How Long Do Air Scrubber Filters Last?

Air scrubbers can be very useful in both the home and the workplace! The fact is, you never truly know what nasties are clinging to the air, and with both mold and dust being particularly hazardous over long stretches of time, it makes sense to try and filter and/or kill the beasts as quickly as possible.

You will normally find that a good air scrubber lasts five years, used regularly. However, this may differ from model to model, and from brand to brand. Therefore, it’s a good idea to consult the operations manual and your guarantee / warranty details before you get started. Your filters, however, will need replacing or cleaning a couple of times a year.

Air scrubbers are fantastic, but nothing lasts forever. There are a few factors that can impact when you need to swap out your air scrubbers, as well as its filters, if it uses any. How long do air scrubber filters last in practice? Keep reading, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.


How long should air scrubber filters last?

It’s very likely that, if your air scrubber uses a filter, it’s that which will be causing any running problems from day to day. That’s because HEPA filters in air scrubbers can clog up with everything they are meant to catch and kill. One thing that is fairly similar between some air scrubbers and air purifiers is that they run on HEPA, but as mentioned, some air scrubbers do also go without.

The filter in your air scrubber itself should last for years to come. Pre-filters, which tend to be the most common, will need cleaning at least once a month. It is these filters that do the hardest work of catching the biggest dust clumps and fluff on the air. Essentially, the pre-filter works a little bit like a front door or gate. The filters beyond this point, actually go one step further.

Set up a schedule to clean your pre-filters regularly. Again, once a month, so around a 30-day cycle, should do it. Your manufacturer will advise you on how to clean it, whether that is in the spin cycle or in the kitchen sink.

HEPA filters, meanwhile, can’t be washed. These are the hardest working filters in your air scrubber (if indeed it has them), and you will need to change them out if they get dirty, clogged, or no longer work properly. If you have washed your pre-filter and there are still problems deeper down, then that is a clear sign your HEPA needs switching.

These filters, thankfully, only need to be swapped out around once a year. That means you don’t have to worry about as long a cleaning or maintenance schedule. Again, your manufacturer will tell you if this is any different with your given brand of air scrubber.

Do air scrubbers use charcoal filters?

In some cases, yes, air scrubbers will use charcoal filters, or even carbon-based options, instead of HEPA filters, or will actually use a combination of the two. That’s because, for the most part, charcoal filters do a different kind of job to HEPA. 

HEPA filters will remove and even neutralize the worst bacteria and particles in the year by over 99%. Charcoal filtration, meanwhile, is there to help trap smells and to remove gas.

Therefore, the best in air scrubber technology (unless you have a 100% UV model) is probably going to make use out of charcoal and HEPA. Charcoal filters are, much like HEPA, non-washable, and will need replacing if they run out of steam. You will know if the charcoal filters in your air scrubber need replacing or removing when you start to notice bad smells start to re-emerge.

Charcoal filters need changing more frequently than HEPA filters. You will probably need to swap these out for new ones at least twice to three times each year, so make sure to stock up.

How do air scrubber filters wear out?

Air scrubber filters can only do so much, and as you may imagine, the more work you put them through, the quicker they are going to start wearing down and start needing replacement or cleaning.

Pre-filters will stop air from flowing through to the inner filtration of an air scrubber if, for example, they are clogged up with dust and other detritus. That’s why it is so important to clean them regularly. 

HEPA filters can come across similar issues. While it’s not easy to tell if a HEPA filter is ‘at capacity’ with the naked eye, they will start to break down and stop working altogether once they have taken in too many particles. Carbon and charcoal filters in your air scrubber, too, will face the same problems.

Essentially, it’s most likely your air scrubber will need attention if your filters are simply full.

Do I need to replace my air scrubber?

Don’t worry – you probably won’t need to replace your air scrubber until it’s around five or six years old. That, from our research and years of experience, tends to be the generic figure to expect.

However, when shopping around for the best air scrubbers, be sure to look for any warranty of guarantee information you can. This will tell you how long your manufacturer expects the air scrubber to work in practice. A manufacturer likely won’t want to fix something for free if they can help it, and if you know anything about hardware warranties, you’ll know that they will be duty bound to fix your scrubber if it breaks during this period.

That said, there are of course a couple of other points you need to consider. For one thing, the more you run your air scrubber, the quicker it will wear down and therefore burn out.

You don’t have to leave your air scrubber on all the time. However, there’s also the fact that the more premium-end of air scrubbers are likely to last longer. They tend to expect more money from you, but as they say, you get what you pay for.

If your air scrubber’s starting to slow down, and you’re starting to notice pollutants in the air again, it’s unlikely that your air scrubber itself is malfunctioning. It’s actually much more likely that the filters in your air scrubber need to be replaced, or cleaned at the least.

If your air scrubber doesn’t use air filters, however, you will need to consider a hardware malfunction. Check the manual and the guarantee, and see what your manufacturer has to say.

Should I run an air scrubber permanently?

How long should you run an air scrubber in general? There are two arguments to this. The first is, of course, that the longer you run your air scrubber for, the quicker it is going to wear down. It also means that your air filters, no matter whether they are HEPA, charcoal, pre-filter or carbon, will clog up and reach capacity quicker, too.

However, many people – and certainly us, in our own experience here at Renovation Dojo — find that running an air scrubber continuously will breed the best results. The general rule is to try and run your air scrubber for between 24 and 48 hours in one blast, if you can. That way, you give your filters ample chance to remove as many impurities from your space as possible.

Of course, it all depends on what’s going on in your space, too. If you’re not kicking up a lot of dust and generally keep your rooms clean, then there won’t be too much need to keep your scrubber running for hours at a time.

However, if you are scrubbing the air in a dusty workshop or are working with dirty and unhygienic materials – or if you know there is a lot of mold growing on the walls – it’s probably time to run your air scrubber for a day or two – where possible!

Again, your manufacturer will help you with this. The best-designed and most heavy-duty air scrubbers will withstand a couple of days of constant running.


So – how long do air scrubbers last? Probably five or six years depending on the model and make. It’s the filters inside your air scrubber that you need to be more concerned about, as these will generally need washing or replacing much sooner.

Without your filters (if your air scrubber even has them), you stand to clog up the air with more hidden nasties – so it’s always worth showing them due care and attention.