Air Purifier Carbon Monoxide: Can it Remove CO?

Last updated on September 29th, 2023 at 06:43 am

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Did you know that the oxygen we breathe indoors can contain higher levels of contaminants than the oxygen outside? One of the most dangerous pollutants is carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless and odorless gas that can have severe health consequences. But fear not!

In this article, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of how these specialized air purifiers work and why they are crucial for creating a safer indoor environment with gas appliances. You’ll also explore the importance of having a carbon monoxide detector in your home to monitor deadly gas levels, as well as discuss the role of oxygen in combating CO and radon.

Key Takeaways

  • Air purifiers cannot remove carbon monoxide from the air. However, understanding the difference between an air purifier and an air conditioner can help you make informed decisions about indoor air quality.
  • Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that contributes to air pollution and poor air quality. It is produced by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, which releases contaminants into the atmosphere.
  • It is important to have carbon monoxide detectors in your home to alert you to any potential co-poisoning leaks caused by poor air quality.
  • The best way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning is to ensure proper ventilation and maintenance of appliances that produce carbon monoxide.
  • Air purifiers are effective in removing other pollutants and allergens from the air, but they cannot remove carbon monoxide. It’s also worth noting that while air purifiers can improve air quality, they don’t typically cool the room.

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Understanding Carbon Monoxide and Its Dangers

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly gas that poses a serious threat to your health. It is often referred to as “the silent killer” because it is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, making it difficult to detect without proper equipment.

Explanation of Carbon Monoxide and Its Sources

Carbon monoxide is produced by the incomplete combustion of fuels such as gas, oil, coal, and wood. When these fuels burn incompletely due to inadequate ventilation or faulty appliances, carbon monoxide is released into the air. Common sources of carbon monoxide in residential settings include gas water heaters, furnaces, fireplaces, stoves, and portable generators.

Health Risks Associated with Carbon Monoxide Exposure

Exposure to carbon monoxide can have severe health implications, especially in tests. When inhaled into the lungs, it enters the bloodstream and binds with hemoglobin more readily than oxygen does. This reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen throughout the body effectively. Even at low levels of exposure over an extended period, carbon monoxide can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, confusion, fatigue, and shortness of breath in tests.

At higher levels or prolonged exposure timescales without intervention or removal from the source area(s), carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to loss of consciousness and even death. Sadly enough many people fail to recognize these symptoms as signs of CO poisoning until it’s too late.

The Silent Killer: Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

One reason why carbon monoxide is so dangerous is its reputation as “the silent killer.” Unlike other gases like natural gas (smell) or smoke (visibility), carbon monoxide cannot be detected without specialized co-detectors. This is why it is crucial to be aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and conduct regular tests.

Initial symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and confusion. As exposure continues, individuals may experience chest pain, vomiting, loss of consciousness, and ultimately death in severe cases. It is important to note that these symptoms can vary from person to person and are often mistaken for other illnesses. Regular tests of carbon dioxide levels are crucial for detecting potential dangers.

Taking Preventive Measures Against Carbon Monoxide Exposure

Given the serious risks associated with carbon monoxide exposure, it is essential to take preventive measures to protect yourself and your loved ones. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Install carbon monoxide detectors: Place these devices on every level of your home or workplace, especially near bedrooms and sleeping areas.
  2. Regularly inspect appliances: Have a professional check your gas appliances annually for any leaks, malfunctions, or changes in carbon dioxide levels.
  3. Ensure proper ventilation to minimize carbon dioxide levels: Make sure that all fuel-burning appliances are adequately ventilated to the outside.
  4. Never use generators indoors: Generators should always be used outside at least 20 feet away from doors, windows, or vents to avoid increased carbon dioxide levels.
  5. Avoid running vehicles in enclosed spaces like garages to prevent the buildup of carbon dioxide. Garages should never be used as a place to warm up vehicles or run engines.

