Published: August 4, 2016
Last Updated: January 2024
Problems with Carbon Filtered Water
Here are some essential considerations before investing in carbon filtration.
Perhaps the biggest problem with using activated charcoal is the amount of time it takes to filter. One of the most popular carbon filter water bottle is from Black + Blum and it takes a minimum of 1 hour to work but it needs at least 8 hours to work at its full effect.
Carbon filters can harbor bacteria. This is according to NSF International. This happens if the charcoal is not replaced often enough and will lead to a build up of bacteria on the surface of the carbon. This could also be the case if you leave the carbon lying around in the open for a long period of time or carelessly store it in a place where it can come in contact with possible contaminants and germs.
Contaminated replacement charcoal. You should remember that not all carbon filter replacements are created equal. Due to the popularity of this method of water filtration, many non-certified charcoal filter stick retailers have sprung up.
If you inadvertently use a poor quality replacement then it will not be as effective as a good quality one and could even introduce some contamination into your water. So always buy replacement charcoal from a trusted supplier that only have certified products.
Charcoal Water Filter: Are There Side Effects?
It is not very common that people have problems with water derived from charcoal filtered water. This is because it produces some of the cleanest mineral rich water that you can get.
However, a quick review of some of the online forums shows that some people have experienced adverse side effects.
Side effects like charcoal filter water leaving them with a metallic taste in their mouth including a metallic tingling sensation on their lips.
4 Charcoal Water Side Effects
Be careful if you’re using medicines – it has been reported that when sorbitol is combined with activated charcoal, it can have negative side effects and this can include electrolyte abnormalities, hypernatremia, dehydration, hypermagnesemia and shock.
Ocular – You should avoid charcoal coming into direct contact with your eyes. If it does then you should seek to wash it with clean water as soon as possible. In some extreme cases activated charcoal could result in corneal abrasions. If you ever find yourself in this situation you should seek immediate professional medical advice.
Using activated carbon for gastrointestinal problems? Many people swear by using activated charcoal for dealing with gastrointestinal issues with great effect. However, doing that can also lead to some side effects for some. It can create effects like vomiting and nausea. Also be careful about overdosing as that could result in bowel obstruction and perforation of your gastrointestinal tract. Some other side effects are things like dark coloured stools and chalk like taste on the tongue.
Also note that the issues mentioned above represent both extreme and rare cases. These will almost certainly affect only a tiny percentage of individuals and it might be down to things as simple as allergic reactions. However, this is unlikely to be an issue for the vast majority of people.
What Does Activated Charcoal Do To Water?
Charcoal can come from wood, coal, petroleum and other substances. On its own, simply dumping a load of charcoal in your water will do absolutely nothing for your water purity. In fact, doing that would most likely worsen the cleanliness of your water.
But charcoal becomes “activated” when high temperatures are combined with a gas or another activating agent.
This expands its surface area. Activated charcoal is the type of charcoal you need to filter water.
As disgusting as it might sound adding a stick of activated charcoal to your water removes impurities.
Activated charcoal actually improves the taste and healthiness of water.
There are also some claims that it even improves your health. The activated charcoal is known as binchotan charcoal.
It is very popular in Japan and its’ fans say the portable charcoal sticks are the most effective way to filter water impurities.
Charcoal Water Filter Bottle
It is unlikely that you have ever seen charcoal in its raw state before. Especially as most filter bottles that use this method hide it.
However there are new brands emerging everyday that don’t hide the source of their power (so to speak) and put the charcoal filtering the water on display.
One of the most popular water filters that does this is Black + Blum Charcoal Filter Water Bottle (shown in the picture).
Another advantage to using activated charcoal above other types of water filters is that they have a six month lifespan if used daily.
Charcoal Water Filter Stick: How Does it Work?
The activated charcoal stick responsible for purifying water is called binchotan charcoal. It comes from tree branches.
Once activated, it works at absorbing impurities like chlorine by attracting the negative ions to its surface.
Activated charcoal also add things like magnesium, iron and calcium to the water. This makes your water “healthful” and taste better than flat water.
100% filtered water removes everything from water including nutrients and minerals. This makes water taste flat.
