Why Your Brita Water Filter Is Leaking – And How To Fix It


Brita offers a range of pitchers, bottles, dispensers, and faucet systems that efficiently filter tap water. However, these filters may sometimes develop leaks.

Brita filter pitchers, dispensers and faucet filters can leak because of improper installation, a clogged filter, an incorrectly installed O-ring, debris in the housing area, a filter that’s too tight or loose, or an incompatible adapter. Overfilling, airlocks or hot water damage may also cause leaks.

While finding a leak in your Brita filter can be frustrating, there are some simple ways to fix it. In this article, I’ll take you through the 11 most common reasons for leakage and show you how to prevent it.  

Types of Brita Water Filters

Before we examine the reasons why a Brita filter could leak, let’s take a quick look at the different models available, and the filters that are compatible with each model.

Brita Water Filter Pitcher

  • Everyday, Metro, Monterey, Soho, Space Saver, Wave (compatible with either Standard Filter or Longlast +)
  • Grand, Lake, Pacifica (compatible with Standard filter only)
  • Cascade, Rapids (compatible with Stream filter only)

Brita Premium Filtering Water Bottle

  • Premium Filtering Water Bottle – Stainless steel and plastic variants (compatible with bottle filter only)

Brita Water Dispenser

  • Ultramax Water Dispenser (compatible with either Standard Filter or Longlast +)
  • Ultraslim Stream Water Dispenser (compatible with Stream filter only)

Brita Water Faucet System

  • Basic Water Filter Faucet System (compatible with faucet filter only)
  • Complete Water Filter Faucet System (compatible with faucet filter only)

11 Reasons Why Your Brita Filter Could Leak

1. Your filter is incorrectly installed.

Incorrect or improper installation is one of the leading causes of a leaking filter. This applies uniformly across Brita’s range of products. To prevent this, make sure you follow the steps from the instruction manual. Here are the instructions to install your Brita filter.

For the Brita Water Dispenser and Brita Water Filter Pitcher:

  • Hand-wash the dispenser (or pitcher), lid, and reservoir with dish soap. Rinse well.
  • Rinse the new filter with cold water for 15 seconds.
  • Then, line up the filter’s groove with the notch in the reservoir. Press firmly into place until you hear a ‘click’ sound.
  • In case your device has an electronic filter indicator, press and hold the status button for 2 seconds to activate it.
  • Fill your device with cold tap water till the Max Fill line and discard the first dispenser (or pitcher) of filtered water. You can also use this to water plants.

Brita Premium Filtering Water Bottle:

  • Hand-wash the bottle, cap, and straw with dish soap.
  • Rinse the new bottle filter under a strong stream of cold water for 15 seconds.
  • Insert the filter firmly into the top of the straw. Make sure the white tip faces upwards.
  • Align the straw to the bottom of the lid and twist it to the right. This attaches the straw to the lid.
  • If you find black specks in the water, discard the first bottle of filled water.

Brita Faucet System:

  • Support the bottom of the filter system with one hand, and align the groove on the lower part of the cartridge with the filter replacement indicator at the front of the filter cap.
  • Then, gently insert the cartridge into the filter cup until it clicks into place. Do not force it in.
  • Flush water through the system for 5 minutes to activate the filter media.
  • You don’t have to activate the filter replacement indicator manually; changing the cartridge automatically activates it.

2. Your filter is old or clogged.

Brita pitchers, bottles, and dispensers remove chlorine (taste and odor) from water, while the faucet filters additionally remove lead, cadmium, mercury, and copper.

These filters are not designed to remove calcium and magnesium salts, clay, sediments, and other matter usually found in hard water.

If you run hard water through your filter, you may clog it (causing salts to build up within the cartridge). This will cause the flow rate of the water to reduce, eventually causing leaks.  

To prevent this, you may need to replace your cartridge more frequently if your tap water is hard.

Additionally, make sure to scrub and clean your Brita filter with a mixture of vinegar and water if you find a scaly build-up inside it.

Even if you don’t have hard water, you must replace your Brita filter when the indicator says so. In case you don’t have an electronic indicator, here’s a quick cheat sheet on when to replace your filter.

