What is “Carbon Filtration”?
Carbon, the 4th most abundant element in the universe, is key to making literally thousands of compounds.
Carbon is the key element in diamonds, the hardest natural substance on Earth. Carbon is the key element in graphite, one of the softest natural substances on Earth. And, carbon is the key element in all living things.
Carbon is extremely versatile in what it will bond with, and how it will create that bond… and this is what makes it valuable for water filtration.
Carbon filtration has long been used to absorb a wide variety of impurities in water.
“Activated Carbon” is more “powerful” than ordinary carbon.
Activated carbon is ordinary carbon that has been processed to have a small electrically positive charge. This positive charge makes ordinary carbon even more effective over a broader range of impurities.
In-home carbon filtration units usually have either “block carbon” or “granular activated carbon” (GAC).
Block carbon is carbon powder compressed into a block shape.
GAC carbon is in loose-powder form.
Carbon filtration removes contaminants from water in 2 primary ways:
- Attraction of negatively charged particles to the positively charged carbon (chlorine and chloramines are removed in this way),
- Adsorption, which removes organic compounds (adsorption is the attachment of gas or liquid molecules to the surface of another substance, carbon in the case of water filtration)
What Factors Affect Carbon Filtration Efficiency?
Common sense says that the more carbon in the filter, and the longer the water is in contact with the carbon, the higher the efficiency of the carbon filtration unit will be.
And this is, in fact, true.
Carbon filtration units must be correctly sized so water will have sufficient time for the carbon to do its job. “Bigger” does not mean “better.”
A Pro Water Solutions professional will be happy to assist you in this process. Some factors to consider in sizing your system:
- How large is the home?
- How many bathrooms in the home?
- How many people live in the home?
- What size is the pipe where the carbon filtration will be installed?
Another factor that also affects efficiency is the size of the contaminant particles.
Filtration carbon is also made from certain types of coal and wood.
How Is Carbon Filtration Equipment Sized?
Many of the carbon filtration units on the market today are canister-type filtration cartridges that need frequent changing. An example of this is the water filter you probably have in your refrigerator.
Water flows through the carbon cartridge in your refrigerator filter, which removes sediment and some aggressive chemicals like chlorine, ammonia, and chloramines.
There are 2 basic problems with cartridge carbon filters:
- Ongoing cost of replacing that filter cartridge. General Electric recommends replacing the filter cartridge every 6 months at an MSRP of $40.55 per cartridge. That”s $81.10 + tax every year.
- The second problem is that water simply doesn’t have enough contact time with the small amount of carbon media in that little filter to do much “filtering.”
Pro Water Solutions uses a whole-house carbon filtration system that will periodically rinse (back wash) the carbon media. This is like removing the carbon media, cleaning it, and reinstalling it.
Imagine how much longer that expensive little $40 refrigerator filter would last if you could take it apart, clean it, and reinstall it.
Our carbon filtration equipment is self-cleaning and supplies water to your entire house, not just your refrigerator’s water faucet.
Our whole house carbon filtration system treats about 2,000,000 gallons of water (roughly the amount of water in 66 typical in-ground swimming pools).
That amount of water, according to NSF (National Sanitation Foundation), will last a family of four 10 years, or two people for 20 years.
If you found the information on this page useful, and you would like to learn more about getting a carbon filtration system for your home, please give us a call. We can come to your home and you give you a FREE estimate. We will properly size the unit to fit your home and carbon filtration needs. Pro Water Solutions serves the Southern California region, including Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Orange Counties.
When shopping for a carbon filtration unit ask the question, “How many gallons will the whole house filter treat?” This is very important.
Let’s say the average water filter is rated at 300,000 gallons before a filter change is needed, and that the home has three people living it.
The water quality association estimates household water usage at 75 gallons per person per day.
75 X 3 = 225
So the home will use 225 gallons per day X 365 days a year = 821,125 gallons per year.
300,000 divided by 821,125 gallons is 2.7 years.
Which would you rather do? Change your filter every 2.7 years with their system, or every 15 years (with Pro Water’s system)?
Pro Water Solutions only installs a back washing-type system with a substance called KDF-55.
Because we use a combination of KDF-55 process media and carbon we get cleaner, higher-quality water and a much longer lifespan.
Our system will supply crisp, fresh, chemical-free water throughout the entire home….
- 2 person household for about 20 years,
- 3 people for about 15 years and
- A family of 4 for about 10 years
Carbon filtration equipment is rated by water flow rate. Flow rate determines the time the water will be in contact with the carbon, and the contaminate particle size that can be removed.
Flow rate is measured in gpm (gallons per minute).
Particle size is measured in microns.
For comparison, one micron is approximately 100 times thinner than one sheet of newspaper.
The lower the micron number, the smaller the particle size that will be removed (a 1 micron filter will remove particles 25 times smaller than a 25 micron filter).
Activated carbon filtration systems are often used as the sole filtration unit to reduce or eliminate tastes, odors, chlorine, and other organic compounds from “city water” in homes.
Carbon filtration units will not remove minerals or salts (which cause hard water). Removal of these contaminants requires a water softener, reverse osmosis filter, distiller, or a combination of these.
This fact is often abused in the carbon filtration industry. Buyers are often told that carbon filtration units will aid in the reduction of hardness, which is simply not the case.
Buyer Beware: If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Another use for activated carbon filtration is as a pre-filter in conjunction with reverse osmosis (RO) systems to remove substances that could quickly clog the RO membrane.
Since carbon filtration systems do not remove solids or sediment, a particulate filter is often installed before the carbon filtration unit.
Carbon Filtration Myth…Taste and/or flow rate are good indicators as to when to change the carbon filtration media.
Truth…By the time a noticeable taste is present, or flow rate has decreased enough to be apparent, it is already way too late to change the filter element. The best way to know when to change a carbon filter element? Easy. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Also, because chlorine and the odors that they emit will no longer be in your home it will be apparent when the unit no longer works efficiently.
How to Select a Carbon Filtration Contractor
- What is their Better Business Bureau rating? It should be at least “A+”
- Does their equipment have a Water Quality Association “Gold Seal”?
- Does the contractor belong to the Water Quality Association?
- If you are considering buying a carbon filtration unit from an internet company, department store, or “wholesale” outlet:
- Who will install the well water treatment system and assume full responsibility for proper performance and installing it in full compliance with all applicable building codes?
- Who is responsible for damage if the carbon filtration system or the new plumbing leaks?
- Who troubleshoots the carbon filtration system if there is any problem?
- The familiar statement, “Some assembly required,” takes on a whole new meaning when you buy a carbon filtration unit from one of these sources.
- Ask how many gallons will the unit treat and is it warranted for that amount.
- Avoid carbon filtration contractors who try to get you to sign up for regular service.
- Will the contractor state in writing that they will not use “day labor” on your project? “Day laborers” are not insured. If one of them gets injured on your job, you could be held liable as their “employer.”
- Does the contractor have valid liability and worker’s compensation insurance? Insist on being listed as “additionally insured” on their insurance policies. These are certificates issued directly from the insurance carriers. There may or may not be an extra charge for this.
Pro Water Solutions is a leading provider of water conditioning and treatment solutions.
We provide the best quality products coupled with unsurpassed customer service.
We sell, install, and service our products to ensure customer satisfaction throughout the entire process.
Since 2001, our team of skilled professionals has been educating home and business owners about the benefits of installing water softening systems, suggesting the best quality products in the marketplace, and offering peace of mind to clients throughout Southern California.
We will make your shopping experience educational, easy, and fun.