KDF Filter Media Guide: Simple Steps for Clean Water

KDF Filter Media Guide

KDF filter media, short for kinetic degradation fluxion, are an innovative solution to water purification that utilize granules made of high-purity copper-zinc. These granules produce a redox reaction, which can either involve reduction or oxidation, effectively eliminating common impurities in water. In this KDF Filter Media guide, you’ll see how this widely trusted and certified by NSF International, the KDF redox process transforms the impurities into harmless constituents, enhancing overall water quality.

Various types of granular KDF media can be found in the industry, with KDF-55 being a popular option. It specifically focuses on converting free chlorine into a harmless chloride salt and removing heavy metals from tap water. KDF filters are not only safe and effective but are also a crucial component in treating water across numerous applications, from household usage to industrial and municipal water treatment facilities.

Hospitals, restaurants, and homes all benefit from the power of KDF filter media, which target impurities like iron, chlorine, hydrogen sulfide, heavy metals, and even bacteria. As long as these filters are correctly installed and maintained, they serve as an efficient approach to achieving clean and safe drinking water.

Understanding KDF Filter Media

KDF Process Media

KDF filter media, or kinetic degradation fluxion media, is a specialized material used in water treatment processes. It aims to eliminate common water contaminants such as heavy metals, chlorine, bacteria, and hydrogen sulfide. The KDF process media itself is composed of high-purity copper-zinc granules that play a significant role in the redox reaction and ion exchange processes.

Kinetic Degradation Fluxion

Kinetic degradation fluxion (KDF) was developed in 1984 by water treatment engineer Don Heskett. It is a process that involves the use of copper-zinc granules to produce redox reactions, ultimately reducing impurities in water. The key benefits of KDF include:

  • Effective removal of heavy metals such as iron, lead, mercury, chromium, and nickel
  • Reduction of microorganisms, algae, and bacteria
  • Control of chlorine and hydrogen sulfide levels in water

Ion Exchange

Ion exchange is the process that takes place during the KDF water treatment. It involves the copper and zinc granules of the KDF media exchanging electrons with the contaminants present in the water. As a result, the harmful substances become attached to the granules, effectively removing them from the water. Common contaminants addressed through ion exchange include:

  • Heavy metals: iron, lead, mercury, chromium, nickel
  • Chlorine
  • Hydrogen sulfide


Redox, short for reduction-oxidation, is a key component of the KDF filter media process. When water flows through the KDF media, the copper-zinc granules create an electrochemical reaction that enables the reduction or oxidation of contaminants. This process aids in the elimination of the following impurities:

  • Heavy metals
  • Microorganisms, such as bacteria and algae

KDF filter media has proven to be an effective and safe water treatment solution when properly installed and maintained. By incorporating this type of media into water filtration systems, households and businesses can ensure the quality of their drinking water and protect against harmful contaminants.

KDF Filter Media Types

KDF filter media, or Kinetic Degradation Fluxion media, are high-purity copper-zinc granules used in water filtration systems to reduce contaminants through oxidation/reduction (redox) reactions. There are several types of KDF process media, each designed to target specific contaminants and provide specific benefits.

KDF 55

KDF 55 is a widely used type of KDF filter media designed to remove chlorine and soluble heavy metals from water. It works by converting harmful contaminants into benign, non-toxic ions. KDF 55 is often used in combination with other filtration systems such as activated carbon filters.

  • Removes: Chlorine, heavy metals
  • Common applications: Stand-alone filters, combination filters with activated carbon

KDF 85

KDF 85 is another type of KDF filter media specifically designed to target iron and hydrogen sulfide removal. It is often used in water purification systems that require the elimination of these contaminants to improve water quality.

  • Removes: Iron, hydrogen sulfide
  • Common applications: Water purification systems


KDF-F is a type of KDF media that is less commonly used than KDF 55 and KDF 85. It offers a unique set of purification benefits, and the exact applications and removal properties depend on the specific formulation of the KDF-F filter media.

  • Removes: Specific contaminants depending on formulation
  • Common applications: Specialized water filtration systems


KDF-C process media is another variant of KDF filter media. It works through a slightly different process to remove harmful contaminants in water. The specific removal properties and applications depend on the formulation of the KDF-C media.

  • Removes: Varying contaminants depending on formulation
  • Common applications: Specialized water filtration systems

KDF-C Coarse Mesh Granules

KDF-C Coarse Mesh Granules are another form of KDF filtration media. These granules are engineered to offer distinct advantages in specific applications, although details depend on the particular formulation. KDF-C Coarse Mesh Granules may also be combined with other media types in a multi-media filter for improved water purification.

  • Removes: Various contaminants depending on composition
  • Common applications: Multi-media filters, specialized systems

Each of these KDF filter media types offers unique benefits, and their specific removal properties make them suitable for various water purification systems. By understanding the different KDF filter media types, one can determine the best choice for their water purification needs.

