How Often Should I Change My Shower Filter?

GXSM01HWW GE Shower Filter System
GE GXSM01HWW Shower Filter

Over the last several years, customers have confidently evolved from one-time seekers of traditional air filters and water filters to masters of holistically healthy homes.  With this evolution, we’ve seen the market for shower filters absolutely explode.

Consider this: your skin is your largest organ.  Shower water – or bath water, if so inclined – is the one thing that you can definitively say will come into the most consistent contact with this organ.  If the water in your home is swimming in impurities, these contaminants will pour over your body every time you step into your shower.

Even if you pull from municipal or city water sources lower in contaminants, you will likely still be exposing the outside of your body to chlorine.  Most cities will use chlorine to sanitize the drinking water supply, in concentrations of two to four parts per million.  Short-term exposure to this level of chlorine can cause everything from dry skin and acne to split ends and premature aging, while some evidence links long term exposure to cancer and premature aging.

Shower water will also make its way to the inside of your body – whether by soaking in through your pores, being inhaled as vapors – or in the case of some, especially children and animals – accidentally swallowed.

Bottom-line, any shower faucet not equipped with a shower filter will be pouring the same level of impurities and contaminants that you work hard to keep out of the water your family drinks.

HO2-WH Sprite High Output2 Shower Filter
Sprite HO2-WH Shower Filter – 12 Month Average Lifespan

So how often should your shower filter system have its filter cartridge changed, once installed?  Pages on our site offering shower filter systems, and corresponding shower filter replacement cartridges, are equipped with information sharing how long a cartridge will last when it comes to ‘average’ use.  Average use when it comes to a shower filter is most commonly six months or 10,000 gallons of water usage – though we do offer some systems, including the popular Sprite High Output HO2 and Omnifilter SF100 pictured – that can last twelve months or more.

Unfortunately, the answer to how often you need to replace your shower filter cartridge is not quite as easy as saying ‘every six months’ or ‘every 12 months.’  The reason being is that ‘average’ use when it comes to a shower filter is better defined as ‘best case scenario’ use.

For instance, ‘average’ use typically refers to four people showering once per day in normal city water with very little in the way of impurities outside of chlorine or other chemicals used to clean the water supply.  On the other hand, if you live in a home with more significant water quality issues, including heavier amounts of sediment, hard water or limescale, your shower filter will last a considerably shorter amount of time.  The same would hold true if, instead of a family of four using city water, your home is a family of six using well water.

SF100 OmniFilter Shower-Soft Inline Shower Filter
OmniFilter SF100 Shower Filter – 12 Month Average Lifespan

So if you are one of the many living in an atypical home – or if you live in a typical home and have simply lost track of the last time you swapped out your shower filter cartridge – how can you tell when it’s time for a change?

As a general rule, you should be able to tell when it’s time to change your shower filter cartridge when your flow rate and water pressure begin to decrease dramatically.  This is a sure indication that your filter has captured nearly all of the impurities that it has been built to reduce and is unlikely to provide the benefits you deserve.  If you wait longer to swap out your cartridge after experiencing flow or pressure decreases, you will likely once again be showering in a steady stream of impurities – subjecting yourself to dry skin, split ends – and just plain unpleasant showers.


WSH-C125 Culligan Filtered Shower Head with Massage Feature
Culligan WSH-C125 Filtered Shower Head with Massage Feature

While rules of thumb are harder to come by when it comes to determining when to replace shower filter cartridges, our customer service team is staffed with experts – including several certified by the Water Quality Association (WQA) – that can help you determine if it’s time to change your filter cartridge – based on just a little bit of information from you regarding performance and usage.

If you have a question about installing a new shower filter system, or if you already have a system and have a question related to the installation or replacement of your cartridge, you can reach our customer service team directly at 1-800-277-3458.  We also invite you to share any of your own personal experiences with shower filters with our audience by submitting a comment below.

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Valerie Mohler

Valerie Mohler

Valerie Mohler provides support for customers of As a proud working mother of two children, Valerie offers tips, insight and advice that helps her readers provide the cleanest tasting drinking water, freshest indoor air and healthiest environments for themselves and their families. Valerie has been recognized by the Water Quality Association as a Certified Water Specialist since 2013.

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    • Thank you for contacting!
      Most Culligan shower head filters need to be changed about every 6 months!
      Please let us know if you have any additional questions.

  1. When you take the filter out if you shake it can you hear sediments in the filter. Cuz I can hear something inside it when I shake it

    • Dear Lynnette, thank you for contacting DiscountFilterStore blog. Yes it is normal for a granulated carbon filter to sound like that if you shake it, but not for a carbon block. Did you just take take the old filter out or did you just receive the filter from us? That usually happens with water or granular activated carbon. Please let me know if you have any additional questions I would be more than happy to answer.

  2. Do you think that the 12 months life span for this filters is real ! i have bad experience with my last shower filter which not last more than 4 months.

    from your experience what is the best shower filter ? and where i buy it for good price?

    • Thank you for contacting! The lifespan on the filters can vary depending on how many showers you take and what is in your water as well. I would say going with a filter that last around 6 months, that way you can change if twice a year and know that your getting filtered water in your shower. We have a 1-20006-WC Seychelle Royal Filtered Shower Head (Wall Mount, Chrome) for $55.96 on our site, it does come with the filter with the shower head, the replacement cartridge is $36.39. Otherwise your local Home Depot or Lowes will have shower filters as well if you are wanting to look in your area. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact our customer service at 800-277-3458 and one of our customer service representatives would be more than happy to assist you. Thank you again for contacting!

  3. I have a granular carbon shower filter which has been fitted for the last 4 months. When I took it out to check, the water dripping from it was brownish. I tried washing it, but it continued to be the same colour. Why is water dirty- is it the colour of the Carbon granules or is it the residue from the water?

    • Hello Ruchika,

      Thank you for contacting! What you are seeing most liking Iron in your water. Are you on well water by any chance? Also have you had your water tested recently? If not, I would definitely look into getting your water tested and then you can see what exactly is in your water and how you can treat the water in your home so you not getting the brownish color on your shower head. Is there anything specific that you are using to treat your water as of now? If you would like to know more, feel free to contacting and one of our customer service agents would be more than happy to show you some times that may help with removing the brown color that you are seeing.

      Thank you again for contacting Have a great day!

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