How Long Does Carbon Filter Last In Grow Tent?

(Last Updated On: August 30, 2021)

There is hardly any timeframe on How Long Does Carbon Filter Last In Grow Tent? Because various factors affect its lifespan.

So as for your part, by being conscious, you might avoid 50% of the loss. Now how is that?

Simple! Stay alert whenever the carbon filter is going bad. Besides, taking necessary steps for what is reducing its life will prolong its longevity.

In this article, we have assembled all the details you would need to estimate the average duration of your grow tent carbon filter, stretching its lifetime and vice versa.

What is Carbon Filter?

What is Carbon Filter

Ever been curious how a carbon filter removes the odor from a place? You are supposedly here to find out How Long Does Carbon Filter Lasts in a Grow Tent?

But before going into that, let’s start with satisfying your curiosity about its working process. It will simultaneously enhance your understanding of an air carbon filter and also explain when and why you need to replace it.

Carbon Filters are basically metal cylinders filled with activated carbon or charcoal. If you shake the filter, the presence of crushed charcoal can be heard.

A single gram of activated carbon or charcoal has hundreds or thousands of squares of porous surface area to lock the odor particles. When a carbon filter is installed with an exhaust fan, it pulls the pollutants and odor particles into the charcoal pores and traps them for a long time.

First, the smelly air of your grow tent goes into the carbon filter through the pre-filter. After processing and purifying the air, the exhaust fan leads the odor-free air outside of the tent.

Now, at one point, all the carbon pores will be containing odor particles, while there won’t be any free charcoal pores to capture the newest pollutants.

That is when a carbon filter loses its workability, and you would need to replace the carbon filter or, more specifically, inactivated carbons in the filter.

How Long Does Carbon Filter Last In Grow Tent?

How Long Does Carbon Filter Last In Grow Tent

For a private grow room with moderate odor, if your filter is on duty 24/7, you can trust it to last 12 months to 24 months.

Here is the tricky part, some people use the same carbon filter for 5 years and someone is forced to replace it within a year. It doesn’t make sense, right? Well, how long the carbon filter will last in your grow tent depends on several factors directly related to your grow space. Such as-

  • The size of the filter according to the grow room’s size
  • If the plants are extra smelly
  • The quality of carbons
  • Hampered by external heat or humidity

In this article, we will widely discuss all these factors and more.

How to Know When Your Carbon Filter is at a Dead End?

How to Know When Your Carbon Filter is at a Dead End

Needless to say, you have a carbon filter to get rid of the odors, and the instant you realize your carbon filter is not doing that job is when you would need to install a new one.

Sounds as easy as pie, but no! To be entirely sure, you are required to take a few additional steps. That is not a difficult thing to do and it also ensures that your hard-earned penny is not unnecessarily wasted.

●       Predict by the Smell/Odor

The most convenient way of determining if your carbon filter has come to its dead-end or not is by predicting the unusual smell or odor around your grow space.

But one drawback is that when the carbon filter is near its end and the odor increases day after day, our brain tends to adjust with the growing smell. Naturally, you might not find any difference for a certain period, but it’s already too late when you do.

So, it would help if you take the steps seriously and with caution.

●       Smell the fresh carbon

Typically, carbon has no identical smell, but when it is turned into activated carbon or charcoal by enormous heat or chemically then you can smell a unique scent.

So all you need to do is, remember that smell of the fresh carbon and frequently test if you can sense the same smell in your carbon filter or not. As long as you detect the smell, that means the filter has activated carbon, and when you can’t, there is an apparent demand to change the filter.

●       Ask Help from an Expert

For a new grower, remembering the fresh carbon smell and then dealing with several other odors and smells in the grow tent would be too much to ask for.

In that case, you can ask anyone experienced in this sector to visit your grow space and inspect the carbon filter for you. Also, because the other person is not someone spending time around the grow tent, they can instantly detect any odor coming from the tent.

●       Maintain a Schedule

Let’s admit it, frequently smelling if there is any odor or not is troublesome, also the result is not always accurate.

You can follow the instruction and duration of usage given with the carbon filter package in this situation. Besides, you can analyze the period, note it and customize a schedule for the filter of your grow tent and maintain the schedule until you notice any contradiction.

Why Has My Carbon Filter Gone Bad Too Early?