Comparing KDF and Carbon Filters

KDF filter media, or Kinetic Degradation Fluxion media, is made from a combination of zinc and copper particles. It is effective in removing contaminants such as chlorine, iron, heavy metals, and bacteria from water. KDF filters use an advanced oxidation process and have a high capacity for filtration, which lasts longer than traditional carbon filters. They are commonly found in whole-home water filtration systems and can also be used for industrial applications.

On the other hand, carbon filters, specifically activated carbon filters, use the adsorption process to eliminate contaminants from water. They are highly effective in removing organic compounds, chlorine, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and unpleasant tastes and odors. However, they are less effective at reducing heavy metals and inorganic contaminants.

One significant difference between KDF and carbon filters is their ability to handle hot water. KDF filters can generally withstand high water temperatures, making them suitable for use in hot water applications. Activated carbon filters, on the other hand, are not as effective in hot water, as the adsorption process is temperature dependent, and their effectiveness decreases with higher water temperatures.

In terms of filter structure, some KDF filters come in a fine mesh form, such as the KDF-F type, which allows for placement inside activated carbon block filters. This combination enhances the overall filtration efficiency by targeting a broader range of contaminants.

When comparing KDF and carbon filters, some factors to consider include:

  • Contaminant removal: KDF filters are more effective at removing heavy metals and inorganic contaminants, while carbon filters excel at removing organic compounds, chlorine, and VOCs.
  • Temperature range: KDF filters are suitable for use in hot water applications, whereas activated carbon filters are less effective in higher water temperatures.
  • Filter structure: Some KDF-filter types can be integrated into carbon block filters to improve overall filtration efficiency.

It’s important to choose the right filtration system based on the specific contaminants present in the water source and the desired water quality. In some cases, utilizing both KDF and carbon filters within a comprehensive water filtration system can provide optimal results in treating a broad range of contaminants.

Contaminant Removal with KDF Filters

KDF filter media is a highly effective way to remove various contaminants from water, improving its overall quality. This section will discuss the removal of heavy metals, bacteria and viruses, and chlorine and chemicals using KDF filters.

Heavy Metal Removal

KDF filter media is particularly efficient at eliminating heavy metals from water, including:

  • Lead: The process media removes lead, which may cause an unpleasant metallic taste in water and pose health risks.
  • Iron: KDF 85 filter media have shown effectiveness in removing over 90% of iron contaminants. It converts ferrous cations into insoluble ferric hydroxide through oxidation, which can then be removed easily via backwashing.
  • Copper and arsenic: KDF media also aids in the removal of copper sulfide and arsenic from water.

Bacteria and Virus Elimination

While KDF filters may not be as effective at removing organic compounds, such as some pesticides, disinfection byproducts or parasitic cysts, they still contribute to overall water cleanliness by targeting other pathogens like algae and fungi. However, it’s important to note that KDF filters are not designed to specifically eliminate bacteria or viruses. For the most effective removal of these microorganisms, it is recommended to use additional water treatment methods, like UV filters or hydrogen peroxide.

Chlorine and Chemical Reduction

KDF filters are especially useful in reducing chlorine and chloramines in water. This improves the water’s taste and smell, making it more enjoyable to drink. Additionally, KDF filters assist in minimizing the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other chemicals.

To summarize, KDF filter media is an excellent choice for removing a variety of contaminants, including heavy metals, certain pathogens, and chemicals. To ensure comprehensive water treatment, it is advisable to couple KDF filters with other filtration methods suited to target specific microorganisms or contaminants.

Applications of KDF Filters

Home Usage

KDF filters are commonly used in residential settings due to their ability to remove a wide range of contaminants from tap water. They can be installed in various sizes, making them suitable for small applications like showerhead filters or as a key component in whole-home water purification systems. Homeowners can benefit from the extended lifespan of these filters when used alongside activated carbon block, granular activated carbon, reverse osmosis filters, or ion exchange water softeners. This leads to reduced maintenance and overall increased water quality.

Industrial Applications

KDF filters also play a crucial role in industrial water treatment processes, where large quantities of water need to be purified for various purposes. They can efficiently remove heavy metals, chlorine, and other contaminants, improving water quality and preventing potential damage to industrial equipment. The high capacity and long-lasting nature of KDF filters make them a preferred choice in many industries, reducing maintenance downtime and costs.


In restaurants, KDF filters can be incorporated into the water filtration systems to ensure clean and safe water for cooking, food preparation, and drinking. The filter media’s ability to remove chlorine and other contaminants not only enhances the taste and odor of water but also helps protect kitchen equipment from the harmful effects of build-up and scaling. Installing KDF filters in restaurants can result in improved overall water quality and a better dining experience for customers.


Hospitals have an immense need for clean and safe water, not only for daily operations but also for maintaining a sterile environment. KDF filters can be installed in their water treatment systems to remove contaminants and prevent the growth of bacteria, algae, and fungi in organic-based media like GAC beds and carbon filters. By using KDF filters in tandem with other water purification methods, hospitals can ensure high-quality water, which is vital for patient care, equipment sterilization, and the overall well-being of the hospital staff and visitors.

