A refrigerator water filter needs regular replacements. That is a cost you need to take into account when deciding for a type of water filter.
The filters come with a recommendation for filter life by the manufacturer. The average time you can use the filter according to this is six months for most filters, in some cases even twelve months.
How long you can use the water filter in your fridge depends a lot on the tap water quality and the amount of water you and your family take from the fridge. The harder your filter has to work, the faster you will have to replace it. More sediment or stronger chlorination i.e. from the municipal water treatment plant can reduce the life span of your filter and require an earlier replacement. The filter takes out particles that are larger than the filter pores. After a while these pores will fill up with the particles removed from the water. The water will flow slower. If you notice that your ice maker has problems, it may be that the flow is too slow for the unit to get enough water.
Do not use a filter for too long. It collects all the particles and dirt it filtered out of your water earlier and might release some of it back into the water when it is full.
To save some money you can check if refrigerator replacement filter cartridges from other manufacturers are compatible with your refrigerator model.
Among the warning signs that you need to buy a filter replacement are a change in taste or odor of the water or ice cubes from your fridge. Take this seriously and protect the health of your family by changing the filter whenever it is necessary even when the six months are not up yet.
Do I have to use the refrigerator water filter?
If for some reason you think you don't want to use fridge filter any longer, maybe because you installed a better filter in your kitchen, and your fridge still dispenses water you do not need the filter. If your fridge needs the filter to produce ice and cold water, the options are either to buy a new filter or find a way to bypass it.