Why Has My Carbon Filter Gone Bad Too Early

Suppose you have an estimated idea of how long you can use a carbon filter in your grow area. If you notice your carbon filter is going bad very often, before the estimated time, then the reasons below could be behind the loss-

Amount of Carbon

How longer a carbon filter will run relies so much on the amount of activated carbon in the filter. Generally, the more carbon on duty, the more effective your filter will be.

An ideal carbon filter must have 5-pounds of carbon at least. Of course, the carbon quality is not always the same. If the carbon granules have more binding sites (porous surface), you can even settle with less carbon that can accomplish the same task.

However, some filters claim to provide enough carbon but don’t stick to their words. As a result, the carbon gets saturated pretty much immediately, and your filter goes bad earlier than the expected time.

Consider accurate size

Generally, the filter’s size is determined by the CFM of the fan. We tend to pay less attention to the filter’s size while purchasing a carbon filter as it has to be equal to the fan’s size to adjust these two elements together by the duct opening.

Remember, a larger grow tent might have more than one fan but only one carbon filter. In that case, the one filter has to work harder to purify all the air and results in it going bad early.

The density of the activated charcoal

Now, you might have enough activated charcoal and the correct sized carbon filter; unfortunately, you are still required to replace the filter often. With that in mind, there is a high chance that the carbon in use is denser and doesn’t have spacious pores.

So inevitably, it clogs the pores with different-sized particles and shortens the filter’s lifetime. On the contrary, lighter-density carbons have wider pores. This structure traps both the small and large particles and lasts a long time.

The 30-40 grams/cubic cm density is lighter and better than the denser 50-60 grams/cubic cm carbons. So you might need to pay close attention to the density of the carbon.

Superfluous aromatic plants

Some plants naturally have more scents than others. For instance, if you are growing marijuana, your carbon filter has to deal with more smelly compounds than the one growing herbs.

Before comparing your carbon filter’s lifespan with others, make sure the number of smelly chemicals produced by these plants is nearly similar.

Humidity level

While running a carbon filter, the mismanagement in humidity level can be one primary reason your filter is going bad too early.

While the humidity is high, the molecules from water vapor are absorbed by the pores instead of the smelly gas molecules. Thereby, the free space for trapping odor particles gets reduced day by day and results in a dysfunctional carbon filter.

Nevertheless, sometimes plants in a specific stage require more humidity. In that situation, you can include a dehumidifier in your grow tent appliances. So that the plants can stay in enough humidity whereas the carbon filter will not be much affected by it.

How Can I Expand My Grow Tent Carbon Filter’s Lifespan?

How Can I Expand My Grow Tent Carbon Filter's Lifespan

Changing the carbon filter of your grow room can be pretty expensive. Consequently, it is okay if you get a little bit greedy and look for ways to extend the lifetime of your filter. By following these proven do’s and don’ts, you can certainly add some extra time to the filter’s lifespan.

●       Pick Granular-shaped carbon over Pelletized

There are different shapes for activated carbon, such as granular, pellet, powder, and water dispersible. Among them, granulated and pelletized forms are mostly used in the air carbon filter.

The granular shape is ideal for catching air contaminants as it has a lighter density and wider pores to trap more particles than the other activated carbon structure.

So, if you are purchasing a carbon filter or intend to replace the activated carbon only,you should get granular carbon to increase the longevity of the filter.

●       Avoid Running the Filter in High-Humidity

You must have learned by now that humidity is  crucial for a carbon filter. It can ruin the filter’s functionality within a few days by saturating the pores with water molecules.

That is why you must keep the humidity level as lower as possible to let the carbon filter do its part nicely. We strongly recommend never increasing the humidity over 80% as it reduces the filter’s lifespan almost immediately.

To be honest, if you are maintaining your grow area carefully, you might notice there is no need to go over 80% humidity.

Because the higher humidity is needed chiefly in the seedling phase ranges from 60% to 80% RH. After this stage, the humidity level stays moderate in the veg & flowering phase with more or less 40%-60% RH. At harvest or cropping, the lowest 40% to 50% RH is adequate for the plants.

●       The Significant Role of the Pre-filter

Thinking- how does a pre-filter help in the air purifying process? Well, a pre-filter captures the larger gaseous molecules and lets the tiniest and trickiest particles enter the filter.

It ensures no escape from the filtration process and eases the task for the carbon filter by dealing with large particles, which ends up prolonging the filter’s life.

