Dirty Whole House Water Filter? Do This!

Author: Jason Hollow - Published: 2022/09/28 - Updated: 2022/12/22

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One of the largest costs associated with a whole house water filter system is replacing the filter cartridges.

If you want to keep your expenses to a minimum, you’ll want to minimize the frequency with which you have to replace your filters.

However, if your filters are constantly getting dirty, you’ll have to replace them even more often, right?

This article will explore some of the most common reasons for dirty whole house water filters and what you can do to keep yours clean.

So, here is our guide on what to do when your whole house water filter gets dirty fast!


  • Construction sites near or on your well would most likely cause a temporary issue with your water supply quality. You can simply solve this by disconnecting your whole house filter and thoroughly flushing and cleaning it.
  • Also inspect your plumbing and pressure tank for dirt. Some parts might require replacement.
  • Sudden weather changes in your area, like heavy rain or drought, could temporarily affect your well water level and quality. This should be resolved in due time.
  • If you are using very fine filters and have a highly contaminated water source, you might need to replace them more often as they depreciate faster since they catch more particles.
  • Consider replacing your filters more frequently if you have a larger household and very high water consumption.

Why a Whole House Water Filter Gets Dirty Fast

dirty whole house water filter thumbnail

There are several reasons your whole house water filter may become dirty faster than expected, and all of them should be addressed as soon as possible.

Moreover, once you’ve discovered an issue, you should investigate and evaluate your system to identify other, possibly more serious, issues.

Potential causes for a dirty whole house water filter include:

The Well Water System

If you’ve had work done on your well, this could cause temporary problems with your water supply. In that situation, the problem should resolve itself. It could be a few weeks, but the problem should not last more than a few days in most circumstances. You may also consider flushing your system for a quick cure.

You may also have a broken pipe in your well, which allows impurities such as dirt to enter. Depending on where the problem is, this can be a challenging fix.

Finally, ensure that the water level in your well is not too low. If the water level drops below a certain point, it may cause your pump to draw in dirt. There is usually a reasonable buffer of water between the well’s bottom and the pump, which should prevent any dirt from being drawn by the pump.

The Pressure Tank

Under typical conditions, your well’s pressure tank should be replaced every 15 years. The specific time may differ depending on your water supply; consult a professional.

In any case, if your tank is past time for replacement, this could be one of the causes of excessive dirt in your water supply.

You should consider adding a pressure valve and an air volume control system to your plumbing system to extend the life of your tank.

The Plumbing System

How old is the plumbing in your house? If your pipes haven’t been updated in a while, there could be a leak anywhere in the system, allowing dirt into the water supply.

It may take some time to pinpoint the exact location of the problem, depending on the size of your home. In this scenario, consulting an expert is advised.

Weather Factors

Weather fluctuations can also be problematic. Excessive rain and drought can negatively impact your well’s operation since the water level will be above or below average, which is suggested for the pump and other components to perform optimally.

In that situation, your only option is to wait it out. However, if you are experiencing a prolonged drought, you should see whether you can temporarily reduce the level of your water pump.

Your Filter’s Micron Rating

A whole house water filter with an extremely low micron rating will capture more and smaller particles, which is an excellent option if you’re dealing with fine silt that isn’t collected by coarser filters, but it can also reduce the long-term lifespan of said filter.

Filters with low micron sizes must be updated more frequently when used in extremely contaminated areas.

Your Water Usage

Do you live alone or in a larger home with other people? A possible explanation for whole home filters getting dirty faster is that you use a lot of water and go through filters more quickly.

Remember that the estimated filter life is based on average water usage. You may have to replace your filters more frequently if you consume very large amounts of water.

Solutions for a Dirty Whole House Filter

If you’ve found at least one of the issues listed above, here are some choices to explore. Always seek an expert’s input before doing anything that could jeopardize the integrity of your plumbing system!

Flush After Removing the Filter

If you’ve recently had construction or any other work that could result in additional contaminants being deposited in your well, you should disconnect your filter and flush the entire system. In some cases, a single thorough flush will solve the problem. If it does not, you may have additional issues.

Fix Any Water Supply Issues

If the problem is caused by water supply damage, you must have it rectified. Otherwise, you risk causing additional harm to your plumbing and introducing other impurities into your water supply. This is rarely a do-it-yourself project and almost always necessitates the services of a knowledgeable specialist.

Check Your Water Quality

hand holding water test strip

Have you ever tested the quality of your water? You may be dealing with water that is less clean than you think. In this situation, it will inflict extra wear on whole house filters, reducing their lifespan faster than anticipated. There’s not much you can do here except take note and replace your filters more frequently.[1]

Add a Second or Larger-Micron Filter

If your water test reveals a high level of contamination in the supply, you may consider installing a pre-filter to catch some of the additional dirt before they reach the main whole house filter. You might also use a filter with a higher micron rating to keep it from becoming clogged too soon.


There are many reasons why a whole house water filter could get dirty faster than it should, including issues with your plumbing, an old storage tank, or a contaminated water source.

The solution to the problem will depend on the cause, as it could be installing an additional filtration step or simply flushing your pipes.

If you realize the problem requires additional plumbing work, don’t hesitate to contact a professional.

Further Reading


Meet Jason Hollow

Jason Hollow Jason is the founder of Water Masterz and head of content creation. After six years in the industry, he has tremendous knowledge and first-hand experience on all things related to water treatment.

His credo: Not a single American should have to drink unhealthy water at home.

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