An activated carbon filter has remarkable taste, odor, and chlorine reduction capabilities. Water treatment plants treat water with chlorine and chloramines that create cancer-causing by-products. These disinfectants linger in your drinking water, tainting it with a chemical flavor. Carbon clears the water of organic compounds that make your water taste or smell bad. Contaminants adhere to the surface of a carbon filter, and only clean water flows to your house.


The 498 carbon filter is made of crushed carbon particles compressed into sheets with holes that allow the water to cross through. It is set to cross through those holes every time the tap turns on to purify the water. These carbon sheets last up to 6-12 months. Once the holes get filled with dirt, it’s time to change the filters.

We provide free filter change services for monthly plans and specific plans for lifetime water filter supply. Make sure you call our service providers every nine months before your filter goes bad.

Our 498 carbon filtration system consists of 2 main stages:

Stage 1:

SEDIMENT FILTER: This filter stage can remove all kinds of dirt and heavy solids from the water. It helps clean out water from everything seen or felt in the water. 

Stage 2:

CARBON FILTER: The second stage consists of a carbon-based cleaning system that helps eliminate all unseen particles in the water. Bacteria, lead, chlorine, chromium, and all other minor unnecessities are removed from water through a carbon filter. 

The 498 carbon filters are set within the range of all water supplies like taps and coolers to work properly. The filter makes sure to clean out every bit of harmful particles for drinking purposes. 498 carbon filters are easy to install and usable filters that can be used in homes and offices casually. 

What are carbon filters?

Carbon filters, also known as “carbon block” filters, use a special carbon medium (usually coconut shells or charcoal) to help adsorb molecules, atoms, and ions in the water it filters. Adsorption, unlike absorption, is when unwanted particles stick to the surface of the medium. The media surrounding the carbon lets water pass through while holding certain particles back, and because it is only a 1 to the 2-part system, the water comes out to you pretty fast.

Adsorption keeps compounds like chlorine, mercury, dioxin, formaldehyde, pesticides, herbicides, chlorine, and solvents stuck to the carbon. Unlike absorption which would push particles into the carbon, adsorption keeps particles trapped at the carbon’s surface. That helps keep more harmful gasses and liquids out of your drinking water (Note: absorption could actually result in higher concentrations of harmful particles in that same water due to faster carbon deterioration).

Carbon filters are so popular because anyone can install, use, and maintain one. Aqua Chill New Jersey Bottleless Water cooler provides a two-stage water filter like the NJ Aqua 2 Stage Countertop Water Filtration System, there are no special skills needed to set up one of these systems. They’re also cost-efficient, with the most expensive systems coming in at around $34 per day.

How Does Charcoal Filter Water?

Carbon filters use carbon charcoal usually sourced from coconuts. This material is very porous and helps filter water by absorption.

Since the carbon is extremely porous the chemicals and impurities bind to the surface of the charcoal. Over time as more of the pores in the charcoal collect contaminants, it becomes less effective and requires replacement. Fortunately, charcoal carbon filters are inexpensive and easy to replace.

What’s inside a carbon filter?

    • Bituminous coal
    • Wood-based media
    • Coconut shell media

Of the three types of filter media, coconut shell carbon is the most renewable. This type of carbon is made from the shell of coconut rather than the meat inside, so it doesn’t cause allergic reactions or flavor water. Wood-based carbon is made from the burned wood ground into a granule and resembles what the ancient Egyptians would have used. Bituminous coal is used less frequently today since traces of arsenic have been discovered in the media. 

What is activated carbon and how does it filter water?

Carbon is activated by heat or steam. The activation process opens the pores of a carbon filter, increasing the surface area and giving the carbon more capacity to hold contaminants. For this reason, all the carbon filters we supply are made from activated carbon in the form of granular activated carbon (GAC), carbon block, or radial carbon filters.

Types of carbon filters

Granular activated carbon filters

GAC filters contain loose granules of activated carbon that allow water to flow through easily. Water flows in one direction through the cartridge and contacts carbon in the process. 

Advantage: Not as restrictive. Water flows through the carbon at a faster rate. 

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

Carbon block filters

Carbon block is made of fine granules held together with a bonding agent, which only takes up 15% of the surface area. Impure water flows in through the side of the filter and sends filtered water out through the top. As carbon is ground to a finer granule, the surface area increases. 

