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Thread: DIY: Carbon Air Filter - CHEAP, and EFFECTIVE!

  1. #1
    THContent is offline Banned
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    Lightbulb DIY: Carbon Air Filter - CHEAP, and EFFECTIVE!

    Security is important to marijuana growers, and odors can lead the police or unwanted neighbors straight to your grow room. There are a number of 'odor solutions' out there, but they can be quite costly. Here is a simple method you can use to build your own carbon filter. It will take you about half an hour to construct it, and it will cost $20 to $30 dollars. And it is completely safe.

    Aside from its main advantage of being ultra cheap, this method is also very versatile. It utilizes the exact same activated carbon filters that are used in professional air cleaners, without paying the huge prices. It can be adapted to practically any ventilation system. You do not need any crazy tools to build this - anyone can do it.

    For supplies, everything is easily available at a store like Home Depot. You will need the following:

    1 activated carbon filter - ( found near humidifiers, air, and hepa filters )
    1 small roll of aluminum screen
    1 four inch ventilation end-cap
    1 four inch duct connector piece
    1 roll of duct tape


    http://img535.imageshack.us/img535/160/carbon1.jpg

    No tools are required. A pair of scissors and a measuring tape are all you need.

    The carbon filter I purchased is a 'universal' replacement filter for HoneyWell air purifiers. Since I didn't pay the hefty price for a professional unit, I will cut this to size. It was originally 16" high and about 48" long, so I cut it right down the middle. When the first filter is expired, I will have a replacement ready to go.

    http://img99.imageshack.us/img99/2162/carbon2.jpg

    The next step is to cut your aluminum screen to size. I chose aluminum because it will be strong, and will still allow good air-flow. You could substitute chicken mesh or something similar. Since my (cut) carbon filter is 8" high, the aluminum will be cut to 12". The carbon filter will go in the middle 8" of this screen, with 2" coming out of each end to connect to the duct pieces.

    http://img99.imageshack.us/img99/176/carbon3.jpg

    Now we will attach the aluminum screen to the duct pieces, with duct tape. (This might be the first time you have actually used duct tape on ducts!) Do your best to keep it straight as possible.

    http://img18.imageshack.us/img18/8383/carbon4p.jpg

    It will seem a bit flimsy at the beginning. Continue to wrap the aluminum screen around and around, taping it every few inches. You want it to hold firm.

    http://img717.imageshack.us/img717/8540/carbon5d.jpg

    After a few wraps it will be fairly sturdy, and able to hold its own weight. However, don't drive your truck over it! Treat her nice and gentle like a Christian schoolgirl.

    http://img18.imageshack.us/img18/6083/carbon6.jpg

    The ends of your screen may have little strands of metal poking out, threatening to impale you. Add some more duct tape to cover this up and to finalize the DIY carbon filter. Soon it will be done.

    Now it is time to wrap the activated carbon filter onto our device. Conveniently, the filter I bought came with a couple of velcro straps, so I used them to hold it on. This will be convenient to replace when the activated carbon is expired.

    http://img99.imageshack.us/img99/5854/carbon7w.jpg

    After she's all sealed up, throw on a bit more duct tape around the edges of the carbon filter, to seal up any gaps. Only tape over the edges, because you want the air to flow as easily as possible. Air does not flow through duct tape. Here is the finished product.

    http://img697.imageshack.us/img697/1406/carbon8.jpg

    Time to hook her up to the grow room exhaust! In this case, it is being hooked to a 4" square duct. (That is why I used a 4" round to 4" square connector piece. You may need a different piece to suit your ventilation setup, but a million sizes are available.) Just slide her onto the vent, and tape it down nice and sturdy. Duct tape is your reliable grey friend.

    http://img59.imageshack.us/img59/4105/carbon9.jpg

    After she is attached and fire up, things are looking good. It is working nice, hooked to a 60 CFM fan, and you can feel the air flowing out of it lightly. The fan was not slowed down too much, but obviously a carbon filter will add some back-pressure to your vents. I haven't tried this with a slower blower (under 60 CFM), but 60 CFM is not a lot.

    I just hooked this up today, so I don't know how often I will have to replace the carbon filter. The box the filter came in says to replace every two or three months. It does seem to make a difference though. Outside the grow room does not stink like a skunk anymore. There is almost no smell at all, except the faint odor of duct tape adhesive. I'm sure that will go away after a few hours.


