What are Activated Carbon Filters?

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If you’re shopping for a water purification system because you are concerned about your drinking water quality, look no further than activated carbon filters! Most water filters are effective at reducing the presence of contaminants and bad tastes and smells from drinking water. However, activated carbon filters rely on a process called adsorption to capture and remove all impurities ranging from harsh pollutants to allergens to chlorine, whereas water treatment plants treat water with chlorine and other harsh chemicals that can linger in your water. However, activated carbon filters are major combatants of any particles that may be in your drinking water when it arrives in your house.

Our staff at Office H2O is passionate about access to safe, clean drinking water, and activated carbon filters are a huge aspect of that! Read on to learn how these filters can make a significant improvement in your drinking water quality.

What is an Activated Carbon Filter?

Activated carbon filters are made with, you guessed it, activated carbon! This compound is produced from raw organic materials such as coal or coconut shells that are high in carbon. The carbon is then treated to be extremely porous: it is injected with steam, chemicals, or heat to create millions of small pores, significantly increasing its surface area.

This process of creating pores in the carbon allows it to trap and absorb more contaminants. Just one gram of activated carbon can easily reach a surface area of 500 m², whereas one pound contains a surface area of approximately 100 acres – that’s three times the size of the Pentagon!

This large surface area causes contaminants to experience maximum exposure to the activated carbon in the filter, allowing it to adsorb exponentially more dangerous particles and chemicals that may be present in your water than traditional water filters. Activated carbon filters are used to remove organic compounds, allergens, chemicals, and other contaminants in order to make the water suitable for drinking.

How Does It Work?

Activated carbon filters employ two processes to remove contaminants from drinking water: adsorption and catalytic reduction. Adsorption causes organic compounds in the water to react chemically with the activated carbon, trapping them inside the pores of the activated carbon. The more porous the activated carbon is, the more contaminants it can capture. When water passes through the filter, the carbon acts like a sponge, exerting a magnetic pull on impurities to attract them to the carbon where they become trapped in the pores. The contaminants are adsorbed because the attraction exerted by the carbon is much stronger than the forces that keep them dissolved in the water. Once contaminants are trapped in the carbon’s pores, they cannot escape back into the water, allowing your drinking water to flow out of the filter contaminant-free!

Activated carbon filters also employ catalytic reduction to remove chlorine and other chemicals that do not adhere to carbon from your drinking water. Catalytic reduction involves attracting the negatively-charged chemical ions to the positively-charged activated carbon and altering the chemical ions, effectively removing the chemicals from the water. Chlorine often ends up in our drinking water because it is used as a disinfectant by water treatment plants. Catalytic reduction is most frequently used to remove chlorine from drinking water, converting it to harmless chloride ions before it flows out of the tap or refrigerator for us to drink!

Why Activated Carbon Filters?

Activated carbon filters can rid your water of many unwanted and harmful contaminants which may pose a risk to your health. Among the contaminants activated carbon filters remove from water are pesticides and herbicides, volatile organic chemicals such as benzene, and chlorine and its dangerous byproduct, trihalomethane. It has been shown that these filters completely remove at least 81 chemicals and effectively reduce the presence of another 52.

According to the EPA, activated carbon filters are the only water purification systems that guarantee removal of all 14 pesticides and 12 herbicides, as well as all 32 identified organic contaminants. Activated carbon filters are also most effective at removing chlorine that may have ended up in your water during the treatment phase.

Chlorine can create a nasty flavor and odor in your water, but it can also cause the presence of trihalomethane. Trihalomethane is the result of a chemical reaction between the chlorine and natural organic matter in the water. At high levels, trihalomethane can cause adverse reproductive outcomes and even cancer. By using an activated carbon filter, you can remove chlorine from your drinking water and reduce your risk of exposure to trihalomethane.

Get Clean, Safe Drinking Water with Office H2O!

Here at Office H2O, we know how important it is to have access to clean, safe drinking water. Our bodies are made of 70% water and if that water isn’t replenished often enough, we can face serious health problems. Office H2O is proud to offer a range of bottleless water systems, perfect for any home or office, that employ the latest in water purification technology.

We’re also proud to announce that our bottleless water systems feature (in addition to self-sanitizing tanks and multi-stage filtration) a touch-free foot pedal. Using the stylish foot pedal included in our bottleless water coolers, your home or office can continue to enjoy easy access to purified drinking water without having to use your hands. This is particularly important during the current pandemic. Why wait? Check out our website today to browse our products and find your perfect bottleless water system!

Photo by Dexter Fernandes from Pexels