Ceramic filters are used in a variety of water filtration systems. The installed reverse osmosis filter systems often include a ceramic cartridge. Ceramic filters can also be in jars with a filter or in the filter system of a refrigerator water dispenser. Over time, the ceramic filters eventually stop filtering the water and must be replaced. The question is, how long last ceramic water filters?
Function of a ceramic filter
A ceramic filter is a ceramic piece produced specially formed to include very small pores and channels. The channels through the ceramic allow the water molecules to pass through, but they stop and capture particles of sediment or organic matter. A filter is evaluated by the largest particle size that can pass through the filter and this is measured in microns. One micron is 1/1000 of a millimeter and most ceramic filters filter the particles to less than one micron, typically 0.3, 0.5 or 0.9 microns.
The filter stops filtering
A ceramic filter stops filtering the water when the pores and channels through the filters become too clogged with particles. Little or no water will pass through a clogged filter. At that point, depending on the filter style, a ceramic filter should be cleaned or replaced. Ceramic filters enclosed in a cartridge will need a replacement. If the filter surface is accessible, the filter can be cleaned several times before becoming too clogged to function.
Ceramic filters are generally adequate in size to provide around six months of filtering based on the typical use of the application. A reverse osmosis system mounted under the sink can filter large amounts of water and will have larger cartridges. A filter in a refrigerator water dispenser or a water filter based on a jug will filter less water over time and be equipped with smaller filters. If you filter less water than normal, a filter will last for more than six months. If you filter a large amount of water, the filter can stop filtering in a couple of months.
Cleaning a filter
A ceramic filter with an exposed surface can be cleaned to remove the blocking material from the pores of the surface. Clean the filter with water and a non-metallic brush or scourer. Rub the surface of the filter to loosen and wash the material and trapped particles. A thin amount of the actual filter material could also come out, exposing less contaminated material from the filter. Over time, the internal channels of a filter will become clogged and an external cleaning will not rejuvenate the filtering capacity.