Air scrubbers are indispensable tools used for cleaning and deodorizing an environment that has been contaminated by air pollutants such as toxic gases, chemical fumes, dust, mold, and other harmful particles.
These pollutants can be caused by water damage, fire damage, sewer damage, or just your regular air pollution.
Water/fire damage restoration professionals, construction crews, and janitorial services can all benefit from having an air scrubber on hand.
If you frequently work in small spaces, there are also portable air scrubbers to provide You the compact, lightweight solution for indoor air pollution. In fact, Aer Industries offer a range of air scrubbers that can get the job done.
An air scrubber is a portable filtration system that will draw air from the surrounding environment and filter out any gases, particles, and chemicals within in order to improve the indoor air quality of an area.
Once the air has been cleaned, it is the released back into the environment. Air scrubbers are sometimes also called negative air scrubbers or negative air machines.
However, there is one slight difference between an air scrubber and a negative air machine. With a negative air machine, you’ll need to have ducting attached which enables it to remove contaminated air from a sealed containment area.
This ensures that the spread of contaminants to other areas within the building is limited due to the negative air pressure created by the machine. Keep in mind that air scrubbers can only “scrub” the air.
Any pollutants that attach itself to the surfaces of walls, fabrics, and other materials cannot be removed by this type of machine.
Most air scrubbers will feature a three-stage filtration system to clean the contaminated air. The first stage is the pre-filter stage where only the largest particles in the air are trapped. This ensures that airflow and filtration remain highly efficient.
The second type of filter is made of carbon which will adsorb gas and vapor-phase molecules. These are the particles that cause odors. The carbon filter attracts these molecules to its surface area, effectively removing them from the air.
The third stage is the primary filter which completes the removal of unwanted pollutants from the air. HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters are the most efficient type of filter since it can trap 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns.
When the air is no longer contaminated, the blower which drew the air into the air scrubber will release it back into the surrounding environment.
Air scrubbers are beneficial in a wide variety of settings. It can help eliminate the smell of smoke whether it’s in a fire damaged home or a house of a smoker.
It can eliminate toxic gases and chemicals in industrial workplaces such as factories. It can remove mold spores in the air of a water-damaged building.
Air scrubbers can also reduce the risk of health issues and ensure job quality. These machines can also limit costs. Air scrubbers can minimize liability claims due to indoor air quality concerns as well as protect equipment.
For example, an air scrubber can reduce the amount of debris and dust that will clog the intake vents of commercial air movers or coat dehumidifier coils, both of which can be harmful for damage restoration equipment and reduce its productivity.
Compared to air purifiers, these tools have been specifically designed for heavy-duty cleaning of environments that have a high concentration of harmful pollutants – something that no ordinary air purifier can do. But that doesn’t mean that air scrubbers have no place in the home.
If you live in an area that is near warehouses or factories that produce fumes or other harmful substances, you’ll definitely benefit from using an air scrubber to maintain your indoor air quality.
As you can imagine, the air scrubber and negative air machine can be used in a lot of industries. Some of the applications include:
Airborne contaminants that are present in a worksite or created during the restoration process will require removal to ensure that the environment is clean and healthy for the workers. For example, a fire damaged home will contain smoke, soot, and ash.
On water damage restoration projects, particles that have settled on structural materials such as carpets and upholstery will get stirred up when an air mover is used to dry floors and carpets quickly.
These unwanted particles, which may include dirt, mite allergens, pet dander, and possibly mold, will contaminate the air, causing poor indoor air quality. With an air scrubber, you can clean the air as the room dries, restoring it to an even better condition before the damage occurred.
And then there’s sewer damage which does not only mean unpleasant odors. Toxic gases caused by sewage-born bacteria as well as the bacteria itself can contaminate the air you breathe which can cause harmful effects on your health when inhaled.
These worksites typically have a few or more airborne pollutants. There could simply be a lot of dirt and debris. However, some worksites will require the use of chemicals or disturb hazardous materials already present in the area such as asbestos, lead, dust, pet dander, carpet fibers, and allergen spores.
An air scrubber will ensure that the contaminants are removed from the air, making the environment safe for occupants and workers.
It also prevents these particles from settling into any of the furnishings present in the area or the HVAC system which can cause the contaminants to spread elsewhere in the building.
These are areas where infection control is incredibly important. In hospitals, both patients and health workers are vulnerable to circulating air that contains pathogens.
A negative air machine can limit the spread of contamination and prevent immunocompromised patients from getting in contact with contaminated air. The same goes for medical research centers where pathogens are studied and must remain contained or isolated from the rest of the structure.
Similar to restoration jobs, remediation projects will deal with the removal of hazardous particles such as mold and asbestos. Negative air machines will ensure that the contaminants remain in an isolated area while the air scrubber will use its filtration system to trap the microscopic mold spores or asbestos particles in the air.
Chemical fumes in printing shops and hair/nail salons will need to be “scrubbed” from the air to ensure the health and happiness of workers and customers.
The best kind of air scrubber is a HEPA air scrubber with filters. Obviously, you’ll want the machine to be able to capture all potentially harmful particles in the air. This means that you’ll want an effective filtration system which includes a HEPA filter. As we’ve already mentioned, a HEPA filter is able to remove 99.97% of airborne particles that are as small as 0.3 microns. Keep in mind that a poor filtration system equals to an ineffective air scrubber.
However, an even more important consideration is filtration efficiency. A good filter should be able to collect particles using its entire depth, not limited to its surface area. A filter that only uses its surface area will load too quickly and slow down airflow.
