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Which Air Purifier is Best for Cigarette Smoke?

The best air purifier to get rid of cigarette odors is a whole-home air scrubber.

But before we go any further, you should ask yourself why you want an air scrubber:

But if reducing cigarette smell is your main concern, then an air scrubber can help. In this article, we’ll explain what an air scrubber is and how it eliminates cigarette smoke smell.

What is an air scrubber?

activTek INDUCT

A whole-home air scrubber (source: www.activtek.com)

An air scrubber is a filtration device that removes microscopic particles, gases and chemicals in a given space. They’re found everywhere from restaurants and businesses to homes and hospitals.

For residential purposes, you mainly see 2 types of air scrubbers:

  1. Portable (designed to clean the air of a single room)
  2. Whole-home (meant to clean all the air in the home)

Because the smell from cigarette smoke is so potent, we recommend installing a whole-home air scrubber, so we’ll focus on that for the rest of the article.

Whole-home air scrubbers come in different models and brands, but depending on the model, air scrubbers can:

  • Remove approximately 90% of airborne bacteria, viruses and germs (some particles in cigarette smoke fall in the 10% that’s not covered)
  • Kill up to 99.9% of bacteria, viruses and germs on surfaces (like some molds, strep, E. Coli, etc.)

Now let’s take a look at how an air scrubber works...

How does an air scrubber get rid of cigarette smoke smell?

activTek INDUCT 2000 installed in HVAC system ductwork

Air scrubber in ductwork (source: www.activtek.net)

Here’s how it works: A whole-home air scrubber is installed in your ductwork after the air handler or near supply vents (see image above).

As untreated air from your home is pulled in from the blower, it’s cooled or heated (depending on the season) and then pushed by the air scrubber, which uses germicidal UV light rays to kill many of the odorous particles in cigarette smoke.

activTek INDUCT 2000 installed within the ductwork

Closer view of air scrubber in ductwork (source: www.activtek.net)

But that’s only the immediate cleansing process. In addition to germicidal UV light rays, an air scrubber also uses an “oxidation” process where oxygen, light and water molecules react and create little “molecule scrubbers” (superoxide ions, hydroxyls and hydrogen peroxide).

These scrubbers work 24/7 to kill the pollutants in your home’s air and on surfaces like tables, carpets and walls.

After about 4–5 days of this air-scrubbing process, you’ll start to notice cleaner air and less cigarette smoke smell.

How much does it cost to install an air scrubber?

The cost to install an air scrubber is around $1,500. It’s more expensive than simply upgrading to a high-quality air filter because the equipment costs more and it’s actually installed into your home’s ductwork (see images from the previous section).

The cost of an air scrubber installation depends on...

  • What air scrubber you get: Some brands and models are more expensive than others. (We install the activTek INDUCT 2000.)
  • How difficult it is to install the air scrubber: Is your air handler located in a crawlspace or attic? If so, it may be harder to install, which raises the total cost to install an air scrubber.
  • The contractor you choose: Usually when it comes to installing an air scrubber, you get what you pay for. Beware of contractors that offer super low installation costs because that generally reflects poor installation work, which ultimately reduces the air-cleaning efficiency of your air scrubber.

Contact George Brazil to schedule an appointment with one of our trusted HVAC technicians. We’ll visit your home to give you an accurate installation estimate based on your ductwork and clean air needs.