All About Carbon Filters

All About Carbon Filters

If you are looking to treat your water for unpleasant tastes and odors, installing a carbon filter is an effective treatment method. They are also a necessary component in a treatment system serving as a pre filter for water softeners and reverse osmosis systems. Carbon filters are produced in a couple different forms including disposable or refillable cartridges and backwashing tank filters. The selection of the type of carbon filter depends on the purpose of the carbon filter and your desired level of maintenance.

Carbon filters work through a process called adsorption. This is not to be confused with absorption, which is the ‘soaking up’ process achieved by a sponge. Adsorption on the other hand is the adhesion of molecules to one another. In carbon filters, as contaminated water passes through the carbon media, the targeted impurities adhere to the surface of the carbon grains, and the water leaves the filter free from the impurities which cause unpleasant tastes and odors.

Carbon will reduce tastes, odors, and dissolved organic chemicals from water. It will remove chlorine and ozone. A special type of carbon media called catalytic carbon will go as far as to removal of chloramine and hydrogen sulfide. The contaminants that carbon will not filter out include magnesium, potassium, sodium, calcium, salt, iron, arsenic. To know which carbon type you should select, it is best to have an in-depth water test done on your untreated water. You can have your water tested for free or for a minor fee at your local pool shop or well driller.

One form of carbon filter is the cartridge. These cartridges are replaced and disposed of when their capacity is consumed. Because of this, cartridge carbon filters, while initially cheaper than backwashing tank carbon filters, end up being more expensive and require more maintenance. You may be able to purchase a cartridge carbon filter for under $200, but you will be paying for a $50 replacement filter every 3 - 6 months or 20,000 - 50,000 gallons (depending on usage, water quality, and choice between carbon block and granular carbon). So, you end up paying $100 - $200 every year for replacement filters which, after a few years, adds up beyond the price you would pay for a backwashing tank system.

Backwashing tank carbon filters are generally the same price and appearance as softener systems, though they do not use a brine tank. They use the same pressurized tanks and control valves (heads) as softeners as well as the same plumbing connections. The size of the tank carbon filter you choose depends on if you need a backwashing valve and the available flow rate. If you give us a call and share with us your water test results and treatment desires, we would be happy to size a carbon filtration system for you.

At, our primary focus is to serve all of our customers by providing them with custom water treatment solutions based on each of their individual needs. With a custom sized and configured treatment system from us, you and your family will be able to enjoy professionally treated water for years to come.