How to Hack RWPFE Water Filters for Your GE Fridge

Tired of paying $54 every six months for a GE brand filter? Here’s how to get generic filters to work.

About six months ago, I got a brand new GE Cafe fridge from Lowes. It was the CFE28TSHSS model with French doors and a freezer drawer and a completely unnecessary touchscreen on the front. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t really need my fridge to be smarter than me. I hardly ever use the touchscreen, except for the one time I uploaded some photos onto it from a USB drive. I came to the conclusion that the fridge’s smartness was of no benefit to me.

Then I got a funny email from GE. And I realized that the high-tech nature of my fridge was never meant to benefit me.

Here’s the email:

Yep, that’s a little pushy there GE. And oddly menacing?

You have 8 days to buy one of our fine filters. It’d be a shame if there were an accident with your old filter. So, I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse.

For real, it’s an offer you CAN’T refuse. The offer: buy one of their RWPFE filters for $50 every six months, or they shut off your water.

In situations like these, I planned to do what I did with my old fridge. That is, say to heck with these overpriced name brand filters and get a generic one for half the price.

But then I got to googling for a cheap knockoff, and I found something troubling.

You see, GE made a recent change to their water filters. GE fridges used to use RPWF filters. But my fridge requires RPWFE.

Um Jack…. What does the E stand for?

Great question reader. I’m glad you asked!

It’s EVIL. The E stands for evil.

RWPF vs. RPWFE GE Water Filters

The difference between RWPF and RPWFE is that the RPWFE has a freaking RFID chip on it. The fridge reads the RFID chip off your filter, and if your filter is either older than 6 months or not a genuine GE RPWFE filter, it’s all “I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t dispense any water for you right now.”

Now, to be fair, GE does give you a bypass cartridge that lets you get unfiltered water for free (you didn’t throw that thing away, did you?).

But come on.

There has to be a way to hack this thing. Right? Right.

You can hack your GE fridge to either let you keep using your old filter (not recommended, they get real glommed up after a while which defeats the entire purpose of a water filter) or use an off-brand filter.

Not only can you hack your GE fridge, I think you should. And you should tell your friends. Because GE forcing you to buy a $54 filter is wrong.

How to Use Generic Filters in a GE Cafe Fridge

The secret lies in the RFID chip on your bypass filter. That’s the little white torpedo-looking thing that was installed in your fridge when you first got it. I really hope you didn’t throw it away. You can probably order another one from the Mob GE if you lost it.

The filter bypass and the RPWFE filter are very adamant that you orient the filter correctly. They are prominently labeled BACK and FRONT.

Why does it matter so much? Because the “back” is where the RFID chip is hiding.


Slip a flathead screwdriver under that sucker on your filter bypass, and it’ll come fluttering off like a rose petal.

Now, you can do three things here. If you can tolerate some trial and error, you can try taping the thing directly into your fridge where it would normally meet up when the filter is installed. You have to get in just the right spot, so the fridge picks it up. If you do that, you’re set for life.

Or, you can tape it onto the front of an expired RPWFE GE water filter, install it backward, and then keep using it (again, not recommended for too much longer than six months). This too may take some trial and error. Make sure you orient it correctly. There’s an up and a down to the RFID chip. Take a picture of it before you remove it from the bypass, so you don’t forget how it goes. There was a little clear bump on mine that helped.

This too may take some trial and error. Make sure you orient it correctly. There’s an up and a down to the RFID chip. Take a picture of it before you remove it from the bypass, so you don’t forget how it goes. There was a little clear bump on mine that helped.


Or, you can tape it to the corresponding spot on a generic filter and reinstall it.

When you do this successfully, your fridge will detect that the bypass is installed and will tell you that you are drinking unfiltered water.

If you get the RFID chip taped to the wrong spot, or you try it without an RFID chip, it’ll say that there’s a possible “leak detected” because the filter may be installed incorrectly. Yeah, I get it, GE. You’re doing it for our own good and totally not holding our water ransom for $54.

Where to Buy Generic GE Fridge Filters

So, you’ve got your GE fridge successfully hacked? Good. Now, go give your money to someone other than GE. You can get RWPF compatible filters off of Amazon for a fraction of the price.

Dista - Refrigerator Water Filter Cartridge Compatible with GE RPWF (Not for RPWFE) (2-Pack)
658 Reviews
Dista - Refrigerator Water Filter Cartridge Compatible with GE RPWF (Not for RPWFE) (2-Pack)
  • ⚠️ Compatible with GE RPWF and RWF1063, but NOT model RPWFE. The GE RPWFE filter requires a special RFID micro chip...
  • ⚠️ NOT COMPATIBLE with model RPWFE ⚠️ You Can Find Videos Online to Make it Compatible
  • Very easy to install with clear instructions. Price updated on 2022-12-03 - We may earn a commission for purchases using our links: more info

I’m so mad.

Conclusion and Disclaimer

Look, I was just kidding about all this. I don’t think you should try to defeat proprietary technology that GE installed to keep us safe and leak-free and our water tasting clean and fresh. And GE has every right to charge whatever they want for a part that they make. I really don’t think you should alter your filters or try to trick your fridge. That may void the warranty and lead to sub-par water. Even if it saves you tons of money. Tons of money.




  1. Kixfan

    I laughed way too hard at this story! LMAO!!

    • Steve Krause

      Indeed. ;)

    • Casey Kafena

      I just tried to get the chip off the plug and the old filter and broke both!! Any advice on getting them off in one piece?

      • Jammy

        Has anyone tried reading the chip with their phone? Is it a standard frequency that might be easily duplicated? You can test with an nfc enabled phone and the right app – I use ‘nfc tools’. Often times they are encrypted but a few can be read, duplicated to cheap stickers, or even spoofed with the phone.

      • George Fisher

        The chips are now glued HARD onto the PVC and are virtually impossible to remove without causing damage to the chip. Take a hacksaw or rotary cutting tool, and cut out a C shaped section (looking at its profile) with about a 1/4″ border surrounding the chip. Then carefully remove enough PVC with a dremel, or rotary tool, to get within a 1/16″ or so of the chip. Smooth out rough edges. Use the encased chip on your replacement filter, in your filter compartment, or easier yet, find your RFID board and glue it somewhere nearby. It’s laborious but it will work. GE can go pound nails.