By being proactive and taking these preventive measures against carbon monoxide exposure, you can significantly reduce the risk of CO poisoning in your home or workplace.

Carbon monoxide alarm positioned in room with gas stove for suffocation prevention
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Illustrating the critical function of a carbon monoxide alarm in a room heated by a gas stove

The Role of Air Purifiers in Reducing Carbon Monoxide Levels

Air purifiers play a crucial role in creating a safe and healthy indoor environment, especially when considering their ability to work in multiple rooms. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless and colorless gas that can be extremely harmful when present in high concentrations.

Mechanisms of Carbon Monoxide Reduction

Air purifiers are designed to improve indoor air quality by removing pollutants and contaminants from the air. These purifiers employ various mechanisms that efficiently target CO molecules. One common method is through the use of activated carbon filters. These filters contain millions of tiny pores that adsorb CO molecules as the air passes through them. By trapping and holding onto these harmful gases, the activated carbon filter helps lower the overall concentration of carbon monoxide in the indoor environment.

Another effective mechanism used by air purifiers to reduce CO levels is photocatalytic oxidation (PCO). This technology utilizes a catalyst coated with titanium dioxide to convert harmful gases like carbon monoxide into harmless compounds such as water vapor and carbon dioxide. This process occurs when UV light interacts with the catalyst, triggering a chemical reaction that breaks down CO molecules.

Features to Consider

When selecting an air purifier specifically for reducing carbon monoxide levels, there are several key features to consider:

  1. Activated Carbon Filters: Look for models with high-quality activated carbon filters that have a large surface area for maximum adsorption capacity.
  2. Photocatalytic Oxidation: Consider air purifiers equipped with PCO technology for the effective reduction of CO levels.
  3. Air Exchange Rate: Opt for purifiers that offer a high air exchange rate, meaning they can filter the air in a room multiple times per hour. This ensures continuous removal of carbon monoxide and other pollutants.
  4. Size and Coverage Area: Choose an air purifier suitable for the size of your space to ensure efficient purification. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for coverage area.

Complementing Preventive Measures

While air purifiers are highly effective at reducing carbon monoxide levels, it is important to remember that they should not be solely relied upon as the preventive measure against CO exposure. It is crucial to implement other safety precautions such as:

  • Regular maintenance and inspection of fuel-burning appliances (e.g., furnaces, stoves) to prevent leaks or malfunctions.
  • Installation of carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home.
  • Proper ventilation in areas where combustion occurs, such as kitchens or garages, helps to remove carbon dioxide and ensure air quality.

By combining the use of an air purifier with these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and create a safer indoor environment for you and your family.

How Activated Charcoal Filters Remove Carbon Monoxide

Activated charcoal filters are highly effective in removing harmful gases like carbon monoxide from the air. These filters, also known as carbon filters or charcoal filters, have a unique structure that allows them to adsorb and trap carbon monoxide molecules, ensuring cleaner and safer indoor environments.

The structure of activated charcoal filters is made up of tiny pores and a large surface area. This design enables them to capture a wide range of pollutants, including gases like carbon monoxide. When air passes through these filters, the porous surface attracts and holds onto the carbon monoxide molecules, preventing them from circulating back into the room.

One of the key properties of activated charcoal is its ability to adsorb substances. Unlike absorption, where one substance is soaked up by another, adsorption refers to the process in which molecules adhere to the surface of a solid material. In the case of activated charcoal filters, this means that when air containing carbon monoxide comes into contact with the filter, the carbon monoxide molecules stick to the surface of the charcoal.

The effectiveness of activated charcoal filters in removing carbon monoxide lies in their ability to trap these adsorbed molecules within their structure. Once trapped, the filter prevents any release back into the surrounding air. This mechanism ensures that harmful gases like carbon monoxide are effectively removed from indoor spaces.

Activated charcoal filters are considered highly efficient at reducing indoor pollution caused by gases such as carbon monoxide due to their exceptional adsorption capabilities. They can significantly improve air quality by eliminating not only carbon monoxide but also other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and odors.

