Air Scrubber Essentials: Enhance Your Indoor Air Quality with Ease

Air Scrubber Work: Success!

Need cleaner indoor air? An air scrubber can help. This essential device targets contaminants, from dust to harmful microbes, enhancing the air you breathe. Our guide explains their operation and benefits and provides practical advice on selecting the best air scrubber for your unique living or working space.

Key Takeaways

  • Air scrubbers improve indoor air quality through multi-layer filtration systems. They inactivate airborne pathogens with UV light and employ technologies such as ActivePure® to remove contaminants.

  • Different types of air scrubbers, including whole-house and portable models, cater to varying needs. Factors like home size, allergies, budget, and pollution levels influence the choice.

  • Installation and maintenance are crucial for air scrubber effectiveness. Professional installation is required for whole-house units, and regular maintenance, such as filter and UV light bulb replacement, is needed for all.

Understanding Air Scrubbers

Illustration of air scrubber technology

Air scrubbers are the unsung heroes of indoor air quality. These devices work tirelessly to enhance the air we breathe indoors by eliminating many pollutants, allergens, and toxic fumes. Air scrubbers operate similarly to sponges in absorbing water, designed to cleanse the air. Their effectiveness stems from their multi-layer filtration system, which includes a pre-filter, a primary filter, and, in some cases, an additional carbon filter for removing gases and odors.

Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that air scrubbers aren’t all the same. There are two main categories to consider: wet and dry. While both effectively remove particles from the air, their methods differ. Some more advanced models also employ ultraviolet (UV) lights to inactivate airborne pathogens such as mold, bacteria, and viruses, making them a formidable force against indoor air pollution.

The Science Behind Air Scrubbers

Air scrubbers make use of sophisticated technologies to purify the air you breathe. UV light is one such technology that aids in inactivating microorganisms. Additionally, catalytic processes are employed to create reactions that help reduce airborne and surface contaminants.

Another integral component in air scrubbers is the High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter. It plays a significant role in filtering out particles from the air. These filters can trap particles as small as 0.3 µm, acting as the guardians of your indoor air. Pre-filters play a supportive role by capturing larger particles before they reach the HEPA filter, preventing clogging and ensuring the efficient functioning of the device.

Moreover, some air scrubbers utilize ActivePure® technology, which uses proprietary light waves and a unique catalytic process to purify and clean air and surfaces from pollutants. This air scrubber technology effectively removes contaminants and improves indoor air quality.

Key Benefits of Air Scrubbers

Purchasing an air scrubber can be seen as an investment in your health. These devices offer numerous benefits, primarily enhancing overall air quality. They achieve this by inactivating airborne pathogens with ultraviolet light and removing common allergens like pet dander and mold from indoor environments.

Furthermore, air scrubbers are highly effective in eliminating odors. Carbon filters allow air scrubbers to absorb many odors and gases, effectively removing common household odors caused by pets, smoke, mold, and cooking. Moreover, they serve as an ally for those with allergies or asthma, reducing airborne particles such as dust, mold, pollen, and pet dander, lessening the severity of allergy symptoms and asthma attacks.

Types of Air Scrubbers: Whole-House vs. Portable

Photo of whole-house air scrubber installation

When choosing an air scrubber, you have two main options: whole-house and portable. Whole-house air scrubbers, built into HVAC systems, employ UV light and titanium oxide to modify the DNA of germs and viruses. On the other hand, portable air scrubbers employ a series of filters, including HEPA and carbon filters, to remove particles and odors.

The choice between a whole house and a portable air scrubber depends on your specific needs. Whole-house air scrubbers can serve areas up to 3,000 sq. ft. and are a good choice for homeowners seeking continuous cleaning throughout their homes. In contrast, portable air scrubbers typically cover between 500 and 900 sq. ft. and are versatile for various indoor settings. They can easily be moved to different locations and do not require professional installation.

Whole-House Air Scrubbers

Whole-house air scrubbers are integrated with your home’s HVAC system, making them a seamless addition to your existing setup. They utilize titanium-oxide-coated rods and UV light to effectively neutralize airborne and surface contaminants.

