Carbon Filter – What and How?

Carbon filter refers to a method of filtration that uses activated carbon to filter out the impurities of water or air. Carbon filters use a process where the pollutants adhere to the carbon particles as the water or air passes through it.

Carbon filters are useful for purifying water and purifying the air of contaminants, but they are also exceptionally useful in removing offending odors from and around indoor gardens.

Carbon filtration has been around for hundreds of years and is one of the most common types of water purification systems available.

Whether it’s for air or water purification, a carbon filter consists of a lightweight canister that is filled with charcoal or carbon that removes solids and toxins as the water or air moves through it.

Carbon filters are handy for gardeners because thy remove chlorine, organic compounds, sediments, and even taste and odor from water, but do not remove the minerals that are valuable to plants. For this reason, carbon filters are common for use in homes, aquariums, garden ponds, and wastewater treatment.

When used for air purification, they are simply installed up high in the room’s ventilation system, or they can operate as stand-alone units if that is more convenient.

Carbon filtration is also commonly used to remove undesirable water additives or toxins from a hydroponic nutrient solution. Due to their shape, sometimes carbon filters are referred to as can filters, which also happens to be a brand name for a company who manufacturers such equipment.

Carbon filters are also used in other types of filtration such as gas masks, some air conditioners, and in odor-proof baggage/luggage.

Charcoal is carbon. (See this Question of the Day for details on how charcoal is made.) Activated charcoal is charcoal that has been treated with oxygen to open up millions of tiny pores between the carbon atoms. According to Encylopedia Britannica:

What is activated charcoal and why is it used in filters?

The use of special manufacturing techniques results in highly porous charcoals that have surface areas of 300-2,000 square metres per gram. These so-called active, or activated, charcoals are widely used to adsorb odorous or coloured substances from gases or liquids. ­

The word adsorb is important here. When a material adsorbs something, it attaches to it by chemical attraction. The huge surface area of activated charcoal gives it countless bonding sites. When certain chemicals pass next to the carbon surface, they attach to the surface and are trapped.

Activated charcoal is good at trapping other carbon-based impurities (“organic” chemicals), as well as things like chlorine. Many other chemicals are not attracted to carbon at all — sodium, nitrates, etc. — so they pass right through. This means that an activated charcoal filter will remove certain impurities while ignoring others. It also means that, once all of the bonding sites are filled, an activated charcoal filter stops working. At that point you must replace the filter.

6 Inch Duct Carbon Filter
Amagabeli 6 inch Carbon Filter Odor Control 6 in Air Scrubber with Australia Virgin Coconut Activated Charcoal for Hydroponics Indoor Plants Grow Tent Room for 6” Inline Fan Combo Pre-filter Included
  • Absorbent Carbon Filter: 6 inch carbon filter, 1050+ IAV Australian virgin charcoal bed, machine packed...
  • Air Scrubber: Amagabeli 6 inch carbon filter for grow tents is made of galvanized steel that is more...
  • Odor Control: Air purifier to eliminate odor, pungent smell and particulates from indoor grow tent,...
  • Fresh Air Combo: This 6in carbon filter for inline exhaust fan matches with 6 inch inline fans, can fans,...
  • Reversible Smell Filtration: Amagabeli 6 inch charcoal air filter can be used as both Intake Filter and...
4 Inch Duct Carbon Filter
Amagabeli 4 inch Carbon Filter Odor Control for Hydroponics Indoor Plants Grow Tent 4 in Air Filters with Australia Activated Virgin Charcoal 4" Air Scrubber for Inline Fan Combo Pre-filter Included
  • ABSORBENT CARBON FILTER: Amagabeli 4 inch carbon filter, 1050+ IAV Australian virgin charcoal bed,...
  • AIR SCRUBBER INCLUDES WITH WASHABLE PREFILTER: Made of aluminum material, much more portable and handy,...
  • EFFECTIVE ODOR CONTROL: Air purifier to eliminate odor, pungent smell and particulates from indoor grow...
  • QUALITY GUARANTEE: Unique activated charcoal design with effective adsorption capacity for extended...
  • REVERSIBLE SMELL FILTRATION: The charcoal air filter can be used as both Intake Filter and Exhaust...

 

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