How To Remove Trihalomethanes From Drinking Water Easily Via GAC Filters


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It is no doubt that water is one of the most important things for survival. Drinking the recommended amount of water a day helps in maintaining health. In recent years, clean water has been more accessible to the public, reducing the cases of waterborne diseases such as cholera and dysentery. But just like anything in life, discovering water treatment also introduces us to problems that we’ve never seen before: the existence of trihalomethanes thms or THM.

Before being distributed, water is usually treated for safe consumption. Most water distributors get their water supply from exposed bodies of water such as lakes and rivers. Almost all the distributed water in the country is treated with chlorine, a chemical with a high disinfection by-products effectivity. However, when chlorine makes contact with organic matter materials, it forms four by-products called THM, which can harm humans. These THM chemicals ( chloroform, Dibromochloromethane, Bromodichloromethane, bromoform) are carcinogens or substances that can cause cancer.

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One of the easiest ways to filter out the harmful THMs from the treated water is by using activated carbon. Working with activated carbon is flexible; you can use it to make a large-scale or small-scale filter for personal use or for the whole family. In this how to remove trihalomethanes from drinking water tutorial, you will learn about GAC or Granular Activated Carbon filters.

Things You Will Need

In this tutorial, we will be taking a closer look at the Granular Activated Carbon filters. Depending on your usage, you can set up a whole-house filtering system of a “point of use” filter. You will find the two-filter GAC system design in most homes. The first activated filter canister is where the first filtration occurs. To improve the quality of water output, the second canister is there to catch remove thms and other things that managed to escape the first filter. Alternatively, you can use a Point of Use or POU filter, but the installation of that method will not be included in this article


Image from Minnesota Department of Health

Here are the things that you would need to install the GAC canisters for the filter.

  • Pipe cutter (Mini-cutter if you’re installing in a tight place)
  • Adjustable Wrench
  • Teflon tape
  • Rags and buckets
  • Filter kits
  • Reamer blade
  • Jumper wire (if the water pipes are used as a ground for the electrical system)


1. Prepare your system for installation

First, make a survey of your whole existing trihalomethanes from drinking water system. Take note of other things that might affect your filter, such as electrical wirings. Determine the best place to install your filter before cutting any pipes. Make sure that the place is secured from natural elements (storms, extreme sunlight exposure) and man-made elements that can destroy your filters. While you’re at it, consider choosing a pretty spacious location which makes replacing filters an easier job in the future. After everything is decided, turn off your water supply and open the faucet for pressure release.

2. Cut the pipe for filter installation

Get your bucket ready before cutting any pipes to avoid spillage. To make the right measurement, use the instruction from the filter kit. When the measurement is done, use a pipe cutter to remove the section of the pipe based on your markings. If you’re installing in a tight space, use a mini-cutter instead. It’s a smaller device but works just like the same as the original pipe cutter. When the pipe section is removed, get your reamer blade and smoothen the edges of your pipe.

3. Attach the filters to the system

This step highly depends on the manufacturer’s step, so check your manual for any specific step. Usually, you need to install a compression fitting from both sides of the pipe gaps. Slide the nut first, followed by the ring, and then the fitting. Use an adjustable wrench to attach the nut to the fitting before attaching the filter port. To ensure a snug fit, use Teflon tape between the port and the fitting on both ends of the pipe. Install the filter in the right direction based on the manufacturer’s instruction. Make sure that the in and out port of the filter is not installed backward (e.g. “out” port first before “in” port). Attach the filter using the special handle included in the kit.

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4. Test the water output

Once the filter is attached to the pipe, turn the valve handle to “off” before powering your water quality supply back. Look for any leaks between the fitting and in the filter. If there are leaks, tighten up the compression nut or the filter housing, wherever the leak is coming from. Using the handle, turn the filter “off” into “filter” and test if the water is running properly in the filter. Install a jumper wire if the electrical system is using the water pipes as a ground.

5. Make sure the filters are housed properly

After the initial installation, make sure that the whole filtering system is housed properly. Either build a cover or install the filter inside your home, whichever method works best for you. Do not disregard the valve used in attaching the filter because it is also needed to remove the filter for replacement.


And that’s it for this article. I hope you learned something useful regarding your water treatment and consumption needs. THMs can be consumed by inhaling (via evaporation when the tap water is in the surface) or by ingestion. It’s important to get a whole-house GAC filter to remove these cancerous by-products. Use the comment section below for questions and clarifications in installing a GAC filter.

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