    • Kevin R

      It’s been an hour, and I’m still laughing at reading the article. His disclaimer at the end.. too funny! Who you can buy it from.. the mob crossed-out, too funny. Very entertaining but very serious too! I just inherited a used beautiful GE filtered fridge and simply bought a new generic filter off the Internet, I can’t imagine dealing with what GE is now doing with chips and reprimands and mandatory retail pricing. Just because they can doesn’t mean they should! BIG THANKS to Jack!!

    • Kevin Gallagher

      WRT Steve’s “Conclusion and Disclaimer”, here’s a similar story. HP Printer firmware used to look at chips on Ink Cartridges and would not allow non-HP ink cartridges to be used. Someone filed a “restraint of trade” class action law suit against HP for doing this and won! HP issued a firmware update that, when installed, allows non-HP ink cartridges to be used, though the updated firmware issues a warning to discourage the user from doing this. I believe that a similar class action law suit against GE would succeed, if some law firm decided to pursue it.

  2. shaz

    I just HAD to read this, even though I don’t have this fridge. It makes me want to NEVER buy one or anything remotely like it! I’ll stick the good old fashioned non-smart appliances. _I_ tell you what to do, fridge, ya hear? LOL

    • TimH

      Hey Jack… I’m curious how GE got your email address. You got it from Lowe’s, not directly, so…?

      • Brazos

        I would guess online registration of the unit for warranty puerposes.

      • Mike V

        They get it when you register your appliance warranty online.

  3. Dan Winfield

    I installed the filter as suggested & the water flow is fine; however, that little red warning pops up saying: “expired 15 days ago” … is this ok or did I do something incorrectly? Thanks!

  4. Dan Winfield

    Hi … I installed the non-GE filters & all seems to be working fine. However, the little red lettering stays saying that my filter is expired for so many days is still there. Is this normal or did I do something wrong? Thanks!

    • Jack Busch

      Did you take the chip off your old filter or from a bypass? Shouldn’t really matter if the expired notice is still there but you swapped a new filter. You’ll just have to set up some other reminder to change it when it goes bad.

      • Dan Winfield

        Hi Jack … I don’t have a problem with the “expired notice” but I want to make sure that I am getting filtered water. If water is still coming through does this mean that my filter is working? Thanks!

  5. Ken

    I have had the expired warning for a while (at least 99 days for sure). Water keeps coming out so I didn’t care. What I am trying to figure out online is whether I can buy the RPWF filters and take the chip off my expired RPWFE? Or is that chip permanently expired now? I have no idea where the bypass filter is from when they came to install.

    • Jack Busch

      The chip is permanently expired. I’m not sure exactly how it works. The fridge must remember certain chips.

      • Eric D.

        I wonder if we reset the fridge if it will forget the RFID chip. Unless it takes special software on a laptop to do that (if the memory is non-volatile).

    • Mike Tirpak

      I used the chip from the “PLUG” (it does not expire) that I had to call GE to get since they did not leave one with my frig. They told me that my model doesn’t come with one and the coat is $35.00 for one. I said Bull Shit! Your instruction book shows it and I Want one. They sent me one free! I took the chip from it and just scotch taped it to the frig itself where the frig would read it. Then put in the $10 filter from amazon or ebay has them too. Works great! no problems. Just put the date on a piece of masking tape and taped to filter cover and that’s my reminder to change or just change when the flow starts to slow down.

      • dennis l bosio

        My owners manual had a website and # to contact for a “free” plug. I made the call, got a very friendly rep, and the plug is on the way for free. There wasn’t one left with my fridge when new. I will say that had I known about this “wonderful” feature of the Cafe fridge I would not have purchased it.

        Thanks Jack for the great blog.

      • Kevin

        That’s what I was thinking, tape the non expiring chip right over the reader in the fridge. But GE should be ashamed.

      • Mk

        The chips are now modified to sort of break or tear when you try to remove them. Just tried this and now I have no bypass filter either

        • George

          How old is your fridge, MK? Was that recently (2021?)

          • George Fisher


    • dennis l bosio

      I was not given a bypass when my fridge was delivered. There is a phone # in the manual, a simple call and they sent me one at no cost. I told them I have a “whole house” filter system and they don’t recommend using a fridge filter with a whole house system, redundant.

      The other issue for me is that the directions for changing the filter were from a different model that required twisting the filter 1/4 turn to remove. DO NOT FOLLOW THESE DIRECTIONS. The manual is wrong, no twist of the filter required. Simply swing the filter about 45 degrees from the wall and pull it straight toward you. Those are the directions on the filter box but my manual was wrong.

  6. Tammy

    Genius! Thank you for saving me big bucks!

  7. Mike

    Thanks, this is a great guide. My GE fridge does not have a water filter, but I discovered that there are filters you can easily splice right into the plastic hose supplying the water to the fridge. AFAIK they are even cheaper! All you would have to do is put in the bypass and you would be good to go.

  8. Shawn

    Very useful Jack, thanks. I also bought a GE Cafe six months ago, and I’m only now discovering the scam that is GE’s water filter replacement policy. I had considered using the RFID chip from the bypass plug as a permanent workaround when I found your post. My only hesitation is this: how do you know for sure that the water is actually passing through the cheaper filter with the bypass plug RFID? Since the water doesn’t move through the plug, is it possible that the fridge would also “bypass” a cheaper filter that it identifies as the plug? I suppose you could be sure the cheap filter is being used if the first few pints of water have dark charcoal particulate floating around in them, but I thought I’d ask before trying the hack myself.

    Thanks again!

    • Jlynn

      Great question! I wish someone would answer this….It’s got me really curious.

    • Jack Busch

      I think the water line just works by pressure. If there’s nowhere for the water to go (Bypass), it just moves on. If there’s a filter there, it goes in. If a “leak is detected” (non-proprietary filter), then the water function shuts down.

      I’m changing my filter this weekend. I’ll see if there’s water inside of the one i’ve had in the for a month.

      • Jessa Shuckhart


      • Jack Busch

        Ok I changed my filter just now.

