All You Need to Know About Activated Carbon Water Filters

Activated Carbon Explained

Not everyone has access to pure drinking water. In fact, about 15% of the American population drink from domestic wells that are not regulated by the government. Some of these wells have elevated levels of contaminants that put their owners at risk. Thankfully, these risks can be reduced via a water filtration process.

A good way to do this is by using activated carbon (AC). AC is a type of carbonaceous source material that has been treated with a chemical process to make it more porous. It is a crucial element in most modern water filtration systems. The purpose of these active carbon filters is to remove dirt and other contaminants from your drinking water before it enters your home.

In this article, we will talk about charcoal filters for water and how you can use them for your water purification needs.

How Activated Carbon Water Filters Work

Activated carbon (AC) filters water through a process called adsorption.

Adsorption occurs when a substance with a high affinity for adsorbents is applied to a solid surface, such as an AC filter. This process works because many types of contaminants are attracted to one end of this type of filter where they are trapped and can’t escape.

Active carbon filters essentially act a lot like a sponge and will remove most of the impurities that are present in tap water, leaving it with a fresh, crisp, taste.

The Efficiency of Water Treatment With Activated Carbon Filters

Activated carbon filter is one of the most effective ways to purify water because it removes contaminants at a molecular level.

AC filters can reduce the number of toxins such as benzene, carbon tetrachloride, trichloroethylene, methylene chloride, chlorobenzenes, and vinyl chloride in drinking water. They can also handle a variety of pesticides, including atrazine without leaving behind any unpleasant flavors or odors.

It is important to point out, however, that its effectiveness depends on certain factors.

  1. The size of the pores: The pore size is what will determine the contaminants that can pass through. The best size range is between 0.5 – 5 microns.
  2. The quality of the filter: If you buy a poor-quality filter, the number of contaminants that can be removed will be affected. That is why it is recommended that you shop from a reliable source like FILTERWAY when looking to buy.
  3. The age of the filter: Water filters don’t last forever in your wardrobe. After a while, they get clogged with impurities and will no longer function effectively. Thankfully, you can easily replace your carbon water filter cartridges instead of the entire assembly.

Is Carbon Filtered Water Safe to Drink?

The answer is yes, carbon-filtered water is safe to drink.

Carbon filters are one of the easiest ways to get cleaner water at home without having to spend a lot of money on a whole house filtration system. The carbon filtration water system removes undesirable elements from your water, including minerals, pesticides, and heavy metals.

It removes 95% of free chlorine, eliminates some common VOCs, and is also efficient in removing PFAS, PFOA, and PFNA. The result is that it can be used for drinking or cooking purposes.

Types of Activated Carbon

Activated carbon comes in a variety of forms, each of which has unique capabilities. These are the most common types.

Activated Carbon Fiber (ACF)

ACF is a microporous material that has a fiber-like form and a well-defined porous structure. This type of carbon filter system adsorbs pollutant molecules in water, removing free chlorine, organic material, odor, and color.

Granular Activated Carbon (GAC)

GAC is an adsorption medium with a large internal surface area. They are created from a range of porous raw materials, including coconut shells and wood.

Granular activated carbon filters effectively eliminate taste and odor, organic matter, VOCs, and other impurities from water.

Powdered Activated Carbon (PAC)

PAC is a high-adsorption activated carbon that is effective against a wide range of contaminants. It is also used for odor control and odor removal in a wide range of applications including air, gas, and wastewater filtration.

Catalytic Carbon

Catalytic carbon is a type of activated carbon that can remove chloramines and hydrogen sulfide from drinking water. It is capable of promoting chemical reactions in addition to having all the adsorptive properties of traditional activated carbons.

Lifetime and maintenance

The lifespan of an AC filter is dependent on several factors, including usage, water quality, and filter quality. However, you can get an average of 6 months on most AC filters.

If you have serious water contamination, then you should consider replacing your filters more frequently than once every six months. Regularly cleaning and replacing the filter is the best way to ensure that your system lasts long because like recliners you can’t fix them at home.


Activated carbon is not a new technology. It has been used in filtration for years to remove contaminants such as taste, odors, chemicals, and other impurities. If you are looking to improve the quality of your water, these types of filters are a great choice.

Allen Hayes

An expert in household technology, Allen Hayes, who holds a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, started contributing his valuable insights to our platform. His 20 years in appliance design and testing inform his in-depth reviews and recommendations. Allen’s articles focus on functionality, energy efficiency, and user-friendly designs and his writing simplifies complex appliance features for consumers. He is an advocate for sustainable living and enjoys upcycling projects. In his spare time, he enjoys experimenting with smart home gadgets and culinary arts.

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