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What are Carbon FIlters? (Answered)

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If you are in the market for a range hood, you have belly hears the term carbon filters a few times, but what are carbon filters? And do you need them for your range hood?

Carbon filters are attachments that fit inside a range hood to filter the recirculate air in the kitchen. They collect impurities while also neutralizing grease and odors caused by your cooking. Only recirculating or convertible hoods need carbon filters. Ventilating hoods do not use carbon filters.

But there’s a lot more to it than that. So, in this article, you will learn what carbon filters are, what they are made of, how to replace them, and how to choose a new one if necessary.

Editor’s note: This article was updated on September 18, 2021, to include additional information regarding carbon filters.

What are carbon filters 

Carbon filters are attachments that fit inside a range hood to filter the recirculate air in the kitchen. carbon filters are constructed of a carbon-based substance that collects impurities while also neutralizing grease and odors caused by your cooking.

They are inexpensive, lightweight, and very easy to replace. Carbon filters are not washable and always need to be replaced. 

A ducted range hood may be converted into a ductless hood with a recirculating kit, usually sold separately. These kits use mesh or carbon filters to filter the air.

What are carbon filters made of?

Carbon filters are made with activated carbon. Activated carbon is carbon that has been processed further to improve its ability to trap gas molecules.

It is first infused with hot air, carbon dioxide, or steam, which forms a lattice of tiny pores in the carbon, greatly increasing its surface area. This increases the number of places for molecules to become trapped, making carbon a far more effective filter medium. 

A gram of activated carbon could have hundreds of square meters of internal surface area, according to a paper published by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. Most activated carbon is also chemically treated to improve its ability to filter specialized pollutants.

Image for how to replace carbon filter

Are carbon filters effective?

While ducted range hoods will always be the best solution, carbon filters are an effective alternative for those who can not vent to the outside. Charbon filters are also less efficient than metal filters because they create more resistance for the air to pass through.

How to clean a carbon filter

You should never try to clean a carbon filter. Carbon filters must be replaced.


How to choose new carbon filters

If you need to purchase new carbon filters, you will want to make sure that you get the right ones for your specific range hood.

Consult your range hoods use your manual to make sure you get the right hood, the right filters. If you don’t have a user manual for your range hood, try doing a Google search of your model number and see if you can find a PDF digital version of the user manual.

If you don’t know the model number of your insured, it’s likely somewhere inside of the hood. Many manufactures will have a sticker inside of the range with the model number for just this reason. Hopefully, once you give a good look around your range hood, you will be able to identify its model number. When you finally have the number, do a quick Google search for the right filters and shop away.


Clean range hood filters are essential to proper operation.

In this post, we covered what carbon filters are, how to replace them and how to choose new ones if necessary. Here are some key takeaways:

Key takeaways

  • Carbon fitlres can not be cleaned, they must always be replaced
  • Replace yoru carbon filters very three to six months

If you’d like to learn more about range hoods, check out our full blog here. Stay safe!

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Author avatar - Roger Harris
Written By Roger Harris
Hey there! My name is Roger, and I've been selling range hoods for over six years. I now run this blog all about range hoods and kitchen ventilation! If you're looking for a new range hood for your kitchen, this is the place for you.

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