How can I remove a water filter bowl that is stuck?

How can I remove a water filter bowl that is stuck?

If you have potable water filtration system, that uses sediment and or taste and odor filter cartridges you should be changing your filter cartridge every six months at minimum.

Ordinarily, this is a relatively simple task, but if the filter bowl is stuck, it can take significant effort and or multiple attempts before you can successfully remove it. Below are a few tips that will help, however make sure to check out the tips on preventing a seized filter bowl at the end of this article to reduce the chance of the bowl being hard to loosen next time you need to change a cartridge!  

#1 – Before increasing force… Make sure to eliminate ALL internal pressure

Before getting into loosening solutions. We need to address the most common issue which is failure to release the internal pressure before attempting to loosen the filter bowl. Often the internal water pressure is all that is causing the filter bowl to be difficult loosen. Before ramping up to the options on increasing the torque shown below make sure the pressure has been eliminated. To do so the shut-off (ball) valve on the inlet side of the filter must be closed, then the pressure can be relived by opening a faucet on the outlet side of the filter. The shut-off valve on the outlet side of the filter must be opened to allow release of internal filter / line pressure. Once the pressure is eliminated the shut-off (ball) valve on the outlet side of the filter can be closed to prevent all the water in the piping above the filter from back flowing from the piping system when the filter bowl is removed. To be sure there is no internal pressure, press the “Air Release Valve” (typically a red button on the top of the filter body) there should not be any significant pressure, if the water squirts out with force it indicates that there is still some internal pressure present.

Also reconfirm you are turning the bowl on the proper direction for removal- counter-clockwise, righty-tighty - lefty loosy as the saying goes. NOTE: the counter clockwise rotation is based on looking at the filter bowl from the bottom not looking down on the filter body from the top!    

If you are still having trouble removing it by hand or using the filter wrench supplied with the unit, there are a few other methods you can utilize to free the stuck bowl.

CAUTION: Do not heat the plastic filter components! You will find numerous YouTube tips that suggest the use of heat from a hair dryer to a heat gun, heat plastic components will degrade the structural integrity of the plastic, it has been known to result in stress cracking of the filter components (clear filter bowls are more severely impacted than opaque “Blue” bowls) but neither should be subjected to a heat source.

#2 – Increase the torque 

Option #1 - Apply additional leverage by using a short extension on the filter wrench. Support the base of the unit by placing one hand on the bottom of the filter bowl and apply pressure turning the filter bowl in a counter clockwise direction. NOTE: Depending on how seized the bowl has become the plastic filter wrench may not withstand the added force. See option 2

Option # 2 - Obtain a second filter wrench, with a second filter you have two options. (See diagrams above)

  1. A) Place the wrenches with the handles at 140 to 180 degrees from each other in a position where you can pull on one wrench while pushing on the other this will provide significantly more torque to dislodge the stuck filter bowl and reduce the stress on the filter bracket and or piping. NOTE: Depending on the location of the filter, it may not be possible to use this method due to space restrictions
  2. B) Place both the wrenches with the handles in the same position. And apply additional leverage by using a short extension of pipe over both filter wrenches. This is a great option if the wrench was not ridged enough when attempting option #1. As in number one it is best if you can support the base of the unit by placing one hand on the bottom of the filter bowl and apply pressure turning the filter bowl in a counter clockwise direction.

 

 

Option # 3 - Use a Multi-Purpose Adjustable Belt Strap Wrench, the strap wrench will provide extra strength and will have a longer handle in most cases. Often using a simple plastic handle strap wrench with a rubber strap will be enough to loosen the bowl. However, there are more robust aluminum / nylon strap wrenches available at your local hardware store if a low-cost plastic wrench is not up to the task.

Depending on the space limitations due to the installation location, you may wish to use ratchet type filter wrench, often referred to as an oil filter wrench, these are designed to use with a standard socket ratchet or breaker bar, the ratchet is ideal for working in confined spaces.