        1. I weighed the generic filter that was previously installed in the fridge and it was twice as heavy, indicating that it was filled with water.
        2. I moved the bypass chip over to my new filter and it worked just fine.
        3. When I first started flushing the filter, a HUGE burst of water blasted out of the line, getting water everywhere. According to the literature that comes with the filter, some “sputtering” is normal for the first 24 to 36 hours. Understatement of the year. I flushed about 2 gallons of water through and resumed normal water usage.
        4. I set a reminder for myself to do this again in 6 months. So far so good!

  9. Louis

    I have an improvement to this idea:

    Step 1: Purchase generic RPWF filters
    Step 2: Take the RFID off of my used filter and exchange it with someone else who also has a used filter
    Step 3: Place the RFID from someone else’s used filter on my generic RPWF filter and install
    Step 4: Repeat the process 6 months later with another RFID from a different used filter

    If I can stick your RFID on my generic filter, my fridge would not reject it since it would not recognize that RFID as being used and vice versa. Let me know if anyone is interested in making an exchange.

    • Steve Krause

      Sounds like a good idea for a Website – “” ;)

      • dm3

        replacing filters in refrigerators … first world problems

    • Mike

      Just use the chip from the by pass plug. It never expires and you tape it directly to the frig permanently over the spot that would have lined up with the chip on the filter had you not removed it. Put the “plug” or and old filter in and close the filter door enough that you can see where the chip would touch the frig and mark the area with a magic marker. Stick it on the frig there with tape. If it doesn’t work move it a smidgen until it does. I hit mine the first try. This way you never have to mess with the chip again.

  10. HaZ

    This is the type-A, full color LCD screen (guess you can upload photo and work as digital frame?). When you use bypass (or just the RFID tag), you cannot hide GE’s insult of “not filtering” on screen. Just like you cannot put a tape on your TV screen.

    If you have type-B panel (cheaper, fixed digits LCD), then you are in luck: you can remove the LCD panel and cover the “not filtering” line with black tape, thus fully get rid of GE’s insult while saving money.

    It’s ok i get insult from an appliance everyday. But GE’s “revenue enhancement” experts wanted to insult my house guests as well, which is totally evil. If you must buy GE, don’t want to pay ransom, and keep your dignity, get a type-B.

    • Andrea

      I know this is an old post but I’d love to know how to remove the cover (type B) – I’ve scoured the internet for instructions with no luck.

  11. Lizz

    Just tried this and I found a trick…I peeled back red “back” label on bypass filter. After removing chip, I put scotch tape in back. I lined up the chip where it would have iriginally gone and used the “back” label to lightly keep it in place. I then put the bypass back in and shut it. The scotch tape stuck to the fridge with the chip inside and it was perfectly placed! I almost wasted way too much money since I accidentally bought wrong filters.

    • George

      Lizz: that was awesome! My fridge is only 6 months old; any problems with chip breaking or tearing when you try to remove them?

      In an earlier comment, “Mk” “The chips are now modified to sort of break or tear when you try to remove them. Just tried this and now I have no bypass filter either”

  12. Sarah Senecal

    Um… you’re awesome. Entertaining and informative. Kudos

  13. PopcornSally

    I have the cheaper model GE refrigerator without the LED panel but it still wants a RPWFE filter to make ice. My fridge did not come with the “blank” for bypassing, however, I found a blurb in the manual that says you can order a free one from GE by calling 800-GECARES. I’m going to do that so I can get the RFID chip and use generic filters. Thanks for the article–hope my info can help someone else stick it to the man.

    • Eugene

      Great advice. My fridge didn’t come with a blank. I called the number, talked to parts, and they are sending me one.

      Thank you!

    • Never GE

      GECARES is another joke. I called, after wasting ten minutes with them collecting marketing info, they proceed to tell me my year old refrig is out of warranty and they won’t send the part. I pointed out the website states they will send a FREE bypass if didn’t get or was misplaced. Their safety is offer a 6 month warranty, so when the filter expires and you try and get the FREE bypass, you are out of warranty. (I don’t know if the warranty is 6 month or a year, the point is the GE website says call to get a FREE bypass, not a FREE in warranty bypass) I will join the crowd of never buying another GE appliance and will make it a point to tell everyone with whom I get the opportunity to share.

  14. Bob

    I bet if you use two chips alternating them with generic filters, the fridge will work fine. What are the chances there is a memory, or that GE keeps coming up with unique codes? What if you actually bought OE filters from GE and just happen to stumble upon one with a code you already used?

  15. Jim McMill

    This is the scam that was originated by Samsung (and then with Hewlett Packard) to required “chipped” toner and ink cartridges for their printers.

    I believed this got some action from consumer-oriented state Attorneys General, and firmware was installed in these printers to allow the use of aftermarket cartridges.

    GE should expect the same kind of action. This is a straight-up scam.

    • Steve

      Many years ago I purchased nothing but HP printers until they made pulled this same exact thing with their printer cartridges. I have never bought another HP product and will never. I have told everyone I know about the HP scam. After learning of this, I will never buy another GE product again and I will warn everyone I know not to buy GE until they change this crooked policy. I am also angry that the sales person did not disclose this upfront or I would never have considered GE.

  16. Mo

    If we ever meet, I owe you a beer or two.

    My fridge now just says “Not filtering water” in little letters when it’s dispensing.

    Bypass filter was $26 and change delivered. I’m money ahead on the first filter change.

  17. Enzo Chiapet

    Couldn’t have written this article any better myself.

    Like an idiot, I tossed the bypass plug that came with my new GE refrigerator (model GFE26GMKGES) and now that my filter warning light has expired and learning a GE RPFWE is around $50 a pop, I too said no F’n way.

    Funny, couldn’t find the bypass plug (GE part AP5986463) on their website but AppliancePartsPros had it for $23 and it’s on its way to my home to start the hack. Concurrently, ordered the Waterdrop Plus RPWF (Not RPWFE) 2 Pack on Amazon for $36. These filters should easily go 6-months, and at $18/each this hack is well worth it!

    GE should spend more engineering time into making sure their ice dipenser actually dispenses ice (mine doesn’t because the ice is always stuck together in the 6-cube chucks)… rather than being creative in the nickle-n-dime servicing costs via these damn RFID filters.

    • toba

      yes. my ice sticks in there too and it makes me crazy! I’m all about the hack and have been sporting the “99 days past the due date” light but since I keep getting water and ice, I’m ok with it!