When airflow is reduced, lesser air is cleaned. To ensure that an air scrubber is efficient, look for one that has a filtration system with a high airflow and a low-pressure drop.
Certain brands such as B-Air and BlueDri have a track record of designing effective and efficient filtration systems.
ACH: ACH is short for air changes per hour. This refers to how many times the entire volume of air in a space is filtered through the machine within an hour.
For example, an ACH of 5 means that the entire volume of air in the room will be filtered through the machine 4 times inside of an hour or a completed air change is performed by the machine every 15 minutes.
According to the experts, a minimum of 6 ACH is required for use in small offices and homes. For moderately contaminated commercial locations, an 8 ACH is required.
At least 10 ACH is required for industrial projects that have heavy contamination. And a minimum of 12 ACH is a must for hospitals which have critical contamination.
CFM: In air scrubbers, CFM is the spec that tells you how much air can be cleaned by the machine per minute. To calculate for the CFM of a given space, you will need to get the area of the room (length x width x height of the room) and multiply it with the ACH. Then, divide that by 60 minutes.
CFM = (length x width x height of the room) x # of Air Changes per Hour / 60 minutes
Now, air scrubbers will differ in airflow, normally ranging from 500 to 2000 CFMs. You’ll need to choose the airflow that fits the job requirements. Just keep in mind that the higher the CFM, the larger the air scrubber will be. Small cleaning jobs in homes will only require 500 CFM.
Restoration jobs, on the other hand, may require 1000 CFM or more. It is important to note that using several 500 CFM units will sometimes be a better option than using a single 2000 CFM unit.
This is because pockets of air may remain out of the reach of a single air scrubber. These pockets may be located in corners of a room, hallways, or through doorways.
To ensure that all the dirty air is cleaned, you can opt to use an air mover, if possible, to improve air circulation. If not, it’s best to use several smaller CFM units placed strategically around the room to minimize these stale pockets of air.
While a filtration system is important in an air scrubber, it won’t be able to do anything to the air without a powerful blower. This is the part of the air scrubber that draws the air into the machine and exhausts it out once the air has been cleaned.
The power of the blower must complement the efficiency of the filtration system. Too much power and the filtration system will become overwhelmed, decreasing the overall efficiency of the air scrubber.
For negative air machines, the blower must have enough power to be able to maintain constant negative air pressure.
Some air scrubbers will offer a single speed while others will have multiple speeds. A single speed unit is enough for some users but multi-speed air scrubbers provide greater flexibility. You’ll be able to match the speed level to the type of cleaning job and/or location. You’ll also be able to control the amount of noise produced by the machine.
For professionals, jobs will most likely be located far and wide which means lugging around an air scrubber from one worksite to the next. Even within a worksite, you may be required to move the machine from one room to another. When choosing an air scrubber, make sure that the weight and bulk of your final choice is not going to be a hindrance to you. You’ll want one that can be easily transported from one point to another such as from the basement to the top floor, or from the van to the worksite and back again.
If you work alone at jobs, you’ll want an air scrubber that can be operated and moved by one person (you). Find one that you can easily pick up and take with you to the next job where you’ll need them to perform their magic.
Naturally, you’ll want an air scrubber that will be able to cope with the variety of jobs that you’ll be handling. Well, air scrubbers can come with different levels of versatility. For example, some units will be able to filter out particles and odors at the same time. Others can be used in a horizontal position or a vertical position. Look for the type of versatility that will work best for you and the jobs you’ll be doing.
Aer Industries offers two popular brands of industrial air scrubbers – BlueDri™ and B-Air®. Both of these brands are C-ETL certified and utilize a three-stage HEPA filtration system that removes airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns from the air.
B-Air® has been producing reliable air scrubbers along with air movers, dryers, and blowers for almost twenty years. The cutting-edge designs of their products ensure maximum efficiency, high quality, and reliability.
Under this brand is the B-Air® RA-650 HEPA Air Scrubber which is ideal for cleaning contaminated air in small offices or homes that are up to 600 square feet. This model uses a three-stage filtration system that includes a pre-filter, an optional carbon filter, and a HEPA filter which are all made in Germany.
This 2.5-amp air scrubber features a 1/3 HP motor that can create an airflow of up to 500 CFM. The unit is daisy-chain capable with a GCFI port which allows you to run multiple units in one area; this can be ideal for spaces with poor air circulation.
The machine also features an hour meter, a filter change indicator light, and a variable speed switch. This model comes in blue, green, and red.
BlueDri™ is a brand that manages to strike the perfect balance between portability, performance, and price. All BlueDri™ products have been specifically designed to serve the needs of water damage restoration professionals, from air movers to commercial humidifiers and air scrubbers.
With BlueDri™, you’re able to provide outstanding results to your customers every single time. The Air Shield 550 HEPA Air Scrubber is the only air scrubber sold under this brand. This is a low-amperage air scrubber that has been specifically designed for use in tough commercial and industrial environments.
It features a 1/3 HP motor, variable speed control, and an hour meter display. This unit uses a 3-stage HEPA filtration system which makes it ideal for restoration and remediation projects.
The CFM ranges from 250 to 500 which may not mean much at first. But with the GFCI port and the extra-long cord, you can daisy chain multiple units together to ensure all areas within the room are covered.
With its compact design, you can easily transport this from one job site to another and store it away when not in use. The model is available in red, grey, green, and blue.
If you would like to learn more about how industrial air scrubbers can help you decontaminate and deodorize after a fire, give our product experts a call at 855.345.3555 today.