Do Air Purifiers Remove Carbon Monoxide? Let’s Find Out

Unfortunately, many homes are polluted with harmful substances such as dust, pollen, mold, and chemicals. One of the most dangerous pollutants that can be found indoors is carbon monoxide (CO). Exposure to CO gas can lead to serious health problems, including headaches, dizziness, nausea, and even death. Given the potential dangers of carbon monoxide, it’s natural to wonder whether air purifiers can remove this gas from homes.

The short answer is yes; Air purifiers equipped with activated carbon filters can help reduce carbon monoxide from indoors. However, it’s worth noting that these devices alone cannot completely remove all carbon monoxide in the air, especially if the concentration is high. It is crucial to take some other precautions while using an air purifier.

Want to breathe healthier and fresh air at home? Read on to learn more about air purifiers and their effectiveness in removing carbon monoxide.

What Causes Carbon Monoxide in Homes?

  • Fuel-Burning Appliances: Appliances that burn fossil fuels, such as gas, oil, or coal, can cause carbon monoxide leaks when they are not functioning properly or are not vented correctly. These include furnaces, water heaters, gas stoves, and fireplaces. 

  • Automobiles: When cars or other vehicles are left running in a garage or enclosed space, carbon monoxide can build up quickly. This is why it is important never to leave a vehicle idle in an enclosed space, even if the garage door is open.

  • Portable Generators: Portable generators are often used during power outages, but they can produce high levels of carbon monoxide.

  • Tobacco Smoke: Tobacco smoke contains carbon monoxide, and smoking indoors can increase the concentration of CO in the air. While the amount of carbon monoxide produced by smoking is relatively low, it can still contribute to indoor air pollution and potentially cause health problems.

  • Blocked Chimneys or Vents: Carbon monoxide can build up in the home if a chimney or vent is blocked. Bird nests, debris, or creosote build-up can cause this blockage.

  • Faulty or Damaged Heating Systems: If a heating system, such as a furnace or boiler, is damaged or malfunctioning, it can produce this toxic gas. 

Do Air Purifiers Remove Carbon Monoxide?

Air purifiers are known for their ability improve indoor air quality by removing allergens, pollutants, and other harmful substances. That’s why people wonder if they are effective at removing carbon monoxide. Fortunately, an air purifier equipped with an activated carbon filter can help reduce the concentration of CO from indoors. These filters work through adsorption, where gas molecules are attracted and bound to the surface of the filter. 

However, it is essential to note that the effectiveness of air purifiers in reducing carbon monoxide is limited because CO is a highly toxic gas produced by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. This means it can quickly reach dangerous levels, making it difficult for air purifiers to remove it from indoor spaces completely.

With that said, you should not rely on air purifiers as the primary means of preventing carbon monoxide poisoning. If you suspect a CO leak in your home, it’s crucial to take immediate action to address the issue. 

Factors to Consider Before Choosing Air Purifier for CO

Before choosing an air purifier to eliminate carbon monoxide (CO), there are several factors that you should consider to ensure that you select the most effective air purifier for your needs. 

  • Filter Type: The type of filter used in the air purifier is an essential factor to consider. The most effective air purifiers for CO removal include activated carbon filters, which can effectively absorb and trap CO molecules.

  • Room Size: Choose an air purifier that is designed to purify the size of your room. An air purifier that is too small for the room will not effectively remove carbon monoxide from the air. Consider the room’s square footage and match it to the appropriate air purifier size.

  • Air Flow Rate: The air flow rate is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). The higher the CFM, the faster the air purifier can circulate the air in the room. Choose an air purifier with a high CFM to effectively remove this lethal gas from the air.

  • Safety Features: When selecting an air purifier for CO removal, consider safety features such as automatic shut-off, overheat protection, and filter replacement indicators. These features help prevent accidents and ensure the air purifier functions safely and effectively.