  18. lynell

    We’ve had our chip filtered fridge five months and it’s got 4 days for replacement message…ick! I went to Federal Trade Commission and sent a complaint (takes less than 2 minutes). They pay attention to an issue when many people complain, so I’m asking all of you to do the same and ask your friends/family to also complain. This is wrong!

    We bought a house with builder (choice), not ours. I would NEVER buy a GE product after all the bad experiences I’ve encountered in my life. We weren’t given an option. Had to have an immediate repair upon moving in – fridge had loose wires hanging out the water dispenser! Also have had a repair service appt. on microwave that was hotter than snot!

    • Jon

      Count me as one who has filed a complaint with the FTC.

    • Walt

      Sorry to read that you had no choice when you bought a house. I was given no choice, I would have quickly walked (ran) away.

      I had to have a warranty repair on my then-new GE Profile refrigerator. GECARES was very understanding, even sent me a $100 check for my trouble.

    • Sue

      Fyi, I ordered a bypass from GE and received it no problem. HOWEVER, they are now glueing the chip in so hard it is not coming out without damaging it. Fortunately, I finally remembered where I put the one that came with the fridge and was able to pop that chip out easily.

      • Anonymous

        Can confirm that. They’re impossibly hard to get out now.

      • Happy

        5-7-2020 – I just got a bypass and they didn’t glue it. So looks like I got a lucky batch.

  19. Philip

    Just followed this hack and it worked like a charm. One thing different was I unscrewed the little plastic bracket that holds the RFID chip and then I lined up my bypass RFID exactly on the outside of the bracket. The bracket holds all the electronic circuit board. Worked like a charm. Although the fridge now says Unfiltered Water, we replace our non-RFID filters every 6 months so we know our water is clean and filtered. Thanks Jack for a very well written article.

  20. annonymous

    Serious, you da man! I would do this hack myself, but that would be wrong ;) BTW, be careful not to damage the RFID chip from the bypass plug, they are fragile.

  21. P. Meebers

    Same problem with my GE. I believe that the smart part of the refrigerator remembers the last 2 or maybe 3 unique RFID chip numbers. So with that in mind, I am saving the chips from expired ones and will be able to use them again in 1.5 years with a rotation. This should allow the RPWF filter to be used every 6 months with a rotation RFID from past filters. ??

    P.S. Thanks for showing the location of the RFID chip, I have a “chip” of some kind glued on my filters that now I realize that is for theft purposes??

  22. Alesha

    This is phenomenal. I did what you said and it worked! Everything you said was true. What’s hilarious is that I pulled the chip off of the old GE filter that had expired and – just for fun – put the chip-less filter in the fridge. Sure enough, it said “leak detected” after the chip was removed. Couldn’t believe it lol! Thanks for the help – was so so angry lol. Thank you so much for this!!

    • Steve Krause

      Thnx for the comment. Glad it was helpful for you. Welcome to gP Alesha.


  23. Aric Stegen

    I took it one further. I removed the rfid board from the fridge (1 screw) and taped the bypass rfid tag right to the board. Now the fridge reads bypass and I don’t have to worry about the tag falling off the plastic cover. Unnecessary I know but I was also hoping for a reset on the board too.

  24. Mike

    I followed your instructions and got the chip from the plug taped exactly on the inside of the frig and then put the plug in just to make sure my “permanent” chip worked and bingo< like a charm.

    Problem is that I bought Ice Pure brand replacements for the RPWF and they don't fit!! Anyone else have this problem? Got them from Amazon. Now wondering if another brand will fit? Hate to even buy the GE RPPWF. The "ears" on the original RPWFE are different than the plug that I have But the plug works fine. The Ice Pure filters have what looks like the same ears as the plug but won't go into the holder. Any suggestions anyone?

    • MIKE


  25. Jonathan

    I think there is a typo in your article, you mentioned model RWPF but if I follow correctly it should read RPWF ?

  26. niqoli


    When I got this message about expiration I panicked! However, here are a couple of things I found out by using your process.
    -If you don’t have a bypass, call GE and they’ll send one out for free.
    -When the countdown gets to zero you can still use it the old filter, it’ll just state past overdue days.
    -I did taped the bypass chip to the wall so it’s permanent! It states “Not filtering” but nothing stands out (no red words) Note: I have a regular LCD not full LCD.
    -You’ll know it works because when I flushed the first few gallons there was sputtering, a huge blast and more sputtering, and the water was grey from the carbon it was flushing out (all filters including Pure-One and Brita need to flush this out) so I know now it’s working.
    -I am using the cheapest (Water drop brand 2 pack) from amazon.
    -I noticed that the original GE filter listed 170 gallons, and the waterdrop is 300 gallons. I’m not sure if the aftermarket GE filters would be more than 170. This should mean the waterdrop should last to almost twice as long!

  27. Jennifer

    My GE fridge uses the RPFWE filters but the bypass does not have a chip. Anybody know if the RPFW filters will work?

    • Joe

      Yes they will work.

  28. Charles Chandler II

    This did not work on my 2015 3yr old cafe refridge- CYE22TSHDSS. Installed the plug RFID chip to sensor panel so display says “unfiltered water” but does not dispense any water. Has GE gotten wind of this hack & changed things so you have to use their very expensive filters?

  29. P. Meebers

    My display finally showed “Expired” on it Yesterday. I had pre-ordered some RPFW filters waiting for that message. Took great care on removing the chip from the bypass. On the cover of the “sensor” there was a label that had something to do with RFID compliance. I gently peeled the label half way and placed the RFID chip there and used the label to keep it in place. The fridge recognized it, put in one of the new filters, let the system clear out air and other debris and so far so good. These new filters come with a “Month” label so that you can stick it on the cover to remind you when to change the filter next time. :-)

  30. Kevin Sullivan

    Thanks for your work on this. I guess I’m paranoid about one aspect of this. The GE filters are rip-off priced but at least you know what you are getting. The knock offs from China concern me. I’m just imagining that they are made of lead, metal shavings and arsenic. Since they are not food or medicine or a child’s toy, I’m guessing there is zero over-site on the manufacturing process. Are there any name brand knock-offs?

