Pros: Easy Installation, 5-year replacement, removes chlorine taste, sediment and odors
Cons: No specific microbiological protection
When we made the decision to stop purchasing water in disposable plastic bottles we wanted to make sure that the water we were filling our carry bottles with was no less tasty than found in the bottles we were replacing.
Here in Southeast Florida, water is a very serious resource that is very actively managed. Our water stores are tested and treated daily. On occasion, particularly after heavy storm activity during summer months extra chlorine is added to the water to manage excess biological content. Predictably, when you open your faucet or go to the fridge for a glass of water you'll smell it long before you taste it. But, for the most part our water on a day-to-day basis is usually free of odd tastes and odors.
Our 24 year-old GE Side-by-Side Refrigerator does not have a replaceable water filter cartridge and I thought it made sense to add a filter to address any taste/odor issues.
My father-in-law who had recently decided to add a long-life in-line filter to his refrigerator rather than to continue to replace the 6-month filters his refrigerator used, recommended the Ecopure In-Line Refrigerator Filter - EP-INL30 easily purchased at Lowe's for $29.
Ecopure In-Line Refrigerator Filter - EP-INL30
The Ecopure In-Line Refrigerator Filter - EP-INL30 is a cylindrical filter of approximately 12" in length by 3" in diameter. On each end of the filter are brass compression fittings designed to accept 1/4" copper or plastic tubing.
Inside the cylinder EcoPure utilizes activated charcoal to mitigate taste and odor issues. The filter also incorporates multi-layer depth filtration construction of its sediment filtration media effective in reducing contaminants ranging in size from 50 microns to as low as 1 micron. Filtration down to 1 micron is adequate to reduce cysts such as giardia and cryptosporidium.
Despite the effectiveness of the sediment filter EcoPure warns that the Ecopure In-Line Refrigerator Filter - EP-INL30 is not intended for use where the water is microbiologically unsafe or of unknown quality, without adequate disinfection before or after the system. What this means to us is that if we were to get a "boil water" warning following a water main break, we couldn't rely on the filter for protection. We'd be boiling water. Truthfully, if we were to receive such a warning, we'd be boiling water regardless of the filter we were using.
Fortunately, in the 12 years we've lived in Boca Raton we've never received such a warning. But, in Lake Worth, a town slightly north of us with a very old water system, these warnings are not all that rare.
Installing the EcoPure Filter is a pretty simple matter. After turning off the supply of water in the kitchen, I pulled the refrigerator out of its built-in enclosure exposing the ¼ inch copper tubing that feeds the water and ice dispenser. Not wanting to take the time to find my copper tube cutter in my messy workshop, I simply used a fine tooth hacksaw that quickly cut through the tubing. Having applied very little pressure while sawing, the cut was smooth enough not to require any filing or sanding. Inserting the cut line into each end of the cylinder I tightened the compression fittings with a 1/2" open end wrench. Since we have more than 6' of copper tubing behind the refrigerator I positioned the filter within a foot of the wall to minimize any stress the 2 lb. filter would put on the tubing when the need arises to pull the refrigerator out for periodic cleaning and valve replacement. I replaced the refrigerator into its recessed enclosure after turning the water supply back on and checking for leaks.
EcoPure recommends that the filter be flushed with water for 15 minutes prior to the first use to clear any fine charcoal that may find its way out of the filter. After filling several 1 gallon jugs of water I was satisfied that the water was clear. A taste test after installation proved the water tasted fresh and pure with no noticeable odors.
Other than periodically checking for leaks this is a virtually maintenance-free filter. The manufacturer rates the useful life of the filter at 5 years, after which it must be replaced with an entirely new cartridge. But given the quantity of water we consume I would guess we'll replace it after 3 years, assuming our now 24 year-old refrigerator lasts that long.
The Ecopure In-Line Refrigerator Filter - EP-INL30 is an easy to install filter that will assure excellent taste for your water and ice dispenser. I recommend it.