on the model).

Reminder: Do not forget that the new filter should have a filter cap.

Step 4

Covering the water filter with a cloth is advised to protect it from getting contaminated or damaged.

Step 5

Rotate the water filter cap a quarter using standard needle nose pliers.

If you don’t have any needle nose pliers, you can try using a standard one.

Step 6

Switch the refrigerator off and remove the bottom grill in the grille area.

We highly recommend following the installation instructions manual for this.

Remove the bottom grill for easier access to the water filter cap with a better grasp.

Do not apply heavy pressure or force on the water filter as it may cause damage or break the water system.

Step 7

Check the water filter for any damage or contamination.

Replace the necessary parts in the grille area and reinstall the water filter.

2. Push Button Filter

Please follow the instructions below for push button filters.

If The Water Filter Is Stuck

Step 1

Find the button on the base grille of the push-button filter.

Step 2

Remove the water filter from the filter assembly, push the button on the base grille.

Step 3

When the base grille is detached you can easily remove the water filter.

Step 4

Press and hold the button to remove the water filter.

Step 5

Now to detach the water filter from the filter assembly, press on the filter, and then press the button.

Step 6

Unplug the refrigerator and remove the bottom grill, go along the installation instructions on the manual provided with the product.

Remove the bottom grill for easier access to the stuck filter.

Step 7

On firmly pressing the button you can see if the filter has moved.

If the water filter has moved to push the filter back in and then push the button again.

This will help make it easier in the future.

Reminder: Don’t forget to remove the water filter cap on the end of the filter.

Step 8

Check for any contamination clogged in the filter or any damage that might be visible.

Check for leakage by flushing water to the water filter.

Step 9

Connect the filter back to the filter assembly tightly to prevent leakage.

Make sure the filter has been sanitized before installing it back.

Step 10

Change the necessary parts and install the system again.

Now check the water flow.

3. Water Filter Compartment Door Opens Up And Pops Out

If The Water Filter Is Stuck

Step 1

First open the water filter compartment door of the water filter.

The water filter compartment door usually opens in an upward direction.

Step 2

When the water filter compartment door is open, take the water filter out completely.

Step 3

Check for the water filter compartment door functionality properly.

Step 4

Turn off the water to the refrigerator and clear out some of the water from the waterline using the water dispenser.

Step 5

Now dispense several glasses of water, this method releases some of the water pressure that may be in the waterline.

Step 6

After clearing out the water, try removing the filter.

In this stage, you can check the water filter for things that may be clogging the water filters.

Step 7

Once checked, you can either replace the filter or amend the parts causing clogging.

Don’t forget to close the water filter compartment door.

4. Push Button Or Pull Tab

For push button or pull tab stuck water filters please follow the instructions below.

If The Water Filter Is Stuck

Step 1

Open the water filter.

Step 2

For removing your water filter, turn the filter counterclockwise to the left.

Step 3

Ensure the water filter compartment door is open completely.

While you have the compartment door open, remove the filter and check for faulty parts.

Step 4

Check for dirt in the mainline hose, the parts that are in contact with the filter may be rusty too.

Step 5

Now remove the faulty parts for the new parts that have a longer life span and would not clog.

Don’t forget to close the water filter compartment door.

5. Reverse Osmosis Water Filters & Membrane

Below are the generalized filter and membrane unclogging orders for most standard reverse osmosis systems.

Proper sanitization and service procedures must be used while changing any filters or membranes of your drinking water systems.

These step-by-step guides will help you ensure those sanitation and service procedures are met.

You can also learn how to sanitize your RO System including the tubing, storage tank, and fittings.

If You Have A Stuck Water Filter

Step 1

Be careful while handling filter cartridges.

You can use this link to find the correct filters for your RO system by selecting your brand and model in proper order.

Step 2

It’s desired that the water filter cartridges remain in their original packaging until they are ready to be installed if the filters are clogged due to longevity loss.

Step 3

It’s important for the person executing the replacement or unclogging service to sanitize their hands before executing the service, to prevent the introduction of bacteria in the system.

Step 4

RO System Service Kit can help make replacing filters simpler and keep your system in peak performance.

Step 5

While opening the filter you should be sure to check for the faulty parts and replace them with the new ones.

6. Standard Filter

If your standard water filter is stuck, follow the instructions below.

If You Have A Stuck Water Filter:

Step 1

First turn off the feed water supply line valve to the reverse osmosis system.

Step 2

While turning the blue ball valve on the top of the tank, a ¼ clockwise turn closes the ball valve on the reverse osmosis storage tank.

Step 3

Provided you have a line that goes to your ice maker or refrigerator from your RO system, you have to turn off the ball valve on that line.

Step 4

Open the RO faucet and allow the pressure in the system to release.

