What Is the Activated Carbon Water Filter? What Do They Remove from Tap Water?

This article contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase, we may receive a small commission without any additional cost to you. Read more

Don’t you love drinking clear water with no bad odor or taste? However, tap water contains impurities and contaminants that at times cause a bad smell and weird taste in your drinking water.

Therefore, you might have thought of or already have installed an activated carbon water filter system in your house to remove the compounds responsible for those effects and have clean water in your house.

Activated Carbon Water Filter

However, what are they and what do they remove from your tap water? Read on to find out.

What is the Activated Carbon Water Filter?

A water filter that has a small, solid black sponge that is porous and can get rid of impurities from water is an activated carbon water filter. The process relied on by such filters to remove the impurities and contaminants is adsorption. The carbon in the filter gets activated either by heat, steam, or chemicals.

In this way, the surface area increases since the number of small pores in the carbon increases. Furthermore, the process opens the pores in the carbon water filter to allow it to absorb and hold more water contaminants.

Moreover, the filter gets rid of organic compounds and removes chlorine from the tap water. Therefore, the purpose of an activated carbon water filter, like any other water filter, is to capture and attract the substances that make your drinking water contaminated. However, this water treatment method does not remove all contaminants present in the tap water.

So, if you want to get rid of bad odor, taste, and contaminants from our tap water, you can use this water filter.

What Do They Remove From Tap Water?

When using an activated carbon filter, you can be sure to reduce substances such as contaminants and other chemicals present in your tap water. Moreover, such filters reduce gases and any impurities which might be present in water.

Importantly, your carbon water filter’s amount of contaminants reduced or removed depends on its type and quality. Therefore, some of the specific contaminants removed by an activated water filter include;

  1. Chlorine

As early as the 20th century, chlorine has disinfected water and killed the microorganisms present. Also, most tap water supplied to households is tested and regulated for human consumption, and the safe for drinking, chlorine is added.

Chlorine helps in killing pathogens in the water if the concentration is low. Moreover, the introduction of chlorine to tap water reduces occurrences of typhoid and cholera. Despite such benefits, though, it comes at a cost. According to reports, those who are at risk are around 93% or more who chlorinated water compared to those who use water with no chemicals.

Chlorine may give the water a bad odor and taste. Additionally, it can pose risks such as cancerous bi-products. Hence, a carbon filter comes in handy to get rid of the chlorine and the associated bad smell and taste. If you are using a filter of high quality, it can remove about 95% or more chlorine in tap water.

  1. Bi-products of Chlorine

Normally, tap water is known to have by-products of chlorine, which include trihalomethanes (THMs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) among others. Such pose a threat of causing cancer. Therefore, you can treat your water through a carbon filter to avoid these harmful by-products of chlorine and their possible adverse side effects.

The Environmental Protection Agency denotes that a carbon water filter removes around 32 by-products of chlorine. This is the number of those contaminants that are most common.

  1. Pesticides

Pesticides range from insecticides, fungicides, and all those substances used to repel or kill any plant or animal considered a pest. Such chemicals are widely used and therefore can easily penetrate water sources.

Exposure to such pesticides has both short-term and long-term health effects. Therefore, you can get rid of these pesticides from your tap water by using a carbon filter. It is designed and the tests conducted on it prove that t can get rid of 14 common pesticides that could be present in water.

  1. Herbicides

The growth of agriculture globally has given rise to the increased use of herbicides. This practice is mainly done for weed control and to improve agricultural productivity. In cases where the chemicals are used uncontrollably, they may end up in various water sources.

The results? Aquatic life and human beings are at risk. Some of the herbicides can cause cancer and other illnesses. However, there is good news. carbon filter has been tested and proven to get rid of around 12 most common herbicides

  1. Pharmaceuticals

These chemicals that can be found in medicines and other drugs can form residues in tap water. You might wonder how they get into your drinking water. Well, if an individual uses such pharmaceuticals and removes his or her waste, or at times flush drugs into toilets or sinks, or disposes of drugs carelessly, they may get in contact with your tap water.

In some cases, they can affect aquatic life negatively. Therefore, using an activated carbon filter of high quality can help you remove the residues of these pharmaceuticals from your tap water.

  1. PFOs

These are synthetic compounds that are resistant to water and stain and are used to make materials that are resistant to water or grease. Such chemicals do not decompose easily hence exist in the environment and other sources of drinking water such as taps.

Sadly, these chemicals have adverse effects on human health since they can lead to cancers and liver effects when one is exposed to them. Therefore, to remove such chemicals effectively, you can use an activated carbon water filter which is specifically designed for this purpose.


Your tap water contains numerous contaminants. Most of them can adversely affect your health. Therefore, to control and avoid both short and long-term side effects of exposure to such, you need to have an activated carbon water filter to remove these impurities.

Moreover, the filter has been tested and proved to help remove some of the tap water contaminants.

Jeremy Lee is a researcher and part-time blogger who has a passion to discover cutting-edge technologies related to water filtration. He knows the importance of purified water in our lives and started this blog aiming to provide the best product reviews, buying guides, and other useful information related to water. When not working, he loves to spend time with his beloved wife and two kids.