Humans have been engineering ways to purify their water for thousands of years. One of the most effective ways to remove contaminants and odors from water is by using activated carbon filters. These filters are great for providing users with fresh and neutral tasting water.
Our Picks for the Best Carbon Water Filter
Light-weight, portable, and easily moved around the counter top
Removes viruses, protozoa, TMHs, drugs and other chemicals
Safe to use, durable and long lasting
The system has been tested countless times to produce brilliant results
Needs to be broken in properly to ensure filtering correctly
Filters an astounding one million gallon of water and is expected to last a decade
The UV filter protects against viruses and bacteria from festering and growing
Multiple filtration systems provide your whole house with clean water for all needs
Easy to install and easy to function
More expensive than smaller systems but lasts much longer
Removes up to 99-percent of chemicals, heavy metals, sediment, and other contaminants then adds healthy minerals back
Modular all-in-one filter design for easy maintenance
Comes with a complete DIY-friendly installation kit
NSF-Certified, EPA approved
Requires basic plumbing tools like wrenches and teflon tape
Long lasting and durable, this system can pump around 3,000 gallons of water
No cumbersome maintenance required
Filters out heavy chemicals, metals and chlorine compounds with its 4-filtration systems
One of the cheapest water filtration systems for homes and offices
May run into minor leaking issues
Easy installation unless your fridge is over 20 years old
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Carbon has been used to filter out contaminants from air and water for hundreds of years. The use of charcoal in filtering water can be traced back to Egyptians and Hindus over a thousand years ago. Activated carbon was also used in gas masks used by soldiers in the First World War.
In homes, activated carbon can be found in shower filters, refrigerator water dispenser filters, and in faucet filters. They are also found in air-conditioners and air purifiers.
What are carbon activated filters?
Carbon activated filters are composed of small pieces of carbon in granular or powdered block form. Carbon that has undergone the “activation” process is more porous, and can therefore trap contaminants more effectively.
How do carbon activated filters work?
Activated carbon water filters rely on the adsorptive properties of carbon to remove contaminant molecules and compounds from water that has been passed through the carbon water filter. Activated carbon has a large surface area with sizable pores, and these pores are what trap contaminants and odours.
How are carbon filters made?
Carbon filters can be made from bituminous coal, wood based material, or coconut shell material.
Some of the most common carbon filters used in the 20th century were made from bituminous coal. They were effective at filtering water, but are less widely used today due to the presence of arsenic, which is sometimes found in coal.
Charcoal water was also popular with medical practitioners in the past due to its relative purity compared to untreated water.
Wood based material
Wood-based carbon filters were the first type of carbon filter to be invented, and were used by Egyptians thousands of years ago. Wood-based carbon filters were made from burnt wood that was ground up into tiny granules.
Carbon filters made from coconut shells are believed to be the most effective carbon filters for water purification. They can catch particles as small as 0.5 microns, and are made from a renewable material.
Types of carbon water filters.
An activated carbon water filter could come in one of three varieties: granular filters, block filters, and radial flow granular activated carbon filters. These varieties cover many different types of filtering, and each one offers its own advantages.
Granular activated carbon filters
These filters contain granules of activated carbon that are loose enough to permit the flow of water through them. The water in these filters flows in one direction and is filtered by the carbon granules it comes in contact with.
The loose packing of these granules allows water to flow through them at a speedy rate. However, some of this water may be able to bypass the granules and let contaminants through.
Solid block carbon filters
Solid block carbon filters are composed of fine carbon granules that are bonded together using a bonding agent. In this design, tap water flows in from the side of the filter and exits from the top after being filtered.
These solid block filters have a much larger surface area than granular carbon filters. Their compact block design prevents water from bypassing the granules (which is a common problem in loose granule filters). The downside of using these filters is that they tend to be slow and restrictive.
Radial flow granular activated carbon filters
This design features a large surface area similar to that of solid block carbon filters. However, they also have high flow rates that are comparable to the rates exhibited by granular activated carbon filters.
What do carbon water filters remove?
Carbon water filters are primarily used to remove chlorine and odours from water, but they are effective at removing a variety of minerals and contaminants.
Chlorine is notorious for fouling the taste and smell of water, so many people use carbon filters to eliminate it from their drinking water.
Carbon filters can also be used to remove trihalomethanes, mercury, pesticides and herbicides. Some specially treated carbon filters can even remove heavy metals and bacteria.
However, carbon filters can’t remove calcium, magnesium, or fluoride, or reduce the TDS of water. The small size of calcium and magnesium molecules allows them to freely pass through carbon water filters. As a result, carbon filters can’t be used to soften hard water, which contains high concentrations of calcium and magnesium.
Carbon filters with pores smaller than 1 micron are able to remove coliform bacteria, lead, arsenic and heavy metals. These contaminants are not adsorbed by the carbon, but are too large to fit through the pores of the carbon filter. This essentially filters them from the water.
Using carbon water filters at home
Carbon water filters are used in many places around the home. They can be found in refrigerator water filters, shower heads, and faucets.
A water filter for fridges has to be efficient and effective at removing contaminants to provide users with clean and odorless water on demand. Carbon filters are used in shower heads to remove chlorine, a chemical which is known to damage hair.
Whole house carbon filter
People who live in areas with chlorine contaminated water could benefit from installing whole house carbon filters. These carbon filters are installed at points where the municipal water supply enters a home.
Whole house carbon filters essentially filter and remove chlorine from the household water supply before the water enters your home. This means all your showers and faucets are able to dispense chlorine-free water that has been filtered though the whole house carbon filter.
It’s no doubt that carbon water filters are providing quality filtered water to millions of people worldwide. Developments in activated carbon technology will make such filters even more useful in the future, so get acquainted with carbon activated water filters and start drinking fresher and cleaner tasting water today!