How to Install a Refrigerator Water Filter

Updated: Apr. 24, 2024

Quick-connect fittings make installation and maintenance easy.

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20 minutes




Around $50


When was the last time you replaced your refrigerator water filter? That long, huh? Me too!

My fridge, a Samsung, had a sticker inside with the date they put in the filter at the factory. Good grief — where does the time go? I could've gotten a master's degree, or done a tour in the Army. Let's remedy that, shall we?

Filters keep the water and ice dispensed from your fridge crisp, clean and tasting great. You're supposed to change the water filter every six months, or when the light in your fridge indicates it's time.

Luckily, newer-model fridges with water and ice dispensers come with integrated filters that are easy to replace. Gone are the days where you had to install one yourself on the water line, although that's still an option if you own an older model.

Before starting this project, buy the filter that goes with your specific fridge. Filters are not universal! Check the manual, or search online using your model number. Order from the fridge manufacturer or a retailer it recommends. Subpar filters are a waste of money and could even damage your fridge.

Are you ready? Let's go!

Tools Required

  • Kitchen towel
  • Large cup or glass or bucket
  • Scissors or utility knife

Materials Required

  • Refrigerator water filter

Project step-by-step (7)

Step 1

Read the instructions

  • Find your refrigerator manual or search for your manual online.
    • You’ll need the model number. To find it, look on the inside of the door or wall of the fridge.
  • Read the instructions for changing your filter.
  • Verify you have the correct filter for your model.

Fridge Filter Model NumberAlly Childress For Family Handyman

Step 2

Locate the filter compartment

  • Check between the crisper drawers, or look for a designated compartment.
  • Review the manual if you can’t find it.
  • Turn off the water supply, if recommended (optional).

Fridge Filter Locate Filter CompartmentAlly Childress For Family Handyman

Step 3

Remove the old filter

  • Grasp the old filter handle and twist or pull, depending on the model.
    • Look for an arrow or other symbol to provide direction.
    • If it’s been a while since you changed the filter (guilty!), this may be difficult. It’s OK to use a little muscle.
  • Pull filter straight out to minimize water leakage.
  • Wipe the area with a towel to catch any spilled water.

Fridge Filter Pull Straight OutAlly Childress For Family Handyman

Step 4

Verify new filter (optional)

  • Remove the new filter from the packaging using scissors or utility knife.
  • Find the authentication packet inside the packaging (if applicable).
    • My filter uses a magnet and coded tab to deter counterfeiting.
  • Remove the tab from the filter label and hold it to the magnet.
  • If the tab changes color as indicated in the instructions, the filter is authentic.

Fridge Filter AuthenticateAlly Childress For Family Handyman

Step 5

Insert the new filter

  • Remove the cap from the new filter.
  • Insert the filter into the slot in same orientation as the one you removed.

Fridge Filter Turn Filter To Remove Or InsertAlly Childress For Family Handyman

Step 6

Reset the filter light

  • Find the reset filter button on your fridge control panel.
  • Press and hold the reset filter light for three seconds, or follow other instructions for your specific fridge.
    • Pro tip: My “press and hold” did not work, so I unplugged and plugged in the fridge and tried again. Success!

Fridge Filter Reset LightAlly Childress For Family Handyman

Step 7

Clear the water line

  • Run water through the filter by repeatedly filling and dumping a large cup, glass or bucket.
    • Check your manual for the recommended time or amount. Mine said seven minutes, but yours could be in gallons.
    • This removes air and impurities, which can make your water taste funny. To avoid waste, water your plants.
  • Enjoy your water!

Fridge Filter Clear WaterAlly Childress For Family Handyman