How Long Do Air Scrubbers Last?

Air scrubbers are an excellent way of cleaning indoor air. Whether in homes, offices, or industrial buildings, air scrubbers combine the use of filters and negative ions to remove all unwanted pollutants in the air, making it much easier to breathe. But how long do air scrubbers last?

High-quality air scrubbers from leading brands will last five or more years. You can compare their lifespans based on the manufacturer’s warranty coverage, giving you a rough estimate of how long they’ll last. If the air scrubber uses filters, you’ll need to clean or replace those filters relatively often. HEPA filters in air scrubbers, for instance, can only last for one year.

In this article, we’re going to explore how long air scrubbers and their filters last. Additionally, we will also look at how long you should run an air scrubber, how they differ from air purifiers, and whether or not they’re effective at reducing dust.

How Long Do Air Scrubbers Last?

Leading air scrubber brands guarantee that their appliances can last five years or more. 

To find the one that lasts the longest, you can compare different brands based on their warranty coverage. That coverage represents the manufacturer’s confidence in how long their product will last. Plus, if the air scrubber fails during that warranty period, they’ll fix or replace it for you free of charge.

How Long Do Air Scrubber Filters Last?

Many air scrubbers are designed for use with additional filters, much like the ones you’d find on a standard air purifier. So even though the air scrubber itself will last for many years, the filters have a much shorter lifespan than that. 

Over time, filters will become saturated with whatever they’re designed to capture, be it large or small particulates. As that happens, airflow will be restricted, and the air scrubber becomes less efficient at cleaning the air.

Here are the three most common types of filters you’ll find on an air scrubber and how long they’ll last:

  • Pre-filter (wash every month): Pre-filters are designed to catch larger bits of dust and debris as the air passes through. By doing that, the pre-filter reduces the burden on the other filters inside the air scrubber, which are designed to trap smaller particles.

The good thing about pre-filters is that they’re washable. So instead of replacing them, you’ll just need to wash them every 30 days. 

Pre-filters capture larger, more visible dust. So, you can visually inspect the pre-filters to know if they’re dirty.

  • High-Efficiency Particulate Air or HEPA filter (once a year): These filters are widely used in air scrubbers and can remove up to 99.5% of particulates in the air. You cannot wash a HEPA filter, but you do need to replace them at least once a year.
  • Charcoal filter (3-6 months): Some air scrubbers will include a charcoal filter to remove gasses and odours. These filters cannot be washed, so they’ll need to be replaced every 3-6 months.

The durations mentioned above are general rules of thumb. Bear in mind that you’ll need to clean or replace your filters more often if the air in your area is exceptionally polluted. 

Have a Question? Ask HVAC Technician

Click here to use the chatbox to speak with one of our technicians.
No in-home service calls. No appointments.

For example, there will be much more dust in the air if you’re doing extensive renovations in your home. So, an air scrubber in this area and its filters will need more maintenance than usual.

Related: Furnace Filter Airflow – What You Need To Know?

How Long Should You Run An Air Scrubber?

For an air scrubber to effectively clean the air in your home, you’ll need to run it for at least 24-48 hours non-stop. As each hour passes, the air scrubber will change the air at least 4-6 times, depending on its CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) and the size of the airspace.

Purchasing an air scrubber with a higher CADR will clean the air much quicker. However, the CADR must be sufficient for the space. A larger space will have more air that needs to be scrubbed, and that will take a longer time to do.

Should You Run An Air Scrubber Continuously?

Yes, ideally, you should run an air scrubber continuously. However, even in a standard household, the air can become recontaminated within hours. 

Some contaminants can come in from the outside through open windows and doors. Others can come from within the home itself, such as:

  • Dirt and dust getting kicked around as people walk around.
  • Dander from household pets like cats and dogs.
  • Germs and bacteria in the air from sick people indoors.
  • Cooking smells from the kitchen and odour from garbage.

So, to continuously enjoy clean air, it’s always best to leave the air scrubber on.

Are Air Scrubbers Worth The Money?

Yes, air scrubbers are a worthwhile investment, especially when compared to an air purifier.

The primary reason for this is that air scrubbers are more actively cleaning the air in your home. Besides forcing air through a series of filters, air scrubbers also generate negative ions which spread throughout your home. These ions trap dirt and dust both in the air and on surfaces like walls, doorknobs, and floors. 

By making those particles heavier, they become much easier to clean when you vacuum your floors or wipe those surfaces.

Related: Is It Worth Buying a Portable Air Conditioner?

Aside from cleaning the air in your home, air scrubbers are also effective at:

  • Protecting your family from sickness: By removing germs, bacteria, mold, and anything else that’s unhealthy, people are less likely to fall sick in your home. Air scrubbers also help to prevent cross-contamination, where one sick person passes on their germs to another.
  • Helping people with allergies and asthma: People with allergies and asthma will also suffer from symptoms less often. That’s especially true in households with pets or with higher exposure to pollen and other allergens.
  • Removing smells: Air scrubbers are also superior when it comes to moving unpleasant smells. That includes cooking smells from kitchens and other odours that come from the outside.

What Is The Difference Between An Air Purifier And An Air Scrubber?

Air purifiers and air scrubbers might look similar at first glance, but there are some general differences to be aware of.

Related: Which Is Better An Air Purifier Or An Air Scrubber?

Air Purifier

When it comes to air purifiers, the cleaning process happens entirely within the appliance itself. An air blower forces air through the machine and the filters inside, which capture particulates at different stages.

For example, a pre-filter catches visible dust particles, while a HEPA filter inside captures much smaller ones. Some air purifiers have carbon filters as well to remove odours from the air.

Once past the filters, the purified air will then be blown back out into the room.

Air Scrubber

With an air scrubber, the cleaning process does not happen exclusively inside the machine itself. Generally, an air scrubber produces negative ions that travel out into the room and attach to dust, dirt, and other particulates. Those particulates will stick to surfaces when that happens, making them easier to wipe up or vacuum.

Additionally, many air scrubbers also use filters (like the ones in air purifiers) to clean the air that passes through the appliance.

Some air scrubbers, particularly those used in industrial applications, also perform ‘wet scrubbing’. This is when the air is forced through a pool of water or a wet filter to remove impurities from the air more thoroughly.

Do I Need An Air Purifier If I Have An Air Scrubber?

If you already have an air purifier that successfully provides you with clean air, then you do not need to invest in an additional air scrubber.

However, if you still want to enjoy the benefits of an air scrubber, then consider purchasing one that only generates negative ions but doesn’t rely on filters. That way, the air scrubber will work in tandem with the air purifier to clean your indoor air.

The air scrubber’s negative ions will cause dust and other particulates to stick to your floors and walls, making them easier to clean. At the same time, the air purifier will clean the air that passes through it, thanks to the filter inside of the appliance.

Do Air Scrubbers Reduce Dust?

Yes, air scrubbers are exceptionally good at reducing dust in two ways. They do so:

  • With negative ions: The negative ions distributed by air scrubbers will bond with both airborne dust particles and those on surfaces like walls, floors, tables, and more. 

That means airborne dust particles will fall to the ground with the rest and be much easier to clean through vacuuming, mopping, and wiping.

Overall, this will lead to a significant drop in the amount of dust inside your home.

  • With filters: Air scrubbers with filters will also trap any of the airborne dust particles that flow through the appliance. The pre-filter will capture larger pieces of dust, while HEPA filters will capture finer ones that are not visible to the naked eye.

By capturing dust through two different and complementary methods, air scrubbers are significantly more effective at reducing dust compared to other methods like using an air purifier.