Pelican Water Filter How-to & Troubleshooting Guide

Pelican water filter how to and troubleshooting guide

Pelican water systems manufactured by Pentair include a variety of home water treatment solutions for water contamination and hardness. In addition, the Pelican water filter is certified to NSF Standard 61 for material safety and NSF 42 for structural integrity, making them approved in all states.

Like other home appliances, the Pelican water filter will require regular maintenance and troubleshooting when issues arise to maintain optimum performance and longevity. Pelican water systems are exceptionally user-friendly; therefore, relatively easy to use and set up. Read on to learn more on how to change the water filter, filter upkeep, and how to fix some common water filter issues.

What does the Pelican water filter remove?

The Pelican whole house water filter is a 4-stage filter that removes sediments and chemicals and prevents microorganisms’ growth. It is also NSF certified to standard 42 for chlorine removal and standard 61 for material safety. Here is a breakdown of what the filter removes and filters at every stage.

Stage 1: The pre-filter reduces the size of sand, sediment, silt, rust, debris in the water to 5 microns.

Stage 2: The activated carbon media filters chemicals like pesticides, pharmaceuticals, industrial solvents, chlorine, chloramines, and heavy metals like lead, mercury, aluminum, iron.

Stage 3: Pelican media guard filters more chemicals and heavy metals while also reducing bacteria and algae growth.

Stage 4: The UV system kills the remaining microorganisms and pathogens like E. coli, cryptosporidium, giardia, and hepatitis virus.

How do you change the filter in a Pelican water system?

Regardless of the pelican water system you have, changing the filter cartridge periodically is essential; therefore, you require the skill. The water systems have slight differences but replacing Pelican makes changing the filter almost similar to make it easier for all users. Follow the instructions below on how to replace the Pelican filter correctly.

  • Wash your hands with soap and rinse. Remove the water filter cartridge from its packaging and soak it in a jar for 48 hours. Hold the cartridge upright under a faucet and flush it with cold water for a minute.
  • Turn off the main water supply to the filter system.
  • Open a cold water faucet inside the house to remove the pressure from the system and allow you to remove the filter housing.
  • Place a bucket or towel under the filter as there will be water spilling out when you remove the filter.
  • Take the Pelican wrench, place it around the filter housing and unscrew it to the left to disconnect it from the system.
  • Remove the used filter from the inside and discard it.
  • Inspect the O-ring on the housing’s opening and look for breaks and flattening. If it is damaged or loose, replace it.
  • If the O-ring is in good condition, remove it from the grooves, wipe the grooves and the O-ring to remove any sediments using a clean damp cloth. Lubricate the rubber O-ring with silicone grease and replace it. Make sure it sits correctly inside the grooves. If the O-ring is damaged or loose.
  • Insert the new filter cartridge into the housing.
  • Screw the water filter housing back onto the system by turning it to the right. Make sure it fits snug but do not over-tighten.
  • Turn on the main water supply and allow the filter system to fill with water.
  • Turn off the faucet inside the house and check for leaks.

How often should you change your Pelican water filter?

You should change the Pelican water filter every six to nine months, depending on the water quality of your area. If your water source is highly contaminated, you will have to replace the filter more frequently. Therefore, if you notice a significant change in your water, such as a change in smell, taste, or appearance, take out the filter and check for any foul smell, a discolored cartridge, or a slimy residue.

Changing your water filter when it shows signs of clogging is essential as it maintains your water quality. Over time the filter accumulates contaminants and becomes too clogged, making it difficult for water to pass. If you continue using a clogged filter, the pollutants start passing through into your drinking or cooking water.

What happens if you don’t replace your Pelican water filter?

Avoiding replacing your water filter means it will stop working at optimum efficiency and not do the work it’s supposed to do, which is, keep off contaminants and pollutants. Other than that, a working water filter will improve the taste and smell of your water.

With time, the water filter reaches its maximum filtration threshold and stops absorbing any more contaminants. Here is a list of the effects of not changing the Pelican water filter.

Health issues

When the water filter is excessively clogged, it will start leaking the contaminants into your drinking and cooking water. Most of these contaminants like heavy metals, chemicals, and microbes have a long-term effect on your health.

Even though the municipal water is filtered, the water can still collect contaminants on the water to your house. Also, large-scale water filtration at the municipal or city level is not always thorough.Additionally, a clogged filter is also prone to breeding mold, fungi, and bacteria, which can cause diseases.

Bad odor and taste

As the water filter accumulates dirt and contaminants, it becomes less effective. The contaminants then pass odor and a metallic taste to the water. The odor can also come from the rotting sediments around the filter.

Cloudy water

Clean water should always be clear. The contaminated water will look cloudy or milky due to the presence of sediments and heavy metals. The presence of iron can also the water a brown or red hue, harming the lungs, liver, kidneys, and other vital organs.

Reduced water pressure

The water filter pores clogging with sediments and contaminants will make it harder for water to pass through. The impurities will reduce the size and number of the pores.