Now, as most growers are suggested to use a carbon filter inside, you might consider installing another carbon filter outside the tent in case you have a  gigantic grow space. Indeed, it creates a little confusion here; how can a pre-filter method help if the air is not going through it as the filter is outside the tent?

It certainly helps, but you need to make a minor change here. Place the pre-filter inside the carbon filter so the air will pass the pre-filter first and then the carbon filter.

●       Cleaning the Pre-filter

Cleaning the pre-filter is simple, and by washing it once a month, you can eventually extend the filter’s lifetime.

If the dust or particles are visible on the pre-filter, you can wash it lightly by hand and use low heated soapy water to remove stains. Though avoiding water is better as it is risky and capable of ruining the pre-filter functionality.

Anyway, the best way suggested by the experts to clean the pre-filter is using a vacuum because a vacuum cleaner sucks the majority portions of dust and causes no harm to the pre-filter.

●       The durability of the External body

We almost forgot to discuss the body materials of a carbon filter. Undoubtedly, a carbon bed is essential and plays a massive part in the entire process of filtering the air, but along with a sturdy exterior, it will be durable and perform its best.

The majority of the growers for commercial purposes choose to work with an aluminum build carbon filter. It is widely known because of its cheap maintenance, lightweight with a muscular build, and anti-corrosive properties.

However, if you can raise your budget, we recommend going for a galvanized steel carbon filter. It is better than the aluminum in all specifications and somewhat a bit expensive.

 If you want to keep the filter around you longer, it would be better to pay more and have the galvanized filter; otherwise, the aluminum filter also satisfies any grow space.

Some Important Queries on Grow Tent Carbon Filter

Here are a few most asked questions and solutions related to the carbon filter.

Can I Reactivate Carbon?

Yes! It is indeed possible to reactivate the inactive carbon by following some specific measurements.

Usually, activated carbon or charcoal is produced by providing enormous heat to any carbonaceous source materials (wood, coal, bamboo, coir, etc). It is called Physical Activation.

And after the usage of carbon, when again you bake the carbon materials in high temperature, it releases all the impurities it has absorbed till now thereby, reactivating the carbon.

How Can I Reactivate Carbon?

Reactivating the used carbon requires extreme heat. There is no noted method of reactivating carbon, but here is a way followed by the growers, you might want to try an experiment-

Step1. Fill 1/3 of a bucket with the used carbon pellets.

Step2. Pour water as much as possible. The procedure takes a vast amount of water so consider using a big bucket (5 gallons or more).

Step3. Stir the whole mixture of carbon and water at 900 degrees Celsius temperature.

Step4. Now, if you notice the carbon is fizzing and bubbling and yellow smoke coming out of it, keep stirring with a big stick until it all goes away.

Step5. Stop the heat before you see the edges are turning into ashes. Before that, add extra 10% carbon as you will lose this much amount in the process.

Step6. Wait patiently for the carbons to cool down.Apparently, the carbons take ages to reach an average temperature after this process.

Step7. Now carefully put all the carbon inside the canister and shake it to avoid having any air pockets.

Step8. Lastly, before installing it in the grow tent, run it for 5 minutes as it will blow out the crushed powder produced from the cooking.

What are the Benefits of Having Reversible or Irreversible Carbon Filter?

You will find both reversible and irreversible filters in the market. As for the reversible filter, you can turn it around and change the opening to the opposite side, which will buy you a few months’ lifespans. But you can not repeat this idea more than one or two times.

The irreversible filters don’t provide any similar option as it has only one opening. Once the carbons are saturated, there is no way of using them anymore. However, as for the good part, irreversible filters are pretty handy and easy to conduct.

Do I Need an Ozone Generator?

Ozone generators simply produce Ozone gas which works effectively in purifying the air. How? Ozone gas breaks the molecules apart and turns them into single atoms. This modification helps the carbon filter capture the particles.

With this, if you include an Ozone generator in your grow space, your carbon filter will not be attacked directly by the raw pollutants. Ozone gas makes the particles easily absorbable, which stretches the lifespan of the carbon filter.

So having an ozone generator is quite an advantage.

Final Thoughts

After considering all the facts, now you might understand that the question – How Long Does Carbon Filter Last In Grow Tent can have different answers based on the particular situation.

Nonetheless, it is never too late if you want to re-think and apply some of the methods we have prepared for you to extend the duration of a finely working carbon filter.

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