Activated charcoal?

I’m pretty big on finding creative ways to do expensive things.  Sure it’s ok for people to make some money but when they outright gouge you (I’m look at you, digitial media comglomerates) so until real pricing comes around, piracy will be a source for the vast majority of people.

Now, this also applies to physical goods as well.  I think the water we now get from our household pipes is no longer safe and has long-term detrimental effects.  No I’m not going to link any ‘proof’ of this, you’ll have to do your own research and make up your own mind on this one.  This then leads to water filters (given the size of that industry, that should be proof enough I think…) and we use a Brita water filter.  The sad part is that they gouge on their replacement filters and that’s not right.

Then I found this instrucable and life was awesome for saving in a big way.

All the tools you need

Basically you re-use the old Brita filter(yay for recycling!), buy some ‘activated charcoal‘ from your local pet fish store, empty out the old stuff, put in the new stuff and bam!  Instant new filter.

My only limitation now is that because I am in South Korea, finding any kind of activated charcoal is nearly impossible.  Shipping from eBay is stupidly expensive so my options are pretty limited.  I will be considering making my own.  I’ll be doing something like this:


Now, there is this part about ‘activated’, which is not fully clear to me.  Most of the places just say ‘modified’ by an ‘agent’.  None of them explain, even in just simple terms, what this ‘activation‘ actually does.  They tend to only say the end result (i.e. more porous) but never give any real details on this.  When I see this ‘lack of explanation’, my concerns rise.  On chemical activation, Wikipedia says this(and before any of you buggers TRY to blame Wikipedia, do some research and understand how a Wiki entry is actually created and the amount of work to get an article published and maintained):

Chemical activation: Prior to carbonization, the raw material is impregnated with certain chemicals. The chemical is typically an acid, strong base, or a salt[2] (phosphoric acid,potassium hydroxidesodium hydroxidecalcium chloride, and zinc chloride 25%). Then, the raw material is carbonized at lower temperatures (450–900 °C). It is believed that the carbonization / activation step proceeds simultaneously with the chemical activation. Chemical activation is preferred over physical activation owing to the lower temperatures and shorter time needed for activating material.

I’m not sold that this chemical process is all that healthy in the long-term.  And since I can’t do their described physical process (involving sealed chambers and super high temps), I’ll be stick with straight up charcoal.  This also lowers the cost too :)

I’ll see how this goes and try it on the weekend :)  Will update this post on my results.