As you may already know, tap water can contain numerous impurities, up to and including lead, mercury, bacteria, drugs and pesticides. A good water filter takes these contaminants out of the equation, restoring your water to peak condition. Not only is filtered water better for you, but it tastes better, as well.
Carbon water filters are among the most popular, commonly found types out there, but what are carbon filters? What makes them different from other filters and how do they work?
Most importantly, are they a good fit for your household’s needs? Let’s take a closer look at the answers to these questions and more.
What Is a Carbon Water Filter and How Does It Work?
Carbon filtration is a method that harnesses the power of activated carbon to remove chemicals, debris and other contaminants from your water. Why carbon? Well, chemically speaking, carbon is very efficient when it comes to trapping unwanted elements. Each carbon particle comes attached to a very large surface area, meaning the likelihood of a contaminant being exposed to and trapped by an active site is very high.
When water is forced through a carbon water filter, contaminants and toxins become trapped in the process. They’re prevented from moving through the filter along with the water as a result, leaving you with nothing but clean, sweet-smelling water that’s free of anything that could harm you.
Carbon filtration differs from reverse osmosis (RO) filtration. In RO filtration, water is forced through a semi-permeable membrane instead of the carbon-based system described above.
How Well Do Carbon Water Filters Work?
A carbon water filter is actually quite good at removing numerous contaminants that are commonly undesired by consumers. They’re also inexpensive and widely available, making it easy for even frugal, budget-sensitive households to enjoy clean, drinkable water at home. However, like all filters, carbon filters are better at removing some contaminants from your water than others.
What Carbon Filters Remove
Carbon filters are excellent at removing chemical compounds from water that can make it unsafe to drink. Examples include chlorine, benzene and radon. They’re also excellent at getting rid of solvents and volatile organic chemical compounds like pesticides that might be present in tap water, thanks to agricultural runoff.
In fact, the chemicals and unwanted elements a carbon filter can remove actually number in the hundreds. They include many man-made examples your water could contact at any point as it moves through the municipal water system and pipes. Carbon filters are also stellar at improving the smell and taste of tap water.
What Carbon Filters Can’t Remove
Although there are some exceptions, most carbon filters aren’t as efficient at getting rid of inorganic chemicals that tend to dissolve in water (i.e. most pharmaceuticals). The same goes for heavy metals and additional substances like arsenic, asbestos, copper, fluoride, nickel, cadmium and mercury.
Carbon block filters (as opposed to activated carbon filters) are pretty good at getting rid of larger microorganisms (like giardia or cryptosporidium). They can’t capture anything that’s actually smaller than the carbon molecules themselves. An example is viruses.
Are Carbon Filters Right for Your Household?
Whether or not a carbon filter is the right fit for your family depends largely on what’s actually in your water. It varies from region to region and even home to home, so if you haven’t done so already, you’ll want to get a report that tells you what’s what.
Check your city’s government website for published accounts of what’s in the municipal water in your area. You can also test your water on your own, if you prefer. If your water is found to contain high levels of contaminants like bacteria or heavy metals, a reverse osmosis filter may be a better fit for your home, as carbon filters will have trouble removing those substances.
For most people’s purposes, though, a carbon water filter is a perfect fit. You have lots of different options to choose from, as well. You can install faucet water filters or under-the-sink water filters right onto your kitchen sink for the very ultimate in convenience.
More interested in continuous access to cold, ready-to-drink filtered water and ice cubes right from your fridge? Try a refrigerator filter instead. You can even purchase filters that treat all of the water coming into your entire home, should you prefer
At the end of the day, carbon water filters bring loads of benefits to the table. They’re affordable, they’re convenient and they’re effective when it comes to purifying your water in so many ways. Get yours today!