January marks national Change Your Refrigerator Water Filter month, which reminds you of the importance of replacing your refrigerator water filter twice a year to ensure contaminant reduction from filtered tap water that could occur at home.

If you use filtered water, we’re not surprised.  There are a number of good reasons to filter water at home.

Hydrate for Health.  Water that tastes better makes it easier to stay hydrated.  And just because temperatures have dropped, doesn't mean your water intake should.

"Staying hydrated is critical for people to stay energized and feel good. It is essential that the water they are drinking is filtered of potential contaminants," said Jeremy Earles, category manager, Whirlpool water filtration. "If you plan on making 2011 the year for an active lifestyle, be sure to include drinking more filtered water as a one of your New Year's resolutions."

Changing refrigerator water filterBetter Taste.  And don't forget that filtered water is the perfect way to make warm beverages, too — starting with fresh, filtered water will result in truer tasting coffee or peppermint tea.

Good for the Planet.  If your family drinks filtered water in place of bottled water, you could also help protect the environment by preventing the disposal of over 3,000 plastic bottles a year and save over $600 for yourself.  In addition to cost savings, drinking filtered water is also environmentally responsible as there are an estimated 38 billion water bottles thrown in the trash each year.

But to get the most out of your filtered water, maintenance of your water filter is crucial.  Tap water may travel through miles and miles of infrastructure before making its way into your home, and may pick up contaminants along the way. Therefore, many appliance manufacturers recommend changing the water filter every six months, or more often depending on usage, in order to enjoy filtered drinking and cooking water and ice.

So mark your calendars in January and July to replace the water filter in your refrigerator.  Without proper maintenance, you’ll be missing out on all the benefits of having filtered water right in your home.