The lifespan of activated charcoal filters varies depending on several factors such as usage and environmental conditions. Generally, they last for several months before needing replacement. However, it’s important to follow manufacturer guidelines and monitor filter performance regularly for optimal results.

Exploring the Effectiveness of Air Purifiers in Removing Carbon Monoxide

Air pollution is a major concern, with poor air quality affecting both indoor and outdoor environments. One of the most dangerous pollutants is carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless and odorless gas that can be deadly when present in high concentrations.

The Importance of Air Purification

Air purification plays a crucial role in maintaining clean and healthy indoor air. With rising levels of pollution, it is essential to have effective systems in place to remove harmful contaminants from our surroundings. Exposure can lead to severe health issues such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, and even death. Therefore, investing in an air purifier specifically designed to tackle CO is vital.

Understanding Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Before discussing air purifiers’ effectiveness against carbon monoxide, it’s important to highlight the significance of carbon monoxide detectors. These devices are designed to alert occupants when CO levels reach dangerous concentrations. While detectors serve as an initial warning system, they do not actively remove CO from the air. This is where air purifiers come into play.

How Air Purifiers Remove Carbon Monoxide

Air purifiers equipped with HEPA filters are highly effective at capturing and removing airborne particles such as carbon monoxide. HEPA filters work by trapping microscopic pollutants through fine mesh material. When considering an air purifier for CO removal, ensure it has a true HEPA filter capable of capturing small particles like CO molecules.

Some advanced air purifiers feature sensors that detect specific gases like carbon monoxide or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These sensors help monitor the CO2 concentration in the environment and adjust filtration accordingly.

Factors to Consider

When selecting an air purifier to combat carbon monoxide, consider the following factors:

  1. HEPA Filter: Look for air purifiers with true HEPA filters to effectively capture CO particles.
  2. Sensor Technology: Opt for models with built-in sensors that detect CO or VOCs for real-time monitoring.
  3. Room Size: Consider the square footage of the room where the air purifier will be used to ensure adequate coverage.
  4. Air Exchange Rate: Check the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) to determine how quickly the purifier can filter the air in a given space.

Best Air Purifiers for Carbon Monoxide

Coway Air Purifier Carbon Monoxide

The Coway air purifier is a top choice. This powerful device utilizes advanced filtration technology to capture and eliminate harmful gases, including carbon monoxide. With its sleek design and compact size, the Coway air purifier seamlessly blends into any room while providing exceptional performance.

One of the standout features of the Coway air purifier is its multi-stage filtration system. It combines a pre-filter, activated carbon filter, and True HEPA filter to efficiently trap and neutralize carbon monoxide particles. The pre-filter captures larger pollutants like dust and pet hair, while the activated carbon filter absorbs odors and harmful gases. Finally, the True HEPA filter captures microscopic particles as small as 0.3 microns with an impressive efficiency rate of 99.97%.

The Coway air purifier boasts a smart sensor that detects changes in air quality and adjusts its fan speed accordingly. This ensures optimal purification performance at all times while conserving energy when pollution levels are low. The device also features an intuitive control panel with user-friendly buttons for easy operation.

Designed for large spaces, operates efficiently in an area of up to 1,560 sq ft​ Can clean a large area​ Somewhat bulky​
Contains a dual filter: one HEPA filter and one activated carbon filter, along with a pre-filter for large particles​ Energy Star certified​ Expensive​
Reduces smells such as cigarette smoke​ Longer warranty than other Coway air purifiers​ Some users have reported issues with Coway’s customer service and honoring warranties​
Pollution sensor monitors air quality in real-time​ 5-year manufacturer’s limited warranty​ Issues with the app used for some Coway air purifiers​
All controls are on the device, doesn’t sync to an app​ Free returns for Prime members​ Confusing return policies when purchasing directly from Coway​
5-year manufacturer’s limited warranty​ Free shipping for Prime members​  
Weight: 24.7 lb​   

Winix Air Purifier Carbon Monoxide

Another top contender in the realm of air purifiers for carbon monoxide is the Winix model. Designed with cutting-edge technology, this air purifier offers exceptional protection against harmful gases such as carbon monoxide.

