When I shopped for my first air purifier, I remember that I had a ton of questions which I desperately needed answers for. And rightfully so, as I was about to invest a pretty hefty chunk of money in an air purifier, you best believe I wanted to know everything about the unit I liked and what it can and can’t do.
One of the questions I had was if air purifiers can remove CO2. And because I know that I’m not the only person to have asked that question, I decided to write up this article and go into a bit more detail and answer the question for you – just in case you’re wondering too.
At the end of the day, it is a very legitimate question as CO2 can be very dangerous, so ensuring your CO2 levels in the room aren’t too high is pretty important for your health. However, the basic answer to the question is no, air purifiers cannot remove CO2. With that being said, there are other ways you can remove CO2, which I’ll explain later.
But just because an air purifier can’t remove CO2 doesn’t mean it isn’t worth buying. There are tons of other benefits of an air purifier, which I’ll also be touching on in this article.
Besides that, if CO2 is of particular worry to you, I’ll go into more detail on how you can tackle the problem. But before we do that, let’s look at the link between CO2 and air purifiers.
Can An Air Purifier Remove CO2?
Air purifiers can do a lot. And don’t worry, I’m going to go over the different particles that air purifiers can remove before ending this article, but before that, we need to discuss the one thing that air purifiers won’t be able to remove: CO2.
One thing to remember about air purifiers is that they don’t necessarily change the actual composition of the air. While some activated carbon filters can absorb VOCs and remove cooking odor, CO2 isn’t one of them.
Instead, air purifiers are designed to remove other solid particles in the air such as dust and pollen.
So, if you’re worried about the CO2 levels in your home and you’re looking for ways to eliminate some of the CO2, don’t look at an air purifier.
Luckily, there are more than a few ways to remove CO2 from your home, and one of them doesn’t require you to buy anything.
More on that later as first, I’d like to talk more about CO2 and what makes it dangerous.
What Makes CO2 Dangerous?
CO2 is a naturally occurring gas in our atmosphere. More often than not, you’re going to encounter CO2 gas wherever you go.
Fortunately, it’s not as dangerous as you might think – at least when the CO2 levels are normal, which is the case unless some abnormal event is happening nearby.
Generally, there’s a meager chance that you might encounter higher-than-normal levels of CO2 at home. However, if you have a small space or are in a poorly ventilated area, CO2 can accumulate to higher than normal levels. On top of that, poorly ventilated areas usually have a lot of particles, pathogens, and other elements that could harm our respiratory systems further.
Most people think CO2 is dangerous because of how it reacts with oxygen. However, the real reason that CO2 is dangerous to humans is that it can react with your blood and create carbonic acid. Carbonic acid can mess with your body’s natural chemistry and cause a range of issues down the line.
When your body’s chemistry is messed up, it won’t be able to perform a lot of processes normally. In extreme cases, raised levels of CO2 in the body could lead to respiratory acidosis.
This means that your lungs aren’t able to expel the CO2 inside of them efficiently.
CO2 poisoning is something that you should take seriously.
Since CO2 can mess with the body’s chemistry, it can cause your body and brain not to function properly.
Carbon dioxide can become deadly and cause severe reactions at levels of about 40,000 PPM.
However, the symptoms of carbon dioxide poisoning may start manifesting at levels of 1,000 PPM. This is why proper ventilation is crucial if you want to ensure that everyone in the room is as safe as possible from carbon dioxide poisoning.
40,000 PPM is the carbon dioxide level where you should start worrying about severe poisoning or death. However, at 1,000 PPM studies show that these carbon dioxide levels can already cause impaired decision-making.
This is scary because the CO2 levels can climb to 1,000 PPM simply by keeping the windows closed and having poor ventilation in the room.
While 40,000 PPM is pretty hard to reach, it’s still important to be careful of it.
How to Remove CO2 From the Air
If you’re looking for a machine that can remove carbon dioxide from the air, you don’t need an air purifier. Instead, you need a sophisticated HVAC or heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system.
While you can install an HVAC system in your home to ensure that carbon dioxide levels stay at the minimum, this can be expensive and largely impractical for most households.
So, does this mean that there’s no way to remove carbon dioxide from the air?
One of the most effective ways to reduce the carbon dioxide levels in a room is by opening a door or window.
Remember, while carbon dioxide is all around our atmosphere, so is oxygen.
So, if you open a window or door to let fresh air in, you welcome oxygen while also releasing carbon dioxide into the outdoors.
If you’re on a tight budget and are looking for an efficient way to lower the carbon dioxide levels in your home without busting the bank, then opening a window is all you have to do.
No fancy machines, redesigns, or anything can cost you a ton of money.
