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.
- 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
- Very easy to install with clear instructions.
Amazon.com Price updated on 2020-01-24 - more info
Nope, scratch that, I found some for even less. These Waterdrop WD-RPWF filters were even less expensive when I bought them.
- NSF 53 CERTIFIED: Reduces specific health-related contaminants for cleaner water: 99.6% of Lead, 99.99% of Cyst, 96.6%...
- NSF 42 CERTIFIED: Reduces 97% of Chlorine, taste and odor for great-tasting water that stimulates your palate
- NSF 372 CERTIFIED: Made of lead-free material for worry-free drinking experience
Amazon.com Price updated on 2020-01-24 - 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.