    Using this method, everyone can now build their own activated carbon filter. Its quite easy, and you can build it any size you need, to fit any grow room and any type of duct. Could it get any better than that?

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  3. #2
    THContent is offline Banned
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    And keep in mind, you do not want a fan with a high CFM rating, 60-140 is good, the carbon filter needs a millisecond to make contact with the air in order to scrub it properly (most efficiently) the slower, the better. So I say stick with under 100 CFM for a filter this size. If you have to go over by a little say 150, not a big deal.

  4. #3
    endive is offline Registered+
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    Thank you!

    Simple enough, even I can do it!

    I have a small area, this filter set-up is perfect. The lower volume in-line duct fan is a great idea, a bigger centrifugal fan would probably implode my garden.

    Thanks again!

  5. #4
    neceros's Avatar
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    Wow! Thank you for this.

  6. #5
    flyingimam's Avatar
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    ditto on this design!

    but I have a somewhat relevant question:

    with THIS SPECIFIC FILTER DESIGN in mind

    Would one be able to use a 120mm computer case fan with CFM rating of 103 to effectively pull/push air thru and get deodorized air on the outside?

    or a sturdier inline fan of similar CFM is required?

    we're talking $20 vs. at least $80 in cost.

    and FYI, for purposes of this post, the venting system will only be used to deodorize the air without actually having an exhaust outside of the closet box (no attic, outdoors, wall connection), aka enclosed air filtration
    EDIT: THIS FAN QUESTION IS NOT FOR PURPOSES OF HEAT CONTROL
    Last edited by flyingimam; Jul-12-2010 at 17:03.
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  7. #6
    Siceee is offline Registered
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    Its really hard to use a small computer fan on a carbon filter.

    Im running out of ideas on making a carbon filter. The easy part is making the filter but the hardest part id finding a cheap fan that can efficiently push air through the filter WHILE keeping temperature low

    I feel stuck on this
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  8. #7
    jackpuck is offline Registered
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    Great info! Thank you

  9. #8
    Blazed Deafy is offline Registered+
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siceee View Post
    Its really hard to use a small computer fan on a carbon filter.

    Im running out of ideas on making a carbon filter. The easy part is making the filter but the hardest part id finding a cheap fan that can efficiently push air through the filter WHILE keeping temperature low

    I feel stuck on this
    Maybe you should add two exhaust fans on both ends of this similar design for exhausting the odor? whatcha think dude

  10. #9
    garfield24 is offline Registered
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    THContent,

    Love the post, thx! One questions, with this setup what would you say is the max room size this unit will filter? Just setting up my first room on over 25 years and oder is # 1 priority.

    Thanks :-)

    SG

  11. #10
    DrSuess is offline Registered+
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    home made fan question

    do es any one know if using a old desk top comp shell full of lined with a1" cotton and loaded with activated carbon like in some fish tanks. With a powerfull 6" inline 440 cfm pulling out the top?

  12. #11
    azdesertdweller's Avatar
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    this is so cool

    i am SO gonna use this....probably 2 of 'em....thanks for the info

  13. #12
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    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by flyingimam View Post
    ditto on this design!

    but I have a somewhat relevant question:

    with THIS SPECIFIC FILTER DESIGN in mind

    Would one be able to use a 120mm computer case fan with CFM rating of 103 to effectively pull/push air thru and get deodorized air on the outside?

    CFM is CFM it will push what it says but I say if you have no suction it isn't going to do any good or too much ventilation for it to push through no good either.
    Last edited by curto25; May-05-2011 at 15:00.
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  14. #13
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    Could this be used as a closed air scrubber meaning it doesnt lead out to a external location..

    My closet can be vented into the crawl space but I'd rather not drill any holes thru walls

    Im gonna try this & see anyway
    http://boards.cannabis.com/grow-log/...-1st-grow.html

    The Next Words That Come From Your Mouth Better Be Some Brilliant Mark Twain Shit,Cause Its Defiantly Getting Chizzled On Your Tombstone.

  15. #14
    THContent is offline Banned
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    Yes, it can be vented back in to the room. Scubbed air is scrubbed air is scrubbed air.... However, you do not want to keep recycling the same air around the room, that will suffocate the plants eventually. Think of a person with bad breath being locked in a closet, you have an air scrubber in there to filter out his bad breath but his carbon dioxide keeps getting pushed around the room, eventually the bastard will die.