Pelican water filter maintenance tips and tricks

To ensure the effectiveness of your water filter, you need to have a regular and proper maintenance routine. Here are some maintenance tips and tricks to improve the lifespan and performance of your Pelican water filter system.

  1. Change the water filter cartridge periodically when it becomes clogged with impurities to ensure the filter’s efficiency. When changing the filter cartridge, remember to assess the condition of the O-rings to ensure there are no leaks or drips from the water filter housing.
  2. You should clean and sanitize the inside of the water filter system at least once a year to avoid the build-up of sediments, contaminants, dirt, and mineral deposits. Turn off the water supply, disassemble the system and rinse them using warm water without cleaning products. Cleaning products can release chemicals into the water. There are specific sanitation kits suitable for safely cleaning the water filter system.
  3. Install a water softener to remove water hardening minerals such as calcium and magnesium to increase the filter system’s durability. The location of the water softer in the filter system is essential. Having a water softener in the system will prevent the water pipes from blockage with the hard water scale, which can cause more issues for the filter. Therefore it’s best to get a professional to do the water softener installation.
  4. Clean the exterior of the water filter system with some dishwashing soap and water weekly. Removing dust and dirt from the exterior prevents any impurities from seeping into the water lines and contaminating clean water.

Pelican water softener maintenance tips and tricks

The amount and type of maintenance for a water softener depend on whether you have a salt-based softener or a salt-free water softener. Salt-based water softeners use electricity to generate brine that the softener disposes of as waste. Salt-free water softeners require almost no maintenance. Modern water softeners are automatic and can run for years with minimal maintenance. Follow the steps below on how to maintain your water softening to make sure it works efficiently.

  1. Check the salt level at least once a month and fill the tank at least half full with salt. The salt level should be about three inches above the water level.
  2. Use the right kind of salt to ensure optimum performance of the water softener. There are three significant types of salt for water softeners.
    • Rock salt: It is inexpensive and widely available; however, it has a high quantity of impurities. These impurities can accumulate in the brine tank and breed microorganisms. These impurities can also cause more problems by clogging the valves and injectors.
    • Solar salt: It forms when water evaporates from seawater and comes in pellet and crystal forms. Solar salt is more soluble and purer than rock salt.
    • Evaporated salt: It comes from mining and evaporation and pricier than the rest. However, it is the best salt for water softeners as it is the purest salt.
  3. Use a resin bead cleaner for the resin tank to recharge the resin beads. Over time, the water will wear down the resin beads, and the accumulation of minerals on the beads will make them less effective.
  4. When doing the monthly maintenance check, inspect the Venturi valve for any blockages. The Venturi valve is responsible for creating suction that pulls the brine into the resin tank. The salts from the brine will accumulate around the valve over time, causing flow issues. Clean the Venturi valve using dishwashing soap and water to break down the salt residue.
  5. Break up the solid layer of salt that prevents the loose salt on top from reaching the water below and limiting the softener’s performance. Push a long broomstick into the brine tank several times to the bottom to disintegrate the solid layer. You can also pour some hot water over the solid layer to dissolve it quicker. If the solid layer keeps forming often, use less salt and always let the sink between refills.
  6. If cleaning and basic maintenance don’t break up the salt, you should consider cleaning the brine tank. Typically, modern water softeners can go five to ten years without cleaning, but older models require annual cleaning.

How to clean a Pelican water softener

The water softener does not need regular cleaning, but once or twice every five years will maintain optimum performance. It would be best if you also did a system clean when the salt in the brine tank keeps solidifying frequently, the hardness of your water increases, or the water has a brown hint.

1. Cleaning the brine tank

  • Unplug any electrical wiring from the brine tank.
  • Shut off the water intake valve and move the brine tank outside.
  • Dig a shallow hole in the yard and line the bottom with gravel and sand to prevent the brine from leaching into the ground.
  • Drain the brine tank content into the shallow hole.
  • Remove the brine grid from the base of the brine tank.
  • Mix dishwashing soap with water in the brine tank. Scrub the inside and out of the tank with a stiff-bristled brush.
  • Drain out the cleaning solution and rinse the tank several times with clean water to ensure no soap residue remains.
  • Mix a quarter cup of household bleach and three gallons of water into the tank and let it sit for about fifteen minutes to disinfect it.
  • Pour out the bleach and rinse the brine tank thoroughly.
  • Allow the tank and its components to air dry.
  • Reassemble the brine tank, refill it with fresh salt and reconnect it to water supply and electricity.
  • Run a complete regeneration cycle through the softener to recalibrate the brine tank and refill it.

2. Cleaning the resin tank

The resin tank contains resin beads covered in sodium particles that absorb so much calcium and magnesium that they cannot soften more water. You can clean the resin tank two ways.

Option 1

  • Unplug the resin tank and disconnect it from the system.
  • Mix some household bleach with water and run it through the resin tank.
  • Rinse the resin tank thoroughly and reconnect it.

