How An Air Scrubber Can Decontaminate Your Home

How An Air Scrubber Can Decontaminate Your Home


As the champions of local heating, air conditioning, and air quality solutions, The Otter Guys are always seeking ways to optimize your indoor air quality and overall comfort. We believe that you should give serious consideration to installation an air scrubber device. Air scrubbers remove particles, gases, and chemicals from the air within a room. This comprehensive guide aims to explore what air scrubbers are, how they work, their benefits, and why they are becoming an essential addition to many households.

Otter van driving down the road.

Understanding Air Scrubbers

Air scrubbers integrate a series of filters and a fan to cleanse the air within your environment. They function by drawing air in, filtering out contaminants, and then recirculating the purified air back into the room. These devices are highly effective in reducing airborne particles such as dust, mold spores, bacteria, and even certain viruses.

The Evolution of Air Scrubbers

Air scrubber technology is not new. Since the early 20th century, manufacturing facilities have relied on air scrubbers to remove dust and soot from the factory. The technology has since evolved and miniaturized, finding its way into residential and commercial buildings worldwide. The modern air scrubber is a result of decades of refinement and innovation, allowing homeowners to enjoy cleaner air.

The Importance of Air Scrubbers

With reports from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicating that indoor air can often be two to five times – and occasionally one hundred times -more polluted than outdoor air, the importance of air scrubbers is clear. Indoor air pollution can originate from a variety of sources, including pet dander, dust, cigarette smoke, and mold. Air scrubbers help mitigate these issues by continuously cleaning and purifying the indoor air.

Indoor Air Quality and Health

A growing body of research indicates a strong correlation between indoor air quality and health outcomes. A range of health issues have been linked to poor indoor air quality, from minor irritations like headaches and fatigue to serious conditions such as respiratory diseases, heart problems and mental health concerns. By reducing airborne pollutants, air scrubbers can contribute to a healthier living environment.

The Mechanics of Air Scrubbers: A Deeper Dive

Air scrubbers utilize a range of technologies and mechanisms to improve the air quality in your home. To truly appreciate their effectiveness, it’s helpful to understand the principles behind their operation. This chapter will provide a more detailed overview of how air scrubbers work.

Step 1: Air Intake

The process begins when an air scrubber draws in air from the surrounding environment. This air can come from a single room, or from throughout your home, depending on the type of air scrubber. This air often contains various pollutants such as dust, allergens, mold spores, bacteria, and VOCs.

Step 2: Pre-Filter Stage

The first line of defense in an air scrubber is typically a pre-filter. This filter captures larger particles, such as dust, pet dander, and hair. By trapping these larger pollutants, the pre-filter improves the air quality and protects the more delicate filters downstream from clogging.

Step 3: Advanced Filtration

After the pre-filter stage, the air moves onto more advanced filtration systems. Here’s where the real work begins.

  • HEPA Filter: Many air scrubbers utilize High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters, which capture 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 micrometers in diameter. This includes most allergens, many bacteria, and some viruses.
  • Activated Carbon Filter: These filters are especially effective at removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and odors. The activated carbon in these filters has a vast surface area, allowing it to adsorb a large number of pollutant molecules.
  • UV-C Light: Some air scrubbers use UV-C light as a part of their filtration process. UV-C light is germicidal, meaning it can kill or inactivate microorganisms by destroying their DNA. This makes it highly effective against bacteria, viruses, and certain types of mold.
  • Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) Filter: In a PCO filter, UV-C light shines onto a catalyst (typically titanium dioxide), creating highly reactive molecules called hydroxyl radicals. These radicals can break down a wide range of pollutants, including VOCs, bacteria, viruses, and even certain chemicals.

Step 4: Air Outflow

Once the air is thoroughly scrubbed and purified, it’s circulated back into your home. The cleaned air flows evenly through your home, improving the overall air quality. It’s important to remember that an air scrubber is not a one-and-done solution. To maintain the best air quality, the air in your home needs to be continuously circulated through the air scrubber, ensuring that pollutants are constantly being removed. This is why integrating an air scrubber with your HVAC system can be so effective – it guarantees that your indoor air is continually being purified. By understanding the mechanics behind air scrubbers, we can appreciate their effectiveness in improving our indoor air quality. They are truly an essential component of any comprehensive plan for a healthier home.

The Benefits of Using Air Scrubbers

Indoor air quality is a crucial element of a healthy living environment. An air scrubber, with its sophisticated technology, can dramatically improve the air you breathe inside your home. To truly appreciate the impact an air scrubber can make, let’s delve deeper into the various ways it improves indoor air quality.

Reduction of Allergens

One of the most significant ways air scrubbers improve indoor air quality is by reducing the concentration of allergens. Pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and mold spores are common allergens that can trigger symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes, a runny nose, and even asthma attacks.