In my time trying to find ways to reduce the CO2 levels in my home, I tried a lot of “weird” techniques. But at the end of the day, the most effective method was also the most affordable, which was a massive relief for me.
What Can Air Purifiers Remove?
So, if air purifiers won’t capture CO2 from the air, what can they remove?
To put it simply, air purifiers can be of great help, which is why they’ve become wildly popular.
If you’d like to find out exactly what your air purifier can help you with, you first need to look at the model you have.
This is because air purifiers come with different filtration systems, each designed to solve a different problem.
Generally, there are two types of filters that air purifiers use to capture different particles.
While there are air purifiers that don’t use filters and release negative ions into the air, I won’t be talking about those today.
So, I’ll only be discussing the different things that HEPA and activated carbon filters can remove. These are the most common filters available on the market, and in my experience, they are also the two main filters you need to have in your air purifier.
First, we will talk about HEPA or high-efficiency particulate air filters.
These are some of the most modern and sophisticated filters on the market. They are made of a complex network of fiberglass threads intricately woven together to create a mesh that captures small particles.
HEPA filters are graded based on the size of the particles they can catch.
However, most air purifiers tend to use H10 HEPA Filters or higher to really help improve the air quality indoors.
And if you find an air purifier with a True H10 or higher HEPA filter, then you’ll be getting one of the best filters on the market with the ability to capture most of the solid particles floating in the air inside your home.
The best HEPA filters on the market can capture particles up to 0.1 microns in thickness. This means that they can easily capture fine dust, pollen, mites, and any other solid particles floating in the air. This is why I suggest that you don’t get an air purifier unless it has a True HEPA filter.
With that said, HEPA filters are specifically for solid particles. If you’re also looking to trap gaseous particles, you will need an activated carbon filter.
Activated Carbon Filters
Activated carbon filters are probably the second most used type of filter in air purifiers. However, it’s really easy to find models today that have both a HEPA and activated carbon filter. My air purifier has both and honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Activated carbon filters don’t work in the same way as HEPA filters. Instead of capturing particles from the air that’s blown through it, these filters absorb gasses in the air such as cooking odor, VOCs, smoke, and other.
Additionally, activated carbon filters are great at absorbing foul odors. For instance, I have a cat, which releases a ton of unpleasant odors, and one of the reasons I got my air purifier is to help me with that. So, if you have a cat, and are wondering if air purifiers can help with cat odor, yes they can, and I highly recommend them.
Why Get an Air Purifier?
There are tons of reasons to get an air purifier. But to make it simpler, let’s take a look at some of the best benefits of owning an air purifier.
Great for Pet Owners
If you have pets, then an air purifier will be of big help. This is because regardless of the pet you have, there’s a high chance that they’re going to shed. And even if you sweep and vacuum daily, there are going to be some pieces of fur floating in the air that could get into your lungs. This is the reason why people experience allergies, so if you have friends who get allergies when around your pet, an air purifier will help deal with that problem very effectively.
I have a few friends who don’t particularly enjoy visiting my home because of my cat, but since I’ve owned an air purifier, they never complain about my cat causing them an allergic reaction.
On top of that, reducing the amount of fur in the air also makes for a much cleaner household. It can be hard to keep things neat and tidy when owning a pet, but things are made much easier if you have an air purifier.
Reduce Allergic Reactions
In line with that, air purifiers can remove other allergens in the air as well. Whenever spring comes around, I have a really hard time because I’m allergic to all the dust and pollen in the air. But with an air purifier, I can remove a lot of the dust and other allergens floating around, giving me a much easier time overall.
If you’re interested in reading about the best air purifiers for dust, I wrote up a guide that you should check out.
Keep Your Lungs Safe
In my personal opinion, the biggest benefit of owning an air purifier is that you will keep your lungs safe. I live in a big city, and to be honest, the quality of air is far from great. Even if I open the windows regularly to get fresh air, all I get is polluted air from the big city.
Some years ago, I used to live in Delhi, and I had to shop for the best air purifier for Delhi’s heavily polluted air. If you don’t know, Delhi has the 4th worst city to live in as far as air pollution is concerned. Since purchasing my air purifier back then, I could literally feel the difference in air quality.
There are tons of reasons to buy an air purifier. They can reduce allergies, cleanse the air, and make the environment in your home much healthier. However, one of the things air purifiers can’t do is remove CO2, as that isn’t something they are designed to do.
If you’re looking to reduce the amount of CO2 in the air in your home, you may want to consider opening the windows in your home or investing in an HVAC system. These methods will surely reduce the amount of CO2 in the room and will do a much better job at it than any air purifier on the market.