Option 2

  • Without disconnecting the tank, purchase an iron-removing cleaning product.
  • Pour the product into the tank and follow the instructions on the package.
  • Run a manual regeneration cycle to dispose of wastewater and the cleaner solution.

How long does a Pelican water softener last?

Typically, the lifespan of a Pelican water softener is about 10-15 years with regular care and maintenance. However, its lifespan is affected by factors such as water hardness, annual use, maintenance practices, and others. Below are these factors explained.

Factors that affect the lifespan of a Pelican water softener

Water hardness

The amount of calcium and magnesium measured in parts per million(PPM) varies depending on location. Water softeners in areas with very hard water do not last long. According to the U.S Geological Survey, places with the hardest water include Arizona, Texas, Southern California, New Mexico, and Kansas.

Frequency of use

The more water you use in your home, the more the water softener will work harder to properly remove the hard water minerals. It means it will need more maintenance, and it is likely to wear out quickly and require changing. The ordinary person uses about 60-100 gallons of water per day; therefore, a household with more people will result in more daily usage.

Water softener maintenance

How properly and how often you service your water softener will affect its longevity. You should inspect your water softener monthly when doing a salt refill and check for any signs of malfunction. You should also do an annual professional service check to ensure the water softener is working correctly and address any issues. Ignoring maintenance and not dealing with repairs promptly will cause your water softener system to break down fast.


Like any other home appliance, the installation process will affect how effectively the water softener works and how long it will last. You should do a professional consultation with Pelican to determine the appropriate size, location of installation, and even the correct type of water softener suitable for your home size. Though you can install a water softener yourself, a professional has the expertise and tool to do a better job and fix any issues with installation.

How do you pre-soak Pelican filters?

Soaking and flushing the filter cartridge prior to installation is necessary to optimize the filtration process. Below we have explained how to soak it properly and the benefits of soaking the media.

How to soak a Pelican water filter

  • Wash your hands with soap to avoid introducing bacteria to the filter cartridge.
  • Remove the cartridge from its packaging.
  • Fill up a deep jar with cold water and place the cartridge in this jar upright. Use tap water for soaking and not untreated water from underwater sources like a well or spring since it cannot remove microorganisms.
  • Allow the filter to soak for 48 hours.
  • After 48 hours, hold the filter upright and run cold water over it to flush it for about a minute to flush out any dirt that the filter may have absorbed.

Why you should pre-soak a Pelican water filter

  • Pre-soaking the water filter increases the surface area in contact with the water, ultimately increasing filtration speed.
  • Soaking also removed any trapped air in the filter, which improves the filter’s efficiency. The filter will not work well when there is trapped air in the filter.
  • The carbon filter contains activated carbon which chemically reacts with contaminants to make them less harmful. The activated carbon particles will release carbon dust during transit, and this dust will clog the filter pores. Soaking and flushing also help remove carbon dust from the filter to unblock the pores.

Why is my Pelican water filter flow rate so low?

If the water coming out of your water filter faucet is slower than usual, here are the reasons that can cause low water pressure from the tap.

Clogged filter

The most common cause for slow flow rate from your taps is usually a clogged filter. The excess contaminants and impurities will clog up the water filter pores, reducing the amount of water passing through the filter. You should change your filter cartridge every six to nine months, depending on the quality of your water supply. Areas that have highly contaminated water will need frequent changing. Keep a regular schedule and a reminder for changing the filter.

Low pressure in the tank

The air pressure of an empty tank in your water filter system should be between 7-8 psi. Check the pressure by emptying the tank and check the reading on the air pressure gauge. If the pressure is too low, slowly add air into the tank to 8psi, making sure you do not blow up the air bladder.

Ruptured tank bladder

The easiest way to tell a ruptured tank bladder is when the faucet fills only one cup at standard pressure and then starts to trickle down out. A ruptured air bladder will decrease the water flow to stop it completely. The only way to fix a ruptured tank bladder is by replacing the tank.

Kinks in the water line

Inspect the water filter system and look for distortions on the water lines. Also, make sure the water supply valve is fully open. If there is a kink in the waterline, you should get a similar replacement.

Reduced water pressure

Ideally, the water pressure in the water filter system should be between 40-60psi. Water can fluctuate due to a problem in your home or the area. The local water utility can temporarily run water at low pressure when doing repairs or maintenance, which usually resumes after a while. If the water pressure does not go up after a long time, you should contain your local water utility or water technician.

Check this too: Brita Water Filter Troubleshooting & How to Guide


In general, we learn that changing your filter cartridge every six months and the annual cleaning of the water filter system will maintain the optimum efficiency of your water filter. Remember to soak the filter cartridge every time you change it to ensure quick filtration. It also helps to remove carbon dust that can contaminate your drinking water. With a well-maintained NSF certified Pelican water filter, you’re guaranteed to have water free from dirt, chlorine, heavy metals, chemicals, and microorganisms.