In summary, KDF filters have a wide range of applications, from homes and industries to restaurants and hospitals, as they offer effective water purification solutions. Their ability to remove a vast array of contaminants and their extended lifespan make them a valuable addition to various water filtration systems.

Advantages and Disadvantages of KDF Filters

KDF filters, just like other water filtration devices, have both advantages and disadvantages. Here, we will take a closer look at some of the key benefits as well as downsides to help guide you in making an informed choice when looking to buy a KDF filter system for your home.

  • Recyclable: One of the most significant benefits of KDF filters is that they are recyclable. When filter media becomes less effective, it can be easily recycled and replaced without negatively impacting the environment.
  • Effective: KDF filters are efficient in removing a wide range of impurities, including heavy metals, chlorine, and bacteria. This helps protect your family from potential water-borne diseases and contributes to better-tasting water.
  • Low maintenance: Typically, KDF filters require less maintenance compared to other types of water filters. This is mainly because they only need occasional backwashing to stay clean and operating effectively.
  • Scale and pressure drop: Despite their effectiveness, KDF filters may still experience scale buildup and pressure drops. In some cases, this can affect the lifespan of the filter or require maintenance to address the issue.
  • Limited chloramine removal: One of the significant downsides of KDF filters is their inability to remove chloramines, which are increasingly used by municipalities as a water disinfectant. If your water supply contains chloramines, you may need additional filtration methods along with the KDF filter.
  • Backwashing: Though KDF filters generally require less maintenance, the backwashing process can consume a large amount of water. In some cases, this could increase your water and sewer bills, particularly if your home relies on city water supplies.

In summary, KDF filters offer several advantages, including recyclability, effectiveness, and low maintenance. However, they also have some drawbacks, such as difficulties with scale buildup, pressure drops, limited chloramine removal, and potentially high water usage for backwashing. Armed with this information, you can make an informed decision on whether a KDF filter is the right choice for your water filtration needs.

Pre-treatment and Complementary Filtration

Activated Carbon Block Filters

KDF filter media are often used in conjunction with activated carbon block filters to provide a comprehensive filtration solution. Activated carbon block filters are effective at removing organic compounds, taste, and odor caused by chemical contaminants like chlorine. Additionally, they help in extending the life of the granular activated carbon (GAC) while protecting the carbon bed against bacterial fouling.

Combining KDF media with activated carbon block filters enhances the removal of various heavy metals, such as lead, mercury, calcium carbonate, and magnesium. Furthermore, KDF media also improve the removal of iron and hydrogen sulfide in water purification systems. This combination ensures a more efficient and longer-lasting filtration process.

Ion Exchange Resins

Ion exchange resins can also be used in conjunction with KDF filter media for more effective water treatment. Ion exchange resins are small beads of synthetic polymers that can exchange specific ions in a water stream to achieve different objectives, such as softening water, reducing scale formation, or removing contaminants like calcium and magnesium.

Combining KDF media with ion exchange resins can lead to a more efficient removal of contaminants, as KDF media target soluble heavy metals and chlorine while ion exchange resins target ions like calcium and magnesium. This combination leads to a more comprehensive filtration process that addresses a wide range of water quality issues.

It’s important to note that regular backwashing is an essential step in maintaining the performance of any water filtration system incorporating ion exchange resins with KDF media. This helps to prevent the buildup of contaminants on the resin beads and maintain optimal filtration efficiency.

In conclusion, proper pre-treatment and complementary filtration using activated carbon block filters and ion exchange resins in combination with KDF filter media can provide a more comprehensive and efficient water purification solution. This multi-layer filtration approach can tackle various contaminants in water, offering better protection against a wide range of substances and ensuring high-quality, clean water.

Certification and Regulations

KDF filter media have obtained various certifications and adhere to numerous regulations to ensure their safety and effectiveness in water treatment. One such certification is the NSF certification, which includes ANSI/NSF Standard 61 for drinking water system components-health effects and Standard 42. This certification signifies the media’s compliance with the required safety and quality standards for drinking water treatment.

In addition to NSF certification, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified KDF process media as a “Pesticidal Device.” This distinction confirms the media’s ability to reduce microorganisms and heavy metals in water treatment systems. EPA registration ensures that the KDF process media adheres to the stringent guidelines established by the agency regarding levels of contaminants, such as zinc and copper, in drinking water.

KDF Fluid Treatment, the company responsible for manufacturing KDF process media, also follows the guidelines set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for water treatment systems. This further demonstrates the company’s commitment to providing safe and effective products for the treatment of water.

Some key points to remember about KDF filter media certifications and regulations include:

  • Obtained NSF certification (ANSI/NSF Standard 61 & 42)
  • Classified as a “Pesticidal Device” by the U.S. EPA
  • Adheres to FDA guidelines for water treatment
  • Ensures safety and effectiveness in reducing contaminants

KDF Fluid Treatment maintains a strong focus on customer service and support. They work with an extensive network of distributors to ensure the availability of their process media for various applications in water treatment systems.

Remember to always check and confirm the certifications and regulations related to KDF filter media before making a purchase to ensure that you’re getting a safe and reliable product for your specific water treatment needs.

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