Refrigerator water filters provide easy access to cool and safe drinking water. But what happens if there’s a reason that you’re not keen on using the fridge’s filter? What if you’ve thrown the old filter away and haven’t yet gotten to purchasing an entirely new one?
In this article, we’ve provided the answer to the commonly asked issue, “Can I use a refrigerator without a water filter?”
- The majority of modern refrigerators do not have water filters.
- Certain refrigerators might require a bypass plug for filtering or a cartridge in order to stop water from entering the housing for the water filter.
- If you aren’t able to afford to replace your refrigerator’s filters it is better to take out the filter instead of keeping the original filter for longer than the expected life span.
Can a refrigerator function without The Water Filter?
A majority of refrigerators have been found to be equipped to function without the need for a water filter. This means that the dispensers of water and ice can continue to function as usual regardless of whether the filter has been installed or not.
In general, modern refrigerators simply circulate water to the housing of the filter when the housing is empty. Some refrigerators will require a bypass plug for their filter to:
- Keep water out of the housing that is empty and direct water flow directly towards the dispenser.
- OR let water flow through the housing in the same way as the actual filter cartridge was still inside the housing
It isn’t possible to get filtered water once you have installed bypasses, however, most importantly, your refrigerator will continue to function.
What is a Filter? Bypass Plug?
A refrigerator bypass connector is to stop water’s entry into the housing for the filter, or to allow water into the housing but not through the filter.
A plug to bypass filters could mean:
- A cap
- A plug
- A filter cartridge-shaped device
- The sediment filter (in cases of Bosch refrigerators)
Filter bypass plugs are placed at the same spot in the same spot as your refrigerator’s water filter (usually at the top of the fridge, or at the bottom of the fridge, under the grille).
Who is in need of a refrigerator bypass Plug?
You’ll need a bypass plug if your refrigerator has no built-in auto bypass feature.
This means that the refrigerator won’t automatically redirect water to the housing of the filter even if there is no filter installed.
How to Determine if you require a bypass Plug
The most efficient method to determine whether or not you’ll need bypass plugs for the water system in your refrigerator is to look through the manual for your user.
If you don’t have the user’s manual on hand, follow these steps:
- Remove the water filter from your refrigerator and then attempt to dispense the water or even ice.
- If the ice makers in your fridge and water dispensers function it means that the water system of your refrigerator is in an automatic bypass feature and you do not have to purchase an additional bypass plug.
- If you’re not able to pour either ice or water, that means that your fridge does not come with an automatic bypass mode and you’ll need to purchase a bypass plug.
Filter Bypass Installation in Different Refrigerator Models
Below, we’ve given specific instructions on how to install a filter bypass in a variety of popular refrigerator models.
Modern Whirlpool refrigerators do not require bypassing the water filter.
These refrigerators go into “bypass mode” after the filter has been removed by removing water around the filter. This means you can continue to use the water dispenser and the ice maker.
It’s not necessary to replace the bypass filter, however, making it an excellent choice for anyone who isn’t keen on the stress of replacing the filter once every six months (which is typical with refrigerator filters).
General Electric (GE) Refrigerators
Modern GE refrigerators can only function if authentic filters with an RFID (RFID) chipset are installed.
The chip communicates with the refrigerator, which allows it to function if the proper filter is in place. The chip can also cause the water system in the filter to shut down after 6 months, which indicates that the filter needs to be replaced. And the chip also stops the flow of water when there is a leak detected.
There are some important advantages that are part of RFID chip however it also means that you won’t be able to buy less expensive, non-branded refrigerator filters for water or bypasses.
GE has its own bypasses for water filters, that you have to purchase if you don’t wish to install the water filter but wish to continue using the water dispenser or ice maker.
How To Bypass A Refrigerator Water Filter
The bypassing of the refrigerator’s water filter is as simple as taking off the old filter and placing the bypass in its place.
The fridge model will determine the water filter, your water filter may be:
- The upper-left or right-side corner
- Lower left, or the right corner
- The bottom of the refrigerator is the grille
- The fridge’s door is inside the fridge.
- The water line that connects to the refrigerator (inline water filtering)
In the event that your filter is in the back of the refrigerator, you’ll have to turn off the water supply to the refrigerator. For a filter that is located inside the fridge, you won’t need to shut off the water supply to put in the bypass.
How to attach the Filter Bypass
Different bypass plugs require slightly different types of installation.
Here are a few possible ways to install your refrigerator’s bypass type and water filter model:
- Plug-type does not work: gently push the plug into the housing
- Water filters that release with push tabs: push in the bypass until it clicks
- Water filters that screw in: screw the bypass in a clockwise direction.
Once you’ve set up the bypass, examine the water dispenser and the ice maker to verify that your refrigerator is functioning properly.
If you spot any leaks Remove the bypass and clean it and then reinstall it.
How to Install A Water Filter Bypass for an Inline Water Filter
To bypass an inline refrigerator filter can be a little more complicated since there’s no way for you to bypass this kind of filter.
You can make it. It’s just a matter of a 1/2-inch to 1-inch straight push connector, and perhaps an additional pipe of 1/4 inch if you have enough slack around the installation location.
To connect the connector, locate the existing tubing connecting an old filter to the water line, and cut each side. Attach the old filter to the side, and then attach the connector by inserting both tubes at the other end.
One final point from us is that it’s best to use no filters in your refrigerator instead of using an older filter that has been in use for months and even decades (gross) over the lifespan of the original filter.
We’re amazed at how many people utilize their old fridge filters far beyond the manufacturer’s recommended usage, as though there’s no risk in doing this.
Older filters can be degraded and release contaminants into your drinking water. they’re at an extremely high risk of the growth of bacteria.
It is possible to operate an appliance without water and if you don’t wish to spend money on new filters for your refrigerator, then we recommend you to not make use of the filter in any way.
Answers to frequently asked questions
What happens if you don’t have a water filter inside your refrigerator?
If you don’t have a water filter inside your refrigerator, nothing bad could occur! Water will bypass the filtering step and go straight to the dispenser or an ice maker. The water you drink will be regular tap water, but without any improvement in flavor or quality.
Can I use it in my Whirlpool refrigerator without the use of a water filter?
Absolutely, it is possible to make use of the ice and water in your Whirlpool refrigerator, even without a water filter. If you take the filter off, water will simply skip the filter which means you can continue to use the water dispenser or an ice maker.
Can I use my ice maker with no filter?
Absolutely, in most refrigerators, you can still make ice cubes without the need for a water filter. Certain refrigerators just pump water around the filter housing when it’s empty, some require a bypass plug to keep water from getting into the housing that is empty which forces it to go straight for the dispenser, without diverting.
What happens if you fail to change the water filter in your refrigerator?
If you do not replace the water filter in your refrigerator The filter isn’t able to remove contaminants and bacteria can get into filters. This is the reason it’s imperative to replace the filter in time or to stop making use of it at all.