Why Refrigerator Water Filters Must Be Changed After Any Boil Water Alert

West Virginia Drinking Water Safety MapAs of this morning, nearly half the residents impacted by the water contamination incident in West Virginia are being notified that their tap water is once again safe to use.

But before tap water is used again – for drinking, cleaning, cooking or anything else – there are critical steps that all residents should take.  While many of these steps are being more  heavily publicized now in light of the West Virginia chemical spill, each of these steps are critical after any incident causes a significant water event or boil water alert.

For those that have not suffered through a boil water alert, this is an indication from water officials in the local area that tap water has been deemed as potentially dangerous for drinking or use.  A boil water alert is a serious event and one that should be taken extremely seriously both during and after the incident ends.

Maytag UKF8001 Refrigerator Water FilterIn online forums related to boil water alerts, a question that continues to arise is whether or not tap water must be boiled if a water filter, including a refrigerator water filter, is in use.  The answer is a definitive yes.

First, the primary objective of a refrigerator water filter is to improve the taste of the water and ice dispensed by the fridge.  Our most popular refrigerator water filters, including Maytag’s UKF8001 and Whirlpool’s 4396710, are carbon-based filters and are simply not designed to remove bacteria or hard-core chemicals (such as the MCHM that is currently flowing through West Virginia water lines.)

Once the boil water alert ends, replacing all point-of-use filters – including refrigerator water filters – is just as critical as avoiding use of water during the alert.  This instruction comes directly from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) The reasoning behind this is that the filter media itself can become contaminated – and because the filter isn’t designed to trap certain chemicals or bacteria or reduce the likelihood that these nasties will end up in your drinking water – your filter can become a storing ground just waiting for you to pour your next glass.  This can result in accidental exposure or sickness after your drinking water supply has been deemed otherwise safe.

Whirlpool Refrigerator Water Filter 4396710If you live in an area where boil water alerts and water quality issues are common, we would recommend:

  1. Order From Us Online or Via Phone and Request Rush Shipping
    At FridgeFilters.com, we have nearly every type of refrigerator water filter you could possibly need at prices to beat the big box stores, provided you can even find the filter you need at a big box store.  Our customer service team, available via phone at 800-683-8353, are also happy to offer rush shipping options that ensure you get your filter quickly – especially in situations like the chemical spill and corresponding water contamination incident in West Virgina.
  2. Order 2 – 3 Filters At A Time
    As you order more filters, not only will your price go down, but you will likely qualify for free shipping – as all our orders over $75 ship free.  Just as importantly, you’ll always have the replacement water filter on-hand that you need.

In addition to replacing your water filters, flushing your water lines and thoroughly cleaning your refrigerator icemaker are also critical steps to adhere to after any boil water alert.  For instructions on how to flush your lines, and details regarding what other appliances should be cleaned and flushed after a boil water alert ends, we would recommend the resources below.  With the chemical spill in West Virginia still fresh in everyone’s minds, each link below is current within a few days of this post’s publication:

If you have any additional questions regarding the chemical spill and drinking water contamination in West Virginia, we would encourage you to visit the West Virginia American Water website for real-time updates.  We will also continue to link to relevant updates from our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages.

If you have any additional questions regarding what to do during or after a boil water alert, we welcome you to call our customer service team at 800-683-8353.

Mike Yanke

Mike Yanke

Mike Yanke is the lead content developer for the FridgeFilters.com blog. A Certified Water Specialist, recognized by the Water Quality Association since 2014, Mike shares tips, insight and advice that help ensure his readers enjoy the cleanest tasting, highest quality drinking water possible.

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