  • Maintenance and Upkeep: Keep in mind that air purifiers require regular maintenance, such as filter replacements and cleaning.

Why is Carbon Monoxide So Dangerous?

Carbon monoxide is highly toxic and can be lethal in high concentrations. Because this gas is colorless and odorless, it can be difficult to detect without a carbon monoxide detector. When inhaled, CO binds to the hemoglobin in our blood, preventing oxygen from being transported throughout the body. This can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and even death in extreme cases. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Over 400 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning in the United States each year, and thousands more are hospitalized.” 

One of the most dangerous aspects of carbon monoxide is its slow onset of symptoms. At low levels, carbon monoxide can cause mild symptoms like headaches, nausea, and dizziness, which can easily be mistaken for other diseases. 

As the concentration of carbon monoxide in the air increases, symptoms can become more severe, leading to confusion and loss of consciousness. This delayed onset of symptoms can make it difficult to detect and respond to a carbon monoxide emergency. That’s why it is called a silent killer.

How to Get Rid of Carbon Monoxide in Your Home (Useful Tips)

Although air purifiers can help remove carbon monoxide to some extent, it is also essential to take steps to reduce the presence of this gas. Here are some tips to reduce CO in your home:

Carbon Monoxide Detectors: 

Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home to monitor the levels of this toxic gas. These detectors can alert you to high levels of carbon monoxide, allowing you to take action before it becomes dangerous.

Proper Ventilation: 

Proper ventilation is critical to prevent the build-up of carbon monoxide. Ensure that all rooms in your home have adequate ventilation and that exhaust fans are used when cooking or using appliances that produce carbon monoxide.

Regular Maintenance of Appliances: 

Regular maintenance of carbon monoxide-producing appliances, such as gas stoves, water heaters, and furnaces, can prevent the build-up of this deadly gas.

Avoid Idling Cars:

Carbon monoxide can build up quickly in enclosed spaces, such as garages, when cars are left idling. Avoid idling your car in enclosed spaces, and ensure your garage is well-ventilated.

Don’t Use Generators Indoors: 

Using a generator indoors or in an enclosed space can quickly lead to carbon monoxide build-up, which can be fatal. Generators should only be used outdoors in a well-ventilated area, far away from doors or windows. 

Final Thoughts

Carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas that can pose a severe threat to human health. It is essential to be aware of the risks associated with this gas and take steps to prevent its accumulation in indoor spaces. While air purifiers can help to remove some CO from the air, they cannot completely eliminate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Remember that CO is a highly toxic gas that can be lethal in high concentrations, so it’s crucial to take immediate action if you suspect a carbon monoxide leak in your home.


Does a HEPA filter remove carbon monoxide?

HEPA filters are not designed to remove carbon monoxide from the air. These filters are highly effective at capturing small particles such as dust, pollen, and pet dander, but they cannot remove gaseous pollutants, including carbon monoxide.

Does carbon monoxide make you sleepy?

Yes, carbon monoxide can make you feel sleepy. One of the early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning is fatigue, which can progress to dizziness, confusion, and, eventually, loss of consciousness.

What level of carbon monoxide is dangerous?

In general, a concentration of CO above 35 ppm is considered dangerous and can cause symptoms such as headache, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue. At levels above 200 ppm, symptoms can become more severe, including confusion, convulsions, and loss of consciousness. Exposure to concentrations above 1000 ppm can be life-threatening and can cause death within a few hours.

How long does it take for carbon monoxide to dissipate from home?

If the CO levels in your home are relatively low and you have opened windows and doors for ventilation, it may only take a few hours for the gas to dissipate completely. However, if the CO levels are high, it may take several days for the gas to clear from the home.

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Ellie Sanders

Ellie is our talented content writer. With her exceptional attention to detail and unwavering commitment to thorough research, Ellie ensures that our articles and guides not only meet but exceed the highest standards of accuracy. She researches each topic in depth, ensuring that the content is well-researched and easily understandable.