A device that uses charcoal or activated carbon to purify the air we breathe doesn’t sound like a great idea but don’t let the name fool you. Air purifiers with an activated carbon filter can be great for removing odors. 

Used with other filtering technology such as UV light and HEPA filters, they improve the quality of air. 

Below you’ll find all you need to know to decide if an air purifier with a carbon-activated filter is right for you.

Understanding How Activated Carbon Air Purifiers Work

Activated carbon is charcoal treated to make it more porous. The process involves injecting hot air or steam into the charcoal that creates a network of tiny pores. The result is activated carbon and it has an increased surface area that is effective at capturing gases and odors. 

These activated carbon filters are good at removing volatile organic compounds from the air we breathe and they’re also effective at filtering cigarette smoke before it reaches our lungs. Introducing one of these filters into a room should result in a cleaner, fresher smelling air and improve your family’s health.

They do not remove dust, pollen, pet dander, mold, mildew, viruses or bacteria. Carbon activated filters work best in devices with other filtering technology such as HEPA filters and UV-C light filters. 

What Are the Benefits of an Activated Carbon Air Purifier?

The main benefit of an activated carbon filter is cleaner air in your home, but that’s not the only positive. Your rooms will smell better and the quality of the air will improve and that’s good news for anyone with breathing issues like asthma. 

If you can still smell overwhelming odors in your home after introducing an air purifier with an activated carbon filter, it likely means the product isn’t working properly. If this happens, return it for a new device or trade it in for a different model. 

Are there Health Risks When Using a Charcoal Filter?

There aren’t any serious health implications from using an air purifier with an activated carbon filter. The only real concern arises because of a misunderstanding of their proper use.

As we’ve already mentioned, they’re only meant for removing gases and volatile organic chemicals from the air. Carbon Activated filters work best when used with other filtering technology and that’s why they’re usually found in purifiers with HEPA filters or UV-C filters.

Change the filters every 6 to 8 months, or they will quickly lose their effectiveness. When saturated with the material they collect, the carbon pores become less effective.

If there’s a smoker in the house, a working filter removes carcinogens from the air. Worn out filters expose other family members to harmful second-hand smoke.

Activated Carbon Purifiers Pros:

  • Removes odors from the air
  • Reduces the amount of volatile organic compounds in the air
  • Improves the quality of the air for asthma sufferers

Activated Carbon Purifiers Cons:

  • Not effective at removing most airborne contaminants
  • Carbon filters need to be changed every 6 to 8 months

Do I Need an Activated Carbon Air Purifier?

Air purifiers with activated carbon filters do improve the quality of the air you breathe. If there are any unwanted odors in your home, you’ll notice the difference. When used with other filtering technology such as HEPA filters and UV-C light filters, activated carbon filters can help to make the air we breathe cleaner.