Do Air Purifiers Remove Carbon Monoxide? (Get The Facts Here)

  • Author: Irene Mills
  • Date: September 26, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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Lots of people love air purifiers because they remove unhealthy pollutants from the air. But do air purifiers remove carbon monoxide?

I decided to look into it and here’s what I learned:

By using an air purifier with an activated carbon filter, it removes organic compounds (VOCs). However, an air purifier should not be relied upon to rid the air of CO2 completely. While air purifiers can remove carbon monoxide within the home, a carbon monoxide monitor is a must.

But, that’s just a brief summary.

In the rest of this article, I’ll be breaking down the facts about carbon monoxide and air purifiers.

Keep reading to know more!

Do Air Purifiers Remove Carbon Monoxide?

The answer is yes, but only if they meet very specific requirements.

For example, the volume of the room must be measured. It has to be able to draw air from all areas of the room. 

If the air can only be cycled once or twice per hour, it won’t be enough.

Manufacturer marketing is another issue. Many of these air purifier makers exaggerate their product’s ability to perform.

Although, make sure you pick an air purifier that can aid in the trapping of carbon monoxide. 

Then, either have an air purification specialist look at it for you or ask them directly for a recommendation. 

Another thing to watch out for is micron size. Most True HEPA filters can rid the air of particles measuring .3 micrometers. 

However, carbon monoxide is a gas, and gases are tinier than .3 micrometers.

As a result, it will simply pass right through even a True HEPA filter. 

In addition, you’ll still need a working carbon monoxide monitor in your home.

Even if you purchase a high-end air filter, a monitor is necessary for your safety.

Can Air Purifiers Emit Carbon Monoxide?

The answer is no. CO is made when a material combusts.

Homes that have appliances that burn fuel or attached garages are more prone to CO issues. 

Here are some items in our home, which are a source of CO: 

  • Fireplaces (wood and gas)
  • Clothing dryers
  • Water heaters
  • Motor vehicles
  • Gas ovens/Stoves
  • Furnaces/boilers
  • Power tools, grills, generators, lawn tractors/mowers
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Wood stoves
Do HEPA Filters Remove Carbon Monoxide?

Can Air Purifiers Detect Carbon Monoxide?

Air purifiers do NOT detect carbon monoxide.

You are going to need a carbon monoxide monitor to do that.

You can purchase one at your favorite retailer. Some municipalities even offer free monitors at the local fire department. 

Purchase and read the instructions carefully for your monitor.

Install alarms on every level of your home. Put them outside every sleeping area of your home.

If possible, interconnect the alarms so that when one goes off, they all go off. 

Make sure you follow all manufacturer instructions for the correct mounting height and placement.

Test the monitors each month and replace them as per the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Also, keep extra batteries on hand at all times. Listen carefully for the trouble signal sounds.

Replace low batteries and if it still makes a sound, contact your local fire department right away. 

This information was derived from the NFPA, and I highly encourage you to read this resource about CO monitors. 

How to Remove Carbon Monoxide from The Air?

  • Carbon Monoxide ventilation system-A popular method of removing carbon monoxide from the air, but they are mostly available for commercial applications. These are commercial systems installed by HVAC technicians.  Even so, they are not on 24/7 because they cost a lot to run. Even in places that operate such systems, monitoring equipment is still used for maximum safety.
  • Carbon monoxide scrubber- These are just as they sound. It is a device that uses a chemical to remove a harmful gas from the air. They work by removing unwanted gases from the air by using chemical reactions that change the makeup of the gas to heat and water as they go through the system. 

How Long Does It Take for Carbon Monoxide to Dissipate? 

The half-life of carbon monoxide in the human body is five hours.

This is the same half-life for a well-ventilated home.

This means that after five hours, half of the carbon monoxide will have disappeared. In five more hours, the rest will go away. 

This means that it can take a day or two to really dissipate. It depends on how bad the leak was.

However, it’s best to call a professional to test the air and remove the pollutant.

You will need to stay away from home until it is deemed safe. You will also need time to address whatever caused the leak. 

Will Opening Windows Reduce Carbon Monoxide?

Yes, but not enough to be safe. If your carbon monoxide monitor goes off, you need to exit the home immediately and contact the fire department right away.

Opening the windows will not be adequate for you and your family’s safety. 

The carbon monoxide must then be removed. You will then need to have an air quality professional come in and test the home.

The item that caused the carbon monoxide leak must be addressed or removed. 

Conclusion: Do HEPA Filters Remove Carbon Monoxide?

Unfortunately, the answer to this is no. A HEPA filter is built to national standards.

One criterion is that it can remove 99.97% of all particles at a size of .3 microns. 

So, a HEPA filter can remove some pollutants from the air. More specifically, those of the PM2.5 pollutant variety. 

This includes brake and tire dust. It also includes some vehicle emissions too.

But HEPA filters cannot remove VOCs. (Volatile Organic Compounds)

They also cannot remove other gaseous pollutants like sulfur dioxide or nitrous oxide.

Carbon monoxide cannot be removed, either. It should also be noted that HEPA filters must be replaced on a regular basis.

They do, after all, get clogged with particles. 

Carbon monoxide is no joke and must be taken seriously.

Check the monitors in your home regularly, and always have extra batteries on hand.

We hope this article has been helpful to you. And it fully answered the question: Do Air purifiers remove carbon Monoxide? 

Looking For Air Purifier Guides?

If you’re looking for more air purifier resources, consider checking out our other posts on air purifiers.

irene mills author of freshairdevices

(writer & chief editor)

Irene Mills is eager to help others create an indoor allergen-free home. She has years of experience testing out air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and other products designed to help with indoor air quality. Learn more about me.