Brita Standard Filter2 months (every 40 gallons)
Brita Longlast Filter6 months (every 120 gallons)
Brita Stream Filter2 months (every 40 gallons)
Brita Bottle2 months (every 40 gallons)
Brita Faucet4 months (every 94 – 100 gallons)

P.S. To check if your tap water has too many sediments, fill a glass of water straight from the tap. Leave it undisturbed on the countertop for half an hour. If you find a muddy deposit on the bottom of the glass, it is an indication that your water needs additional filtration.

Thankfully, Brita filters are easy and cheap to replace – Simply click on your filter type below to grab one from Amazon.

Brita Standard Filter

Brita Longlast Filter

Brita Stream Filter

Brita Bottle Filter

Brita Faucet Filter

3. There is debris in the filter housing area.

Even if the sediments and salts don’t make their way inside the filter cartridge, they may accumulate in the filter housing area of the body and clog it. This will lead to an overfilling of the system, causing a leakage.

For faucet filters, when you notice that the flow rate is reduced, remove the faucet filter immediately and check the strainer from the mounting collar. If you notice any debris, clean it with a mixture of vinegar and water. Scrub any grime off with a toothbrush and soap. Make sure to clean the thread, nooks, and crannies.

For filter pitchers, if you notice any particles lodged in the filter, spray water directly into the filter in the opposite direction to dislodge them. However, doing this often might damage the filter media.

4. The O-ring is damaged or incorrectly installed.

An O-ring is the rubber or plastic ring that sits on the faucet filter cartridge to attach it snugly to the system. It acts as a plumbing joint seal. O-rings are also found near the chrome swivel collar (the spout) of the faucet filter.

If you switch O-rings or break them, it may cause leakage.

If you do want to replace a faulty O-ring on a new cartridge, look up the specific model of your cartridge before you buy a new O-ring. Avoid using third-party unapproved O-rings. Do not stretch, pull, or squeeze the O-ring. Make sure it sits snugly over the cartridge when you snap or twist it into place.

5. There is hot water damage.

Brita filters are not designed to filter hot water. Do not use water that is over 100°F/38°C. Not only will hot water release contaminants from the tap water and dimmish the filter’s abilities, but it may also cause leakage and damage to the cartridge.

6. The pitcher has been overfilled.

While filling water into the pitchers, dispensers, and bottles, do not fill it past the Max Fill line. This will cause the water to overflow or pour over the handle while you pour it, resulting in a leak.

7. The filter is too tight.

If your filter has been wound too tight, it may cause the unfiltered water to overflow and leak. To prevent this, stop turning the filter clockwise after you’ve heard it click into place. This applies to bottle filters.

Do not apply extra pressure to the filter after you’ve heard the clicking sound in the dispenser, faucet, and filter pitcher.

8. There is an airlock in the cartridge.

Air bubbles locked in the filter may cause a slower rate of filtration, which may lead to leakage. To release the bubbles, soak the filter upright in cold water for 15-20 minutes. Then, rinse the filter for 20 seconds under running water. You can also tap the filter gently against the side of a sink or a counter to release the bubbles.

9. The filter has not been screwed in place.  

If your filter is not twisted, screwed, snapped, or clicked in place, it might cause the water to leak back into the reservoir or leak over your hand as you pour it. Faucet filters may spring a leak over the system.

To prevent this with pitchers and dispensers, find the groove of the filter and line it with the ridge of the reservoir. Then, press down firmly.

For bottle filters, twist the straw over the filter clockwise until you hear it click into place. This ensures that the filter is tightly screwed in.

For faucet filters, gently push the filter into the housing area until you hear a click.  =

10. The pouring method is incorrect.

While pouring water into the bottle, pitcher, and dispenser, make sure you do not fill the reservoir tank with a gushing stream of water. This will cause aeration and agitation which may cause the water to spill outside.

Gently fill the reservoir with a slow, steady stream of water. Although Brita says that their Longlast + filters can handle aerated water, you may want to fill it slowly whenever you can.

11. The adapter is incompatible.

If your faucet does not have threading around the sides of the tip, your Brita filter faucet will need an additional adapter to snugly fit onto your faucet.

If this is the case, use the adapter that comes with the Brita faucet filter (with the O-ring) to the top portion of the filter unit, where it comes in contact with the faucet. Screw it into place until you hear a click.

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