Air scrubbers, particularly those equipped with HEPA filters, trap these allergens. By circulating air through these filters, air scrubbers can significantly reduce the allergen concentration in your home, leading to fewer allergy symptoms and improved comfort for residents.

Elimination of Harmful Microorganisms

Air scrubbers are also effective at eliminating harmful microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses, from the air. This is particularly true for air scrubbers that use UV-C light or photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) technology.  

UV-C light is germicidal, meaning it can inactivate microorganisms by damaging their DNA. On the other hand, PCO technology uses UV-C light to create hydroxyl radicals, which can destroy a wide range of pollutants, including bacteria and viruses. By eliminating these harmful microorganisms, air scrubbers can help prevent the spread of illnesses and contribute to a healthier indoor environment.

Removal of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are a broad group of chemicals that are released as gases from certain solids or liquids. They can be emitted from a wide range of products, including paints, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials, and furnishings.

Many VOCs have been linked to adverse health effects, including eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, loss of coordination, and damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. Some are even suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.

Air scrubbers, especially those equipped with activated carbon or PCO filters, are highly effective at removing VOCs from indoor air. By adsorbing these chemicals or breaking them down into harmless substances, air scrubbers can significantly reduce your exposure to these potentially harmful compounds.

Reduction of Odors

Whether it’s from cooking, pets, or just everyday life, odors can become trapped in your home, leading to a less-than-fresh living environment. Air scrubbers can help with this as well.

Many air scrubbers include activated carbon filters, which are extremely effective at trapping odor molecules. Additionally, the PCO process can break down many odor-causing molecules, further helping to keep your home smelling fresh.

The verdict is clear, air scrubbers have a profound impact on indoor air quality. By reducing allergens, eliminating harmful microorganisms, removing VOCs, and reducing odors, they can transform the air in your home, making it healthier and more comfortable to breathe. When considering how to improve your indoor environment, an air scrubber should be at the top of any homeowner’s list.

Air Scrubbers and HVAC Systems: A Perfect Pair

At The Otter Guys, we often recommend integrating air scrubbers into your existing HVAC system for maximum effect. The air scrubber then works in tandem with your air conditioning system, circulating clean, purified air throughout your entire home. Our team of professionals can seamlessly integrate this system, ensuring it runs efficiently and effectively.

How Air Scrubbers Complement HVAC Systems

Your HVAC system already circulates air throughout your home as part of its heating and cooling functions. By adding an air scrubber, you’re simply adding a step to that process where the air gets cleaned before it gets distributed to the home. This ensures that every room in your home benefits from purified air, not just the room where the air scrubber is located.

 Whole House vs. Portable Air Scrubber: Which One Is Right For You?

When it comes to improving your home’s indoor air quality, both whole house and portable air scrubbers can be effective solutions. Let’s explore the differences between them and when you might prefer one solution over the other.

Whole House Air Scrubbers

Whole house air scrubbers integrate into your home’s existing HVAC system, treating and purifying the air as the air passes through. These systems are ideal for providing consistent air quality throughout your entire home.

Pros of Whole House Air Scrubbers

  • Consistent Air Quality: Whole house air scrubbers provide consistent air quality throughout your entire home.
  • Out of Sight: Because they’re installed directly into your HVAC system, whole house air scrubbers are hidden from view, maintaining the aesthetic of your home.
  • Low Maintenance: Whole house air scrubbers typically require less frequent maintenance than portable units.

Cons of Whole House Air Scrubbers

  • Higher Initial Investment: Whole house air scrubbers usually have a higher upfront cost due to the cost of the unit itself and the professional installation required.
  • Dependence on HVAC System: Because they work with your HVAC system, whole house air scrubbers only clean the air when your HVAC system is running.

Portable Air Scrubbers

Portable air scrubbers are standalone units that can be moved from room to room as needed. They draw in air, clean it, and then release the clean air back into the room.

Pros of Portable Air Scrubbers

  • Mobility: Portable air scrubbers can be moved to wherever they’re needed most, allowing you to target specific areas or rooms.
  • Lower Initial Cost: Portable units usually have a lower upfront cost and do not require professional installation.
  • Independent Operation: Portable air scrubbers can operate independently of your HVAC system, allowing you to clean the air in specific areas even when your HVAC isn’t running.

Cons of Portable Air Scrubbers

  • Limited Coverage: Portable air scrubbers can only purify the air in one room or area at a time.
  • Noise: Because the unit operates within the living space, noise can be more noticeable with portable air scrubbers.
  • More Frequent Maintenance: Portable units often require more frequent filter changes compared to whole house units.

Making the Choice: Whole House or Portable?

Choosing between a whole house and portable air scrubber depends on your specific needs and circumstances. Here are a few things to consider:

  • If you want consistent air quality throughout your home, and you’re willing to invest in a more permanent solution, a whole house air scrubber might be the best choice.
  • If you’re looking for a more affordable solution, or you want to target specific problem areas (like a basement with a mildew problem or a bedroom where a pet sleeps), a portable air scrubber could be the better option.

