The A-Z Of Granular Activated Carbon For DUMMIES

Article Last Updated: September 2022

All forms of GAC (Granular Activated Carbon) comes from organic materials with a high natural carbon content. For instance wood or coal that go under a lot of heat pressure with little or no oxygen.

This removes water and contaminants without allowing the material to burn. The result is char or charcoal.

lazy placeholderMeanwhile activated carbon itself comes from a variety of chemical and physical processing techniques to greatly increase its surface area and create a network of submicroscopic pores.

The final product, known as activated carbon, has a remarkable ability to attract and bind a variety of compounds.

Activated carbon plus other chemicals can improve its ability to bind to specific compounds.

This basically means that GAC is very good at attracting all the impurities away from your water. This leaves you with fresh pure, clean drinking water.

Granular Activated Carbon Definition

Granular activated carbon is a highly porous adsorption material produced by heating organic material, such as coal, wood and coconut shell.Pelican Filtered Undersink

This is done in the absence of air or oxygen. The resulting products are then crushed to form granules.

Activated carbon has a positive charge and therefore, is capable of eliminating negative ions from water.

However, you should also note that it is not effective in the removal of heavy metals.

How Does Granular Activated Carbon Work

The process works through the so-called adsorption process.

After absorption, the compounds are evenly distributed throughout the absorbent product, like a sponge that absorbs water. However, after adsorption, the compounds only bind to the molecules on the surface and produce a film.

AquaTruOf course, carbon molecules are attractive. That is, actively seek other molecules to connect.

The immense surface and the very porous nature of the activated carbon allow the adsorbed compounds to penetrate completely into the material and find all available junctions.

There are also chemical reactions that convert some offensive compounds into less disturbing variations. Although activated carbon is not effective against all compounds, it has the ability to combine with compounds in all three phases: liquid, solid and gaseous.

Granular Activated Carbon vs Powdered Activated Carbon

This is a complicated question. But, in simple terms, the biggest difference is in the structure.

Powdered activated carbon is in a powder form. While granular activated carbon is often slightly larger grains.

Granular Activated Carbon Filter Design

Granular activated carbon are useful for a variety of applications. Depending on the size you choose and whether you use GAC (Granular Activated Carbon) or EAC (Extruded Activated Carbon).

AquaTru FiltersBoth forms have a high diffusion rate and are particularly good at adsorbing vapors and gases.

GAC is useful in water treatment and deodorization applications. While EAC is ideal for gaseous phase applications due to its low dust content.

Granulated activated carbon can eliminate most, if not all, organic compounds.

However, it is a poor choice for most inorganic compounds, which are normally in ionized form in water, creating strong bonds that are difficult to break granular activated carbon.

Pelican RO Filtered UndersinkSeveral impregnations are available to improve the ability of the GAC or EAC to adsorb these compounds.

Choosing the correct form of activated carbon can be complex.

Even if you have limited your preference for GAC or EAC. It is important to choose the size that best suits the connections you want to eliminate.

Hiring a professional plumber is the best way to make sure you buy the right product for you.

Granular Activated Carbon Suppliers

Dedicated granular activated carbon suppliers are pretty thin on the ground. And by that I mean companies that only supply this product.

However, you can try businesses that specialize in water filter products like Aquasana.

Or though online stores like Amazon and eBay.

Granular Activated Carbon Water Filter

Home Master CFKDF85GCC-20BB Granular Catalytic Carbon KDF85 Filter

The Home Master CFKDF85GCC-20BB is a granular activated carbon (GAC) filter that adsorbs and eliminates bad taste and odors.

It also removes a wide variety of organic pollutants from your water. lazy placeholder

These include pollutants like chlorine, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, trihalomethanes and many other chemicals.

This replacement filter firs the Home Master Model. It fits all Home Master Whole House filtration systems

Here are the best features you should know about:

Green Plus ArrowCatalytic carbon removes chloramines.

Green Plus Arrow3 pounds. KDF85 media for high performance filtration.

Green Plus Arrow95,000 gallons typical life cycle.

Green Plus ArrowMaximum flow rate of 10 gpm.

Green Plus ArrowMade in the United States.

Any Issues?

Red CrossThe filter can not treat microbially unsafe or non-potable water without proper disinfection before and after the appliance. lazy placeholder

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20″ x 2.5″ GAC Carbon Water Filter

You can also get a 20″ x 2.5″ GAC carbon water filter for this device. It will be enough to filter the water in your whole house. Here are some features you should know about. lazy placeholder

  • This 4 GAC filter, size 2.5 “x 20” fits any standard 20-inch box.
  • All filters come in their own individual packs to provide freshness and protection during transportation and delivery.
  • The granulated activated carbon (GAC) filter adsorbs and eliminates bad taste and odors.
  • It is also able to filter out a wide variety of organic pollutants. Pollutants such as chlorine, insecticides, herbicides, pesticides, trihalomethanes and many other types of chemicals. lazy placeholder

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Granular Activated Carbon Price?

A basic filter costs around $15-$25 a whole house filter is around $120. These prices are incredibly low when you look at the costs of other.

They also perform with the use of chemicals or massively expensive machine devices.

Why Is Granular Activated Carbon A Good Option?

Mr Water Geek Thinkingmrwatergeek winner badgeGranular activated carbon is one of the best ways to purify water.

This is because it is completely natural and does this without harsh chemicals or expensive machines.

They are also very cost effective.AquaTru Activated carbon filters are some of the most affordable on the market and hence, used in most water filters.

Understanding the basic principles of how activated carbon filters work will help you use the technology with greater reliability and with more efficiency.

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Berkey Water Filter

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- 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.
Plastic materials.Metal & plastic materials.
Number of filters: 3Number 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.2.25 Gallons
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.
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  1. Hello! I am currently in the process of building a tiny house that likely won’t have electricity or running water. I trying to build a system that brings in filtered water into a faucet in the house. I have been looking at lots of DIY filtration systems and have settled on a: gravel, sand, and activated charcoal system. My question is how I can check the activated charcoal I am getting is high enough quality, where do I find information about how often to change materials? Anything helps!
    Thank you for your time!

    1. Hi Ian

      I usually advise against DIY filters because it’s not an exact science.

      You will need to know what your water is contaminated with, know which materials will effectively treat it and how much is needed.

      If you’re determined to do it this way you will need to go through a lot of trial and error.

      However, the best way to check if your DIY filter is effective is to get a water filter test kit to check the results.

      Stay hydrated,

      1. Hey Luke!

        Thanks for the quick response, I totally missed that you had responded!
        I am, as much work as it will be, determined to figure out this DIY filtration system. I will be sourcing water from tap, so I am mostly just concerned with filtering out harsh metals that tap water has in it.
        I have done more research and found a seller for granular activated charcoal and am happy with it. The main question I can’t seem to find anywhere is how to determine how often I need to change my charcoal out. Could you point me in the direction of any sources?

        Hydration Enthusiast,

        1. Hi Ian

          I have written about DIY filter methods and came to the conclusion that people should not really do this unless they are in an emergency situation.

          The question you asked is my very reason for being weary about this method of filtration: how do you know when it has stopped working?

          Regular filters will come with an indicator to tell you when the filter needs to be changed.

          My recommendation is that you use a water test kit to regularly test the water and keep a record somewhere. Once you have done this over a long period of time you may be able to roughly work out the right amount of time for future filter changes.

          Stay hydrated,

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About The Author

About The Author Of This Post

I'm Luke and I enjoy researching, testing and writing about water treatment products. Read full bio.