  31. Mark

    My sentiments exactly. I just bought a new refrigerator, with my new home, and find GE’s “design” to be Evil as well. I will be taking your filter advice. Chive on my good man.

  32. Walt

    I have a GE Profile, 3-door French refrigerator, without the fancy LCD display, and the water dispenser INSIDE the refrigerator.

    I don’t use the water dispenser very often. So, when my refrigerator complained that my very slightly used water filter was 6 months old needed to be replaced, I simply pressed the “Filter Reset” button. My refrigerator didn’t complain again for another 6 months. And at that point, I simply pressed the “Filter Reset” button once again.

    So, I am going to guess that while it reads the RFID chip, it doesn’t store (remember) its unique serial number. It just requires there be an RFID chip to ensure the filter is a genuine (ie over priced) GE branded filter.

    When it finally comes time to replace the filter (mean like after I actually used it more than a dozen times), I wonder if I can replace the filter with a non-GE generic one, and simply re-use the old, original, GE filter’s RFID chip?

  33. Alan Pashley

    My home came with the fridge installed. I followed the guidance above, and I now have filtered water and a display saying “unfiltered water” or similar. Do I care? Not a bit. Instead of paying $50+ for one filter, I got 2 for $15, with a label saying which month it was installed. So I know I have to change to a new one in March and September. Jack Busch, you’re a hero!

  34. Deleted


    Comment deleted due to unethical behavior from the commenter.

    • Walt

      You’re mad at GE, not Amazon. I don’t think it is right you order something from Amazon, with the clear intent to steal a piece of it, and return the rest for full credit.

      I hate to be your next victim. The guy who buys a bypass from Amazon only to find it doesn’t work because the chip is missing.

  35. Marsha Stone

    Bad news: Just got a free bypass from GE (my frig did not come with one)and tried your hack. It appears that GE may be on to this technique and the RFID chip was glued HARD into the bypass. Tried to dislodge it VERY carefully with small thin screw driver and it damaged the chip edge. I didn’t continue to work it loose, but just put the tape back on and tried the bypass to see if the damage disabled the chip. It did! What a bummer!! I’ve ordered another bypass from Amazon. When it comes, I’ll use that so my ice maker and water dispenser work in the interim. Then I’ll try to get the old chip out of the expired filter and see if I can get the RPFW generic that I have to work, even it it gives me a “99 days past expiration” message. Maybe the chips on the actual filter aren’t glued on so tight!

    • Sue

      I considered using a dremel on the plastic around the chip to avoid damaging the chip itself if I ended up having to order another. Fortunately I found my original bypass and that chip popped out easily.

    • MacGyver

      I saw your post before I attempted to remove my glued in RFID chip on my recently acquired bypass cartridge. Thanks for sharing your experience. I found a way to remove mine without damaging the chip. I cut away material on one of the sides of the recess where the chip is so that I could get a small retractable breakaway razor knife flat under the chip and carefully cut away at the adhesive bit by bit until the chip came loose.

      • George

        Exactly how did you do that?

  36. DT

    I inadvertently bought the non “E” filters (from Amazon). Went to install, noticed the missing “front”. I checked the label on the GE filter and sure enough it had an “E” on the end. The refrigerator is a little over 6 years old. When I located the bypass plug the builder left, it did not have a chip on it, nor any wording about “front”. I put the bypass plug in and the “Water Filter: Replace” appeared. Put the old filter back in and the warning stayed. Put the new non “E” water filter in. It sputtered but water came out. I went to the on screen menu, selected water filter reset, and the replace warning disappeared. I checked on line and supposedly my model does require the “E” filter (or so GE states).

    Note: the GE filter had been in over six months, but there was no warning other than internal timer that we had previously reset. I suppose I didn’t need the “E” filter I previously bought and installed. I’ve always written the install date (via marker) on the filters to verify the age.

    Thanks for all the info. Now I know I don’t need a “chipped” filter, or to hack a work around. And to watch what I order!

  37. meebers

    Some GE units have a bypass option in the menu, while others do not. I do not have that option. I removed the chip from the bypass and glued it to the inside of the door covering circuit board.

  38. Louis

    Ok, so I’m ready to try swapping chips with someone. I have a few chips from filters that were previously used in my fridge. I want to find someone else that has an expired filter that is willing to exchange their chip with me. If successful, I expect that a regular RPWF filter or equivalent could be used by simply taping the old chip from someone else’s expired filter and my fridge would think it’s a new RPWFE filter.

    The reason why I want to do it this way is that the internal timer for replacement will continue to work and the fridge will issue no bypass filter installed messages. Both of us would be able to use the chips with any generic RPWF filter saving both of us money for no more than the cost of a postage stamp and envelope. Anyone want to exchange information and chips with me for this test?

    • PhixItPhil

      Be sure to mechanically protect the RFID chip when mailing. They are fragile as others have pointed out.

    • Rhonda Ellison

      Where are you located? I have one ready to ship

      • Louis

        Northern California. I’m thinking the I can place the chip in a memory card plastic case to protect it while shipping but how do I get you my address without making it public on this site?

        • Patra250

          I’m in Nor-Cal as well. I’ll swap you.

          • Louis

            Great. I have a few ready to go. How many do you have? I’m between Modesto/Stockton. We’ll have to figure out how to exchange contact info. Maybe the moderator can give you my email?

  39. Jesse

    Please Help! I cannot seem to remove the RFID chip from the bypass filter without tearing or damaging it. I have tried and failed 3 times. Are there any tips or tricks? What technique works best? I don’t want to have to buy the GE filter- especially after I have already botched this many bypasses at $20 a piece.

    • George

      I also have failed on an attempt to remove chip from bypass filter. It is nigh on impossible without tearing the chip. GE has wizened up. Best workaround may be to use a dremel and cut out a section of plastic that it’s adhered to, and and glue it to the inside of the door covering circuit board. That’s what I’m going to try next.

  40. George

    Thank you so much Jack! I have hacked my fridge. My last filter ordered only last 3 months then it is telling me the filter expired!!! Now I don’t worry about my filter and control the replacement by myself. We don’t need GM control our fridge and steal our money!

