How Long Before Changing Granular Activated Carbon

Granular activated carbon is among the most popular water filtration media available. That said, a granular activated carbon filter will require periodic changing or replacement.

How long can you wait before changing your granular activated carbon? As the following overview demonstrates, several factors can affect the timeline.

How Does Granular Activated Carbon Treat Water?

Per the Minnesota Department of Health, granular activated carbon refers to products made from organic materials with high concentrations of carbon. Exposure to high heat increases the surface area of the carbon in these materials.

Granular activated carbon can trap various chemicals in water when it passes through a granular activated carbon filter. Over time, granular activated carbon can no longer trap chemicals as efficiently as it once did. A granular activated carbon filter will thus need to be changed periodically to deliver consistent results.

How Often Should You Change a Granular Activated Carbon Filter?

First, it’s important to understand that granular activated carbon is the material responsible for the actual filtration of water. Depending on the type of filter you have, you may have to change the entire filter, or you may only need to change the granular activated carbon within it. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to confirm you’re replacing the filter properly.

There’s no universal answer to the question of how often you need to change a granular activated carbon filter. As the Minnesota Department of Health points out, various factors can influence when you need to replace your granular activated carbon.


They include the following:

  • The variety of granular activated carbon: Granular activated carbon is available in several varieties and sizes. The filtration capabilities of these varieties aren’t necessarily equal.
  • Water usage: Understanding your average water usage is helpful when purchasing and maintaining a granular activated carbon filter. Knowing how much water you use can help you better determine what type of filter is ideal for your needs. Someone who uses more water than someone else will typically have to replace their granular activated carbon sooner.
  • Water quality: The concentration of contaminants in your water will affect how often you need to replace granular activated carbon. Testing your water’s quality before purchasing a filter is actually wise, as it will help you determine your exact needs. However, even if you didn’t check your water’s quality before buying a filter, you may still do so. Taking this step can help you better understand when to replace your granular activated carbon.

The manufacturer’s instructions that came with your activated carbon filter should tell you how often to change the granular activated carbon. You may need to change some filters in just a few weeks. Others can last for a year.

Pay Attention to Your Water

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for replacing your granular activated carbon filter, but also monitor the quality of your water. It may be time to replace your granular activated carbon if your water has taken on a foul smell.

Luckily granular activated carbon is a very safe and effective filtration medium. As long as you replace it on schedule, it can substantially influence your water’s quality.

Puragen offers carbon filtration solutions for numerous applications across a range of industries.