Step 5

For easement place a shallow tray or pan under the water filter housing to prevent water spillage during the inspection time.

Step 6

Remove the used filter cartridge once you have unscrewed the vertical filter housings.

You may need a filter housing wrench if you have trouble removing the water filter.

Step 7

O-rings should be carefully removed and placed on a clean surface.

After cleaning the O-rings with a clean soft cloth, inspect visually for any nicks, cuts, or abrasions that might cause the O-rings to improperly seat in the filter housing.

If the O-rings appear damaged, you must replace the O-ring.

Step 8

After disconnecting the filter housings wash them using warm water and a dash of liquid soap.

Make sure that all the soap has been washed out of the filter housing before inserting the new filter and reattaching.

Step 9

Lubricate the O-ring lightly with a silicone lubricant.

Insert the O-ring into the filter-housing O-ring groove.

Make sure the O-ring is accurately seated into the groove since its main function is to provide the watertight seal between the filter housing cap and the filter housing.

If your system consists of an inline post-carbon filter (typically small horizontal filter on top of the system) and/or the reverse osmosis membrane (typically the large horizontal filter on top) and you are also unclogging/changing these filters, please skip to the instructions for those filters below.

If you are just replacing standard vertical filters, continue with the following instructions for completion of the filter change:

Step 10

Check the system for leaks.

Step 11

You should get a small steady stream or a very fast drip of the water signifying the filters are working properly within a couple of minutes from turning on the reverse osmosis faucet.

Step 12

While the storage tank valves are still closed, let several gallons of water go through the RO system and out of the RO faucet.

Step 13

Turn off the faucet and open the storage tank ball valve by turning the blue ball valve a ¼ turn the filter counterclockwise so that the blue handle is parallel with the tubing connected to the storage tank.

Step 14

When the tank is filling you may hear the water running.

It takes several hours to fill an empty tank.

Step 15

Open the refrigerator or ice maker line after the tank has filled.

Step 16

Your system is now ready for use.

7. RO Membrane Water Filter

For a RO Membrane water filter follow the tips below.

If You Have A Stuck Water Filter

Step 1

First switch off the principal water line of the system.

Now, switch off any water line that is connected to the ice maker or refrigerator.

Open the system’s water faucet to drain out water from the container.

Remember: Faucet should be closed after the water is drained out.

Step 2

Open the water purifier system by disconnecting the membrane housing.

Usage of a strap wrench to open the housing is advised.

The membrane is disconnected to prevent it from getting damaged during the cleaning and bleaching process.

Bleaching agents damage the RO membrane.

Step 3

Drain out all the water from the housing.

Step 4

Chemical cleaners do a great job to clean the RO membrane.

However, the cleaning agents are advised beforehand in the instructions manual.

Follow the instructions manual carefully.

Step 5

When examined you’ll find deposits on the membrane.

These deposits generally comprise calcium carbonate scale, metal oxide deposits, silica scale, organic and inorganic colloidal deposits, and organic material like fungi and molds.

Step 6

There are a variety of generic cleaners available in the market but chemical cleaners do a much better job at cleaning and sanitizing than generic ones.

Generally, 3 categories of cleaners are utilized, which are Acid cleaner, Alkaline Cleaner, and Sanitizer.

Flushing the systems after each cleaner usage is mandatory.

Remember: Clean the membrane housing with a bottle brush and some liquid soap.

Bleach and water work fine too.

Step 7

Reinstall the water filter and check the water flow and quality.

8. Inline Post Filter

Generally, the Standard RO system comprises one inline post carbon filter situated horizontally next to or above the RO membrane housing.

Some inline filters come with threaded fittings on each end and others are quickly connected fittings.

For this process, you will need to pull the water filter tubing out.

If The Water Filter Is Stuck

Step 1

Follow steps 1-5 above and continue from below.

Step 2

Press down the small ring where the tubing is connected to the filter or from the fitting connected to each end of the filter or fitting disconnect tubing from each end of the filter.

Press and hold the ring down to pull the water filter tubing out.

Step 3

After you pull the water filter tubing out, remove the old filter’s fittings if the filter you have has separate fittings screwed into each end of the water filter.

Wrap the plumber’s tape 2-3 times on the male threaded end of every fitting.

Now screw the threaded fitting to the fresh filter.

Step 4

Push the tubing into the fitting or filter on every end as far as possible to connect the tubing to the filter.

If leakage occurs due to these connections after turning on the water supply, it means the tubing was not pressed in far enough.

Step 5

Turn the incoming water supply line on and check the system for leaks to complete the unclogging process.

9. Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) Filter

The Granular Activated Carbon consists of loose carbon granules whose function is to absorb contamination and result in a higher water filtration rate.

These particles are larger than carbon powders.