However, activated charcoal makes the water taste better and gives it natural minerals and delicious tasting nutrients.
Aside from this, activated charcoal is very effective at neutralising the water’s pH level.
Charcoal Water Filter Cartridge / Charcoal Water Filter for Water Bottles
There is no filter cartridge as such because the water is directly filtered by the activated carbon you put in the water. Each stick can cost as little as $10 / £4.50 and lasts for 6 months if used daily.
Charcoal (or Activated Carbon) Water Filter Japanese?
This method of filtering water originally comes from Japan. It has been used there for well over 500 years. The name “Binchotan” comes from Japan also.
Charcoal Water Filter Pitcher?
Many people ask questions and are confused by the term “water filter pitcher”. Don’t be confused. A “pitcher” basically means “container” or “jug”. So when someone says “carbon water filter pitcher” they are simply referring to a water filter container.
Charcoal Water Filtration System
It is possible to use activated carbon to filter large amounts of water. And perhaps install some kind of system into your home tap or mains water supply. However, it would not be very cost effective or efficient. Especially when compared to having something like a reverse osmosis system installed in your home.
But there’s a catch.
Using charcoal as a water filter system could also be quite messy. They need to be changed and replaced every couple of months.
Charcoal Water Filter Benefits
The biggest benefit of using activated charcoal is the cleaner, purified and better tasting water you get at the end of the process. This is useful because water can very easily become contaminated by a number of things like heavy metals, bacteria and other contaminants.
Activated charcoal or carbon filters can be used in refrigerator water filter jugs or portable water filters and used in your garden for bio-char.
It interacts with water to add nutrients to it. Charcoal when activated can add healthy things like calcium, magnesium and iron back into your drinking water.
How Will Charcoal Water Filters Change Your Life?
The active charcoal stick responsible for this is called binchotan charcoal and it comes from tree branches. Once activated it works by absorbing impurities like chlorine by attracting the negative ions to its surface.
Here are 3 tangible reasons why I think this form of water filtration is AWESOME.
The clever thing is that it does not just filter water. Simple water filters can sometimes remove helpful nutrients and minerals thereby making the water taste flat. Activated charcoal filters, on the other hand, also add magnesium, iron and calcium back into the water so that water tastes nice and is healthy.
You only need to replace the carbon filter once every 6 months (if used daily).
The Best Way To Filter Your Water At Home?
The good news is that you can count on ALL of these brands mentioned in this post to provide you with water that is cleaner through activated charcoal and tastier than tap water.
If you are outside of the US there are many similar brands that offer similar charcoal products.
My personal favorite solution is from AquaTru. Yes yes I know it’s not technically a charcoal filter but it’s reverse osmosis plus.
By that I mean it is based on reverse osmosis but with smaller more precise filters.
The machine has certifications by NSF to 58 & 372 standards. It even has its very own smart TDS monitoring panel. TDS stands for total dissolved solids and means all the actual bits and pieces in tap water.
Finally this machine comes with a smart faucet and a “Worry-Free Guarantee”.
AquaTru Water Filter
Berkey Water Filter
|- Arsenic: Approx 90% (unspecified).
- Fluoride by 91.8% (WITHOUT extra filters).
- Lead 97.5%
- Benzene 99.9%
- Chlorine 96.6%
- Cysts 99.99%
|- Arsenic by 99.9% (special filters required).
- Fluoride by 99.9% (special filters required).
- Lead 97.5%
- Benzene 99.8%
|Available in 1-size only.
|Available in various sizes.
|Metal & plastic materials.
|Number of filters: 3
|Number of filters: 2 - 4
|Filter methods: Mechanical, Reverse Osmosis & Activated Carbon filters.
|Filter methods: Black microporous-filters & white fluoride Filters
|4-stage filter process.
|2-stage filter process.
|Holds a maximum water capacity of 3-quarts.
|45.7 x 45.7 x 38.1 cm
|19" High x 8.5" Diameter
|System: 1 year limited warranty.
|Filters: 2 years; System: 1 year.
|Full Performance Data Sheet (AquaTru).
|Berkey Contaminants List
NSF/ANSI test results
Yes, use code MRWATERGEEK
Yes, Big Berkey bundle sale