Activated carbon filters used for home water treatment typically contain either granular activated carbon (GAC) or powdered block carbon. Although both are effective, carbon block filters generally have a higher contaminant removal ratio. The two most important factors affecting the efficiency of activated carbon filtration are the amount of carbon in the unit and the amount of time the contaminant spends in contact with it. The more carbon the better. Similarly, the lower the flow rate of the water, the more time that contaminants will be in contact with the carbon, and the more absorption that will take place. Particle size also affects removal rates.Activated carbon filters are usually rated by the size of the particles they are able to remove, measured in microns, and generally range from 50 microns (least effective) down to 0.5 microns (most effective).


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