How does charcoal filter water

Clover Dane

Updated on:

How Does Charcoal Filter Water


The drinking of safe & clean water is the basic need of every individual. Charcoal is carbon. It works with oxygen for the opening of millions of tiny pores in the carbon atoms. How Does Charcoal Filter Water?

The charcoal filter utilizes for the purification and filtration of water. This charcoal filter is present in numerous filtration systems. The filtered water from the charcoal filter is free from contaminants. Also, this filtered water is good in taste.

Why is a charcoal filter utilized in the filter?

The manufacturing techniques of filtration systems utilize charcoal filters. The outside area of charcoal filters is 300-2000 square meters per gram. The activated charcoal filters absorb the odor from the water.

Activated charcoal filters are plentiful in the removal of impurities and also chlorine. It enables to trap of carbon-based impurities. That’s the way it is highly efficient against organic chemicals.

However, it will not eliminate inorganic impurities like sodium, nitrates, etc. When all the bonding sites of the charcoal filter fill, then the filter stops working. Then, you have to replace the charcoal filter.

How do charcoal filters operate?

The working of the charcoal filter ensures the production of filtered water. Many water pitchers or water filters utilize charcoal filters. On the positive side, it filters the water for safe drinking. On the negative side, it has limited use due to its short lifespan.

There is activated carbon technology present in a charcoal filter. It enables to eliminate most of the chlorine. Usually, tap water contains chlorine. Thereby, with the removal of chlorine, the taste of water improves.

Besides, this process also not decreases the flow of water. In comparison to many other filters & softeners, it will never reduce the water flow. Moreover, the charcoal filters are inexpensive and also effective in their performance.

The Principle

Activated charcoal & carbon are many alike filters. Both of them contain micro-pores for filtration. These filters have pores that are too much small. A small amount of activated charcoal or carbon filters a large quantity of water.

Two main things make the charcoal filter a great option to use in filters. The first thing is that the charcoal filters are affordable. The second thing is that the charcoal has an immense surface area. The filtration process of activated charcoal is adsorption. The adsorption is much similar to the classical process of filtration.

The charcoal filters are a tiny piece of material. It is like a sponge, but it contains unlimited pores. All the pores filter out the harmful things from water, such as chemicals. The size of the pores is small that only allows the water molecules to pass from it. The chemical particles are larger than pores. So then, the pores of charcoal filter out all the chemicals. In this way, water becomes more filtered.

Why are charcoal-filters the best water filters?

Many things make a charcoal water filter the best to use. The good stuff will remain present inside the filtered water. The charcoal filter only removes contaminants or impurities. It removes the chlorine and bad odors. With the removal of chlorine, the taste of water becomes good.

The tap water contains chlorine that ensures water is free from bacteria & viruses. The chlorine acts as a disinfectant, but there is no need to drink chlorine water. Although it is not bad for health, yet it is not good in taste. Thus, the charcoal filter effectively removes chlorine.

The charcoal filters are inexpensive filters and easier to use in different filtration systems. The maintenance of the charcoal filters is easier. You can efficiently clean it. After its lifespan, replace the charcoal filter with the new filter. Usually, the life of the charcoal filter is 12 months.

How Does Charcoal <a href=Filter Water” class=”wp-image-27271″ width=”400″ height=”300″/>

What it Will & Won’t Filter

The motive of a charcoal filter is to produce filtered water. It ensures the clarity of water with the diminishing of unpleasant odors. The charcoal filter also removes chlorine. It is not able to remove some toxic metals, fluoride, etc. Besides, the activated charcoal will not fully remove the alcohol.

A charcoal filter will filter chlorine, chloramines, phenols, and a small number of metals. The removal of metals includes iron, mercury, etc.

The charcoal filter won’t remove ammonia, nitrates, fluoride, and heavy metals. The non-removal heavy metals include hydrocarbons, petroleum distillates, etc. This filter also does not remove bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms.

Activated Charcoal Effectiveness

The activated charcoal is very effective in its action. It enables to filter the water with more effectiveness. But some factors influence the effective behavior of charcoal. Every source of charcoal has a different pore size.

Even the effectiveness of charcoal also depends on its manufacturing process. Large molecules of charcoal are more able to absorb much better as compared to small molecules. The process of adsorption increases the pH of the water and decreases the temperature.

 When the contaminants are in contact with activated charcoal, then they effectively remove from water. Hence, the flow rate after the passing from charcoal is different. It also affects the process of filtration.

Activated Charcoal De-Adsorption

The activated charcoal also goes through the process of de-absorption after a long time. It happens when the pores of the charcoal filter full. Many people may worry about the re-entry of contaminants in water. But, the activated charcoal never allows the re-entering of contaminants in gas or water.

At that point, the activated charcoal is no more effective for the process of filtration. Some of the compounds may enter into the filtered water. For instance, the charcoal utilized in the aquarium may start to produce phosphates. The release of phosphates in the water happens after a long time.  

Recharging Activated Charcoal

The recharging of the activated charcoal depends on the purpose of its use. Extending the life of the activated charcoal is possible. It enables to filter the water very well in its whole lifespan. Further, it is possible to heat the activated charcoal at 200 C for a minimum of 30 minutes.

 The heating process helps in the degrading of the organic matter from the charcoal. After the heating, rinse the charcoal filter for the best use. But, this process will never eliminate heavy metals from the charcoal.

After the lifespan of the charcoal, it is better to replace it. The purpose of replacing is that the heating process is not suitable every time. Activated charcoal is a soft material that may melt after heating.

Even it releases some toxin chemicals also. Therefore, you can heat the charcoal only one or two times. It is our high recommendation to recharge filter with activated charcoal to get safe drinking water.

Read more

How Long Do Charcoal Filters Last

How To Purify Tap Water

Water Softener Using Too Much Salt


There are certain limitations in using charcoal filters. Adsorption is a reversible process. The first limitation is to use only cold water for the filtration. If you use warm water, it will expand the filter.

The expansion of the filter will result in the re-entry of the trapped particles in the water. This water is not too bad for showering or cleaning dishes. But, this water is not good for drinking.

The second limitation is that the flow of the filtered water is not too fast. This water flow is less as compared to regular tap water. However, this flow rate of water is higher than many other filters or softeners. The charcoal filters ensure the making of clean water that is not dangerous for health.


Generally, there are several methods to clean & maintain the charcoal filter systems. Never believe everyone who says the filter cleans itself. The charcoal filter works with the adsorption process. This process ruins the filter after a long time. After the lifespan of charcoal, it is necessary to replace the charcoal filter from the system.

Every manufacturer companies provide a manual guide. Through that guide, you will know how to clean & replace the charcoal filter. You will quickly know it when there is a change in the filtered water quality. At that time, the filter needs to clean.

The cleaning of charcoal filters from pitcher or tap filters is easier. Take the filter out from the system and then submerge it in the cleaning solution. The filter should remain in the cleaning solution for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Never use powerful detergents that contain harmful chemicals.

You can simply make a cleaning solution with the use of vinegar. After taking out the filter from the cleaning solution, rinse it well with clean water. The cleaning of the charcoal filter is necessary for the maintenance of the system. It ensures that the filter always produces clean & filtered water.

Final Thoughts

Charcoal filters are very popular in many filtration systems. The majority of the big industries use the charcoal filter in their systems, including Brita. The charcoal filters are affordable as well as easier to use. They enable to yield a high amount of filtered water. The use of the charcoal filter is a good option. It saves your money also.