How To Recharge Your Activated Carbon Whole House Water Filter?

Activated carbon whole-house water filters are effective filtration systems that deliver clean water throughout your home. These filters work by adsorbing contaminants from the water as it passes through the activated carbon. With their many benefits, maintaining your activated carbon filter should be highly prioritized.

The activated carbon purifies the water from the source and ensures the water from all outlets in your home is free from odor, taste, and harmful chemicals and minerals. As the impurities get absorbed into the activated carbon, it gets saturated, and its efficiency reduces. Recharging activated carbon is vital in maintaining the filter and preserving its efficiency, and it takes only a few steps to implement.

We’ll discuss how anybody can renew their activated carbon whole-house filter without prior experience. But first, let’s see the signs that show your activated carbon needs recharging.

Signs Your Activated Carbon Filter Needs Recharging

Signs Your Activated Carbon Filter Needs Recharging

Here, we see a few signs that your activated carbon whole-house filter needs recharging. With these signs, you can pinpoint the right time to restore the carbon and maintain purified water throughout the house.

  • Change in taste: when the taste of the water changes, it often indicates reduced filter efficiency. The minerals causing bad taste escape the carbon when the adsorption capacity of the activated carbon diminishes.
  • Change in water color: If you notice a difference in the color of water, this is a sign the carbon needs recharging as it no longer blocks the metals, causing discoloration
  • Smell: Water with a foul odor is impossible to use and packs several harmful bacteria. When the water suddenly comes with a foul odor, this is likely due to a spent media filter.

These signs are often when mild and active carbon is relatively new, as more complicated cases for a carbon past its lifespan may require outright replacement rather than recharging.

Step-by-Step Instructions to Recharge Activated Carbon Whole House Water Filter

Step-by-Step Instructions to Recharge Activated Carbon Whole House Water Filter

How can you recharge a weak activated carbon and replace the media filter in your whole-house filter? This section shows a detailed guide to maintaining your activated filter and prolonging its usage.

Step 1: Turn Off The Water Supply From The Main Line

Whole-house filters are attached to the main water line coming into the house, which has a regulatory knob. The first step is turning off the water supply from the main line, which will allow you to handle the filter safely.

You’ll typically find this water controller on the primary water source outside the house, in garages, or basements. Slowly turn the handle clockwise until it reaches a stop, and then open a faucet to release the pressure.

Step 2: Detach The Filter

Unscrew the valves connecting the filter tank to the water source to disengage the filter. There’ll be a lot of water in the tank at this point, so you want to relieve some of that pressure. Bend the tank slightly so the water pours out from the open valve end at the top.

With the water out of the tank, you can move the filter to a comfortable location where you’ll remove the main valve.

Step 3: Remove Spent Activated Carbon

Turn the cover anticlockwise to expose the tank contents, including the spent wet carbon media, water, and the distributor tube. Bend the tank over a bucket to remove the discharged carbon media and water, and rinse with water from a hose.

You’ll need a lot of energy to raise the tank as it can be heavy depending on the water content remaining in it. Focus on clearing all worn-out carbon media from the tank to give room for the new media. Clean carbon particles off the main valve and the plunger tube.

Step 4: Add The New Activated Carbon Media

Before proceeding with this step, you want to determine the correct quantity to put in your filter housing. You should get an accurate quote depending on where you order your activated carbon.

Cover the plunger tube with a cap that comes with the package, or use tape if you don’t get a plunger tube cap. The covering is to prevent replacement media from entering the tube. Ensure the plunger tube is in the tank before you start refilling, as it becomes difficult to shove it to the bottom if you pour in the carbon media first.

You should wear a nose mask before pouring in the new carbon media using a funnel. The nose mask will stop you from inhaling harmful particles from the carbon.

Step 5: Reassemble The Filter System

With the new carbon media in the filter housing, you can now start the reassembling process, which follows a similar route as when removing the filter. Start by removing the tape or plunger cap covering the tube before rearranging the pipe to sit in the filter housing center.

Remove the old O-ring from around the housing covering by gently pulling the O-ring. With the old O-ring out of the way, wipe the grease off the area and replace it with new oil. Put the new O-ring and add grease outside the ring and the inner plastic seal on the filter housing.

Finally, add a sealer that prevents air from passing through the O-ring, then place the covering over the housing while screwing it in place. Carefully screw it in to avoid damaging the plastic seal. You can now return the filter to its position beside the water valve.

Step 6: Soak The New Carbon Media

Use your bacteria-free hose to add water to the filter housing and as you slowly fill the tank, allow the carbon to soak for 48 hours to remove unwanted materials. While waiting, you want to block the open valve areas of the tank using paper towels to prevent contamination.

After 48 hours, rinse the unwanted materials and chemicals. Attach your bacteria-free hose to the inlet and a regular hose to the outlet while letting water in through the inlet.

This process will flush the tank and remove contaminants from the outlet hose. Run it for about 30 minutes before interchanging the hoses – with the regular hose attached to the inlet and the bacteria-free hose attached to the outlet but still pumping water into the tank.

The idea is to dislodge any carbon that may be around the outlet. Allow the water to run for three minutes before attaching the main valves and screwing them.

Step 7: Turn on The Water Supply

Turn on the control valves for the activated carbon filter and let the filter run for about a day while using the water for simple tasks to remove any remaining sediments. After the first day, you can turn on your complete filtration system and enjoy clean water.

Safety Precautions to Follow While Recharging

Safety Precautions to Follow While Recharging

Your safety and that of the filtration system are vital while recharging. Here are some safety tips to follow while recharging activated carbon whole-house water filter:

  • Wear nose masks: The activated carbon typically has dust particles from broken granules. Protect yourself using nose masks to prevent inhaling these dust particles.
  • Get an extra helping hand: An extra helping hand can reduce the burden of lifting heavy filter tanks. Ask a friend or family for help to make the process easy.
  • Release pressure in the pipes: Ensure the pressure in the lines has been released before opening the valves to prevent a sudden rush of water that can fill your floor and cause an accident.
  • Clean water spills on the ground: If not cleaned, water spills on the floor can pose significant safety hazards. Use a mop to clean the water to prevent slipping.

Tips For Recharging Activated Carbon Whole House Filter

Tips For Recharging Activated Carbon Whole House Filter

Here are a few tips that’ll generally improve your recharging process:

  • Regularly replace the carbon cartridge: You should replace your carbon filter cartridge once every 6 to 12 months. Sometimes it may require a more frequent change where the water contains a lot of impurities.
  • Check for leaks before reconnecting: Always inspect for leaks before reconnecting to the main water supply and fix issues by replacing the O-ring or aligning the threads.
  • Utilize high-quality activated carbon: To enjoy an extended adsorption period, use only high-quality carbon media.


A change in the taste and color of the water is a massive indication that your activated carbon whole-house filter needs recharging. Following a simple seven-step process, you can renew your clean water usage in about three days. Remember that you must purchase a high-quality activated carbon to get prolonged use.

If you want to continue enjoying filtered water, recharging your activated filter is essential. Do this once every six months for optimum results.