How long does a carbon water filter last?

Activated carbon filters have come into a person’s life for a very long time. They help to purify water with the help of a special composition.

How long does a carbon water filter last

But the question often arises, how does a activated carbon filters work? How to use a water filters? And what exactly is a carbon water filters? This will be discussed in today’s article.

What are Activated Carbon water filters?

The activated carbon filters are a highly porous carbon material. A large number of microcells causes the presence of an extensive active surface, each section of which is capable of fixing foreign particles. The basis of activated carbon filters is carbon concentrate of different origin.

In practice, coals from the following types of raw materials are used:

  • wood,
  • peat;
  • coconut and fruit shells,
  • fruit seeds;
  • coal.

Sorbents are obtained by carbonation, followed by activation. Most often, carbon concentrates are activated by water vapor.

Depending on the temperature, the hot moisture water supply mode, and other agents that increase the absorption capacity, the material acquires different porosity.

After the activation is completed, the carbon product is crushed.

Some sorption carbon filter contain aluminum silicates, zeolites, and their derivatives as absorbers. Such porous materials effectively purify water, but they do not belong to coals.

How long does a carbon water filter last

Carbon filters with fillers in the following forms are used for water purification:

  • Powder
  • Granules
  • Fibers

Granulated sorbents are most often used. They have a significant capacity, have high porosity, and provide filtration at high speed.

How does a carbon filter work?

The operation of carbon filter is based on the attraction of impurities to the surface of the sorbent by weak interaction (adsorption), the reaction of some pollutants with carbon filler (chemisorption).

High – quality activated charcoal exhibits the following properties:

  1. Actively binds foreign substances, does not react to water molecules;
  2. It is easily wetted with water, without collapsing at the same time;
  3. Does not initiate oxidation reactions, tarring of impurities;
  4. It has pores with sizes from 0.8 to 5 nm, which allows organic pollutants (petroleum products, pesticides, surfactants) to penetrate;
  5. It has a large capacity for short-term interaction with water.

Backfill fillers of carbon filter is subject to regeneration by washing.

After a few recoveries (up to 4 times), the activity of the coals does not decrease. Long-term use of the sorbent is not recommended.

To fully recover, you need to activate. It is almost impossible to do this at home.

How long does a carbon water filter last

Important. Some fillers can only be disposed of together with the impurities accumulated on them from the water.

Carbon filter water supply is used to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Discoloration of polluted water;
  2. Removal of unpleasant smell and water tastes;
  3. Extraction of organic compounds;
  4. Release of biological impurities from the aquatic environment;
  5. Fixing on the porous surface of disinfection products (chlorination) of water pipes.

Coal materials successfully cope with all common pollutants. Their characteristics may not be sufficient to purify water with an increased level of impurities containing high concentrations of hardness salts. In such situations, in addition to carbon filters, additional cleaning modules need to be installed.

Carbon filter is more effective than any conventional mechanical cleaners, but they remove impurities to a lesser extent than systems with reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration.

Carbon filter types

Carbon filter is a universal tool for cleaning various contaminants. Let’s see what kind of carbon filters there are.

Granular activated carbon filters

GAC carbon cartridges are called water filtration cartridges that are filled with Granular Activated Carbon (Granular Activated Carbon). GAC activated carbon filter can be equipped with both home water treatment systems and industrial filtration systems (including filters for wastewater treatment).

Industrial filters are most often equipped with gac activated carbon cartridges filled with activated carbon made from petroleum coke, coal or brown coal, wood waste.

Sediment filters are equipped with GAC activated carbon cartridge filled with granular carbon made from peanut shells, coconut shells, and other environmentally friendly materials.

How long does a carbon water filter last

Advantage: the total porosity of granular coal is higher than that of crushed coal. Numerous pores provide a large contact area of water with the whole filter material, so granular coal better removes traces of organic matter, chlorine, taste and smell in drinking water.

Disadvantage: Channeling. Tap water can cut a path through the carbon and allow contaminants through.

Carbon block filter

In fact, it is a device designed to purify tap water from rust, sand, silt, heavy metals, microbes, lime deposits and other impurities.

