Using Granulated Active Carbon For Drinking Water Filtration

GAC Water Filtration

GAC Water Filtration

A Granulated Active Carbon water treatment system removes contamination from your home's water supply.

Water filtration systems use various methods to remove organic chemicals, inorganic materials, bacteria and viruses from water. One of the most common and effective substances used is granular activated carbon or GAC. GAC filters are a proven and effective way to remove organic chemicals and contaminants that can give drinking water an objectionable odor or taste, like hydrogen sulfide or chlorine.

While granulated active carbon filtration is useful for removing some organic chemicals, others like iron and nitrates are not attracted to the carbon. That's why you'll often find GAC used in conjunction or as an element of other treatment systems like reverse osmosis or green sand.

What is a Granular Active Carbon Water Filter?

Often referred to as “charcoal” filters, granular active carbon is made using raw, organic materials that have a very high carbon content like coconut shells or coal. Heat in an oxygen free environment is used to activate the surface of the carbon. Once activated, this carbon removes certain organic chemicals from water by trapping them within the carbon as the water passes through the filter.

Before you decide on installing a home system, it's important to have a thorough water analysis done. GAC is very effective on its own, but the types and levels of contaminants, along with your family's average water use are important when deciding on the proper size and system for your home's water treatment.

As with all water treatment systems, proper installation and regular maintenance is important to maximize your systems effectiveness. With a GAC system, the carbon can become saturated after a period of use and lose its effectiveness. How often filters must be replaced is determined by the level of contaminants and the amount of water used. Some systems have filters that can last several years if contaminant levels and water use are low. If use and contaminant levels are higher, more frequent filter changes may be necessary. Speak with your water professional to determine a maintenance schedule for your particular situation.

Point Of Use (POU) Versus Point Of Entry (POE) Systems

Homeowners have two basic types of water treatment systems available and both incorporate GAC filters. A Point of Entry or POE system is a “whole house” system that treats your water before it enters your home's plumbing. That means that it covers all water sources including faucets, showers and tubs, washing machines, and dishwashers, but it excludes outdoor spigots to help prolong the life of the GAC filter. POE systems usually consist of at least two filtering stages that work in sequence. The second filter is acting to clean further the water of any contaminants that may have passed through the first.

Learn more about point of use vs point of entry water filtration.

Point of Use or POU systems are installed in-line just before the faucet where you get your water for drinking and cooking. One common system consists of an independent faucet exclusively for treated water, typically located next to the kitchen faucet. The most common POU systems that incorporate GAC filters are the pitchers commonly sold in grocery stores. GAC filters are also commonly used in refrigerators that dispense drinking water and ice.

If you're considering a water treatment system for your home, the best thing to do is consult with a qualified well water contractor. They can help you to understand all of your options, conduct a thorough analysis of your water supply and suggest the best solution for your situation. Once you've decided on a system, they can also help you to understand the costs and maintenance, then correctly install your new water treatment system. A Granulated Active Carbon water treatment system is a smart, affordable investment to protect your health and the health of your family!