Filtering Water With Carbon Has Its Limits

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Filtering Water With Carbon Has Its Limits Empty Filtering Water With Carbon Has Its Limits

Post  aldousbailey on Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:37 pm

With ever more pollution appearing in our rivers and streams and in our city water supplies, experts have been working on ways to produce the purist drinking water for people in their homes. Various water purification technologies have been developed over the decades and each has its strengths and weaknesses.

Carbon has long been an excellent filtering medium for many fluids and people use it in drinking water purification systems as well as in face masks. Carbon atoms like to bond with many other atoms so they tend to grab passing atoms and hold on. On the micro level, carbon is a great absorber of a wide variety of chemicals.

Carbon filters alone have their benefits and limits. They remove chlorine (a common but toxic chemical used to kill bacteria in city water systems), radon, pesticides and many other industrial wastes. A well maintained carbon filter can remove 80-99% of organic chemicals from water. Carbon also removes bad tastes and smells.

Carbon filters will not remove bacteria, viruses or toxic minerals like mercury or lead. These types of substances don't "cling" or bond to carbon atoms. We need other types of filters to remove microbes and toxic minerals. Such contaminants are common in households with wells but they can be in city water systems also.

Carbon filters work best when the water flowing through them moves slowly enough that the carbon has time to absorb contaminants. Solid carbon filters work better than ones with a granular medium and "activated" carbon filters are preferable because they have millions of pores in the medium.

Eventually, carbon filters fill up with the contaminants they have been absorbing and they need to be replaced. For most such filters, this happens after about 2000 gallons of water have passed through.

Carbon filters also can be damaged when bacteria grows on the filter medium. Though many types of filters will have bacteria growing on them after some time, its not clear these sorts of bacteria are harmful to people. Even so, if your carbon filter has not been used for a day or two, run the tap for a couple of minutes to clean it out before you drink.

Carbon is often used as a stand-alone filter or it can be put in with other types of filters in a water purification system. In either case, the filter must be replaced regularly to protect your family's health.

The best water filtration companies understand the ups and downs of all the filtration technologies and they can sell you a trustworthy home drinking water purification system. To learn about some of the best filtration systems on the market, click the link below.


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