Activated carbon works by chemically bonding to contaminants when they are run through the filter. Some of these filters can be highly effective in removing several dangerous contaminants. These contaminants can include mercury, lead, nitrates, fluoride, and arsenic. Some of these filters, however, are only effective in removing chlorine from the water. Even if the filter only removes chlorine, it can greatly improve the water’s taste, smell, and overall quality. Here is how these amazing filters work.
Activated carbon filters work well mainly because of the large surface area of the carbon. As the water flows through the carbon, the tiny pores in the block trap several harmful contaminants. Intermolecular forces draw the contaminants into these millions of tiny pores.
On top of physical absorption, activated carbon filters use chemical reactions to filter the water. One example of this is in removing the chemical chlorine. When chlorine and carbon come in contact, they form chloride ions, effectively removing the chlorine from the water.
Types of Activated Carbon Filters
There are several different types of activated carbon filters that work differently and are more or less effective in removing specific contaminants.
Granulated Activated Carbon Filters
This filter does not come in a block, but instead, the carbon is ground into small pieces. The carbon is typically held in cylindric containers. As the water flows through the filter, the loose carbon pieces work to filter the water and clean out the impurities.
This type of activated carbon filter, unlike the other, uses a solid block of carbon rather than small pieces. A carbon block is used to filter the water and this block can range in size. As the water flows through the filter, it runs through millions of tiny pores that catch a variety of contaminants and impurities. Although with these filters, water flows slower than with a granulated activated carbon filter, these are more effective. The pores are able to catch more contaminants and filter the water more effectively and efficiently.
How to Know if an Activated Carbon Filter is a Right Option for You
An activated carbon filter may be the best option for your home, but there also may be another filter that is a better fit for you and your needs. The best way to know what your needs are is to have your water tested. A water test will be able to tell you exactly what is in your water and the specific issues your home deals with. You will be able to pick the best filter option for your home based on the contaminants in your water. You may decide that an activated carbon filter truly is the best option, but you may decide you need another filter such as a reverse osmosis or ion exchange filter.