Charcoal air purifiers (or a charcoal filter, also called “activated carbon”) operate by absorbing odors and gases from the air. However the size and cost of a charcoal air purifier filter can vary greatly. The version of charcoal known and promoted as “activated carbon” is a form where it is treated with oxygen, which opens up millions of little pores between the carbon atoms. The reason it works so well is because these millions of tiny cells within the charcoal are not only very porous; they also attract and hold gases and odors.
It is also used in water purifiers, and military gas masks, because it can absorb chlorine and other chemicals in the water, and toxic gases in the air. Once the charcoal has absorbed enough gas to fill all the available cells (which can take a day or many months, depending on the amount of pollutants in the air) the charcoal filters must be replaced.
Which Air Purifier Use Charcoal ?
Charcoal Filter Deception
Charcoal filters are one of the most profitable product for air purifier companies. Charcoal is relatively inexpensive, very abundant in nature and it is the amount of charcoal (by weight) that determines how effective the charcoal air purifier or filter will be. Charcoal is limited in how many gases and odors it will absorb. The range of how much charcoal is tremendous. I have seen air purifiers (EX: Friedrich, Alen) which uses a very small amount of Charcoal (carbon) which is impregnated onto a very thin filter frame. The markup to replace these small charcoal or carbon filters is incredible.
One example of abuse is the Oreck Air Purifier, whose infomercials tout that you “never have to replace the filter”. In my opinion that is simply pure deception through words. The charcoal (carbon) filter in it (SEE THE VIDEO BELOW) will last only a few months, even less if you are a smoker, and you will have to replace it with a new one. The replacements are both expensive and very small as you’ll see in the video. The way Oreck gets away with this is by using the term “Odor Absorber” instead of calling it a “filter” (it is a filter in everyone else’s opinion).
Oh well, people buy it, and such is the infomercial game of words. At least the Oreck “Truman Cell” plates will help with some smoke and odors.
Overpriced Charcoal Filters
Free Charcoal Filters
There are a few charcoal air purifiers (or rather air purifiers that include charcoal) which incorporate a more reasonable strategy to adding Charcoal into an air purifier – they save you the cost of buying Charcoal or carbon filters by building it right into the HEPA filter. Here is link below showing one such model.
The truth is that air fresheners and burning incense can cause allergic reactions in people, and of course merely cover the smells and odors. The fact that there are thousands of VOC’s (artificial gases and chemical fumes found in plastic products, new carpeting, and construction) is reason enough to prevent health problems from chemicals in the air. Many of these chemical VOC’s do not have an odor and some will claim that inhaling enough of them over time can and will cause cancer. I don’t like to use scare tactics but it is better to play it safe by adding charcoal air purifiers to your health strategy. You won’t know there is a problem in the air until you have some health problems, and you may never find out it was in the air.
Activated carbon actually attracts other chemicals to it. Once attracted to the activated carbon in the charcoal air purifier, the chemicals become bonded to the carbon. Because there are millions of little pores on the activated carbon in a charcoal air purifier, you won’t have to worry about replacing the charcoal air purifier filters that often. In fact, one filter can last for nine months or more! .
If you buy bigger filters, you’ll have more activated carbon to trap scents. In fact, the largest charcoal air purifier filters you can find may actually last for two years before you need to change them.
So while there is not specifically " charcoal air purifiers " it is one common type of filtration used in air purifiers. Charcoal, or activated carbon, is a must for your air purifier strategy because of it’s superior ability to remove toxic chemicals and odors. The two things to consider in your research to find the best one is to consider:
1) How much odor and chemicals does my house have?
2) Does the model I am looking for have a reasonable replacement cost?
The bigger the need, the bigger the amount of charcoal (by weight) should be factored in.
There are some air purifiers which save you the cost of buying Charcoal or carbon filters by building it into the HEPA purifier. The link below is one such model.