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Air Scrubber vs. Air Purifier: Which Is Better For My Home?

girl reading on couch while air scrubber purifies air

When thinking about the best way to improve air quality in your house, the decision usually comes down to an air scrubber vs. air purifier as they both do the best job of cleaning up the air inside your home.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air qualities “are often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations,” and since we spend so much time indoors, that’s a lot of time spent in some possibly not so great air. 

If indoor pollution is not tackled, it can lead to some acute and sometimes more harmful health effects like irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat; headaches, dizziness, and fatigue: and respiratory diseases, heart disease, and sometimes cancer. Figuring out how to purify the air in your home is key to combating some of these ill effects.

Air Scrubber vs. Air Purifier

Air Scrubber

In a nutshell, air scrubbers improve the air quality in your house by removing chemicals, gases, and other toxic and harmful particles from the air by pulling them through specially designed filters to trap things that regular air purifiers can’t always reach – giving them a leg up in the air scrubber vs air purifier debate. The kinds of particles air scrubbers eliminate can include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), dust, odors, allergens, and even many forms of bacteria. 

Originally designed to help clear the air at construction sites and other places with notoriously bad air, whole-home air scrubbers offer the same level of decontamination. At John C. Flood, we utilize the Air Scrubber by Aerus® that utilizes ActivePure® Technology. 

Designed to eliminate harmful particles - both milder ones like dust and odors to larger ones like VOCs and bacteria – the Air Scrubber by Aerus® with ActivePure® Technology eliminates up to 99% of contaminants both in the air and on surfaces. 

The ActivePure technology uses as a specialized UV light and photocatalyst target to clean your air through an advanced oxidation process. This process reduces the number of indoor pollutants in your home as well as visible smoke, odors, and microbial colonies. 

And because air scrubbers trap airborne particles before they enter your HVAC system, it can extend its life since they prevent particle buildup, something that can slow down your HVAC and make it run harder, increasing the rate of wear and tear. This makes installing an air scrubber one of the best ways to improve air quality in-home. 

Air Purifier

Like air scrubbers, air purifiers eliminate particles to clean and improve the overall air quality of your home. But while air scrubbers are machines added onto your HVAC system that then pull in the air to clean, whole-home air purifiers catch the particles as they circulate through your central air system and is integrated directly into your HVAC system.

Air purifiers improve the air quality in your house by using these kinds of filters, often in some kind of combination:

  • Flat filters: your traditional filter that needs to be changed out on a monthly basis. This thin filter catches particles as air passes through it as it naturally circulates around your home.
  • Extended media filters: these filters are more advanced versions of flat filters, able to trap harder to catch particles and don’t need to be switched out as often. 
  • Electronic filters: these filters are commonly used when there are known toxins in a home and need a little extra oomph to get the job done. 
  • Ultraviolet filters: the most advanced type of filter designed to eliminate organic pollutants, these filters use UV light to attack and eliminate bacteria and germs, making them a popular choice in hospitals in particular. 

We use the Air Knight UV whole house air purifier – a purifier that works 24/7, whether your HVAC system is running or not, to reduce pollutants. This purifier uses high-intensity germicidal UV lights, as well as your home’s natural humidity and an additional catalyst in order to generate and deploy vaporized hydrogen peroxide and charged ions that are then distributed throughout your home through your HVAC.

Where air purifiers trail behind in the air scrubber vs air purifier debate comes in their inability to eliminate VOCs. Since scrubbers are able to absorb the small and various types of VOCs due to the nature of how they operate, scrubbers take the cake in total ability to clean the air of your home. 

Breathe Easy with the Experts from John C. Flood

For the average home, air scrubbers and air purifiers will both be able to successfully tackle day-to-day air filtration problems and clean air to safe levels. The main differences between the two systems come down to how they work, the minutia of how fine their filtration can be, and how they attach and integrate into your overall HVAC system. 

If the air quality is a high priority for you, the best way to improve air quality in your home is to install both an air scrubber and an air purifier, allowing both to work for you. Give us a call at (703) 752-1266 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with an HVAC expert to go over which option - or both - works best for your home!