Air scrubbers have been identified as truly effective for air purification and mold remediation. But every time we’ve come across people who own them, one of the most common questions we get is, “how long should one run an air scrubber?”.
While this may seem like a straightforward question, it truly is not. Truth is, it depends on what your air scrubber is used for and its current condition. It also depends on the state of its filter and just how much more work it can do.
As per industry standards for mold, particulates and pollutants removal, an air scrubber should run for 24 to 48 hours, but this only applies on the assumption that your unit has a 400-600 CFM capacity, and can achieve four air changes per hour.
Most quality commercial-grade air scrubbers can achieve these milestones as a minimum if they are in good condition. However, these rules can change in different circumstances, some of which we’ll address much later.
Can You Run an Air Scrubber All the Time?
Ideally, air scrubbers should be run continuously. This will ensure the continuous removal of pollutants from the air on a continuous basis, even as dirt from outside tries to recontaminate your indoor air.
But if by ‘all the time’ you mean every hour all day long for 7 days a week and 52 weeks a year non-stop, it may not be wise to do so. Let’s consider four major reasons why you shouldn’t run your air scrubber all the time.
1. Energy cost
The first reason is simple; running an air scrubber costs money and the longer you keep them running the more energy charges are incurred. Unless money is not a problem for you, you may want to give your unit some time off.
2. Wear and tear
Another reason why you may want to turn off your unit occasionally is to give the components and parts some time to cool off. Continuous use of mechanical and electrical parts will lead to wear and tear much quicker and this can shorten the lifespan of your unit.
3. Filter replacement
Air scrubbers use filters that need to be replaced from time to time. You cannot leave your air scrubber running while you do this. Due to the complexity of some units, you may need as much as 10 minutes or more to replace an air scrubber filter.
4. Emergency uses
Some cities in Finland, Bangladesh, Switzerland and Norway, among others, have very clean air and residents may not need air scrubbers for air purification.
If an air scrubber is purchased for emergencies like mold remediation or dampness, it doesn’t have to run continuously. It can simply be put away after results are achieved.
Therefore, it is best to run your air scrubber for 24-48 hours under the recommended circumstances and turn it off for about 12 hours, before turning it back on, especially if there are no respiratory issues or asthma sufferers in your home.
This will not only save you some cost on energy but will also reduce the speed of wear and tear on your unit. Also, you may want to turn off your air scrubber before leaving the house if you suspect your electrical system may be faulty and could start a fire in your absence.
Is It Safe to Leave an Air Scrubber on All Night?
Yes, it is totally safe to leave your air scrubber on all night. It is not just safe but highly recommended too. As long as your unit is of good quality, doesn’t overheat, and doesn’t run the risk of causing a fire, you won’t have a problem running a scrubber all night.
In fact, this will ensure you continue to breathe in only good, clean air all night long. If you or members of your household suffer from allergies or lung complications, leaving your air scrubber on all night is a good way to keep your household healthy and prevent further complications.
Turning your air scrubber off before you sleep can cause serious health issues, especially if you live in an area with very bad air. So, as long as there’s nothing wrong with your unit, you have some anti-surge protection system and your filter is clean, your unit can run all night long.
How Long Should You Run an Air Scrubber?
The industry recommendation as stated earlier is 24 to 48 hours, if your unit is in perfect condition, has a CFM of 400-600, and can achieve at least 4 air changes per hour. What this means is, if your unit doesn’t check these boxes, the rule doesn’t apply to you.
Just so you don’t generalize and fall victim, there are some factors you must consider to determine how long you need to run an air scrubber.
1. Size of Room
The number of air changes, which is one of the conditions given for recommended run time, is actually largely dependent on the room size and the unit’s CFM.
If your unit has a capacity of 400 CFM, it means its air exchange rate capacity is at 400 cubic feet per minute, which means one air exchange per every 400 cubic feet area.
In a 2,400 cubic ft room, it will take six minutes for every air exchange, which still gives about 10 air exchanges an hour.
But, what if it’s an 8,000 cubic ft room? It means the unit will perform 1 air exchange every 20 minutes, and only 3 per hour.
In this case, you may need to run your unit longer than 48 hours to achieve good results. For larger sized rooms, you should consider the following products;
Recommended Air Scrubbers for large rooms:
2. Type/Level of Pollution
Regardless of the room size, the type and extent of pollution is another factor that determines how long your air scrubber should run. Generally, you should leave your air scrubber running for as long as your indoor air is polluted beyond manageable levels.
Also, some forms of pollution will require more scrubbing time than others because of the nature of the pollutants. Take a bad odor caused by a dead mouse, for instance, especially one you’ve not discovered.
You can’t compare that with mere dust or dander. You may need to scrub the air for many days for proper remediation.
Recommended Air Scrubbers for heavy pollution:
Basically, the air quality of your region is a big deal. The region you live in is another very important factor.
People in less polluted areas may not need to run their air scrubbers for up to 48 hours, while some others in more polluted regions may need to keep it running for longer than that.
How long you run your air scrubber doesn’t have to go by any book or set rule. The recommended run time is also not set in stone and can change depending on many factors- some of which we’ve discussed here.
Whatever you do, be sure you’re getting the right results from your unit, breathing the right air, and caring for your unit to extend its lifespan as much as possible.