    I am sure you will figure something out to get fresh air moving in and out.
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  16. #15
    XXXJAYXXX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyingimam View Post
    ditto on this design!

    but I have a somewhat relevant question:

    with THIS SPECIFIC FILTER DESIGN in mind

    Would one be able to use a 120mm computer case fan with CFM rating of 103 to effectively pull/push air thru and get deodorized air on the outside?

    or a sturdier inline fan of similar CFM is required?

    we're talking $20 vs. at least $80 in cost.

    and FYI, for purposes of this post, the venting system will only be used to deodorize the air without actually having an exhaust outside of the closet box (no attic, outdoors, wall connection), aka enclosed air filtration
    EDIT: THIS FAN QUESTION IS NOT FOR PURPOSES OF HEAT CONTROL
    For those of you looking for a cheap fan to run this thing.. In the same Isle you bought your ducting at home depot.. they have small inline duct booster fans.. I have seen them in 4, 5 and 6 inch models.. Its basically just a piece of ducting about 8 inches long with a fan built into it.. I have a 5 inch and it pushes 120cfm... it was 16 bucks.. and would PERFECT for this application as you would be able to use the fan itself as the top end of the filter.. Great post! Cheers!
    I grow food.. Not weed.. But I like weed.. So I will help you grow it as best I can ;-)

  17. #16
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    Wouldn't the inline fan have to be at the bottom of the filter? Mounting it at the top, it would pull air into the chamber, but it would not force it out. It would also pull air in from outside the filter as well, in the other direction.

    I like using that inline duct fan, but it has to be between the grow room area and the filter, to move the air towards and through the filter.

  18. #17
    Mal420xl's Avatar
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    doesnt matter if its at the bottom or top only the direction of flow. as long as it pulls air OUT of the space you want scrubbed and thru the filter. thats how he has it set up from what i can see.

  19. #18
    Shovelhead Jed is offline Registered+
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    I'm a bit confused about the placement of the scrubber. I have seen them placed two differant ways: WAY #1) this way the carbon scrubber goes at the top of the grow area, so your hot/stanky air gets pulled by your inline exhaust fan through the scrubber, then through your air cooled hood or cooltube, & then ducted to your fan & out of the room. WAY #2) the scrubber is on the other end, so the air is sucked through the light hood/cooltube, the ducted to your exhaust fan & through the scrubber before exiting the growroom. Can somebody tell me which way is best? Thank you. Cheers, S.J.

  20. #19
    determinedtogrow is offline Registered+
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    S.J.-
    I would think either way would work just depends on the amount of room you have to work how stealth you want it to be. Because regardless It will still filter the air as long as there are no leaks.
    -DG

  21. #20
    TOPPDOG11 is offline Registered+
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    How would I figure out what size filter I would need when I have a 6" inline fan that has a CFM of 240. My cabinet is 4'hx3'wx14"d.

  22. #21
    THContent is offline Banned
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    I apologize about some of the pictures not being available anymore, not really sure why they are gone from imageshack, but the first picture is what you need, you can of course substitute different things here size, etc. But the priority here is to scrub the air so it doesn't smell your house/outside up to the point where people in and out of your place are asking questions.

    @ TOPPDOG11 - That is actually a very great question to ask, I am not 100% positive on the answer but what I would do (as a simple and cheap test) is give the default setup a try, give it a full 48 hours to start extracting the smell out, and see after 48 hours if the smell is alot less than 2 days before - That means you have sufficient air scrubbing going on and that should be sufficient - With this particular setup you should be able to scrub the air out of a relatively good sized room with at least 10-15 plants, easily.. And more importantly it depends on the actual size of the room itself because not only is the air scrubber scrubbing the marijuana smell from the room, it is also scrubbing the rest of the air in the room as well - if there is a large room and you are only using half, a good idea might be to block the unused half with some panda film or clear plastic, that way you take the amount of air you need scrubbed and cut it down quite a bit (just make sure the room is airtight, and I say this for SO MANY REASONS lol ). If it still smells the same, then I would say just make a little bit larger one or a second one on the opposing side of the grow room. You also want to remember, just as importantly you need to also have good intake as well because fresh oxygenated air from outside coming in is crucial for the plants for fresh oxygen for them to breathe, in many ways plants need what people need. Nutrients, CO2, sunlight, we are both susceptible to mold, and fungus infections, and we both need water, not too much and not too little.

    That is basically my take on it, but the air scrubber (as long as you make it correctly should be very effective & noticeable in a short period of time). Give it a try and let us know how you make out man.

    Take care

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