If The Water Filter Is Stuck:

Step 1

Turn off the water supply to the system with the help of shut-off valves.

On the water filter housing cap locate the red pressure release button and allow any pressure inside the housing to release.

This would help remove the blue filter sump easily.

Step 2

Unscrew the blue sump with a spanner wrench from the filter cap.

Step 3

Locate the O-ring and remove it.

Make sure the lubricant is intact.

The O-rings are advised to be replaced annually.

The water filters could also be changed if any damage is seen on the O-rings (cracked, kinked, etc.) or any leakage is found between the housing cap and the housing sump which is not secure after being tightened with a spanner wrench.

Put the O-ring in a safe place to prevent it from getting dirty or otherwise contaminated.

Step 4

Discard the old filter cartridge.

Step 5

With warm soapy water and a soft cloth clean the housing and the filter cap.

Now top up the water filter with 1/3 water and mix 2 tablespoons of generic bleach.

Disinfect the water filter with scrubbing (wear rubber gloves).

Rinse parts thoroughly!

Step 6

A fresh filter cartridge will lose particles called “fines” (very fine black powder) succeeding installation.

Let running water through the system for 5 minutes initially and then after an hour flush the system again with running water for 5 minutes.

Step 7

Remove the fresh filter cartridge from the packaging and slide the filter cartridge into the housing sump.

Make sure the cartridge has slidden over the standpipe in the bottom.

Using the spanner wrench, screw the blue sump to the housing cap tightly, don’t over tighten.

Step 8

First, lubricate the O-rings with generic silicone lubricant.

Now, place the O-ring in the groove at the top of the blue sump and press it into place.

Afterwards, make sure the O-ring is aligned to the groove.

Step 9

First be sure to fill the water in the system slowly.

Release any trapped air by pressing the pressure release button.

Next check for leaks using the spanner wrench tighten the O-ring to the housing and make a good seal stop the leakage.

10. Ultrafiltration (UF)

If The Water Filter Is Stuck:

Step 1

Close the main water supply line to the water filter.

You would not want the water to spill everywhere while doing this.

Step 2

Gather the cleaning solution and preheat the solution to an appropriate temperature.

For seawater applications, reverse osmosis (RO) permeate is preferred.

Step 3

We can recycle the cleaning solution using low-flow pumping.

Make sure the pH of the solution is adequate, adjust if needed.

More acid is added if the pH increases by more than 1 pH unit during acid cleaning.

Furthermore, more caustic is added if the pH decreases by more than 1 pH unit during alkaline cleaning.

Step 4

A fresh batch of cleaning solution is made when the one in site becomes very murky and/or discolored.

This process can take up to an hour if only one cleaning solution is needed.

Step 5

The soaking step takes up to two hours.

An overnight soak of 10-15 hours can be beneficial depending on the extent of fouling.

To improve cleaning efficiency and maintain a high temperature apply at a slow recirculation rate (about 10% of the flow used on recirculation step) if an extended soaking period is used.

Step 6

Depending on the availability, regular backwash with air scour on the UF skid is advised.

Air scour, a feature that requires vertically oriented modules using outside inflow configurations is a great tool to loosen particles deposited on the membrane surface, the removal of which is very important before a CIP.

Step 7

Air is subjected from the bottom on the outside of the fibers and displaced feed flow/concentrate subjects air from the top for disposal.

Step 8

Basic switch off procedures are applied to remove UF skid from service and clear out the water.

The cleaning solution might get diluted by the residual water in the skid hence make sure to drain out all the water.

Step 9

After the soak period, drain the CIP tank and fill it with RO permeate (preferred, for seawater applications) normal water or UF filtrate to arrange for the flush outstep.

Repeat the recirculation step for 10 minutes to flush out of the CIP tank and piping.

Step 10

To shake the fibers for amplified cleaning, introduce air for 5 minutes while in the soak phase; do this every 30 minutes.

Step 11

Perform regular backwash checks post-CIP of the UF skid to prepare the system and then return to service.

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Last update on 2023-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Unclogging Your Water System

Difficult or stuck water filters can be a pain for unclogging your water system.

In short, if you need to unclog or unstuck your water filtration system you can find if not all but many answers here in the step by step guide.

Most of the time the right answer consists of removing your water filter, cleaning it and reattaching it.

We have included a few links to help you see what works for your filter system the best to help you even further to remove a stuck water filter.

You can click on the links for video aids on “how do I get my water filter unstuck?”.

Make sure while you are unsticking the water filters keep it sanitized, since any kind of contamination may lead to poor quality of water.

Hopefully this guide has helped you unclog any of your refrigerator water filters.

If you have any other suggestions on how to remove a stuck water filter, let us know in the comments below.

Last update on 2023-12-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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