Clean drinking water is vital for the body to function. From digestion to waste removal, water plays an important role in maintaining a healthy body; however, toxins and other additives often find their way into waterways, and subsequently our drinking water. One way you can ensure you always have clean drinking water is by installing a filter.
How Do Charcoal Filters Work?
The charcoal used in water filters isn’t the same as your average barbecue bricks. Water filters use what is known as activated charcoal, which is usually pressed into a solid block or sold as loose beads.
Charcoal activation is achieved through a process of superheating the charcoal without oxygen at temperatures over 1000F. Then the charcoal is chemically treated with argon and nitrogen, followed by a second round of superheating with the addition of oxygen and steam to create a porous structure. The porous structure of the activated charcoal is the key factor that makes charcoal water filters so effective.
Activated charcoal works through the process of adsorption. Adsorption, as opposed to absorption, binds these impurities chemically, rather than physically. The pores in activated charcoal increase the surface area of the charcoal up to an extraordinary 2000 square meters per gram, which drastically improves its adsorption efficiency.
The reason that activated charcoal makes such a great material for water filters is that it is natural and effective at removing many toxins from the water, such as volatile organic compounds and chlorine, without the use of chemicals or stripping the water of salts and minerals. As you may remember from chemistry class, carbon-based organic impurities in the water are attracted to the carbon in the charcoal, which readily bonds to these impurities. However, other compounds, depending on their molecular weight and polarity, are not attracted to the carbon, and so pass through the filter.
Because the process results in bonds being formed between compounds, and the impurities are kept in the filter, charcoal filters need to be replaced once all the pores have been filled. Fortunately, maintaining and replacing charcoal filters is easy and cheap to do, making charcoal filters a popular choice for many households.
The Benefits of Using a Charcoal Filter
It doesn’t remove the “good stuff.”
Drinking water isn’t just made of hydrogen and oxygen, there are also many other minerals, in addition to nasty chemicals and impurities, which make up the composition of water. While most water filters efficiently remove these impurities, either mechanically or chemically, they often remove a lot of the important minerals and ions that are healthy for our bodies.
Due to the chemical composition and structure of activated charcoal, these filters attract and absorb unhealthy organic compounds, while allowing the rest of the minerals to remain in the water. Unfortunately, it doesn’t remove all pathogens or microorganisms, so charcoal is often used in conjunction with another filter.
It makes water healthier.
Not only do charcoal filters remove a lot of the nasty stuff from water, they can add things back into your water to make it healthier. Activated charcoal can add important minerals, such as calcium, magnesium and iron back into your water to improve the water quality.
It improves the flavor.
Many people dislike the taste of tap water, complaining it tastes metallic or has an off-putting aroma. This taste is often due to the additives, such as chlorine, that are added to tap water to kill bacteria and pathogens found in reservoirs. Though this is a necessary process to protect public health, it often means people avoid drinking tap water, putting them at risk for dehydration, or they buy plastic bottled water, which is bad for the environment.
Charcoal filters not only adsorb these nasty tasting chemicals, but they are also highly effective at removing odors as well, making your drinking water much more palatable.
4. It is cheap.
Many water filtration systems can be an expensive, though necessary, investment for your home. Charcoal filters, on the other hand, are relatively inexpensive to produce, and those savings are passed down to the consumer.
5. They are easy to maintain.
Although the filters need to be replaced once the charcoal has been used, replacement parts are cheap, as well as easy to source and install.
Your charcoal water filter should be replaced approximately every six months. However, this depends on the amount of water you use and the water quality in your area. If you are unsure, look at the clarity of your water, observe whether the taste has changed or whether the flow rate has decreased. If you notice any of these things, it may be time to change your filter.
Charcoal water filters are one of the most popular types of water filters on the market for good reason. Activated charcoal has numerous economic, ecological and health benefits. Try a charcoal water filter in your home today, and taste the difference.