naked man wearing gas mask

Do Air Purifiers Remove Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is an extremely harmful gas that is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, making it a silent killer. Exposure to carbon monoxide will lead to headaches, dizziness, suffocation, and unconsciousness.

Plus, if you’re subjected to tiny levels of carbon monoxide for a prolonged period it will lead to difficulty in concentration. People often use air purifiers to get rid of harmful contaminants from their living spaces.

But can air purifiers remove carbon monoxide?

Do Air Purifiers Remove Carbon Monoxide?

Yes, air purifiers can remove carbon monoxide to some extent based on specific requirements.

If you are planning to get an air purifier thinking that it will eliminate carbon monoxide from your living space, you can’t simply hop by the nearest store and grab one. You have to pay attention to detail if you want to find the type of air purifier that will do a good job of eradicating this poisonous gas from your home.

Related reading: How to Get Cat Hair Out of the Air?

Airflow and Room Size Comparison

Before jumping to the concerns of removing carbon monoxide from your house, you should measure the area of the room where you’re planning to place the air purifier in.

The size of the room is crucial because no matter how good the air purifier is if it doesn’t have a powerful fan it won’t be able to draw all the air into the device to purify it.

Plus, if the air purifier can only run two cycles per hour, it won’t be effective enough to remove carbon monoxide. According to a test by the Wirecutter, an air purifier can eliminate up to 99.97% smoke from a room in an hour only if it has sufficient airflow to carry out the exchange. It’s not ideal to follow what the manufacturers claim because they tend to exaggerate the performance capability of air purifiers by sticking to a standard that seems right by theory. Unless you pick the right kind of air purifier that works for your space practically, it will be of no use.

The square foot estimation mentioned by manufacturers is based on 8-foot ceilings. If your room ceiling is higher than that, the air purifier won’t be as effective due to the disproportionate airflow to room ratio. Plus, these estimations are done considering empty rooms.

As long as there are pieces of furniture or any other obstruction the airflow will not be as powerful as it would in an empty room. So, you should automatically go for an air purifier that claims to purify a room with a higher volume than the room you’re planning to place the device in.

Adequately Sized Air Purifier

You must check the ACH on the air purifier which refers to the Air Changes per Hour. Ideally, a good air purifier should be able to eliminate all contaminants from the air within 15 minutes of its operation. To remove small traces of carbon monoxide the ACH on the air purifier should be at least 4.

An Activated Carbon Filter

The air purifier you choose should have an activated carbon filter to eliminate carbon monoxide along with other unwanted gases. While the majority of air purifiers have activated carbon filters, all of them might not successfully help to get rid of carbon monoxide contamination.

Activated carbon filters that weigh at least 5 pounds and have actual granules will be suitable for eliminating carbon monoxide from the air. Always remember the heavier the filter, the better job it will do to purify the air.

Regular Replacement of the Filter

Just using an activated carbon filter will not suffice when it comes to keeping your surroundings free of carbon monoxide. Since you cannot vacuum, wash, or clean these filters to get rid of the buildup of toxins, you need to replace them.

You have to keep in mind that once an activated carbon filter is used up, it will not be effective in filtering out any more carbon monoxide that passes through it.

Can Air Purifiers Detect Carbon Monoxide?

While certain air purifiers can remove smaller traces of carbon monoxide, they are not designed to detect carbon monoxide. For that, you’d specifically require a carbon monoxide monitor which you can purchase from your nearby appliance store. It’s pertinent that you install the alarms in every room, especially outside your bedroom. The placement instructions should be followed as guided by the manufacturer.

Some alarm systems can be connected as well which means if one carbon monoxide monitor alarm goes off the rest will follow at the same time. Since they are battery-operated you should keep extra batteries at home and contact the fire department if you hear any unusual noise apart from the alarm as well.

Do HEPA Filters Remove Carbon Monoxide?

A HEPA filter is designed to remove pollutants like dust, pollen, mold, allergens, and other large pollutants. Therefore, they are not suitable for removing carbon monoxide from the air. Carbon monoxide falls under Volatile Organic Compounds therefore only Activated Carbon filters can remove to some extent.

With that being said, you can use a combination of HEPA filters and Activated Carbon filters to get rid of all sorts of contaminants from your living space. As long as you use both, and regularly follow maintenance, your house will be free of any harmful pollutants.

How to Completely Remove Carbon Monoxide From The Air?

As mentioned before, air purifiers will work only if there is presence of small traces of carbon monoxide in the air. These devices are not built to completely eradicate this poisonous gas. If you want to be safe at all costs, you can utilize the following to keep your house free of carbon monoxide.

Carbon Monoxide Scrubber

A carbon monoxide scrubber is a tool that uses a chemical to eliminate dangerous gases from the air. The device converts the state of the gas to heat and then water through chemical reactions. They are usually used in industrial plants but if you are worried about carbon monoxide contamination at your home or office, there’s no harm in using this piece of equipment.

Carbon Monoxide Ventilation System

As you can guess from the name, a carbon monoxide ventilation system will be more suitable for commercial purposes that may include office space as well. Usually installed by HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) professionals, these systems do an amazing job of eliminating carbon monoxide from the air.

However, it’s not viable to run these systems for 24 hours as they can be very expensive. Plus, rigid monitoring is essential even if an enclosed space is installed with a carbon monoxide ventilation system to ensure maximum safety.

What Are The Sources of Carbon Monoxide In Our Homes?

While carbon monoxide can enter your homes through windows mainly due to the exhaust from motor vehicles, there are multiple sources indoors that can release this poisonous gas.

Some of them are:

  • Wood stoves
  • Fireplaces
  • Gas stoves, ovens, and grills
  • Power tools such as generators and lawnmowers
  • Furnaces and boilers
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Water heaters
  • Clothing dryers

Precautionary Measures to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Leaks

As you already know, carbon monoxide is an undetectable gaseous substance. However, you can take a few precautionary measures to prevent any mishaps.

  • The best way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning is by installing carbon monoxide detectors in your house with a powerful alarm system so that you are alerted as soon as there is a possible leak.
  • All the vents of your appliances should be free of obstructions at all times. They include but are not limited to, generators, fireplaces, furnaces, and heaters.
  • Get an annual inspection done by professionals to detect any possible carbon monoxide

How Long Does It Take For Carbon Monoxide to Vanish?

The half-life of carbon monoxide in human bodies is 5 hours which is the same for a well-aired house. This indicates that half of the carbon monoxide should dissipate from the air after a 5-hour mark of its release. Depending on how bad the leak is, it can take a day or two for the carbon monoxide to fully vanish from your home.

With that being said, it’s still risky to assume that the air inside your house is free of carbon monoxide so you should get it tested by professionals to see if there are any remnants and if so, get rid of them. No matter how long it takes, you must stay away from your home if there’s a carbon monoxide leak.

Related reading: Do Air Purifiers Emit Radiation?

Final Words

While air purifiers can eliminate small traces of carbon monoxide, they are not suitable for dealing with major carbon monoxide leaks. Carbon monoxide can enter your house through the air that is filled with industrial and vehicular exhaust. Fortunately, activated carbon purifiers can get rid of that.

However, if you believe there’s a constant source of carbon monoxide in or near your house, you should get your house tested right away.

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