What is a Carbon Filter & How does it work?

carbon-water-filter

What is a carbon filter?

If you ask me which is the cheapest, most practical and basic type of water filter, my answer is a carbon filter.

Carbon filters are very popular and are used in many fields, such as filtering drinking water, keeping a fish aquarium’s water clean. They can reduce nasty chlorine residue, reduce odors and remove some particles which cloud the water, so it can improve smell, taste and clarity of water. However, as one type of water filtration methods, it has its limitations. For example, it is unhelpful to remove or reduce microbe, bacterial and other contaminants. Therefore, when you decide to get one carbon filter, you should know these limitations, or it is a waste of money.

How does a carbon filter purify water?

When we use a filter to purify water, water will pass through activated carbon that is porous and certain particles will be trapped and attracted to the porous material. The size of particles trapped depends on the size of these pores or micron rating. However, not all the particles have the same size. Therefore, the active carbon filter cannot trap all particles. If these pores are full of particles, it will lose its ability to attract new particles. And this process is not invertible. So it must be changed to get it effective.

The most common element that is used to activate carbon filters is coal. However, in order to enhance carbon filters, the manufacturers often use other elements and blends of materials in their products. For example, spun fibers are widely used. These layered filters are more effective for the reason that they can filter much smaller particles from the water. Therefore, different design may lead to different ability to filter out waterborne particles. And there are many types of carbon filter s different in design, size, intensity, efficiency, lifecycle and function. When you choose one, you should pay attention to these parameters.

The limitations

Different activated carbon filters allow different certain flows of water to pass through. And you’ll find the prices also vary. The effectiveness depends on the size of particles they can trap. This is This is referred to as microns. Generally, the higher number means worst or least effective, while the smallest number means the best. A higher micron number means only large particles can be removed and small particles can easily pass through it. If you choose a filter with a rating of 0.05 microns, this means even minute particles can be filtered out. The higher effectiveness also means you should pay much for it.

Sometimes, people don’t know the differences between carbon filters and sediment or sand filters that are usually installed at the house’s more water intake. Sediment or sand filers are designed to remove large visible particles, such as soil, sand, silt and other sediment. As I said before, filters in general are not effective to reduce hard water and cannot reduce or remove the amount of microbes and bacteria in water. If you want to remove or reduce bacteria and virus, a reverse osmosis system is much more effective, which is also much more expensive.

 

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