The use of such devices makes it possible to obtain clean, pleasant-tasting water from a conventional water pipe or well. In simple words, these are filters that are inserted into the usual jugs for filtering water.


  • Protection of household appliances, extension of their service life
  • Preventing harmful impurities from entering the human body. Some types of sediment pre filter protect against infection by bacteria, viruses and other pathogenic microorganisms
  • Getting delicious water at the outlet without foreign impurities, tastes, odors
  • tiny pores

Disadvantage: the high cost of some cleaning systems, although there are models that even people with a small income can afford.

Some systems are cumbersome, large dimensions and complex installation, which requires additional costs to pay for the services of a installation specialist. Almost all systems require periodic cartridge replacement or replacement filter cleaning, which can also be attributed to disadvantages.

Radial flow GAC carbon filters

Radial activated carbon filters combine the surface area of the carbon block with the flow rate of the GAC filter. Tap water flows to the filter through the side of the activated carbon filter cartridges radially like a carbon block but contains granules for increased flow like the GAC.

Are carbon filters safe?

If you look from the point of view of whether the substance with which the water is filtered is safe. Then the answer is yes. Coal is absolutely safe for the human body. But regarding water, the issue is controversial.

Scientists are still debating how well coal purifies filtered water. It removes many contaminants, harmful substances and metals. But it is not able to remove viruses and bacteria. Therefore, it is impossible to say 100% that such pitchers are safe.

What do activated carbon filter remove?

With the help of domestic and industrial installations activated charcoal, the following water treatment tasks can be effectively solved:

  • remove extraneous taste – some impurities can make the liquid sweet or salty;
  • get rid of the aroma – for example, hydrogen sulfide gives the resource the smell of rotten eggs;
  • discolor – in normal condition, the aqueous solution should be completely transparent, not cloudy;
  • to cope with rust, which is often formed inside old metal water pipes;
  • remove all organic matter – these are microorganisms dangerous to health, as well as products of their decay and vital activity, which settle in the form of silt;
  • to clean the liquid from impurities of sodium hypochlorite, which is most often used at large municipal water treatment plants as a disinfectant.
  • organic compounds and any harmful contaminants, heavy metal.

Activated carbon and chlorine

The best helper against chlorine is coal.

Why activated carbon? Because it is an affordable adsorbent, the raw materials for which are natural materials. How a sponge absorbs chlorine and other substances that negatively affect the quality of water.

Coal has a certain sorption capacity, after which it can not only stop absorbing the same chlorine, but also dump the accumulated over several months. That is why it is important to change this activated carbon filter material in a timely manner.

The right charcoal is made from coconut shells. It sounds exotic and with a slight marketing flair, but it’s a fact: it’s better to use it for household activated carbon filter. It has a larger specific surface area and, accordingly, sorption capacity. It will take more chlorine than wood.

How often should you change your carbon filter?

On average, once every three months. The obvious contamination of cartridges is usually indicated by a change in the taste, color or smell of water. It is worth paying attention to how the activated carbon filter reverse osmosis itself looks. The duration of the work depends on total dissolved solids.

Most activated carbon filter have an opaque bulb, so you will have to disassemble the design. A pronounced red, brown or rusty color of the activated carbon filter cartridge is a clear sign that it is time for replacement.

If you don’t want to conduct a visual inspection every time, you can just stick to the regulations. Manufacturers indicate the approximate service life of a particular cartridge. Upon reaching the deadline, the consumable must be changed.

Keep in mind that these are only approximate values. The resource of cartridges is affected by the intensity of use and the quality of tap water. The dirtier the drinking water comes from the tap, the more often you have to mess with the filter cartridges.

The packaging also indicates the cartridge life in liters, for example, up to 7000 liters. It is difficult to calculate at home how much water has already been spent.

Therefore, it is easier to focus on the time frame. For example, regardless of the operating conditions, some cartridges can last no longer than 18 months.

How to make activated Carbon Filters Last a Little Longer?

There are many tips that you can do to extend the service life of activated carbon filters, such as:

Clean it regularly

Some available water filters are amenable to cleaning. This increases the service life by eliminating surface deposits, as well as unblocking clogged pores. When cleaning, use gloves; just use warm water and paper towels to remove scale from the surface.