  41. Josh

    Oh no, GE just DRM’d me! (Just like juicero, Keurig, inkjet printers, iPhone batteries…)

    Anyway, thanks Jack! This works fine for me, with a piece of electrical tape now covering the “Not” part of “Not filtering” on the display. So now it says it’s “filtering” :-) I’ve also filed a formal complaint with the FTC with the electronic form above. The FTC responded some days later with generic tips courtesy of Captain Obvious about how to avoid scams. Hopefully if enough of us complain to the FTC they will take GE to task.

  42. ldmoss

    I bought a ge refrigerator that uses the rpwfe $50.00 filter. As it’s known around our house as the $50.00 swindle stick. The replacement suggestion is based on time, not usage. If you only filter a gallon of cold water every 6 months you still have a message to replace the filter, just like the guy who filters a thousand gallons in 6 months. I have a filter block with a chip that doesn’t expire. I think I’ll start using it and install a first rate filter that handles all my kitchen cold water needs, and uses a reasonably priced filter without a chip.

  43. Joel Sandberg

    Is this something that a consumer protection lawyer might want to take up as a class action suit?
    I paid about $3,000 for the refrigerator.
    Now I have to pay $100 per year (2 filters at 50 each) for the life of the refrigerator, 10 to 15 years, in order to keep the water dispenser and ice maker working. That adds $1,000 to $1,500 to t he total cost of t he product, depending on the life of the refrigerator.

    Does this fall under the right to repair laws that have been enacted in many states?

    Does this fall under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975?

    Is this a case of failure to disclose by this manufacturer that there is a significant cost that the consumer must pay each year in order to use the product in the manner originally described that is not included in the description of the product before sale?

    Or is this just lousy corporate marketing and sales promotion? I guess I need to ask more about long term maintenance costs before I buy anything else. I expect that GE will sale this is necessary to keep the refrigerator running in like new conditions and that third party substitute filters will damage the refrigerator, but we all know they just want sales of their 50 part instead of the competitors 15 parts.

    Do other companies have the same “features” designed into their products?

    I would willing to join such a class action suit if it comes to be.

    • Walt

      The only true winners in any lawsuit, are the attorneys. I was part of a class action lawsuit against AT&T for improper late charges. The lawsuit was settled. I got $0.03 and the attorneys got $7,000,000.00. What did I expect? At least the return of the $30 improper late fee I was charged.

      I don’t understand how the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act would even apply here. GE isn’t attempting to void your warrantee if you replace the water filter yourself.

      • Brian McCarthy

        I have an alternative view on class action lawsuits.

        Clearly they end up a big financial benefit for the lawyers, and little direct financial benefit to the consumer.

        However I’m not fussed with that because the misbehaving company clearly is hit with a financial hammer for their misconduct. This should have a chilling effect on this kind of bad corporate behavior.

        I lived for 12 years in Australia. I purchased a 2004 Audi A4 sedan while living there. These Audis had a serious transmission design defect that caused them to slip and ultimately fail in short order. Under the threat of class action, Audi recalled all these bad cars and replaced the transmissions – in the US, Canada, UK, Germany, Japan. . . . pretty much everywhere. But NOT in Australia, where consumer laws and ability to run a class action lawsuit is seriously limited.

        Several of the printer manufacturers were class actioned into compliance for the same conduct that GE is now exhibiting – putting a 5 cent chip into their printer cartridges in order to shut out competitors. If we had a functioning Consumer Protection system in place at the moment they would have this action stopped.

        Please also keep in mind that GE is no longer an American-owned company. It is owned by Chinese company Haier.

  44. Matt Matson

    One could also just install the bypass filter and then install the inexpensive in-line water filter in the supply line going to your refrigerator. Depending on your skills and your home design, the worse case is that you would need to pull out you refrigerator every six months or so to change the filter. These filters cost about $5 and up depending on brand and where you buy them.

  45. Nick

    Anyone interested in sending me the RFID off a used filter (I’m in Colorado) and looking thru your manuals for a FCC ID number? I hack RFID devices in my spare time, am interested in seeing if I can pwn this using a proxmark or other RFID tool. I also wonder if the tags are write once read many (WORM) or if they can be rewritten.

    I’m reachable at this email.

    Drunk3n at protonmail dot com.

  46. Greg Jones

    GE also makes jet engines

    I’m just sayin’ . . .

    • Jose

      Um, no. While they are named the same they completely different. GE appliance is actually a Chinese owned company since 2016 (Haier owns it), they simply kept the GE naming rights. Look it up, not making it up. GE is also in the process of selling GE lighting as well, so all the GE bulbs you buy will also be benefiting a Chinese company. You see GE and you think American, but nothing could be further from the truth.

      • Jim McMillan

        Absolutely correct. GE Appliances is owned by mainland Chinese company Haier. Does anyone think supporting a Chinese company that is now in the process of cheapening GE products and wrecking their good name is a good thing? Of course not! Haier is now required to add an asterisk to any claim of being an “American Company”.

  47. Mike

    these chips do not come out with a flat head screwdriver they’re glued in now, at least mine were on the bypass and one that I purchased as a bypass. One of them I even cut out the piece of plastic with it and tried to orientate it onto the fridge in the same spot and I could not get it to work I’m fairly precise and technical so something must’ve changed??

  48. Meebers

    I cut out the plastic with the chip on it from the original bypass, Glued it to the back of the cover door and has been working fine for over a year now. But you are correct, something might have changed like additional ID embedded in the white plastic or???

    • George

      How/where did you glue chip (PVC encased I assume) to the cover door? Are you talking about the cover door to the RFID control board in the back of the fridge, or the cover door on the filter?

  49. Mike

    Update: I tried one last time to get the chip out of a bypass and success! I may have damaged the last one while handling or had the orientation wrong when cutting it out. I found the key is to use a rotary tool with a cutting head for metal/plastic, do not take off the red lettering label to expose the chip just cut around the chip leaving a little room for stability and smooth off the excess. Make sure to note the orientation of the chip to the new filter (the red label is upside down when facing the correct way toward the back). Put both filters side by side and use a piece of packing tape to secure the chip/plastic piece cutout to the same location on the new filter as the imbedded one on the original filter. Make sure the two filters are synchronized for proper placement. You may be able to mark the location on the filter housing but this was simple enough and worked so I stopped while ahead. I kept the old original filter for a reference if needed for the next replacement. Don’t give up!! THE RESISTANCE…

  50. Skippy

    Wonder if the tag can be cloned? There are reader/writer units on the market (even on Amazon) as well as blank tags.

