What Does a Carbon Filter Remove from Air? - An Expert's Perspective

Carbon air filters are the most popular type of filter used to remove gases from the air. They are designed to filter gases through a bed of activated carbon, also known as activated charcoal, and are commonly used to combat volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released by common household products. Carbon filters are also often used to eliminate odors, such as the smell of tobacco smoke, from the air. However, they cannot remove fine particles such as mold, dust, or pollen. The activated carbon filter works by adsorption and, more specifically, by physisorption.

This means that certain gases present in the air are lodged in the pores of the carbon and trapped. The air leaving the filter is then purified from these adsorbed gases. An activated carbon air filter consists of a bed of charcoal wrapped in cloth or mesh-like material. These filters remove gaseous compounds from the air. Molecules, such as odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), are extremely small and slip directly through a normal air filter.

Activated carbon filters trap these molecules and remove them from your home air. It is important to note that, according to the EPA, gas-phase filters, such as activated carbon, cannot easily remove carbon monoxide from homes and other important measures must be taken to avoid exposure. Recent studies have shown that the efficiency of an activated carbon filter may decrease after a few weeks of use. Carbon air filters can be an important part of your home's air purification system, but they must be used properly. Carbon air filters trap gas molecules in a carbon bed, a process that has a surprisingly colorful history.

An activated carbon air filter may be a good option in the short term, but in the long run, the Molekule might be a better solution for your needs. The more surface area available, the greater the chances of a particle sticking to the carbon filter. You should buy one with a large amount of carbon in the filter, constantly monitor the saturation of the filter, and replace it when necessary. Most activated carbon is also treated with a chemical that improves its ability to filter specific contaminants. Perhaps you would like to use a carbon filter to eliminate odors in the short term, for example, during a wildfire or house renovation. Typical particle sizes that can be removed with an activated carbon filter range from 0.5 to 50 micrometers.

The maximum possible exposure to contaminants is allowed to the active sites of the activated carbon filter medium. After considering how carbon air filters work and when they are effective, you can decide what type of air purifier is right for your situation and budget. If you have pets, bad smells or smoke in your home, a charcoal air filter will help improve the quality of the air inside your home.