Will an Activated Carbon Air Purifier Get Rid of Radon Gas?

Activated carbon filters in air purifiers will capture radon, but they won’t be able to get rid of it completely. Getting an air purifier with an activated carbon filter will reduce the amount of radon in the room the air purifier is in, but you will need to get several air purifiers to take care of your whole home.

Activated Carbon filters are great at absorbing radon. You can even get air purifiers that have radon infused in the HEPA filter.
Activated Carbon filters are great at absorbing radon. You can even get air purifiers that have radon infused in the HEPA filter.

If that sounds expensive, then you might be jumping the gun. Air purifiers with activated carbon filters can actually be pretty cheap, especially for the smaller units on the market.

Just shop around for air purifiers that don’t have all the bells and whistles if you’re on a super tight budget and odds are that you’ll be able to get enough air purifiers for your home for less than the cost of one super fancy air purifier for just one room.

Yes, you can probably buy a dozen stripped-down air purifiers for less than just one fancy air purifier. I said it and I meant it. I’ve seen some of the fancier air purifiers selling for thousands of dollars. I’ve seen them for hundreds.

If you buy the cheapest (but still good) activated carbon air purifiers out there, I’d say you could take care of your whole home for about 250 dollars. Yes, that sounds like a lot, but it isn’t actually that bad when you consider that that figure gets you 2 air purifiers for larger rooms (about 500 square feet each) and then 3 air purifiers for bedrooms and bathrooms (about 150 square feet each). Those numbers may change in time, but they’re accurate as of the time of my writing this piece.

If that’s the setup you’re looking for in your home, then here’s an Amazon link to the air purifier for larger rooms that’s super cheap and here’s one to the air purifier for bedrooms and bathrooms.

As I said, these air purifiers might not be the most capable ones out there, but they’ve got activated carbon filters that will be able to capture some of the radon out of your home’s air.

Where Should I Put My Air Purifiers to Take Care of Radon?

Radon enters your home from the ground, so putting your air purifiers on the lowest floor of your home will usually be your best course of action. As I’ll explain later, radon mitigation systems are better than air purifiers at limiting the amount of radon that gets into your home, and those are usually supposed to be in your basement.

white fabric sofa set

Now, if you have a radon mitigation system in place and you still want to reduce the amount of radon in your home, then air purifiers with activated carbon filters can be a great choice for you.

Again, these air cleaners should be put in the lower rooms of your house, if radon is your sole concern. Since radon rises up from the ground, putting your air purifiers will be a great start. That isn’t to say that you won’t benefit from having them elsewhere, but it’s a good start.

Ideally, you should put your activated carbon air purifiers in every room on your ground floor, that will ensure that you’ll have the best possible air quality.

Of course, you can always skip putting those air purifiers in things like closets, since there isn’t a lot of ground space for the radon to get in through. However, you might want to put an activated carbon bag in those spots still, just to be on the safe side.

Those bags of activated carbon are usually pretty cheap, and you can buy several at once. You can pick some up from Amazon with this link here. (You can pick up four or eight packs from that link.)

Now, I must say that these activated carbon bags will not be as effective for larger rooms as an air purifier will be. Air purifiers are made for larger areas and they have fans that will circulate the air in your room.

That air circulation is what makes air purifiers so effective at cleaning the room’s air–if they just sat there, they wouldn’t be able to clear out the radon and other pollutants that float around in the air you breathe.

Larger rooms require air purifiers that are rating for larger rooms. You can fudge the numbers a bit, I’ve done it, but doing so limits just how clean of air you will have in your home. If you want to be on the safe side, buy an air purifier that’s rating for the size of room you’re putting it in!

What Rooms Should I Put My Air Purifier in if I’m on a Tight Budget?

If you’re really strapped for cash, then you should start with putting an air purifier in your bedroom and whatever other rooms you spend most of your time in. They won’t be able to take care of radon as thoroughly as you might want for your whole home, but they’ll take care of the air in the places you spend most of your time, and that’s a great start.

black table lamp on nightstand

Best case scenario, you can expand your collection of air purifiers in time. Start with your bedroom and expand from there!

But, activated carbon air purifiers can only do so much for radon gas. As I say all too often, radon mitigation is your best course of action. It may cost a bit more than what you have, but it’s a much better fix in the long term than just fighting to keep radon levels down in your home’s air. Actively keep the radon from getting there in the first place!

If Activated Carbon Filters Don’t Get Rid of All the Radon, What Can I Do to Get Rid of All of it?

Getting air purifiers with activated carbon filters can be a great thing to reduce the amount of radon in your home’s air, but it probably isn’t your best option. Something called radon mitigation should be your very first step in most cases.

This is so true that most companies that specialize in radon only provide radon mitigation services.

As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure.

Preventing the radon from getting into your home in the first place will likely be the healthier and maybe even the cheaper option for you. The cost part is a little more up in the air and it depends on how many and how nice of air purifiers you get and how you go about your radon mitigation.

You can pick up a radon fan and that alone is a major step in the right direction. There are some complex systems that involve piping and lots of sealing things, but, if you’re just going the DIY route, then you can just start with just a fan, if you so please.

Pick up the radon fan we recommend (for price, how easy they are to install, and how well they work) from our affiliate partner Sylvane here.

Radon fans go on your exterior foundation walls.

Radon fans are put in on the exterior walls of your foundation and are supposed to pump the air outward. Once again, they’re super easy to put in, so most people should be able to put in their own.

How Do I Know if I’m Doing Enough to Get Rid of Radon?

It’s surprisingly easy to know for sure if what you’re doing is enough to get rid of or greatly reduce the amount of radon in your home’s air. All it takes is a radon detector that will check your home’s air for the toxic, radioactive gas.

What’s a radon detector?

A radon detector is a machine that uses sensors to check your air with specialized sensors. Some back that data up and save it for you to look at later so you can see the history of radon levels in your home once you get it running.

Our favorite radon detectors are made by a company called AirThings. Airthings’ mission is to make radon detectors as common in homes as smoke detectors are, which is a super important mission. Why? Well, here are some surprising numbers.

In the USA alone, 20,000 cases of lung cancer are recorded every year according to the EPA.

Meanwhile, only 3,655 died from fires in 2018 according to FEMA.

To me, that sounds like a pretty good case to get a radon sensor. It’s crazy to think that it doesn’t get more press.

If you’d like to get a radon detector for your home, you can order one from AirThings. Use this link here to type in the code ape10-10off at checkout to get 10% off your purchase with AirThings.

All of AirThings’ air quality sensors check for radon, but they check for other things too, which means that you’ll be able to breathe easy because you’ll know for certain in your home’s air is safe.

Want to read up some more on how air purifiers help with radon? Check out some of my other posts on them!

What is the Best Air Purifier for Radon Gas?

What Air Purifier is the Best for Radon Gas? | The 3 Best Air Purifiers for Radon Gas

Does a HEPA Filter Help With Radon? | Can a HEPA Filter Remove Radon from My Home’s Air?

Do Air Purifiers Help with Radon Gas? | What’s the Number 1 Best Way to Deal with Radon Gas in My Home?

Jonathon Silva

Jonathan Silva is our longtime Air Purifier Essentials author. He has been writing on air purification technologies for his entire professional career.

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