    • Meebers

      What if the motherboard, in the fridge, is programmed to detect cloned chips and then set the Ice Maker to empty itself on random nights between the hours of 2am – 4am or Sundays, shoot 16oz of water out the nozzle… Don’t mess Haier :-)

    • Walt

      This was years ago, but IBM would check for the characters of “IBM” in its motherboard memory before allowing its software to run. So, others simply put a phrase like “this is not an IBM” in their motherboard memory, and that would be enough to pass this check.

  51. john mcglone

    Unprecedented issue… I followed the instructions pretty much perfect and I think the chip is undamaged. But the screen on my GE Profile now says “Replace Water Filter – Dispenser Off”. Now not even the old filter will work.

  52. Philip Bruno

    According to Consumer Reports, there are NO aftermarket water filters that meet the standards of the GE filter. Many are counterfeit, and actually contaminate the water that passes through them.

    Caveat Emptor

    • Jim McMill

      Mostly bulkshit. Amazon is known to have “standards”. Liability issues.

  53. Nathan Tomlin

    Awesome, thanks!

  54. Walt

    Not true from my personal experience. Amazon tends to be reactive, and not preemptive. I bought the low-cost item from Amazon, only to find once I got it that it was a very poor quality clone.

  55. Tom Olsen

    You know, there’s an easier fix than this. Get an inline water filter for the incoming water line behind your refrigerator, and install a bypass filter inside the refrigerator. This filter (for example) costs $20.99, and is rated for 5 years.

    • Patrick Healy

      what’s the installation on this like? Is it simply unscrewing the hose and attaching it to the filter and attaching the hose from the top of the filter to the refrigerator? Do you have to mount it on the back of the fridge with anything?

  56. Nunya

    What a rip-off. Complaint filed via the (FTC) link above.
    Frankly after reading ALL the comments, and getting a by-pass plug from GE, I’m afraid to mess with it (seeing comments from folks whose system is completely FUBAR-ed by trying it). Guess I’ll just put up with the ‘expired’ message forever. Sign me, P-I-S-T O-F-F.

    • Mike

      Not that difficult. Just order the bypass plug from GE (first one is free with serial number) then cut out the chip within the plastic filter leaving it in place and cutting around it about 1/4 of an inch so it is encased in it’s original form. A Drummel or similar rotary tool works fine, even a small hacksaw will do it. Then just line up the old filter with chip in the same position as the new filter, and tap the plastic with the chip inside in the same location on new filter.

      • Nunya

        I DID IT! I just carefully peeled the chip off the bypass filter and taped it to the inside. Got it placed perfectly 1st time. I don’t recall seeing it mentioned, but I also peeled the chip off the ‘old’ (original) filter so there wouldn’t be any ‘confusion before I re-installed it. I didn’t have to cut out the chip from the by-pass filter…..just carefully lifted it with a small flat screwdriver as you recommended.
        THANK YOU!! GE can suck it.

  57. rk

    did anyone try this?

  58. Nunya

    Yes. It works.

  59. Nunya

    Jack, did you disable the comments? There was alot of good info in those. Can’t see them any more (link doesn’t work).

    • Steve Krause

      Nope — Comments are back and working. We upgraded the site and had an issue with the commenting system on all articles. All fixed now. ;)


  60. Anonymous Reader

    Comments working for me — obviously being that I just read and replied to your message Nunya. ;)

  61. George

    Has anyone on this thread attempted a solvent based approach to removing the chip from a bypass plug? I think GE has wizened up, and uses strong glues to adhere the chip to the PVC, making removal w/o damage near impossible. Thinking about trying a solvent like acetone or toluene to aid in removal. Will solvents destroy the chip foundation?

  62. George

    Persistence, patience, careful use of hacksaw and dremel, and a hatred of all things DRM has paid off. It works. Skip all the advice on this thread about trying to detach this THIN chip glued to PVC; you ain’t gonna be successful. Just cut out a thin wedge containing the chip and attach it to the correct spot inside of your filter container housing. One and done, for the life of the fridge. If the moderators would provide for image attachment, I will add pictures.

  63. George

    Correction to my post directly above. I did in fact successfully remove the glued-on RFID chip from my XWFE filter bypass (careful use of a heat gun on low setting), but in my euphoria, forgot to notice its orientation. If anyone can assist with advice, that would be appreciated.

  64. Otto Hiller

    GE Parts sent me a letter like that too saying I needed the RPWFE part number, but I went and looked at my owners manual and it does not require the “E”vil one it says I need RPWF!

    If I hadn’t looked at the manual I would have been fooled and forever thinking I needed this.

    Thanks for posting this, I will try to avoid buying anything from GE in the future!

  65. Nunya

    I wish these posts were dated. Has anyone recently (writing Nov. 2021) found an aftermarket filter on AMZ (or elsewhere) that fits without leaks? I was able to use the hack in this article to tape the chip from the bypass plug properly, but now it’s time to actually replace the filter. Alot of reviews say they don’t fit because the ‘clips’ (??) are different. If you’ve had success, please mention brand/model and/or link. Thanks!

  66. Otto Hiller

    I bought one in Oct 2021 from AMZ called Waterdrop Advanced RPWF Refrigerator Water Filter. It fits and is not leaking, just checked and it is dry. For GE Cafe series refrigerator. Owners manual said this so I did it right after installation:

    A newly installed water filter cartridge will cause water to
    spurt from the dispenser. Run 2 gallons of water through
    the cold water dispenser (about 5 minutes) to remove air
    from the system. Until this air is removed from the system
    through the cold water dispenser, DO NOT use the hot water
    dispenser as it may result in spurting of hot water and lead
    to hot water scalding.

  67. Patrick Healy

    Dude, you’ve written here what we’ve all wanted to say. I hate that a company that I’ve known and trusted for so long has pulled this – and their filters don’t even last 6 months! I’m getting ready to try and tape the RFID chip in there to fix this problem for life. What they’re doing is unethical at best, anti-trust at worst. I’ve recently seen that there are other companies that are now offering RPWFE compatible filters WITH THE CHIP. That didn’t take long for necessity giving birth to innovation, eh? I still suspect the generic RPFW legacy filters will be more affordable so that’s why I’m going to hack this. Terrible terrible terrible of GE. Shame on them!

