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What is a Catalytic Carbon Filter and is it Effective?

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catalytic carbon filter delivers results faster and more efficiently than other carbon filters. The filter effectively removes chlorine, bad taste, foul odors, and other contaminants in your water. Carbon filtration is standard in several water filter systems, like pitcher filters, refrigerator filters, backpacking filters, and reverse osmosis filtration systems. Carbon removes chlorine, foul odors, dirt particles, and bad taste in the water.

Your tap water may contain contaminants like germs and fluoride. Germs and bacteria can cause serious health problems, while fluoride causes tooth decay. Carbon filters also remove the excellent compounds in water that benefit your body and eject harmful substances from your water.

What is a Catalytic Carbon Filter?

Catalytic carbon filters are gaining popularity lately because of their effectiveness. Catalytic filters are more advantageous than traditional carbon filters as they can remove chlorine, H25, TCE (trichloroethylene), VOCs (volatile organic compounds), chloramines, THMs (the chlorine by-product), and other impurities in aqua.

A catalyst is a substance capable of speeding up a chemical reaction. Catalytic carbon filters can remove contaminants in your water faster and more effectively. The carbon structure of catalytic carbon filters is chemically altered to enhance its filtering capabilities.

Water filtration is an excellent way to eliminate impurities or contaminants in your drinking water. When choosing filters, it’s important to note that each water filter delivers different results. For instance, there are filters to improve how your water tastes, while others remove germs and chemical compounds.

a glass of water in front of three reverse osmosis (RO) water filters

How The Catalytic Carbon Filter Works

The science behind the catalytic carbon filter starts from traditional carbon filtration. Conventional carbon water filtration embraced activated carbon to remove water impurities.

Carbon Adsorption

Carbon adsorption is a water treatment process that uses carbon to remove gases, chemicals, and microorganisms from water. Only certain carbon filters can remove cysts, asbestos, lead, coliform, and other heavy metals like mercury in your water. The effectiveness of carbon adsorption depends on the diameter of the carbon filter pores and the rate at which organic molecules dissolve through the pores. Molecular weight and size affect how well a carbon filtration system works. Activated carbon can eliminate microorganisms, organic compounds, and pesticides like PCBs, THMs, and TCE. However, it does not affect heavy metals, total dissolved solids, and hardness.

Catalytic Carbon Adsorption

Catalytic carbon filter has an impeccable adsorption capacity and traps the compounds other filters can’t without any morphological change. The adsorbed residue can be collected and destroyed using electrical or solar energy. Catalytic carbon removes compounds in water that other carbon filter systems cannot, like PFOS, PFHA, PFCs, and PFOA. The catalytic carbon filter can lower the initial concentration levels of the said compounds in approximately four to five minutes.

Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are a challenging class of persistent organic pollutants that are impossible to eliminate. The fluoride-carbon bond creates a structure with a hydrophobic per-fluorinated carbon tail and a hydrophilic head. The unique bond makes breaking the PFC’s chemical and thermal stability challenging.

None of the water treatment technologies, like nano-filtration or reverse osmosis, apply to PFCs biodegradation. A catalytic carbon filter system is more eco-friendly and affordable. Water containing C2-C6-C8 fluorine compounds goes through a high-pressure unit containing catalytic carbon to adsorb PFOA, PFHA, and PFOs. The water past the filter is free of fluorine-containing compounds. Catalytic carbon has an excellent adsorption capacity for C2-C6-C8 fluorine compounds and doesn’t change their morphological structure.

Catalytic Regeneration

Through reduction regeneration, catalytic carbon can expel some of the notorious environmental pollutants in water. Regeneration is a combination of two processes; desorption and activation of the adsorber. The catalytic carbon can be regenerated for five years to desorb fluorine-containing compounds. Another plus of the catalytic carbon filter is that the SuperOxy is reactivated and reused multiple times.

Catalytic carbon adsorption combines oxidation, photolysis, and zero-valent iron (ZVI) activated carbon. The solution has a 95% success rate of PFCs degradation and PFOA removal by utilizing the sulfate radicals and photolysis regenerated concentrate. Carbon-based superoxide (SuperOxy) in catalytic carbon helps degrade PFCAs (perfluorocarboxylic acids) into fluoride ions and carbon dioxide, which are easier to remove from water. Due to its high surface area and affinity for cations, catalytic carbon is an effective way to remove even the most challenging water pollutants.

Modifying catalytic carbon with a cationic surface increases its chances of removing halogenated organic compounds in the water. Advantages of regeneration include:

  • No need to worry about storage or disposal problems
  • Little to no bacterial growth

Hand holding a full glass of water.