Advantage: Gives 7-10 times more surface area than GAC filters, and the compact carbon prevents channeling. 

Disadvantage: More flow restrictive.

Radial flow GAC carbon filters 

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

Are carbon water filters safe?

Carbon water filters are safe, especially if they’ve been rated by a third party for material safety. All carbon filters are rated for CTO (chlorine, taste, and odor) removal, and sub-micron carbon blocks remove other contaminants like lead or cysts. Activated carbon block filters with sub-micron ratings go above and beyond to remove additional particles through mechanical filtration. Mechanical filters work like a screen door– they keep unwanted elements out and let clean water through. Pores of a carbon block filter that measure less than one micron are too small for cysts to pass through.

What do activated carbon filters remove?

Activated carbon filters are best at removing chlorine and bad tastes or odors, but may be certified to remove other contaminants. Look for the NSF certification on a carbon filter to find out exactly what it’s capable of removing.

  • Bad tastes and odors? YES
  • Chlorine? YES
  • Trihalomethanes (THMs)? YES
  • Mercury? YES
  • Pesticides and herbicides? YES
  • Iron or heavy metals? If certified
  • Lead? If certified
  • Bacteria? If certified to remove coliform
  • Hard water? NO
  • Fluoride? NO
  • Total dissolved solids (TDS)? NO

Dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium sail right through a carbon filter. However, a carbon filter with a pore size smaller than one micron can remove coliform, cysts, lead, arsenic, iron, and other heavy metals through mechanical filtration. Even though these contaminants don’t adhere to the carbon, they cannot fit through the small pores. 

Often materials are added to carbon to improve its reduction capabilities. Adding silver to carbon creates a media that kills bacteria. Iron-reduction carbon includes KDF (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion) media made of ground copper and zinc to create a chemical reaction. The KDF converts heavy metals from a ferrous (dissolved) to a ferric (solid) state to capture the solids in the matrix of the carbon. Although certain carbon blends can reduce coliform, a UV system disinfects bacteria-infested water most effectively.

Activated carbon and chlorine

Removing chlorine is the most common reason to use a carbon filter. Chlorine makes your food, beverages, and drinking water nasty and emits a gas that you could inhale in the shower. Chlorine does not adhere to carbon. Instead, a carbon filter removes chlorine through a chemical reaction. Activated catalytic (more reactive) carbon chemically alters the chlorine molecules, converting them into chloride.

Many water treatment plants use this chemical to disinfect water because it’s a stable compound and does not dissipate like chlorine or create by-products like trihalomethane. However, chloramine makes water taste and smell bad. Chloramines are more difficult to remove than chlorine, so catalytic carbon is used. When chloramine hits the carbon filter, the carbon breaks the ammonia from the chlorine and turns it into chloride. 

When and where should you use a carbon filter?

You can use a carbon filter in several places. It can be used for point-of-entry (POE) to filter the whole house or point-of-use (POU) to clean water before you drink or cook with it. Some shower heads include carbon filtration to prevent you from inhaling chlorine gas in the shower. Carbon filters are also part of a reverse osmosis system or an ultrafiltration (UF) system. A carbon filter added to a UF system provides organic and chemical particulate reduction along with lead reduction.  

If you use a water softener to soften water treated by a municipal plant, then you should install a carbon filter before the water softener. If chlorine is removed prior to softening, then the softener resin lasts longer. Chloramines can cause O-rings, gaskets, and rubber seals to deteriorate, so removing chemical disinfectants with catalytic carbon helps water-using appliances, like your tankless water heater, last longer. 

How often should you change your carbon filter?

Change your carbon filter every six months to one year. Never use a carbon filter for longer than one year. Waiting to change the filter could make your water worse than it was before treating it. If the pores of a carbon filter are full, collected particles will begin to break from the carbon and flow into your water supply. 

Is a carbon filter effective?

Carbon filters are excellent at removing chlorine and other disinfection by-products like trihalomethanes and bad tastes and odors. Some are rated to reduce other contaminants by filtering them mechanically. However, if your water contains high levels of inorganic compounds and dissolved solids, use a reverse osmosis system to treat it. 

Carbon Filtration Pros and Cons


  • Effective taste, odor, and chlorine reduction
  • Lots of surface area
  • Reduced health hazards
  • Protection for other filtration systems or softeners


  • Does not remove dissolved solids and other inorganic compounds
  • Frequent filter changes required

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