Have you ever wondered how the activated carbon filter in your air purifier actually works to remove odors, chemicals, and gases?
As president of AllerAir Industries, Sam Teitelbaum is an expert on activated carbon air filters. He started the company after his wife developed Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS); he set out to create an air purifier that is more effective, more cost-efficient, and safer for people with MCS, allergies, asthma, and other respiratory disorders. Along the way, Teitelbaum discovered the amazing air filtration capacity of activated carbon.
"Activated carbon," explains Teitelbaum, "is used in air and water filtration due to its high adsorption capacity and vast surface area. A type of inter-molecular forces, known as Van der Waals Forces, cause an attraction between the activated carbon and the molecules that are pushed by it. This is the adsorption process."
"For certain molecules this attraction is stronger than others," continues Teitelbaum, "and there are ways to influence the strength of the attraction with different carbon sources and treatments. This is why we feel it is necessary to offer 40 different specialized carbon blends, including the Exec and Vocarb carbon, for different environments."
According to Teitelbaum, the effectiveness of the carbon filter is based on two factors: the amount of surface area available and the dwell time. He explains, "More activated carbon means more surface area and more sites for molecules to bond to the carbon. In a small carbon filter or carbon mat, the accessible bonding sites will be filled quickly and the carbon filter will stop being effective. It's not rocket science; more carbon means more chemicals can be adsorbed, without exception. This is why in our most popular model we offer eighteen pounds of carbon when many competitors offer only a few pounds, if that."
"The second factor is the dwell time," says Teitelbaum. "The longer that the air spends passing through the filter, the more chemicals will be removed on each pass. The depth of the filter directly influences how long the air spends passing through the filter. This is the key difference between our standard Exec or Vocarb models and the D or DX versions. The additional half inch or whole inch of depth, respectively, drastically increases the dwell time and removes a significantly higher proportion of chemicals on each pass. The carbon depth on even our standard models is greater than that of all other similarly priced products on the market."
"You may be wondering why we don't just pack a long tube full of carbon and allow the air to pass through several feet of filtration media," says Teitelbaum. "Keep in mind that it is the time the air spends in the filter that influences the effectiveness. Packing a long tube full of carbon would drastically increase the air flow speed, and the dwell time would not increase."
If you have problems with chemicals, odors, vapors, or particulate indoor air pollution, choose the air purifier that's right for you today and start breathing better.