The Winix air purifier employs a four-stage filtration system that effectively eliminates airborne pollutants, including carbon monoxide molecules. Its washable pre-filter captures large particles like dust and pet dander, while the activated carbon filter reduces unpleasant odors caused by smoke or cooking fumes.

Furthermore, this model includes a True HEPA filter that captures 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns, ensuring thorough purification. To enhance its performance, the Winix air purifier also features PlasmaWave technology, which generates positive and negative ions to neutralize harmful pollutants.

With its sleek design and quiet operation, the Winix air purifier is an excellent choice for bedrooms, living rooms, or offices. It offers multiple fan speeds and a sleep mode for customizable usage according to individual preferences.

Filters: True HEPA, “plasmawave”, carbon filter, and pre-filter Unique “Plasmawave” technology Expensive filters
CADR (smoke/dust/pollen): 232/243/246 Air quality indicator Large and plain design
Speeds: Four speeds and auto mode Remote control included  
Noise level (db): 35.3/59.8   
Energy use: 0.105 kWh in 24 hours   
Suggested room size: 360 square feet   
Warranty: Two-year limited warranty   

Levoit Air Purifier Carbon Monoxide

The Levoit air purifier is renowned for its exceptional ability to remove carbon monoxide from indoor environments. Equipped with a high-efficiency activated carbon filter, this device effectively absorbs harmful gases and odors while improving overall air quality.

Featuring a three-stage filtration system, the Levoit air purifier captures large particles with its pre-filter, such as pet hair and dust. The activated carbon filter then traps toxic gases like carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), eliminating potential health hazards.

Moreover, this model utilizes a True HEPA filter that removes 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns. This ensures cleaner and fresher air in your home or office space.

The Levoit air purifier also provides convenient features such as a timer function and three fan speeds for personalized settings. Its compact size allows it to fit seamlessly into any room without occupying much space.

Equipped with a True HEPA filter that captures 99.97% of dust and allergens as small as 0.3 microns, including smoke, pet dander, mold spores, and plant pollens. The purifier is energy-efficient and is Energy Star certified. It may require more frequent filter changes if used in smoke-filled rooms.
Has three fan speeds, a timer setting for 1 to 12 hours, and a filter life indicator. It offers very quiet operation and is easy to use​ It has a higher price point than some competitors​
Designed for rooms up to 322 sq ft and offers settings for specific needs, including a sleep mode.   
Features a relatively quiet operation, with an average noise level of 27 dB.   
Comes with a 2-year warranty and requires replacing the filtration system every six to eight months​   

Blueair Purifier Carbon Monoxide

The Blueair Purifier Carbon Monoxide is a highly recommended air purifier that effectively eliminates harmful pollutants and provides clean and fresh air for your home or office. In this review, we will discuss the features, pros and cons, and differences of this air purifier.

Designed for rooms around 500 sq ft, with a one-button design Generous return and warranty policies More expensive than other home air purifier options
Filters out bigger particles through a pre-filter, and an inner carbon filter collects particles and gases Stylish and sleek designs Some customers report a negative customer service experience when they needed a return or a repair
Bluetooth enabled, can be controlled by an app Intuitive and easy to use You may be able to smell the carbon layer of the filter in some models
Comes with a 1-year warranty, which is extended to a 2-year warranty once you register your product Effective at filtering out ambient fine particulate matter May generate small quantities of ozone (less than 50 parts per billion)
Cannot be washed or cleaned, meant to be replaced every 6 months Has a sleek design and runs quietly  

The Blueair purifiers blend functionality and aesthetics, designed to fit seamlessly into your home decor. They effectively filter out larger particles and gases with their pre-filter and inner carbon filter and are ideal for rooms up to 500 sq ft. A highlight is the device’s Bluetooth-enabled feature, allowing control via a phone app, though some users have noted occasional glitches when syncing with home Wi-Fi.