Benefits Of The Catalytic Carbon Filter

Below are several benefits of the catalytic carbon filter:

  • It removes stubborn environmental pollutants like chlorine, phosphates, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid.
  • Catalytic carbon has a faster chemical reaction and eliminates impurities in about four to five minutes
  • Through regeneration, catalytic carbon and SuperOxy are recycled. Catalytic carbon can undergo regeneration for up to five years
  • Catalytic carbon lowers high hydrogen sulfide levels better, as high as 20-30 ppm

Applications Of The Catalytic Carbon Filter

Here are several broad categories where catalytic carbon filters apply:

Drinking Water Treatment

Catalytic carbon filters work best under the point-of-use category for your home drinking water treatment. You can install the filters under sinks or bathtubs, countertops, table pitchers, and like mounted faucets. Catalytic carbon filters have a high capacity for removing pharmaceuticals, pesticides, PFOA, and PFOS.

Residential and Commercial Water Treatment

Catalytic carbon removes harmful contaminants faster and more effectively than activated carbon. Activated carbon is unable to expel micro-pollutants and perfluorinated compounds from the water. Catalytic carbon filters are an easy and cost-effective way to deliver clean and healthy water at residential and commercial levels.

Local and Municipal Water Treatment

Studies show that over 1.6 billion citizens in approximately 70 countries consumed water with perfluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl (PFAS). Catalytic carbons filters are gaining popularity at municipal and industrial levels as they can remove 99% of the water impurities in minutes.

Identifying NSF-Approved Water Filters

An approval from NSF certifies the effectiveness of the water and fridge filters in removing pollutants and other unwanted substances from water. An NSF-certified and listed water filtration system undergoes rigorous testing to ensure it delivers its advertised benefits. After certification, the filter receives the “NSF/ANSI” mark and a certification number on the product. When shopping for commercial or residential water filters, be sure they meet one of these four NSF/ANSI Standards:

NSF Standard 42

The goal of certification to NSF Standard 42 is to rid the water of any chlorine and sulfuric tastes, odors, or coloring caused by the presence of minerals.

NSF Standard 53

If a filter has been certified as meeting NSF Standard 53, it is guaranteed to remove the pollutants on the NSF’s list that pose a risk to human health at the point of use or entry. Filters that adhere to NSF Standard 53 reduce exposure to harmful microorganisms, chemicals, or particles.

NSF Standard 401

The National Sanitation Foundation NSF Standard 401 is a new guideline for analyzing low concentrations of emerging pollutants such as pharmaceuticals, insecticides, and pesticides.

NSF Standard P231

NSF Standard P231 evaluates the effectiveness of a filtration system in removing microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and live cysts. Certification requires passing a series of tests validating that 99.99% of pollutants are eliminated by multi-factor reduction.

ONIT Home filtration system an onit home water filtration system used to filter out contaminants in our water systems

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are answers to the frequently asked questions about carbon filters:

Do catalytic carbon filters contain dangerous carbon levels?

Consuming activated carbon would have the same effects as activated charcoal, including constipation, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, gastrointestinal blockage, and more. However, if your filter works correctly, the activated or catalyzed carbon won’t enter the filtered water.

When should you replace catalytic carbon filters?

Every filter brand has a suggested replacement interval; some even feature built-in indicators showing when they’re about to burn out. Catalytic carbon filters usually last between 6 and 12 months, based on your household size and how much water you use on average.

When should I use activated carbon filters?

Activated carbon is the best option to make your water smell and taste better. As a bonus, it works wonderfully against organic industrial toxins, including herbicides, pesticides (VOCs), semi-VOCs (like in some medications), and other contaminants. Activated carbon filters are also usually less expensive than other types of filters. That makes the filters perfect if you want to improve your water quality without spending much money.

When should I switch to a different filter?

Consider switching to a different kind of filter if the concentrations in your water are high. Catalytic carbon is effective on hydrogen sulfide. However, it can’t compare to other filters like activated iron oxide (AIO) or potassium dihydrogen phosphate (KDF). Activated carbon filters cannot filter dissolved solids.

Contact the Clean Water Experts Today

City water often has minerals and other impurities that are bad for our health and the pipes in our homes. Our water filter systems allow families to relax, knowing their drinking water is safe. ONIT Home’s reverse osmosis and whole-home water filtration systems can efficiently filter out contaminated tap water by as much as 99%.

Do you need water filtration assistance at your residence or business? We are ONIT! Give us a call at 1-833-433-0331 or click here to request a quote.


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