The installation of whole-house air scrubbers involves implementing UV germicidal irradiation (UVGI) cleaners into the HVAC system, which includes a cooling system, to target and destroy indoor biological pollutants. A trained HVAC professional can attach whole-house air scrubbers directly to the ductwork of a home’s HVAC system for a streamlined installation process.

Portable Air Scrubbers

Potable air scrubbers may be your best bet if flexibility is your priority. They can be used in both commercial and residential spaces to:

  • Remove allergens

  • Remove smoke

  • Remove outdoor fumes

  • Remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

  • Improve indoor air quality.

Portable air scrubbers, such as the QuietPure Mobile™ portable air purifier by Aerus, involve air passing through a pre-filter, a HEPA filter, and a carbon filter to remove large particles, airborne pathogens, and odors. They do not require professional installation and can easily be moved to different locations as needed.

While they are highly effective for air disinfection, portable air scrubbers do not offer the same surface decontamination capabilities as whole-house air scrubber systems.

Selecting the Right Air Scrubber for Your Needs

After familiarizing yourself with the basics of air scrubbers and the various types, the subsequent step is to select the one that best suits your needs. Several factors come into play here, including:

  • The size of your living space

  • The specific health needs of your household members

  • Your budget

  • The level of air pollution in your area

Considering these factors will help you make an informed decision and choose the right air scrubber for your home.

You should also take into account the speed models of air scrubbers. Multi-speed models offer the flexibility to adjust airflow and speed, which can help manage noise levels. Another critical point to consider is the manufacturer’s warranty, which gives you an understanding of the terms of maintenance and repair coverage, safeguarding against future issues.

Assessing Your Indoor Air Quality

Illustration of indoor air quality assessment

Assessing your indoor air quality is a vital step before settling on an air scrubber. This will give you a clear understanding of the extent of air pollution in your home and help you choose a device that can effectively address your specific concerns.

Indoor air pollution can be up to five times higher than outdoor air pollution. Improving indoor air quality is essential for better health. An air quality monitor can objectively measure the changes and effectiveness of air scrubbing devices in improving indoor air quality. Remember that different pollutants, such as those from outdoor sources like wildfire smoke and pollen, and indoor sources like cooking and cleaning, can impact health and should be considered when assessing indoor air quality.

Comparing Air Scrubber Models

A vital part of the selection process is comparing different air scrubber models. Key parameters to consider include Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) and Air Changes Per Hour (ACH). A high CADR indicates that the air scrubber can purify a large volume of air quickly. Meanwhile, an ACH rate of at least 4.8 ensures efficient air treatment for the recommended room size.

It’s also worth considering models with:

  • Auto-setting or multiple speed settings as they help control the filtration speed and can be more energy-efficient

  • ENERGY STAR certification to ensure that it does not exceed safe ozone levels, addressing ozone-related health concerns

  • Performance claims like ACH and CADR, which should be tested to ANSI/AHAM AC-1 standards and third-party verified

Installation and Maintenance of Air Scrubbers

After choosing the appropriate air scrubber for your needs, the ensuing steps involve installation and maintenance. Proper installation and regular maintenance are crucial to ensuring the effectiveness and longevity of your air scrubber.

Installing an air scrubber on an HVAC system can trap dirt, dust, and debris before entering the filter, which helps protect and extend the life of the HVAC system’s components. Whole-house air scrubbers are typically installed as part of the existing HVAC system, while portable air scrubbers can be placed in a desired location, plugged in, and turned on.

Professional Installation

Whole-house air scrubbers necessitate professional installation. An expert HVAC professional ensures correct attachment to the existing HVAC system ductwork, which is crucial for the system’s seamless operation.

Moreover, professional installation of an air scrubber involves precise attachment to the HVAC ductwork, ensuring the unit operates seamlessly with the home’s heating and cooling systems. Not only does this guarantee correct installation, but with an air scrubber installed, it also helps trap dirt, dust, and other debris before it enters the HVAC filter, potentially extending its lifespan.

