Everything You Need To Know About Activated Carbon & Activated Carbon Adsorption

Activated carbon and activated carbon filters rid spaces of chemicals and odors that are unpleasant and unhealthy to breathe. An activated carbon air filter is made from charcoal treated with oxygen that forces open millions of tiny pores between carbon atoms. The adsorption rate of activated carbon filter pores averages around one-third of its weight per pound, making it one of the most effective air filters available. A study by the U.S. Department of Energy revealed an activated carbon air purifier removes up to 70 percent more airborne ozone than filters without activated carbon. Volatile organic compound (VOC) levels were reduced by up to 80 percent when using an activated carbon air filter. The Environmental Protection Agency identified more than 225 chemicals activated carbon filtration effectively removes. Some of the chemicals on the list include acetone, benzene, and nitrogen dioxide.

Activated carbon gas adsorption

Activated carbon commonly is used to remove diverse airborne contaminants in commercial and residential spaces. It is one of the most inexpensive and effective gas adsorption options thanks to its large, porous surface area.

Activated carbon works as a carbon dioxide scrubber. Environments with high levels of CO2 benefit from using an air purifier with an activated carbon filter. A PM2.5 activated carbon filter improves filtration effectiveness, particularly against small, aerosolized particles.

Consumers can determine a filter’s efficiency by its MERV rating. The MERV rating scale ranks filters based on the size of particles it can filter and the number of particles it removes. MERV 6 to 8 rated pre-filters are the minimum level recommended for balancing filtration capabilities with airflow resistance. All Oransi air purifiers have a MERV rating between 16 and 18.

Advantages of activated carbon adsorption

There are advantages and disadvantages of activated carbon adsorption. CO2 adsorption with activated carbon is more effective than other methods. An activated carbon air filter is a strong defender against gases and other airborne pollutants that invade your home and other indoor spaces. If you have a home with a strong odor for any reason, using an activated carbon filter is your best bet for ridding the unpleasant smell.

Methane adsorption with activated carbon is one of its most beneficial properties. Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases, contributing to the ongoing global warming crisis. While most people focus on reducing carbon dioxide emissions, they fail to recognize that methane is 28 to 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat. Unless you live in a carbon zero home, chances are methane is an indoor pollutant in your home. While clean-burning, natural gas is one of the biggest methane emitters in the home.

Activated carbon paired with a HEPA filter is a combined powerhouse for eliminating indoor pollutants and allergens. Oransi is committed to reducing its environmental footprint, which includes the products we manufacture for customers. The materials we use in our air purifiers and filtration systems clean the air of allergens and pollutants using eco-friendly and proven methods.

Disadvantages of activated carbon adsorption

There are some disadvantages to using activated carbon filters. One of the biggest drawbacks is you must replace carbon filters once they become saturated. Most quality air purifiers have filter indicators to alert you when it is time to replace your filter.

An activated carbon filter does not adsorb allergens or kill bacteria, which is another shortcoming. You will need an air purifier that pairs activated carbon with HEPA filtration to remove VOCs and allergens. Make sure you choose an air purifier that is an appropriate size for the indoor space you wish to filter harmful allergens and odors.

Activated carbon adsorption process

The activated carbon adsorption process involves compounds in the air reacting with the carbon in the filter. Like moths to a flame, these pollutants seek out activated charcoal and land on its surface where they are then trapped. Cleaner air is then pushed out through the air purifier. 

Adsorption is different from absorption. Absorption is the term for soaking up a liquid into something like a cloth, filter, or sponge. Adsorption is the gathering of individual atoms, ions, and molecules on a surface. In the case of activated carbon filters, adsorption is the correct way to describe how they clean the air.

FAQs

What is activated carbon?

Activated carbon is a processed form of carbon with small, low-volume pores. It can purify liquids and trap airborne volatile organic compounds. Our homes and other indoor spaces often are polluted by chemical gases. These gases are released by common household cleaning products, new flooring, upholstered furniture, and even the paints and primers we use to update our interior designs.

Activated carbon filters are small pieces of carbon that are granular or powdered. As a rule, the more porous the activated carbon filter, the more airborne contaminants it can capture.

An activated carbon filter is used in some air purifiers and can remove up to 99.4 percent of airborne particulates at 0.30 microns. An activated carbon air filter is ideal for removing odors and smoke, significantly improving indoor air quality.

Are activated carbon filters safe?

Yes. Activated carbon filters and air purifiers that use a PM 2.5 activated carbon filter are safe for use in commercial and residential spaces. Moreover, activated carbon filters are effective at removing volatile organic compounds commonly found in most households. When paired with HEPA filtration, air purifiers can trap harmful pollutants and rid your indoor spaces of odors.

It is important to change your activated carbon filter according to manufacturer recommendations. Once a filter is full, it will no longer work effectively, allowing airborne pollutants to invade your indoor spaces. Some air purifiers have an indicator feature that lets consumers know when the filter is used up and needs replacing.

What is an activated carbon filter?

Activated carbon filters are a type of air filter primarily used for removing gases from the air. An activated carbon air purifier leverages the power of activated carbon to remove gases and other unpleasant odors. Activated carbon adsorption is ideal for trapping harmful gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane, which can contribute to global warming.

What is the activated carbon filter used for?

An activated carbon filter is used to trap gases in a bed of activated carbon. Air purification systems use activated charcoal filters to combat any volatile organic compounds released by cleaning products and some appliances. Some top-quality air purifiers use both a HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter for a double dose of effectiveness against indoor allergens and airborne gases.

An activated carbon filter is recommended for removing odors from the air. This can include tobacco smoke, cooking smells, or other unpleasant odors that tend to pollute our indoor living spaces. Traditional HEPA filters work best for dust, pet dander, pollen, and other airborne particles.

How does activated carbon work?

How activated carbon works is by attracting molecules and other airborne gases. Most activated carbon filters consist of a large, flat surface layered with activated carbon. When used in an air purification system, contaminated air is sucked into the air purifier, where the carbon filter works its magic. Any volatile organic gases are stuck in the carbon filter. When paired with a HEPA filter, a PM2.5 activated carbon filter can eliminate 99 percent of particulates.

Do activated carbon air filters work?

Activated carbon air filters are effective thanks to their incredible adsorption rate. They attract volatile organic compounds and other harmful gases and trap them inside the filter.

What is activated carbon adsorption?

Activated carbon adsorption is the process by which compounds in the air react with the carbon in an activated carbon air filter. Certain compounds, like CO2 and methane gases, are attracted to activated charcoal. Air purifiers that use an activated carbon filter work by sucking in the polluted air and trapping the compounds in the carbon air filter. Cleaner air is then pushed out through the air purifier, improving indoor air quality.

How does activated carbon adsorption work?

Adsorption is not the same thing as absorption. Absorption is what happens when a liquid is soaked up by a cloth, filter, or sponge. Adsorption gathers separate atoms, ions, and molecules on a surface. This is what a carbon air filter does.