Change the pre-filter regularly

Many filters come with both a pre-filter and sludge water filters. They are cheaper than activated carbon filters, and replacing them will increase their service life.

Fasten the activated carbon water filter with a zipper when not in use

Be sure to put the house water filter in a bag with a zipper to avoid contamination in the air.

The duration of the filtration process will depend on the surface area that is spent on filtration. The larger the surface area, the faster the filtration.

Maintenance features and how to flush the system

Modern cleaning devices are unassuming in operation, do not require much effort for maintenance.

For activated carbon water filters with cartridges, cartridge replacement is easy. To do this, unscrew the cover with the key from the kit, remove the old filter cartridge, put the new one in its original place.

At the end of the procedure, the lid is firmly screwed into place, eliminating the appearance of leaks in the future.

Attention. It is absolutely not necessary to allow the use of the water filters after the expiration of the period specified in the accompanying documents.

The effective cleaning time depends on the intensity of the load on the sorbent. Usually, with an average consumption of a family of 3 people, the replacement of the activated carbon water filters are needed in a month.

The indicators of exhaustion of opportunities are as follows:

  • The appearance of a taste in water;
  • Reducing the flow rate (for all filters except the jug);
  • Precipitation after boiling.

New filtration systems with automatic indication of the water filters status are very convenient.

In such cases, it is impossible to forget about changing the water filters. You have to pay a lot for convenience.

Some inventive consumers use an original method of checking the condition of the sorbent. They make a barely colored solution of potassium permanganate or any food coloring.

They pass it through the activated carbon water filters. If the outgoing stream is colored, it means that the filter needs to be changed. The idea is original and well-founded.

Washing the filler of the sorption sediment filter, made in the form of a balloon, is economically justified.

To regenerate the abilities, the coal must be removed, rinsed repeatedly in clean water, then you can repeat the procedure in a 3% solution of baking soda.

To restore the functions of the sorbent, it needs to be shaken, stirred, washed out. It is impossible to make a full-fledged regeneration of carbon sediment filter at home.

Chapter FAQ

How do you know when a carbon filter needs replacing?

It is possible to determine the need for replacement by several signs. They are common to all types of nozzles and water filters.

The reason may be:

– deterioration of the taste of water;
– scale formation during boiling;
– precipitation after settling of water in a jug;
– visible contamination of the cassette or cartridge;
– reduction of water pressure.

How long does activated carbon last in a water filter?

The sediment filters last for about three months of work. This is the time at an average volume and frequency of water passing through the water filter. As soon as the coal runs out, you will feel that the water already has a bad taste and smell and that it’s time to change the water filter.

What happens if you don’t replace carbon filter?

The consequence of untimely replacement of house water filter elements may be: Slowing down the cleaning process.

Over time, the particles accumulated in the water filter elements slow down the filtration rate, which can lead to a complete stop of the passage of water through the system.

Decrease in water quality. Removal of harmful impurities from the water will be less effective and it cannot be expected that they will not remain in it at the outlet.

Can carbon filters be washed and reused?

It is possible, provided that there is still coal in the water filter, as soon as it runs out, the filter stops working. Rinsing is usually used to clean the water filter from excess impurities, but it is not recommended to do this because the water filter may lose the remnants of its properties.

Is a carbon filter effective?

The carbon filter reverse osmosis is very effective in the fight against harmful substances, metals and other contaminants, as well as a good helper in the fight against bad taste and smell. But the carbon filter is not able to remove bacteria and viruses.

What Reduced the lifespan of activated carbon filters?

The degree of water pollution. The more harmful substances in the water, the more resources the filter will spend on water purification, as a result, the service life of the filter is reduced. Also, with frequent filtration of water in large volumes, it consumes the filter’s capabilities faster.


The filters last depends on various factors. It is important not to miss the moment of the sediment filters to change it. Remember that the water quality should be at the highest level, as your health depends on it.

It is very important to have a filter at home to remove heavy metals and harmful chemicals from the water.

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