refrigerator water dispenser

We all love the convenience of a fridge with built-in water and ice cube dispensers. It’s easy, functional, and seems to be a safer option for drinking water. After all, such appliances come with a refrigerator water filter that purifies the H20 — so surely they can be relied on to remove all the harmful particles and bacteria. Right?

Unfortunately, that is not always the case. When it comes to clean, reliable water for drinking and other household needs, your refrigerator may need an assist from a whole-home water filtration system.


What Do Refrigerator Water Filters Remove?

Refrigerator water filters are intended to filter out any remaining contaminants, such as rust or lead, that linger in our home’s drinking water. However, these filters are not sufficient to remove all the bacteria and particles that may be hazardous to your family’s health. Refrigerator water filters often use carbon and mostly remove the contaminants that affect smell and taste.

So while carbon filters are helpful, they offer little to no protection against inorganic contaminants and heavy metals, including arsenic, chromium, copper, fluoride, mercury, nickel, and sulfates. Studies have also shown that microorganisms such as salmonella and E. coli can make their way past refrigerator water filters and be seriously detrimental to your health. 

The ability of these filters to purify water is measured in microns; the lower the micron rating, the more small contaminants that get filtered out. The average micron rating is 20, so if you’re hoping for a refrigerator with an extra-powerful filter, look for a number lower than that.


How Do Refrigerator Water Dispensers Work? 

Automatic ice makers were first offered in refrigerators back in the 80s, with in-door dispensing mechanisms for ice and water following shortly.

At first, reviews were lackluster, considering refrigerators were only dispensing plain, room-temperature tap water. It was another ten years before the drinking water was both chilled and filtered. Today, more than half of all refrigerators sold feature in-door water dispensers. 

When a refrigerator comes equipped with an automatic ice maker and an external in-door water dispenser, it operates by tapping into your home’s cold water supply. The pipe is usually located in the wall or under the floor, with the connection made via a small plastic or copper water supply tube. One end of this tube connects to a fitting on the back of the fridge, with the other end connecting to a cold water pipe with a fixture shut-off valve. This valve is imperative because it allows the water to the tube to be turned off whenever the fridge needs to be serviced or replaced.

All this internal plumbing first transports the water to a small filter that screens out basic particles and contaminants. Then, the water moves to the automatic ice maker and door-mounted water dispenser to fill your glasses, pitchers, and bottles with ease.


The Benefits of Refrigerator Water Filters

Refrigerator water filters are decidedly imperfect, but there are two main advantages to having filtered refrigerator water and ice dispensers:

  • Convenience: There is no denying that filling a glass or pitcher with crushed or cubed ice and then immediately with cold, filtered water is a nice benefit. Having easy access may even make it more likely that you and your family will drink more water throughout the day. Plus, some of the more modern refrigerator models offer the option to add carbon dioxide for sparkling water or hot water for tea.
  • Better Taste: Since most refrigerators come equipped with an interior water filter, the ice and drinking water you get from the fridge may taste better than what you would get from an unfiltered sink faucet.


The Drawbacks of Refrigerator Water Filters

Unfortunately, as convenient as refrigerator water dispensers can be, relying on them has profound limitations.

  • Limited functionality. Yes, these filtered dispensers are convenient for small amounts, such as a glass of water or a few ice cubes to chill your drink. But they are ill-suited to other uses that would benefit from water filtration — such as the large amounts of water necessary for soups, watering plants, or filling aquariums. These sorts of everyday tasks soon become time-consuming and tedious with the small stream from a refrigerator dispenser.
  • Leaves your other water sources vulnerable. It’s been shown that water filtration has profound benefits throughout the home, from fostering better skin and hair in your shower to improving cleanliness and cost savings through appliances like your diswasher and washing machine. Unfortunately, relying solely on a fridge filter means that none of these other water sources can benefit from water filtration in your house.
  • Still require maintenance and upkeep. Many people forget that refrigerator water filters need to be changed regularly to maintain their effectiveness. The additional costs of replacing the filters carry an average price of $50-100 per year. For around the same annual price, you could instead maintain filters on a whole-house system that would provide better functionality and actually help you save costs in other ways, such as lower utility bills.

If you find that the water from your fridge isn’t meeting all your needs, it may be time to treat your family to a whole house filtration system. Not only are they beneficial and cost-effective, but they can help protect your loved ones from contaminants that would otherwise sneak by the average fridge filter.

In 2015, a study released by the Natural Resources Defense Council showed that water sources for 18 million Americans had lead violations and other EPA-restricted contaminants — often due to a mix of pollution and deteriorating equipment. The contaminants in these water supplies included arsenic, fecal waste, rocket fuel, and chemical byproducts. Most refrigerator water filters are not meant to filter out such harmful contaminants and may leave your family vulnerable. As convenient as fridge filters can be, having a whole-home filtration system is the only way to give you the full peace of mind you are looking for.


The Science of Water

Even with all the rules and regulations established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are still dangerous contaminants in our drinking water. Adding filters to your refrigerator helps, but in most cases, these filters are not enough. Let The Science of Water help protect your family and deliver the pure drinking water you’ve been craving. 

It’s easy — just contact us for your free water test. We will evaluate the results and offer our expert recommendations based on the quality of your water. We will then consult with you to determine which whole house water filtration system will work best for your home. We use Puronics drinking water systems which provide highly filtered, crystal clear water for drinking and cooking. Give your fridge the helping hand it needs, and contact us to get started on your clean water journey today!



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