Remember, it’s not necessarily an either-or decision. Some homeowners find that a combination of both—a whole house system for overall air quality and a portable unit for targeting problem areas—provides the best of both worlds.

Top Air Scrubber Brands

In the world of air scrubbers, several brands have distinguished themselves through superior performance, innovation, and customer satisfaction. Here are a few top brands that we at The Otter Guys trust and recommend:


Aerus, formerly known as Electrolux USA, has been a leader in healthy home products for nearly a century. Their proprietary ActivePure® Technology is a revolutionary air and surface purification solution. Their Aerus Pure & Clean and Aerus Beyond Guardian Air models are particularly popular for their effectiveness and innovative technology.

Air Oasis

Air Oasis offers a range of air purifiers, including their iAdaptAir® and Bi-Polar® 2400 models. The company is renowned for their advanced AHPCO® (advanced hydrated photocatalytic oxidation) technology, which effectively reduces allergens, mold, VOCs, odors, bacteria, and viruses.


A well-known name in the HVAC industry, Honeywell, provides a wide range of air purifiers that are both effective and affordable. Their True HEPA Allergen Remover is particularly lauded for its ability to capture up to 99.97% of microscopic allergens.

Understanding the Costs of An Air Scrubber

Investing in an air scrubber is a decision that involves considering both the upfront costs and the ongoing maintenance costs. While prices vary based on brand, model, and features, here’s a general breakdown of what you can expect:

Price of the Air Scrubber

The cost of an air scrubber can range from as low as $500 for basic models to over $1,500 for more advanced units featuring UV-C light or PCO technology. The price can also vary based on the size of the unit, with larger units designed to handle larger volumes of air costing more.

Installation Costs

The cost of professional installation can also vary depending on the complexity of the job. On average, you can expect to pay between $200 and $400 for professional installation. At The Otter Guys, we provide transparent pricing and detailed estimates, so there are no surprises when it comes to installation costs. If you are putting in an air scrubber in conjunction with installing a new air conditioner, then these costs may be lower.

Ongoing Maintenance Costs

Maintenance costs primarily involve replacing the filters in your air scrubber. Depending on the type of filters your air scrubber uses, you can expect to spend between $50 and $100 per year on replacement filters. Some air scrubbers also use UV-C light bulbs, which need to be replaced periodically (typically every 1-2 years), adding to the maintenance cost.

Remember, investing in an air scrubber is an investment in your health and comfort. The benefits of cleaner, healthier air can far outweigh the costs. At The Otter Guys, we’re here to help you understand these costs and make an informed decision that’s right for your home and your budget. 

Maintenance and Care for Your Air Scrubber

Like any piece of HVAC equipment, air scrubbers require regular maintenance to ensure their longevity and performance. Replace your filters as per the manufacturer’s instructions, typically every 6-12 months. Regular maintenance will also include a system check to ensure the air scrubber is operating correctly. The Otter Guys provide comprehensive maintenance services that will keep your air scrubber running at its best.

The Importance of Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is crucial to keep your air scrubber performing optimally. Over time, filters can become clogged with particles and lose their effectiveness. Replace the filters regularly and have your system checked by a professional to ensure that your air scrubber will continue to provide clean air for you and your family.

Professional Installation of Air Scrubbers by The Otter Guys

Installing your air scrubber with a professional contractor is crucial to its performance. At The Otter Guys, we are well-versed in the intricacies of air scrubber installation. We ensure your device is properly installed and integrated into your HVAC system, providing you with clean, fresh air for years to come.

Why Professional Installation Matters

Make sure to select a professional to install your air scrubber. A poorly installed air scrubber might not clean the air as effectively, could become a fire hazard, or even damage your HVAC system. Our team has the training and experience to avoid these issues and ensure your air scrubber operates at its best. 

The Otter Guys: Your Trusted Air Quality Partner

We are dedicated to improving your home’s comfort and air quality. We’re proud to offer our customers the latest technology to help them achieve a healthier and more comfortable indoor environment. Our team of certified professionals is ready to assist you with your air scrubber selection, installation, and maintenance.

Our Commitment to Quality

We believe that every home deserves clean, healthy air. That’s why we provide high-quality air scrubbers and professional installation services. We fully guarantee our work, and we won’t rest until you’re completely satisfied with your new air scrubber.

Conclusion: Breathe Easier with The Otter Guys

Investing in an air scrubber can vastly improve the quality of the air within your home, leading to improved health and comfort. If you’re considering an air scrubber, The Otter Guys are here to help. We will help you select the right device, ensure it’s properly installed, and provide the necessary maintenance to keep it running smoothly. With air scrubbers, we can help ensure that the air you breathe inside your home is as clean and pure as possible. With The Otter Guys on your side, you can breathe easy knowing that your indoor air quality is in good hands. Contact us today to find out more about air scrubbers and how they can benefit your home.

Scroll to Top