Carbon water filters, including an activated carbon water filter, are an extremely effective method of water filtration. Read about the pros and cons of this system, which is also known as Charcoal water filtering.
How does this water filter system work?
These water filtering systems are water filter media that help in the removal of contaminants such as chlorine, and impurities.
What is an activated carbon water filter?
The way the filter works is by use of activated carbon. This activated carbon has a positive charge and it attracts the opposite charge particles like impurities and contaminants.
The positive charge is achieved through treating it with oxygen. Each piece of carbon is designed to provide the maximum surface area, the bigger the surface area, the longer the particles will be exposed to the filter and the more contaminants removed from the water.
There is approximately 100 acres of surface area within a pound of a piece of activated carbon. The method of removing these particles is called adsorption.
What is adsorption?
Adsorption, is the process by which molecules or ions attach themselves to a surface, in the case of the carbon water filters, the surface is the charged carbon. Most carbon water filters are made from crushed coconut shells, and then treated with pressure and steam creating a very porous surface.
They will then be charged with a positive charge.These filters are effective at removing particles that range from 0.5 to 50 micrometers. The large surface area provides bonding sites on the carbon for the impurities to attach themselves to it.
This process of filtration improves the taste and odor of your water. The efficiency of any carbon filter is dependent on the time of exposure it has with the surface of the media. This is called the flow rate regulations.
Carbon based water filtration systems are extensively used in faucet water filters, countertop water filters and under counter water filters. This form of filtering work great with cold water. They are often an integral part of reverse osmosis water filters.
If water is allowed to filter at a slow rate through the carbon surface, the impurities within the water are exposed to the filter media for a longer period of time and therefore removing more particles.
What impurities does carbon filtration remove?
Carbon filters are great for removing particles such as chlorine, volatile organic compounds, and sediment, but they are not an effective medium for removal of salts, minerals or dissolved inorganic compounds.
Now these filters maybe good for attracting chlorine and other particles, but certain particles like nitrates, sodium, fluoride and other toxic metals would slip right through.
The importance of filter replacement!
If all the bonding sites are already covered by the impurities, the filter will no longer be effective at trapping more impurities and pretty useless.
So this means frequent replacement of the filter. The filters are also inadequate at dealing with acidic water. So if you have water that is acidic, the carbon filters will fail to change the pH of this water. In that case, this type of filter is useless for your home.
Only buy filters which are NSF/ANSI rated to meet standard 53 which is specifically for water filtration systems.
Other disadvantages of carbon water filtration systems
Another disadvantage of carbon water filters is its susceptibility to getting mold. The reason it can collect mold is because of what it traps; that is organic objects which can easily mold if the filter is unused for a long period of time.
The filter can also easily clog because of the un-dissolved particles. Even though these filter help remove sediment but if you have a sediment problem, it means faster clogging of the filter and you would require a sediment pre-filter.
Carbon block water filters
Carbon block is another form of this type of filtration system that utilizes the power of carbon. This is a piece of carbon in a honeycomb shape.
Carbon has a long history of being used as a filtering system for the simple reason that it is very effective. If you are looking for a reasonably priced and yet effective water filtration system then you should consider this type of filter.