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What is an Activated Carbon Filter?

Fairly new on the scene, you may have heard about activated carbon filters. They’re mostly found inside air purifiers or vacuum cleaners, where they’ll be attached to the rest of the filtration system.

What is a Activated Carbon Filter?
Activated Carbon Filter

Unfortunately, up to now, it’s impossible to use them as a stand-alone filter, but the good news is, you’ll find them attached to just about every filter system on the market right now.

But what exactly are they?

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Why do we need activated carbon filters?

Activated carbon filters are highly adsorbent of porous gases, chemicals and even Volatile Organic Compounds (also known as VOCs) which means that they adsorb odors from smoke, pets, and everyday smells that are activated by bacteria in the air.

Activated Carbon Filter
Activated Carbon Filter

These unsightly odors are often the ones that linger for so long that we forget about them altogether in our own home, but they’re the odors that your guests discover as soon as they walk through the door.

In their place, you’ll find a fresh, pleasant smell that’ll leave your home fresher than ever, and what’s more, they’ve got massive health benefits that see allergy sufferers with far fewer complaints over a longer period of time. That’s why they’re used so often in vacuum cleaners and air purifiers.

How do they work?

Used alongside a True HEPA filter in most circumstances, an activated carbon filter helps to grab and trap those smaller particles such as pollen, pet dander, lint and mold spores, which can cause even more problems down the line to our homes and even our health.

Activated Carbon (Charcoal) Filters
Activated Carbon Filter

This charcoal filter usually comes in a powdered block form, or in granule form, where you’ll find millions of adsorbent pores ready to soak up unwanted particles.

In turn, they remove those disgusting odors and allergens from the air through the process of adsorption, which means that these particles simply stick to the outside of the filter itself, becoming trapped and ready to dispose of.

Although activated carbon filters are great for removing smaller particles from the air, they cannot remove ultra-fine particles of dust and dust mites, pollen or pet dander from the air by themselves, which is why they need to be attached to the rest of the filtration system.

Does an activated carbon filter last for a long time?

Unfortunately, activated carbon filters don’t have a long shelf life, as they become clogged with so many particles each day. In fact, in order for them to work at their best, you’ll need to provide maintenance on them every 2 to 4 weeks to keep them fresh by cleaning them out thoroughly, and they’ll need to be replaced every few months.

Activated Carbon Filters: What They Are & How They Work
Activated Carbon Filter

If you do keep on top of maintenance, the good news is that you can reuse your activated carbon filter between 2 and 3 more times before they become completely useless and need to be replaced. This is a handy way to save money should you need to, even though the price of a new active carbon filter isn’t too high.

Other Filter Types

True HEPA Filter
UV-C light

Activated Carbon Air Filters
Activated Carbon Filter

Air Recommended Air Purifiers

Our Pick Perfect for bedrooms, playrooms, and living rooms, the Coway Airmega AP-1512HH is one of the best-performing, most durable, and most economical purifiers we’ve tested.

Most Popular The Levoit Core 300 air purifier has some strong suits, but in our opinion it falls short of carving out a meaningful niche for itself. Its ideal use would be in a small bedroom occupied by someone who is sensitive to noise.

Also Great With high end air cleaning performance and a whisper quiet fan, the Winix 5500-2 is the perfect combination of power and finesse. It cleared airborne particulates out of our smokey testing room faster than any other model.

Best of the Best If you have a large space you want to remove irritants from, We recommend the Airmega 400S. All of Coway air purifiers do an excellent job of attacking indoor pollutants, and we highly recommend any of them. The 400S is designed to accommodate large room sizes.

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About the author

Hi I’m Alex, founder of HouseholdMe.com and I’d like to say thank you for dropping by. Like most of you, the first thing I look at before buying something online is reviews or buying guides. By reading what other people say will help me gauge whether or not a product is good or not.  I am trying to help people find answers, solve problems, and get inspired.

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