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What to do with your water filter when you go away on holidays?

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Last year I went on one overseas trip to the Philippines and I was away for 4 weeks. What did I do with my water filter?  

This question depends on the type of water filter you have. 

The problem with letting water filters sit in water too long

Water filters are fantastic for removing all sorts of nasties but if you leave them in stagnant water, bacteria will grow. 

One of the jobs of a water filter is to catch bacteria and other organic material whether it is considered organic sediment or if its actual bacteria like e.coli. 

Once it’s caught, it will start to build up especially if you are using an untreated water source.

The great thing about chlorinated town/city treated tap water

When I went away for 4 week, I didn’t take out my water filter cartridges from my benchtop water filter. I left them in.

I knew that some bacteria will grow in my water filter while I am away but when I get back I will flush my system for 10 minutes with chlorinated town water and the chlorine will kill any bugs in the water. 

Your town water is your disinfectant… but with one caveat.

Put your chlorine/chloramine cartridge in the last chamber if it’s not already there

I am on chlorinated/fluoridated town water and I use an ULTRAPURE Coldstream Twin Benchtop Water Filter with Fluoride removal for my water filtration needs.

When I returned home after 4 weeks, my first step was the flush the water filter for 10 minutes. But before I did, I changed around the cartridges so that the Coldstream cartridge which removes 99.9999% of chlorine and chloramine was in the 2nd chamber. I don’t want to remove all the chlorine and chloramines from the water before it goes through my entire water filter.

I put the Fluoride Removal Cartridge in the first chamber so when I flushed my water filter this made sure that fluoride cartridge was getting disinfected.

What if you are not going to leave your cartridges in?

The other option is to remove your water filter cartridges from your water filter. 

This ONLY works if you are going away long enough for your cartridges to completely dry.

How long your cartridges takes to dry depends on your weather but because most water filters only have don’t allow air to flow through them, they can take weeks to dry out. Keep this in mind if you are thinking to take your cartridges out of your water filter.

Always check the manufacturer instructions if they exist

The first step is to check if the manufacturer has any specific instructions for storing and drying out your water filter cartridges.

Berkey is a great example of this and you can find their storing procedure here: http://berkeywaterkb.com/how-should-i-store-my-black-berkey-purification-elements-and-how-long-is-their-shelf-life/A

How to dry your water filter cartridges if you don’t have manufacturer instructions

Most water filters either don’t have a manual or if they don’t they are pretty average. If your water filter does not have a procedure and you are unlikely to use your water filter for weeks or months, here is how to dry out your cartridges.

Remove the water filter cartridges and place them into the dish drainer or something that you can put your cartridges on where the cartridges can drain and dry out.

Move them into a well-ventilated place, preferably somewhere warm but out of direct sunlight. Sunlight is great at breaking things down over time.

The Most Important Rule – Turn off your Water Filter before leaving home

The most important thing to do with your water filter if you are going away for an extended period of time is to turn it off before you leave. What I mean by that is so that it is not under pressure from the mains water.

The last thing you want is your water filter bursting due to water hammer or a random increase in water pressure.

This usually only happens if they don’t have a pressure limiting valve in place but there is no reason to take the risk.  Always turn off your water filter before you leave home.

How to store your water filter by category

You may have a specific style of water filter, so below I have given a quick start guide to what to do with your water filter if you are not going to use it for an extended amount of time.

How to store Travel/Portable Water Filters/Cartridges

1. Check with the manufacturer instructions if they have some  
2. If you are not going to use it for 2 weeks or more, because they are so small, you should be able to dry it out.
3. After you find that it is dry, store it away, somewhere that is not moist or that will not be exposed to air that the water filter media could absorb. 

How to store Caravan Water Filters/Cartridges

1. Check with the manufacturer instructions if they have some  
2. If you are not going to use it a month or more, remove the cartridges and dry them out.
3. After you find that the cartridges are dry, store them away, somewhere that is not moist or that will not be exposed to air that the water filter media could absorb. If possible put them into an airtight bag so nothing can get in. 

How to store Water Filter Jugs, Water Filter Bottles, Benchtop Water Filters or Benchtop Gravity Water Filters/Cartridges

1. Check with the manufacturer instructions if they have some  
2. If you are not going to use it a month or more, remove the cartridges and dry them out.
3. After you find that the cartridges are dry, store them away, somewhere that is not moist or that will not be exposed to air that the water filter media could absorb. If possible put them into an airtight bag so nothing can get in. 

How to store Under Sink Water Filters/Cartridges

1. Check with the manufacturer instructions if they have some  
2. Turn off your water filter
3. If you are not going to use it a month or more, remove the cartridges and dry them out. Remove and dry out the cartridges
4. After you find that the cartridges are dry, store them away, somewhere that is not moist or that will not be exposed to air that the water filter media could absorb. If possible put them into an airtight bag so nothing can get in. 

How to store Reverse Osmosis Water Filters/Cartridges

1. Check with the manufacturer instructions if they have some
2. Turn off your water filter
3. Empty the Reverse Osmosis Water Filter tank
4. If you are not going to use it a month or more, remove the cartridges and dry them out.
5. After you find that the cartridges are dry, store them away, somewhere that is not moist or that will not be exposed to air that the water filter media could absorb. If possible put them into an airtight bag so nothing can get in. 

How to store Whole House Water Filters/Cartridges

1. Check with the manufacturer instructions if they have some  
2. Turn off the water filter and if you can flip the bypass, we recommend you do that.
3. If you are not going to use it a month or more, remove the cartridges and dry them out.
4. After you find that the cartridges are dry, store them away, somewhere that is not moist or that will not be exposed to air that the water filter media could absorb.

When you get home from holidays

No matter if you dried your cartridges or didn’t, you will need to give your cartridges a good flush when you get home. Flush your cartridges as per the manufacturer instructions for at least 10 minutes with town water to disinfect your cartridges.

If you are unsure of your flushing instructions for any of our products, you can check out our cartridge replacement and flushing instructions here.

We hope you have an amazing holiday and have peace of mind about your water filter while you are away.

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