Indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. HVAC systems have air filters that help remove dirt particles from the air circulating in your Plainfield, IL home so you can have better indoor air quality. However, these filters are ineffective against some pollutants that can pass through. A homeowner needs an alternative air cleaning tool, such as an air scrubber. This is a powerful tool that helps in the fight against airborne pollutants. They can capture and eliminate minute airborne particles and gaseous contaminants. They are also effective against airborne pathogens.

How Do Airborne Pathogens Spread?

When infected people speak, breathe, sneeze, or cough, they expel pathogen-laden droplets into the air. These droplets can contain viruses, bacteria, or fungi and remain suspended in the air for a long time. When another person inhales them, they may also get the infection. The infection rate is higher in crowded and poorly ventilated places as the particles can be more concentrated. Some diseases caused by airborne pathogens include measles, chickenpox, influenza, and the common cold (Rhinovirus).

Some air pollutants trigger allergic reactions, with at least 36 million people worldwide being allergic to airborne particles. Many people are allergic to pollen, which is a fine powder produced by flowers. Due to its tiny size, some HVAC air filters cannot filter out pollen. Air scrubbers control indoor pollen to ease allergic reactions.

Understanding How Air Scrubbers Operate

Air scrubbers are often used in industrial operations that produce pollutants and toxic gases. They are used so that the circulating air is free of contaminants and hazardous emissions. Their use has been adapted in homes to not only clean air but also to eradicate unpleasant smells. Air scrubbers clean air in various stages, each dedicated to a separate and unique function.

1. Blower

For increased efficiency, the air scrubber depends on a blower to pull in the air stream during cleaning. Some air scrubber models have variable speeds to accommodate the pressure of the air stream.

2. Filtration

Large particles are floating in the air, which may not be visible to the naked eye. These large particles are filtered out of the air stream as air flows through a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. About 99% of the particles are removed in the pre-filter process. This protects the larger filters from clogging with particles so they can have longer life spans.

Smaller particles may pass through the pre-filters. These will be filtered out at the point of the primary HEPA filters. The second filtration stage uses thicker and heavier filters than those used in the pre-filtration.

Additional filters may be added to air scrubbers in specific environments. These are carbon filters that remove toxic materials, pollutants, chemicals, and other pollutants that can harm human health. Their design allows them to remove foul odors by eliminating the gas and vapor molecules responsible for them.

There may be organic materials that can be removed with carbon filters. The activated carbon is placed in a filtering frame and will absorb the organic matter as the stream flows through the carbon before flowing out through an outlet nozzle. These are often used for air scrubbing in food processing industries, pharmaceutical labs, and sensitive areas where dense materials can be in the air.

3. Ultra-Violet Light

Air scrubbers have different designs, depending on the manufacturer. Special components may be added to the system. Ultraviolet light is another feature that can be added to air scrubbers for increased efficiency and effectiveness against airborne particles. These lights are added to remove active pollutants and pathogens such as mold spores, viruses, bacteria, and fungi. As the air flows through the system, ultraviolet lights disrupt the DNA sequence of the pathogens, rendering them inactive.

4. Reagents

Dry air scrubbers spray reagents into the exhaust stream at a high speed to target pollutants. When they come into contact, the reagent forces the contaminants out of the air stream. The pollutant and the spray are burned in the heat of the air stream or may be captured in the filters.

Use of Air Scrubbers in Controlling Airborne Pathogens

Even though various air cleaning systems are used in homes and offices, air purifiers and humidifiers have been known to be more effective against adverse airborne matter. However, air scrubbers surpass them all due to their ability to remove odor and pathogens. They are used for the following function: to control disease-causing microorganisms.

1. Mold Removal

Regardless of the environment and weather, mold growth is possible in most homes due to high humidity levels or water leakage. It can spread quickly when there are favorable conditions. For instance, mold growth can begin after about 48 hours of water flooding in homes. They can release spores that can lead to serious health issues, cause damage to surfaces, and lower indoor air quality. Air scrubbers are effective against mold as they are designed to work against severe pollution.

2. Dust Mites Elimination

While most people think they are allergic to dust, the organisms living in dust typically trigger allergic reactions. Air scrubbers kill dust mites and are 100% effective at eradicating their contamination.

3. Oxidizers

There may be pathogens resting on surfaces in your home that can not be removed alongside those in the air stream flowing through the air scrubbers. When an air scrubber works, it releases oxidizers that circulate through the house, seeking pathogens on the surfaces and in the air. Particulate matter released by the air scrubber is supercharged and can seek pathogens like fungi, viruses, bacteria, and other pollutants. It destroys the offensive matter regardless of their location.

Air Scrubber Maintenance

For your air scrubber to work at peak efficiency, you must change or clean the filters regularly per the manufacturer’s guidelines. After using the system for some time, the particles it catches will accumulate on the filter, reducing its effectiveness. Air leaks in the air scrubber can reduce its efficiency. Regular inspection of the hoses, connections, and seals by a professional can identify leaks that should be repaired immediately.

The fan blades are fundamental for air scrubber performance as they draw and circulate the air. They may have accumulated dirt or debris that can lead to imbalances and reduced efficiency. A professional will check for dirt and can clean it with a soft brush or compressed air. They will also check for proper airflow using an anemometer and compare it with the manufacturer’s specifications.

Air scrubbers can be your first defense against airborne pollutants and pathogens not filtered by HVAC system air filters. With proper use and maintenance, these systems give you the full potential to manage the spread of unwanted particles so you can have healthier indoor air. At TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we conduct indoor air testing, and our professionals can recommend the best system to improve your home’s air quality. We also provide comprehensive heating, cooling, and plumbing services in Plainfield.

Contact TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today for all your HVAC and plumbing needs.

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