Filtering with activated carbon products is simple and efficient and has been used for a long time in waterworks and in industry for precisely these reasons. It is becoming more and more popular in private households. Nonetheless, activated charcoal is often criticized and referred to as a health risk. This is mainly due to the fact that an activated carbon filter only works properly with proper use and regular maintenance.
Activated carbon cannot bind pollutants in unlimited quantities. If their capacities are exhausted, the adsorptive effect decreases. In this case, the water comes out of the pipe almost unfiltered. The risk is particularly high with activated charcoal in the granulate form: If the powder has adsorbed too many pollutants, in the worst case it can no longer bind them. Instead, the activated charcoal powder suddenly releases them into the water in a concentrated form. The water that then comes out of the pipe can have a greatly increased concentration of pollutants.
With activated carbon block filters, the risk is significantly lower. These bind pollutants permanently so that a sudden surge of pollutants is not possible. Nevertheless, these filters also have limited capacities and must be replaced after a certain period of time.
There are certain guidelines stipulating that activated carbon filters must be replaced at least every six months. This is a very generalized guideline. It is better if you pay attention to your own water consumption. If you find that the water comes out of the tap much more slowly, you should change the filter.
There are many different filter methods, from universal house water filters to the reverse osmosis softener to the activated carbon filters discussed here. In order for you to be able to make an informed decision, it is important that you first study the advantages and disadvantages in detail.
Advantages of activated carbon filters
In contrast to many other filter systems such as reverse osmosis or house filters, activated carbon filters are inexpensive and easy to assemble and use. Regardless of whether you ultimately opt for a table-top or under-table filter: Most models can be connected quickly, so there are no high installation costs.
Another advantage of activated carbon filters is that no chemicals are required. The addition of silver is also not necessary with this filter method. With activated charcoal filters, you can enjoy great-tasting, low-pollutant water that not only protects your wallet, but also the environment. In addition, all important minerals are preserved. Due to its neutral taste, water filtered through activated charcoal is ideal for making coffee and tea specialties.
Especially, if you have previously relied on expensive mineral water, the cost savings will quickly become noticeable. A liter of mineral water from the supermarket costs between 19 and 50 cents, depending on the brand. On the other hand, you only have to pay 0.2 cents for a liter of tap water. The costs for filters and filter changes are amortized within a very short time.
Advantages of activated carbon filters at a glance
- Cheap to buy
- High filter performance
- Hardly any running costs
- No chemical additives are necessary
- No electricity needed
- No increased water consumption
- Easy assembly and handling
- Preservation of important minerals
- Neutral, pure water taste
- High-cost savings compared to bottled water
- No dragging of boxes
Disadvantages of activated carbon filters
With activated carbon filters, the advantages clearly outweigh the disadvantages. Nevertheless, this filter method is often criticized. It is accused of being a real health risk if it is not used properly or maintained accordingly. It is correct that activated carbon filters only have a limited capacity. If the filter has bound a certain amount of pollutants, no more can be absorbed. The filter must then be replaced. Critics often go one step further and argue that activated carbon releases the bound pollutants in spurts and the health risk increases rapidly. This statement must be viewed in a more differentiated manner: this can certainly happen with granulated activated carbon. However, this is not the case with high-performance activated carbon block filters. Pollutants are permanently bound here.
The disadvantages of activated carbon block filters disappear if you take care of your filter and change it at regular intervals. Although the replacement is associated with additional costs, replacement cartridges are available for just under 30 dollars.
Activated charcoal filters have one disadvantage in everyday life: There are two reasons why you should refrain from letting hot water flow through your activated charcoal filter. For one thing, hot water can release pollutants trapped in the water. On the other hand, the activated carbon filter can be damaged if the water is too hot. This is because hot water can negatively affect the strength or porosity of an activated carbon block filter. So it is better to take cold water and then heat it.
Disadvantages of activated carbon filters at a glance:
- The limited service life of the filter cartridges
- Running costs due to filter change
- No filtering of hot water is possible