Bamboo Charcoal Water Filters FAQ
How long does bamboo charcoal last?
Follow this formula: 3 pieces per liter of water for 4 weeks.
All tap water is different. Some impurities like chloramine have a stronger taste than solids or even pesticides. When the chloramine taste comes back, you know it's time to change your bamboo charcoal. But what about other impurities? That's why we recommend replaying your bamboo charcoal every 4 weeks to ensure maximum adsorption.
How does bamboo charcoal remove impurities from tap water?
Bamboo charcoal's porous surface area adsorbs gases and solids.
Bamboo charcoal's porous surface area adsorbs tap water and airborne impurities. If carbonized at high heat, tests indicate that bamboo charcoal removes chlorine, chloride, phosphorus, ammonia, toluene (alcohol), nitrogen, chloramine (ammonia and chlorine compound added to water to kill pathogens), and even toxins like pesticides that can seep into tap water. Bamboo charcoal adsorbs solids and gases, but not pathogens, so we don't recommend relying on bamboo charcoal to filter creek water while hiking.
Compared to wooden charcoal, bamboo charcoal has high adsorptive power and contains many mineral components (especially magnesium, potassium, calcium and silicic acid). The surface area of bamboo charcoal is 300 square meter per gram and the adsorption power is ten times that of wooden charcoal.
A test conducted by the Division of Forest Management (Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan) in 2004, found that the pH value of bamboo charcoal-purified water changes from acidic to alkaline when bamboo is carbonized at a high heat. The study found that the surface area for volatile organic compound (VOC) adsorption is maximized at 800 degrees Celsius, which is the heat that we use for carbonizing Miyabi Bamboo Charcoal. In addition, the study stated that the "best" carbonizing temperature for reducing residual chlorine in tap water was 800 degrees Celsius.
Does bamboo charcoal add anything to tap water?
Yes. You're making your own mineral water!
Yes! Bamboo charcoal leaches minerals like magnesium, silicone, silicic acid* and calcium into your tap water as it adsorbs impurities. You are making your own mineral water! Filter systems like reverse osmosis removes everything from water - even the good minerals. If you have a home filtration system, make sure to add bamboo charcoal to your drinking water so you don't miss these essential minerals. You might see trace amounts of bamboo charcoal in your tap water - this residue is packed with nutrients, so enjoy!
*Silicic acid, which is essential for cultivating agricultural crops and soil reinforcement, is contained in the epidermis of bamboo. This means that bamboo charcoal can be used as a soil conditioner and organic fertilizer additive.
Is Miyabi Bamboo Charcoal "activated" charcoal?
Activated charcoal often requires a chemical process before carbonization. Chemicals are used to eat away at the bamboo charcoal to create more surface area without having to use high heat. Miyabi Bamboo Charcoal relies only on high heat (800 degrees Celsius) for adsorption. Some "activated" charcoal cannot adsorb ammonia or nitrates; Miyabi Bamboo Charcoal can adsorb soluble substances, which makes it more effective as a water purifier than "activated" charcoal. In addition, charcoal "activated" with chemicals cannot be composted.
What is the difference between binchotan and bamboo charcoal?
Both bamboo charcoal and binchotan (wood Charcoal) work very well (IF carbonized at 800 degrees celsius) to remove impurities from tap water. However, we prefer bamboo for our charcoal, because it is a more sustainable material. Bamboo grows much faster than trees.
Miyabi Bamboo Charcoal is made from bamboo that is already a waste product. Bamboo must be regularly culled in the Japanese countryside to preserve indigenous forests. However, binchotan is often made from the ubame oak tree, which has been decreasing in recent years. If ubame trees are not used, then other hard wood trees are used.