Do Air Scrubbers Work?

Last Updated on May 11, 2024 by Peter Simmons

So, do air scrubbers work? According to the EPA, air scrubbers typically have an air pollution removal efficiency rate of 50-98%. Air scrubbers work!

Related post: What are scrubbers and what do they do?

The Focus of This Post

I hate waffling, and I know you do too. So I decided to research air scrubber filtration performance efficiency data for you. Let’s dive in and see what the numbers look like.

Each section describes a specific air scrubber type and what it removes. Most importantly, each part reveals the system’s efficiency rate.

Electrostatic Precipitators Scrubbers: Over 99%

Electrostatic precipitators use an electric charge to remove impurities from gas streams. Industries like cement, refineries, steel mills, and power generation rely on these scrubbers to control production pollution.

These devices cut greenhouse emissions by removing particles as small as 1 micron in diameter. The EPA says that electrostatic precipitators (ESPs) demonstrate efficiency rates exceeding 99%.

HEPA Air Scrubber: 99.97% Efficiency

HEPA air scrubbers are excellent at trapping the tiniest airborne particles. These scrubbers remove at least 99.97% of particles with a diameter of 0.3 microns. You’ll find them in hospitals, construction sites, kitchens, bedrooms, offices, living rooms, and schools. Some consider them too loud, so there’s that.

a person using a hepa air scrubber; these devices are champs

Nothing takes care of indoor particulates better than a HEPA air scrubber

They have a great reputation for cleaning up pollutants like mold spores, construction dust, pollen grains, smoke particles (soo), and bacteria. They even help with lead dust and asbestos!

The HEPA standard is hard to beat. If you’re worried about persistent basement odor, silica dust, or mold smell, install a filter-based scrubber.

One Amazing Thing About HEPA Filters

HEPA filters remove 0.3-micron particles like no one’s business. And do you know what they do even better? It’s capturing particles smaller or bigger than 0.3 microns, according to the EPA.

Are you curious why the number 0.3 microns keeps coming up? It’s because 0.3 microns is the most penetrating particle size.

These air filters are great at taking out both PM2.5 and PM10 particles. I previously wrote a well-researched post that provides a detailed answer on whether HEPA air purifiers remove PM2.5.

air scrubber applications

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These air filters are great at removing PM2.5 and PM10 particles. I previously wrote a well-researched, detailed post about whether HEPA air purifiers remove PM2.5.

One KPI in which HEPA-grade filters perform poorly is gaseous pollutant removal. However, nearly all HEPA-based devices offer gas-phase filtration technology.

Wet Air Scrubber Efficiency

Wet air scrubbers are pros at removing particulate matter (PMs) and toxic gases such as sulfur dioxide (SO2), hydrogen chloride (HCl), and hydrogen fluoride (HF). Also, they’re good at odor and VOC elimination.

They achieve removal efficiencies of 95–99%. These systems help control emissions across industries, such as manufacturing, chemicals, power generation, steel processing, and waste incineration.

Dry Air Scrubber Efficiency

Dry air scrubbers remove over 90% of pollutants from industrial exhaust streams. Specifically, they can reduce sulfur dioxide by up to 98%!

However, newer designs have an efficiency rate of less than 80%. This number is even lower than the performance of wet scrubbers, which reach an impressive rate of over 90%. That’s according to the EPA.

These scrubbers are also adept at conquering solvents and acidic vapors. They quickly spray chemicals into the exhaust, reacting with pollutants and removing particles as small as 0.51 microns.

What’s Next?

*As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a small commission from any qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

Now that you know that air scrubbers work, what’s next? Head over to Amazon and check out a few residential options.

What if you want an air purifier instead? You might find this post helpful.

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