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Whirlpool WHELJ1 Whole House Water Filter Review

The WHELJ1 from Whirlpool is virtually maintenance free. But does convenience come at a price? Find out in our detailed review.

whirlpool-WHELJ1

The WHELJ1 from Whirlpool is virtually maintenance free. But does convenience come at a price? Find out in our detailed review. Whirlpool WHELJ1 Cost: $$ Warranty: 1 year (limited 10 year warranty) Unit Lifespan: 10 years or 1,000,000 gallons Filter Lifespan: Same as unit Water Flow…

Whirlpool WHELJ1

Effectiveness
Maintenance/Installation
Features
Value

User friendly operation

A lot of companies market their systems as being "low maintenance", but none except Whirlpool can claim to be "maintenance free". This whole house water filter system can be left to look after itself, and replacing filters is a thing of the past. It's effective at combating chlorine, but isn't a good fit for heavily contaminated water supplies. The WhelJ1 will do a solid job in most homes.

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User Rating: 1.6 ( 5 votes)

Whirlpool WHELJ1

Cost: $$

Warranty: 1 year (limited 10 year warranty)

Unit Lifespan: 10 years or 1,000,000 gallons

Filter Lifespan: Same as unit

Water Flow Rate: 6 gallons per minute

Dimensions: 10.5 x 13.5 x 34 inches

Introduction

The Whirlpool WHELJ1 is a whole house water filter with a difference, and goes about its job in its own unique way. Whirlpool decided that replacing filters is nothing but a nuisance, and with the WHELJ1, this is a thing of the past. In fact, this system is virtually maintenance free, and can be left to fend for itself.

It does this by using its trademark FilterSense technology which uses a filter media bed with activated carbon. Rather than replace the filters every few months, the unit’s automatic control system will flush, drain, and clean its internal filter every 14 days. In fact, if your water is particularly bad you can program the system to clean itself more frequently too. However, by flushing and cleaning, unlike other whole house water filters, this system will produce some waste water. Operating in this way also means that the filter media cannot be replaced, and after the units 10 year or 1,000,000 gallon life cycle, the system will need to be replaced in its entirety. However, as it doesn’t require filters to be replaced every few month like every other whole house system, this isn’t as expensive as it sounds.

whirlpool-whelj1-top-view

With no filter replacement, hence no running costs (except electricity), then this works out as being a very affordable home water filtration system over its 10 year lifespan. In fact, if you work out a whole house water filter system’s average cost over 10 years (unit + filters), this makes this Whirlpool whole house water filter one of the cheapest whole house filters that we have reviewed.

There is one other thing that separates this Whirlpool water filter system from the rest, and that is that it uses electricity. Now, the impact on your bills will hardly be noticeable, but if your neighborhood was to lose power for whatever reason, then your house could be without filtered water.

It is an all in one unit, meaning it doesn’t take up much space. Whole house water filters usually need quite a lot of room, as you need plenty of space to maneuver when changing the filters. This model doesn’t need that space so can easily squeeze into a corner, or between two units. It’s a bit more attractive to look at than most other systems too, which aren’t enclosed like this is.

Performance

whirlpool-whelj1-diagram

 

This Whirlpool whole house water filter specializes in the removal of sediment and chlorine from water. It does so using a charcoal media bed and screen. It has been tested to remove particles down to a size of 40 microns. This figure lags behind some competitors, which offer filtration down to 1 micron, and occasionally even further. But, if sediment and chlorine are your only concerns, then this system is well equipped to deal with them. The carbon based media will also work to improve the taste and odor of the water. If your water has high iron or hydrogen sulfide levels then some additional pre-treatment might be advisable, or the system’s lifespan will be affected. In fact, as this system has no pre-filter to protect its main filter, it wouldn’t suit water that is heavily contaminated with larger particles (like iron) as this might cause clogging. An additional filter would be a wise investment if this is an issue. For really heavily contaminated water supplies, something more robust like the iSpring WKB32B might be a better fit.

The unit uses 1″ connectors, which means that it shouldn’t create a noticeable drop in household water pressure. Those relaxing showers can still remain part of your evening wind-down.