The purifiers excel at filtering out ambient fine particulate matter, removing 99 percent of pollutants like dust, allergens, smoke, and mold particles at the highest setting. While not completely silent, their noise level is comparable to light rainfall, adding to their user-friendly appeal. However, users have reported some drawbacks: the smell of the carbon filter in some models, a higher price tag compared to other purifiers, and some negative customer service experiences. Nevertheless, Blueair provides generous return and warranty policies, including a 60-day trial period and a 1- to 2-year warranty, making it a contender in the air purifier market


In conclusion, air purifiers play a crucial role in combating carbon monoxide and ensuring the safety of your indoor environment. By understanding the dangers of carbon monoxide and how it can affect your health, you can take proactive measures to reduce its levels.

Activated charcoal filters are an effective tool used by air purifiers to remove carbon monoxide from the air. These filters have the ability to trap and absorb harmful gases, including carbon monoxide, providing cleaner and safer air for you and your family.

Air purifiers have shown promising results. However, it’s important to note that their effectiveness may vary depending on factors such as room size, filter quality, and maintenance.

To ensure maximum protection against carbon monoxide, consider investing in one of the best air purifiers specifically designed for this purpose. These models are equipped with advanced features and technologies that enhance their performance in removing harmful gases from your indoor space.

By incorporating an air purifier into your home or office environment, you can create a healthier living or working space free from the risks associated with elevated levels of carbon monoxide. Take action today to safeguard yourself and those around you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can an air purifier completely eliminate carbon monoxide?

No, an air purifier cannot completely eliminate carbon monoxide. While they can significantly reduce their levels in enclosed spaces, it is essential to address the source of carbon monoxide emissions as well.

How often should I replace the activated charcoal filter in my air purifier?

The frequency of replacing activated charcoal filters depends on various factors such as usage time, pollutant concentration, and manufacturer recommendations. It is generally recommended to replace them every 6-12 months for optimal performance.

Are there any specific features I should look for when choosing an air purifier for combating carbon monoxide?

Yes, when selecting an air purifier for carbon monoxide removal, consider features such as activated charcoal filters, high Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR), and real-time air quality monitoring to ensure effective purification.

Can air purifiers remove other pollutants besides carbon monoxide?

Yes, air purifiers can effectively remove a wide range of indoor pollutants, including dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Are there any additional steps I can take to prevent carbon monoxide exposure in my home?

In addition to using an air purifier, it is crucial to install carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home. Regularly inspecting and maintaining fuel-burning appliances and ensuring proper ventilation are also important preventive measures.

Can air purifiers help with carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms?

Air purifiers cannot treat or alleviate the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. If you suspect carbon monoxide exposure or experience symptoms such as headache, nausea, dizziness, or confusion, seek immediate medical attention and evacuate the premises.

Are there any government regulations regarding indoor carbon monoxide levels?

Yes, many countries have established guidelines and regulations for safe indoor carbon monoxide levels. Familiarize yourself with these standards and ensure that your living or working space meets the recommended limits.

For more information on the benefits and potential drawbacks of air purifiers, explore topics like air purifiers vs. dehumidifiers, air purifiers vs. humidifiers, and whether air purifiers are HSA eligible

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Emily Williams

My mission is to provide you with reliable and up-to-date information on air purifiers. As a dedicated air purifier enthusiast, I'm here to empower you to make informed decisions for your indoor air quality. From understanding different types of filters to exploring the latest technologies, join me on this journey to uncover the secrets to fresher, purer air. Feel free to reach out with any questions or suggestions – I'm always here to help!

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