Carbon Filters : Everything You Need To Know

Shanna Cooper
Tue Oct 19, 2021

If you are looking for a filtration system to get rid of strong odors or harmful gases while you work, then you are in the right place. Let’s break down why carbon filters are used, how they work and if you should be using one with your application.

 Carbon possesses special attributes that allow for the removal of odors, gaseous pollutants and other volatile organic compounds. (Volatile Organic Compounds are chemicals containing carbon that evaporate readily at room temperature and are linked to a variety of health issues.) Thus carbon can provide a higher filtration ability than a HEPA filter, which can only filter particulates.

What are carbon filters and how do they work?

Carbon filters are the best choice when working with gases and vapors. They trap gas molecules via a process called adsorption onto a bed of charcoal and are able to not only remove harmful particles from coming into contact with your lungs, but odors as well.

It is important to note that carbon filters are not able to remove fine particles like mold, dust, or pollen – which is why the Clean Air HEPA Filter from our CleanAir system is a great option if you are looking for both particulate and organic chemical protection as it offers a carbon pre-filter accessory to layer over the HEPA filter.

The carbon pre-filter is thin making it suitable for lighter concentrations of organic protection.

In comparison, our Infinity combination filter contains a much thicker amount of carbon (increased residency time); making it the perfect filter for when you are seeking a higher protection level. Be sure to use the respirator at a lower airflow setting to ensure adequate dwell time. 


Now that you know what carbon filters do and what some offerings are, lets quickly discuss the use of a carbon filter.

How to effectively use a carbon filter:

  1. Air flow is vital

Filtration of these types of pollutants without adequate air flow is ineffective as the air needs to spend the maximum possible amount of time passing through the carbon in order to effectively remove the most pollutants. A thicker carbon filter will ensure a higher dwell time then a thin one.

  1. Change your carbon filter

Once the carbon is saturated, the filtration protection is null and void. It is imperative that you change this type of filter out frequently. There is no perfect method to knowing when a filter should be changed but typically noticing odors resurfacing or tasting the odor will be the first indicator. It is recommended to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and change it on a regular basis to be safe (typically this is a monthly schedule). 

If you work with chemicals on a regular basis, a filter containing carbon will be essential to removing any possible trace of VOCs or odors from entering your lungs.

Please contact us at any time to ensure that you are choosing the appropriate filter for your application.

Stay safe out there.

View More Articles


Submit A Comment