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Different types of filters work differently. If it is a bacteria/sediment/taste/odor filter, water flows through a silver-impregnated ceramic wall, which traps particles down to one micron. Then it flows through a granular-activated charcoal liner that absorbs chemicals, unpleasant tastes and odors. Water that is free of bacteria then passes through the center hole and out of the filter. If it is a filter that removes chemical/taste/odors, water enters the filter and surrounds a cartridge inside. Water then passes through the hole at the bottom of the cartridge and flows up through a bed of granular activated carbon, which absorbs chemicals, tastes and odors, and then out of the filter. If it is a filter that removes sediment, it is installed at the source of the supply. Water containing sand, silt, algae and rust enters the filter and surrounds the cartridge, which is tightly sealed at both ends. Water passes through the cartridge well, which traps sediment particles. Relatively free of solid matter (depending on micron rating of the filter), the water flows up through the center hole and out of the filter.