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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