How Long Should an Air Scrubber Run?

With the issue of pollution, air quality has degraded significantly and has become a health hazard in some regions. Air scrubbers can help mitigate these ill effects considerably.

But as with all complex technologies, we sometimes don’t have a clear idea of how best to use them to get the optimum results. In the case of air scrubbers, a frequently asked question is how long you should keep it running to get the best results?

In this article, we will answer this question and provide insight into the factors determining how long you should use these machines.

Why Should You Care How Long Your Air Scrubber Runs?

Firstly, if your operational area is small and you are overusing the machine, you are just increasing your electricity bills with no significant benefits.

At the same time, you are putting our machine under stress by making it work longer than necessary while the same results can be achieved in far less time.

By knowing the correct run-time, you can save money and increase the machine’s life as well.

How Long Should an Air Scrubber Run?

Though this question sounds simple, it can be difficult to answer due to the sheer number of factors involved. The most simple answer would be that an air scrubber should run 24 to 48 hours for an industrial-grade air scrubber.

However, you should be aware of a few factors before falling victim to generalizations. This recommendation works if your machine has a capacity of 400 – 600 CFM (cubic feet per minute) and you require 4 ACH (air changes) per hour.

room size

Room Size

Let us take a pause and do some math. 

  • Let’s suppose the area where you want to install the air scrubber is 1,000 cubic feet large (you can figure this out by multiplying the length * breadth * height of your room in feet).
  • The average capacity of an air scrubber machine is around 400 CFM, which means it can do one air change of 400 cubic feet in one minute (considering filters are clean and the machine is running at full power). 
  • This means it can do one air change in 1,000 cubic feet of space in 2.5 minutes and four air changes in 10 minutes.

Minutes Required to Change Air in Room = Cubic Footage of Room/CFM of Air Scrubber

Let me simplify this math even further: the greater the area of the space, the higher the duration needed to clean the room. 

If you are using the air scrubber in a water processing plant where mold extermination has to be done, it can take 24 to 48 hours under negative air pressure to achieve the desired result due to the sheer size of the space. However, in the smaller space of a living room or dining area at home, it will take far less time.

Extent of Pollution

The usage duration can also differ with the types of pollutants and degree of contamination we want to clear. If a space is highly contaminated with mold, we may need to run it for a longer duration of around 24 to 48 hours.

High Pollution

You probably have seen some mold-removing companies keeping the system running for one or two days nonstop. However, the efficiency of the machine can be affected if it needs to run for longer durations and the filters are left unchecked.

The filters should be running with at least fifty percent efficiency to get the required cycles of air changes (minimum four). Once a HEPA filter or other filter gets clogged up, then the efficacy of the air scrubber dwindles, and there are also chances of cross-contamination.

Related article: Why Should You Use a Carbon Filter in Your Air Scrubber?

air pollutant

Low Pollution

Now that we have looked at the high contamination scenario, let’s talk about spaces with low contamination levels where we need to take care of spores and pollutants that hover more sparingly in the air. 

First, we need to take measurements of the area we need to cover and then choose a machine according to the required CFM. You can keep it running continuously with your central cooling or heating system.

Most houses have an open area from where fresh air enters the house, and with it comes pollution. Even if we seal our home completely, our own exhaled carbon dioxide creates carbon pollution, which can become harmful to us as it can create respiratory problems.

If you keep running our machine continuously, you will need fewer air changes, and it will put less strain on your machine and thus will consume less electricity. You can also achieve this by keeping an eye on the filter, as a clogged filter can put the machine under stress.

Related article: 7 Best Home & Commercial Air Scrubbers

Final Thoughts

In this article, we discussed the various factors that come with determining how long an air scrubber should be run for. While conventional wisdom says that you need to run the machine for 24 to 48 hours, in reality, it all depends on the measurements of the area to be cleaned and its contamination levels.

Keep in mind that regular filter changes keep the efficiency of the scrubbing at optimum levels and reduce the run time required. 

Now that you know how to best operate your air scrubber according to your needs, go ahead and use your air scrubber to protect yourself and your loved ones from the scourge of pollution!


    • Air scrubbers can usually last 10 to 20 years. It depends on the model and how many times you use it. Be sure to change the filters regularly, those have a much shorter lifespan.

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