Indoor air quality is a new prevalent topic that many people are focusing more and more of their attention to since the growing number of reports and studies that have been linked to indoor air quality and the impact this may have on public health. There are many different types of air devices that are designed for the purpose of being used in a home’s air – whether that be to purify the air, clean the air, adding moisture into the air, taking moisture out of the air etc. Air purifiers and air humidifiers are among the most well-known air devices that are commonly found throughout a large portion of homes in the United States and in many other countries around the world.

An air purifier, in particular, has become a go-to air cleaning machine for homes that can easily be placed within an indoor space to help clean and restore the air quality back to optimal conditions – by removing airborne pollutants such as chemicals, chemical odors, noxious odors, particulate matter, and allergens from the air, depending on the type of air purifier that is being utilized in the home. However, now a new term is being interchangeably used with air purifiers, the term air scrubber which has taken on the same meaning and function of that of an air purifier, but are these two different home air devices the same thing?

In this article we are going to discuss what an air scrubber is and what they do when placed inside of an indoor environment, as well as determine the major differences between an air scrubber and an air purifier.

What is An Air Scrubber?

What is An Air ScrubberWhen we think about air filtration in the home, typically our minds will think of an air purifier, as that is the traditional type of air device that is used primarily to clean the indoor space of your personal indoor environment. However, have you ever heard of an air scrubber that is able to clean the air within an indoor environment? Air scrubbers are very similar to air purifiers in their functions, but generally an air scrubber is classified as a commercial or industrial air cleaner that is able to effectively work against more severe or larger areas of pollution indoors such as construction sites, renovations, projects, and remediation sites.

According to Home Air Guides they describe air scrubbers as the following, “Air scrubbers are commercial air cleaners that are primarily used to remove chemicals, gases, and toxic particles from the air that comes from household projects or indoor issues like mold”. Mold remediation projects are very popular settings for the use of an air scrubber, as well as contractors and home remodelers that are adding a variety of pollutants into the indoor air, and sometimes at elevated levels that can be hazardous to both indoor air quality and human health.

What Does an Air Scrubber Do

Air scrubbers ring true to their name, as they will act as scrubbers to remove and clean the air of a wide variety of airborne pollutants. This type of air device can cover thousands of square feet with a single one air scrubber, which can often times make them a more affordable and effective option than other types of air devices. There are two major methods used in air scrubbers; dry and wet scrubbing – which both work in different ways to scrub the air clean in an indoor environment.

A dry scrubbing air scrubber works by sucking the pollutants and particles through a dry filter to clean the air. The dry filter is typically constructed of a material known as “sorbent” that can effectively remove acid from gas. Whereas a wet air scrubber is one of the most versatile and cost-effective methods for air cleaning in industrial and commercial settings. Wet scrubbing works by sucking the air through a damp pad or filter to trap free-floating contaminants and particulate matter from the air. According to Honiron, they state that wet scrubbing is generally capable of removing more than 99 percent of airborne particulate matter, which backs its effectiveness when utilized in a contaminated indoor environment.

Home Air Scrubber vs Commercial Air Scrubber

Home Air Scrubber vs Commercial Air ScrubberAs we discussed previously, air scrubbers are normally used in commercial or industrial settings to aid in a renovation, restoration, or other home construction project to remove and clean the air of pollutants produced from these heavy-duty events. These different types of restoration or renovation projects will create a buildup of pollutants in the environment such as dusts, asbestos, chemical fumes, and even mold can develop and potentially lead to an unstable indoor air quality environment. When these contaminants are found in the air, they can have a negative impact on indoor air quality and even lead to health issues for those that are exposed to this tainted environment.

Air scrubbers can also be utilized as a home air scrubber as it can clean nearly the entire space of this indoor environment. The air scrubber can be installed directly into your HVAC system allowing the air to flow throughout the ductwork and passes through the air scrubber to be cleaned – therefore creating a whole home air purification system.

Is an Air Scrubber Necessary?

The necessity of using an air scrubber in your home or other indoor environment will depend on a variety of conditions in this space – such as pollutants in the air, the level of these airborne pollutants, and the exact projects or remediations that are taking place in this environment. An air scrubber will pull in the contaminated air in the environment and filter it out through different filtered mechanisms in the air scrubbing device. This type of air device has a pre-filter, an optional carbon filter, a primary filter, and a blower that all work together to clean the air.

The pre-filter of an air scrubber is designed to capture the larger particles that are brought into the device, removing them from the air to maintain the airflow in this device. This will in turn increase the efficiency of an air scrubber in an indoor space.

An optional carbon or media-based filter can also be utilized to try to remove pollutants such as gas and vapor molecules, and other chemicals that are present in the air. The carbon technology works through adsorption, collecting the pollutants on a high-surface media to clean the air.

The primary filter is the final stage of filtration that works to remove the smallest particles from the air. These particles collected from this filter can be as small as 0.3 microns in size – this type of filter is called a HEPA filter.

Lastly, the blower is an essential component of an air scrubber. The blower will pull the air through a filter to blow out clean air.

How Long Should You Run an Air Scrubber

The duration of time that an air scrubber should be left running in an indoor space can depend on a variety of different factors including the conditions in the space. The industry guideline recommends that an air scrubber be in the environment for 24 to 48 hours to thoroughly scrub the air. These types of air devices usually do between 4 to 6 air exchanges per hour which will effectively aid in the filtration and cleaning of the airspace. Sometimes, however, more than 48 hours will be needed with this machine running in your air, therefore it is best to consult with an expert on their recommendations for how long the air scrubber should run for in the indoor environment.

How Do Scrubbers Reduce Air Pollution

When it comes to cleaning the air an air scrubber will be highly effective in removing chemicals, gases, and toxic particles from the air that are accumulated from big projects and renovations. Although these devices will help with the removal of air pollution, they are really only beneficial during these renovations and remodeling, rather than in the use of a home. These air scrubbers can be pricey ranging from $1500 to $3000 or even more. Whereas a home air purifier can accomplish this air pollution removal indoors at a much lower cost.

Air Scrubber vs Air Purifier

Air Scrubber vs Air PurifierThe differences between an air scrubber vs air purifier are significant with there being many different functions and mechanisms used in both air devices. As we discussed before, air scrubbers use either wet or dry scrubbing and is beneficial for commercial use to remove chemicals, gases, and toxic particles. An air purifier, in comparison, is an air filtration device that uses HEPA filtration or other air purification technologies to help with allergies and asthma by removing allergens, dust, mold spores, and smoke.

Air purifiers all contain different types of air filtration technologies that can work in specific ways to remove particulate matter, chemical compounds, and odors from the air. A revolutionary air purifier technology created from EnviroKlenz Air Purifiers is unlike any other air purification device for air filtration. EnviroKlenz uses a proprietary earth mineral technology that works through adsorptive neutralization to contain and neutralize a broad spectrum of airborne pollutants in the air such as chemicals, chemical odors, and noxious odors. This technology does not use any chemicals or masking agents and will work to completely eradicate airborne contaminants rather than storing them on a filter media.

Article Sources:

  1. Home Air Quality Guides: Air Purifier vs Air Scrubber: What’s the Difference? (link)
  2. Honiron: The Difference Between Wet and Dry Industrial Scrubbers (link)

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