Regular Maintenance

Photo of air scrubber maintenance

After your air scrubber is operational, consistent maintenance is essential for its efficiency and durability. For whole-house air scrubbers, this includes replacing the UV light bulb every 12 months. On the other hand, portable air scrubbers require periodic filter changes per the manufacturer’s guidance.

Remember, models’ maintenance needs can differ significantly, especially for portable air scrubbers. Therefore, following the manufacturer’s specific guidelines for your model is essential to keep your air scrubber in optimum working condition.

Air Scrubbers in Action: Real-Life Applications and Success Stories

Illustration of air scrubber in real-life application

Air scrubbers are more than just air purification devices; they can transform lives. By addressing indoor air quality, they’ve helped individuals suffering from recurring sinus infections and situational asthma experience significant health improvements. These individuals reported better sleep and no need for allergy medications during pollen season, highlighting the effectiveness of air scrubbers.

Air scrubbers equipped with ActivePure® technology have been proven to destroy up to 99% of surface contaminants, reducing airborne contaminants and harmful contaminants by approximately 90%. This demonstrates their effectiveness against various pathogens, including MRSA, black mold, and mold spores. Beyond removing airborne particles, air scrubbers have been noted for improving mood levels and reducing stress by removing air irritants.

They also significantly reduce lingering odors, offering advantages over traditional air purifiers.

Common Misconceptions About Air Scrubbers

Air scrubbers are frequently misunderstood despite their numerous advantages. A common misconception is that air purifiers are as effective as air scrubbers. However, air scrubbers are more effective because they can eliminate both airborne pollutants and those adhered to surfaces.

A further misunderstanding about air scrubbers concerns the production of ozone. While it’s true that some air scrubbers produce ozone, residential air scrubbers are designed not to create harmful ozone levels. Selecting an ENERGY STAR-certified air scrubber ensures it does not exceed safe ozone levels, addressing ozone-related health concerns.


In conclusion, air scrubbers are vital in enhancing indoor air quality. They offer a powerful means to remove a wide range of pollutants, thus contributing to a healthier and happier life. Whether you choose a whole house or a portable air scrubber, you’re investing in a solution to make your home a haven of clean air. As the saying goes, “Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness,” so let’s make every breath count with cleaner, healthier air.

Frequently Asked Questions

When contemplating a purchase as significant as an air scrubber, it’s understandable to have questions. Here, we’ve compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about air scrubbers to aid your understanding and decision-making process.

Do air scrubbers really work?

Yes, air scrubbers are generally more effective than other IAQ equipment at removing indoor particles, but they cannot kill mold spores, bacteria, and other pollutants. Therefore, their effectiveness has limitations.

What are air scrubbers used for?

An air scrubber is used to remove air pollution, VOCs, surface contaminants, pet dander, odors, and dust from indoor air, attaching directly to the ductwork of your HVAC system.

What is the difference between an air scrubber and an air purifier?

While both improve air quality, air scrubbers can eliminate airborne pollutants and those adhered to surfaces, making them more effective than some air purifiers.

When should air scrubbers be used?

Air scrubbers can be used continuously to maintain high indoor air quality. They are particularly beneficial for individuals with allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions.

What are the cons of air scrubbers?

Air scrubbers require regular maintenance, like filter replacements and UV light bulb changes. They also require professional installation for whole-house systems.

Are air scrubbers in HVAC worth it?

Yes, air scrubbers in HVAC systems are worth it because they are generally more effective than other indoor air quality equipment. They remove a wide range of indoor particles, including mold spores, bacteria, and organic pollutants, and can significantly improve indoor air quality.

How long can I leave the air scrubber on?

Depending on the level of pollution and the size of the indoor area, your air scrubber should be run for 24 to 48 hours to effectively remove contaminants. Be sure to consider industry guidelines for the best results.

What is the difference between an air scrubber and an air purifier?

An air purifier only cleans airborne particles, while an air scrubber can remove particles from the air and surrounding surfaces, making it more comprehensive in its cleaning ability.