The system is controlled electronically, and features a display screen and buttons on the top (image below).  With these controls you can control the frequency of system cleaning. Also, if there is a problem with the flow rate you can press the button for a manual clean. By default the system will flush itself every 14 days. You can make this more frequent if you have really bad water, or increase the length of time between cleans if you should desire. The whole self cleaning process lasts about 3 minutes.

whirlpool-whelj1-controls

Installation and Maintenance

The Whirlpool whole house water filtration system comes with almost everything you need for installation. Whirlpool say that installation is straightforward, but you will need to be pretty handy with your tools. You will also need two 1″ NPT female connectors, and some extra tubing to connect to your existing plumbing pipes. I don’t know why they can’t just include these with the unit, but at least they’re not expensive. Two important considerations for installation are that the system needs power, and also a drain. The system needs the drain for the self cleaning process, and includes enough tubing to reach a drain within 10 feet of the unit. The power cord needs a 110V supply, and the unit comes with a 10 foot power cord. The video below gives a rough idea of what will be required of you for the install. Note that the installation in the video is a little more complicated as it includes a water softener unit too.

As the system is pretty much maintenance free, there isn’t much for me to say on this note. Be careful to monitor the system over the first month or two of use and adjust the self clean frequency according to your situation. The 14 day default setting may not suit the water composition of your area. Water high in sediment will probably need a more frequent setting. The maintenance of the water filter unit is completely automated and the settings can be easily changed at the press of a button or two. The interface is intuitive and consists of just four buttons and an LCD display panel. It can be easily adjusted by even the biggest of technophobe.

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
CostNot effective for high iron levels
Maintenance freeUses electricity
No filters to replace
View on Amazon

Best Budget Choice

Watts WH-LD

Whole House System

- Great Value

- NSF Certifed

- Cheap Filters

Our Top Pick

iSpring WGB32B

3-Stage Whole House System

- NSF Certified

- High Water Pressure

- Long Life Filters

- Reliable & Effective

Next Best Thing

Home Master HMF3SDGFEC

3-Stage Whole House System

- Effective at Removing Iron

- Durable Filters

- Easily Maintained

- High Water Pressure

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10 Comments
  1. Reply
    aedee latten November 20, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    This unit is a god send to us! We were having to pay a company to come in a change our filter for RO system every 6 months @ $200 a pop….One Whirlpool WH unit is below a two time charge! Our water tastes great and our house pipes can now take a well deserved rest.

    • Reply
      Jamie November 22, 2016 at 3:47 am

      That’s great news! Glad it’s working out for you. I love this unit too. I like how Whirlpool did something a bit different.

  2. Reply
    Randy Bailey December 21, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    My filter is 2 yrs young. When it’s time to back flush it doesn’t appear to be discharging water. Everything is plumbed inside. The unit starts & can hear the timer mechinism run for about a minute the shuts off & no more sounds. My pump doesn’t run wich tells me it’s not flushing.
    Please help!

    • Reply
      Jamie December 23, 2016 at 8:02 am

      It sounds like a blockage, but could be electronic related too. It’s something that only Whirlpool will be able to accurately diagnose.
      Their customer support number is 1-866-698-2538 8am-9pm EST, Monday-Friday.
      There’s also live online support at http://www.whirlpool.com/contact-us/ 8am-8pm EST.
      Sorry I can’t be more help. I hope it’s nothing serious.

  3. Reply
    Harry March 10, 2017 at 11:38 pm

    I have one of these units but has been sitting a while. Where can I buy the media for it to replace it.

    • Reply
      Jamie March 11, 2017 at 4:04 am

      Hi Harry,

      As far as I’m aware, the media cannot be replaced. Rinsing the media every couple of weeks should be enough over the lifecycle of the unit. The unit should last about 10 years on municipal water supplies.
      Why do you think it needs replaced?

      Jamie @ Water Filter Answers

  4. Reply
    Harry March 11, 2017 at 11:10 am

    I actually was working on my water system one time and I hooked the water lines in reverse. I think the media went where it shouldn’t. It has also been sitting. I wanted to take it apart and clean it so the media is not in the tube.

    • Reply
      Jamie March 11, 2017 at 11:49 am

      Have you used it since this happened?

  5. Reply
    Harry March 11, 2017 at 11:55 am

    Yes it was like that for a while until I noticed it. It was putting the carbon through my water lines.

    • Reply
      Jamie March 16, 2017 at 11:36 am

      I wouldn’t want to make an assumption on what the problem might be from behind a computer screen.
      I’d get a plumber to look at it, or see if Whirlpool can shed any light.

      Their customer support number is 1-866-698-2538 8am-9pm EST, Monday-Friday.
      There’s also live online support at http://www.whirlpool.com/contact-us/ 8am-8pm EST.

      Good luck!

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