Carbon air filters can dramatically improve indoor air quality in your home. Carbon filtration has been used for thousands of years. It was used to remove impurities while manufacturing bronze and, in Ancient Egypt, to remove infection-related odors. From the 16th through 18th centuries, sailors smeared charcoal in barrels to keep drinking water fresh.
How Carbon Filters WorkThese air filters primarily remove gases using a bed of activated carbon. Molecules are trapped via adsorption, which is when they attach to the outside of a surface. Higher porosity carbon has increased surface area that contaminants can stick to as air moves through the filter. Once air has passed through the filter and back into the room, it has been purified and is safe to breathe.
Why Use a Carbon Air Filter?There are many advantages to using activated carbon filters. They are often the preferred method of indoor air filtration because:
- Volatile Organic Compounds Are Removed: These include ozone, chlorinated compounds, cigarette smoke, gases given off by cleaning products or paint, and chemicals such as benzene, toluene, and xylene.
- Odors Can Be Eliminated: Standard air purifiers only filter out particles. They cannot remove odors, but carbon filters can as they’re designed to remove odor-causing molecules from the air and your heating & air conditioning system.
- They Are Safe to Use: Carbon air filters are completely safe whether used for air, water, or gas purification. They’re even used with life support systems for space suits. Activated carbon also has medical, cosmetic, environmental, and agricultural applications.
- Activated Carbon Can Be Used in Many Ways: It can help purify organic molecules and chemicals in chemistry applications, aid in spill cleanup, and can trap mercury gas if infused with halogens and sulfur. There may even be activated carbon in your toothpaste, shampoo, or face mask.
- There Are Different Types of Activated Carbon: It comes in the form of Granular Activated Carbon (GAC), Powdered Activated Carbon (PAC), or Extruded Activated Carbon (EAC) in cylindrical or spherical pieces. Impregnated carbon contains silver, iodine, or other inorganic materials, while woven carbon forms fibers to create cloth materials. Polymer activated carbon is coated with a biocompatible substance that creates a smooth, permeable membrane to keep its pores open.
- Carbon Filters Can Last a Long Time: They generally last three to six months, but longevity depends on the amount of carbon used. Thicker filters tend to last longer. Some heavy-duty products can last as long as five years.