  68. Meebers

    I was told from the big blue box company, that since I bought a GE and an extended warranty, that any filter I buy from them will receive a %50 discount when I mail receipt to them. $25 for a water filter still seems a little costly for me.

    • Meebers

      UPdate: See above previous post. Message alerted me that the filter needed changing. Went to the big blue box company, purchased a new RPFWE filter ($55) and filed a claim with “L…” and in less than a week got a $30 gift card, so it worked. I have yet to change the filter :O) as it no longer shuts the water off to the ice machine and water for drinking, but shows an orange triangle warning and is counts the # of days past due. The last reading shows 76 days past due. Yes the notice to replace was much shorter than 6 months. So now it is a battle of wits between me and my fridge. <:O(

      • Meebers

        I watched the daily reminder that my filter needed changing. The count past due went to “99” days overdue and has stopped there. The water and ice still remain working as opposed to my passed GE fridge which shut both down.

        • Kevin Gallagher

          Same behavior on my GE fridge purchased 11 months ago. We left the filter in until we started to notice the water flow was slowing down, which happened around 10 months. In order to use the RWPF filter I bought, I removed the chip from the bypass filter by cutting away a chunk of the plastic in which the chip sits. I used a mini hacksaw and power drill. (The bypass filter is still useable, by the way.) I then had to file down the attached plastic on the backside of the chip to make it thin enough so the RWPF filter would fit all the way in when pushed into the compartment. This took awhile to accomplish. I took my time being extra careful not to damage the chip. I taped the chip against the chip reader sensor position in the fridge using sturdy plastic packing tape.

  69. Alice Williams

    I recently bought a 2nd home with a GE refrig that requires the RPWFE(Evil) filter. Thanks for this article! So well written and I Laughed as I read it, but I sure am angry at GE. What a racket to make us buy their filters vs. generics. Here’s my question – I’m only at this home a few weeks every few months. Do you know if I pull out filter when I’m not here (and then put it back in when I return) will extend the 6 months before the water shuts down (mine did -until I replaced the filter). Said another way – Do you know if the chip reads the actual time in the refrigerator or does the six month clock start ticking from the first time / date the filter is installed?

  70. George Fisher

    I’m not sure about a precise answer to your question. This I know – circumventing (fooling) the chip into believing you have installed a bypass filter is the way to go, if you don’t mind the red-light nag on your console. GE permits you to NOT USE a water filter, and your refrigerator water supply should therefore NEVER turn off. Mine has been working fine for 2+ years now w/ no issues at all. There is no need to pull your filter until you’re to pull it for a new one.

    • George Fisher

      There is no need to pull your filter until you’re **ready** to pull it for a new one.

    • Jimmy Mc

      I will point out that forced use of proprietary printer cartridges via some “chip” authorization was years ago found to violate FTC regulations. Both Epson and HP were fined big time and the software for this function disabled. GE isn’t really GE anymore. All this nonsense began after GE refrigerator was purchased by Chinese company Heier.

  71. Nunya

    I don’t know what’s going on with the ‘other’ manufacturers, but non-E models I previously purchased (the exact same company and model) no longer fit. The ‘pin’ configuration is completely different than before. Also, none of the ‘other’ companies provide good images on Amazon so you can SEE if the pin config is the correct one for you. Previously, the ONLY issue between a RPWF and a RPWF-E was the electronic chip. Now it seems the fitting is different, too. Anyone else encountered this? Reviewers on Amazon have. Word to the wise: be sure a non-GE filter you buy from Amazon is returnable.

    • Kevin Gallagher

      I experienced the same problem. To find a solution, as I pushed the seated GE RPWFE filter into the compartment, I examined the ‘pin’ configuration on the GE filter and how those “pins” line up with the refrigerator’s “pins”. I Then examined the RPWF filter I purchased. What you call a “pin” is made of plastic on mine. I identified he “pins” on the RPWF filter which were preventing that filter from being pushed into the compartment.

      By the way, I suspect one purpose of “the ‘pin’ configuration” on the RPWFE filter is to ensure the attached chip is facing the reader. After inserting the RPWFE filter so the O-rings are properly seated, if the chip isn’t aligned properly, the pins won’t be aligned as well, so pushing the RPWFE filter into the compartment won’t be possible.

      My solution was to remove the offending “pins” on the RPWF filter that prevent it from being pushed into the compartment. If I recall correctly, I used a small mini-hacksaw to remove those pins and then smoothed out the rough edges with a fine file. It only took about 5 or 10 minutes to accomplish.

      • Nunya

        Update on my last post. I wrote a similar review (on Amazon) to my last post (re: the different pin configuration) and Waterdrop (the after-market mfr) answered and assured me that, tho’ the pin config was different, it would still work. It took a fair amount of ‘pushing’ to get it seated, but yes, it did get seated and works perfectly.

  72. George Fisher

    Update: Going on three years now with the same bypass chip installed in filter compartment – it’s the way to go. Generic filters are half (or less) the price of the overpriced and highly exaggerated marketed GE “authentics,” and are probably just as good. Just don’t buy the cheapies. GE can just go pound sand.

    • Patrick

      But George, where do you get the good generic filters?

  73. Gail K.

    Ugh! I haven’t laughed this much in what seems like a very long time so thank you for this article. While I’m not about to start hacking anything right now, I agree with the fact that the cost of these filters is outrageous. I am currently in the process of replacing a genuine GE filter & the display is still showing “Expired” with the new filter installed. Even though it’s tricky to successfully replace these filters, I have done it before with a small amount of struggling. GE service department were unhelpful so maybe it’s that chip thing that’s causing the problem. I’ll continue to use the water dispenser anyway but I think there should be an easier way to perform this task.

  74. Beth

    Thanks for this article, Jack Busch. I bought a filter bypass on Amazon and removed the RFID. I gently tried to remove the RFID with a very small flathead screwdriver. The chip was attached to the plastic with a dab of glue, maybe 3/16” in diameter. The chip popped off pretty easily, and was not damaged. I used scotch tape to tape the chip into the fridge, and all is working well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


To Top