How Carbon Air Filters Work

If you have been shopping for a top-tier air purifier, you may have noticed that there are multiple types on the market. One of these types is the activated carbon air purifier. If you are wondering how carbon air filters work, we have got you covered.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Activated carbon is carbon that has been treated to be more effective at capturing gaseous particles.
  • Carbon air filters work by trapping potential pollutants on their oversized exterior.
  • If you use a carbon air filter, expect a drastic reduction in volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

What is Activated Carbon?

Activated carbon is charcoal that has undergone a special process to make it excel when it comes to trapping gaseous particles. The actual process may vary, but it typically includes the carbon being injected with hot air or stream. This creates numerous tiny pores which increase its overall surface area. As a matter of fact, a single gram of activated carbon can boast over one hundred square meters of surface area.

Insider Tip

Activated carbon is charcoal that has undergone a special process to make it excel when it comes to trapping gaseous particles.

How Carbon Air Filters Work

A carbon-based air purifier will use fans to draw air into the filter, where the carbon filter will trap impurities surrounding its exterior. HEPA filters, for instance, draw the impurities inside through its multiple layers. Carbon filters simply trap the particles directly on the outside. It is important that you clean your filter regularly so you should know how a dirty filter on an air purifier looks like.

Benefits of Using a Carbon Air Filter

Carbon air filters are extremely effective across numerous scenarios. There is a reason, after all, that humans have been using charcoal for thousands of years for purification.

Insider Tip

A single gram of activated carbon can boast over one hundred square meters of surface area.

Decrease in VOCs

Volatile organic compounds, otherwise known as VOCs, can be released into the air via common household cleaning supplies. These VOCs can be bad for a person’s health, particularly when considering long-term health ramifications. You can check out what Volatic Organic Compounds are for a better understanding. Carbon filters do a great job with VOCs, as these particles are typical gaseous and very tiny. They are smaller than what can usually be captured by a HEPA filter.

Smoke and Odor Reduction

Carbon filters have been used for years to decrease the aftereffects of cigarette smoke. They absolutely excel at trapping smoke particles and any associated odors. Their efficacy does not stop at smoke, however, as they are also good at reducing various kinds of odors. This can include pet smells, mold, mildew, food aromas, and more. Be sure to clean the filter regularly to maximize its odor-reduction power.

Can Reduce Inflammation and Certain Asthma Symptoms

The studies are in and it looks like activated carbon filters can reduce inflammation and certain asthma symptoms, particularly if the inflammation or symptoms were egged on via gaseous pollutants. As previously stated, carbon filters do a great job with gas.

Warning

Volatile organic compounds, otherwise known as VOCs, can be released into the air via common household cleaning supplies.

F.A.Q.

What pollutants can carbon air filters remove?

Carbon air filters remove extremely small particles from the air, often smaller than 0.3 microns in diameter. This means they are effective at trapping gaseous particles and certain virus particles.


How long do carbon air filters last?

Most carbon air filters can last for several years before they need to be replaced. Be sure to clean them once every month according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


Are all activated carbon air filters the same?

No, not all activated carbon air filters are the same. There are multiple designs when it comes to carbon air filters and there are multiple ways in which these filters are treated to become activated.



STAT: According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the air indoors where we spend as much as 90 percent of our time can be more polluted than even city smog. (source)

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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