What is an Activated Carbon Filter?
Activated carbon filters are small pieces of carbon, typically in granular or powdered block form, that have been treated to be extremely porous. It is so cavernous, in fact, that just one gram of activated carbon can easily have a surface area of 500m2 or higher. Vast surface area enables these carbon filters to adsorb exponentially more contaminants and allergens than traditional carbon.

Adsorption is a distinct process where organic compounds in the water react chemically with the activated carbon, which causes them to stick to the filter. The more porous the activated carbon is, the more contaminants it will capture. These filters are most notably used to remove hazardous compounds in home water purification systems.
How does a carbon filter work?
There are many benefits associated with using activated carbon filters. These purifiers can be used to rid your water of unwanted or harmful contaminants that can pose a hazard to your health.
Carbon filters remove contaminants through adsorption. Absorption soaks up particles like a sponge to water. Adsorption adheres particles to a surface like a piece of Velcro. Organic compounds bond or stick to the surface of a carbon filter because water and contaminants are both polar compounds that attract one another.
Carbon filters are extremely porous and have a large surface area, making them effective at reducing bad tastes, odors, and other particles in water. A carbon filter acts as a parking lot with pores for parking spaces for contaminants as water flows through. The tiny pores are measured in microns. The smaller the micron, the finer the filtration. Low flow rate and pressure give contaminants more time to park or adhere to the carbon. The more contact time water has with the surface of a carbon filter, the more efficient the filtration.
When and where should you use a carbon filter?
It can be used for point-of-entry (POE) to filter the whole house or point-of-use (POU) to clean water before you drink or cook with it. Some shower heads include carbon filtration to prevent you from inhaling chlorine gas in the shower. Carbon filters are also part of a reverse osmosis system or an ultrafiltration (UF) system. A carbon filter added to a UF system provides organic and chemical particulate reduction along with lead reduction.  
If you use a water softener to soften water treated by a municipal plant, then you should install a carbon filter before the water softener. If chlorine is removed prior to softening, then the softener resin lasts longer.
Are carbon water filters safe?
Carbon water filters are safe, especially if they've been rated by a third party for material safety. All carbon filters are rated for CTO (chlorine, taste, and odor) removal, and sub-micron carbon blocks remove other contaminants like lead or cysts.
Activated carbon block filters with sub-micron ratings go above and beyond to remove additional particles through mechanical filtration. Mechanical filters work like a screen door-- they keep unwanted elements out and let clean water through. Pores of a carbon block filter that measure less than one micron are too small for cysts to pass through.

1.Effective taste, odor, and chlorine reduction
2.Lots of surface area
3.Reduced health hazards
4.Protection for other filtration systems or softeners
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