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ACBs Versus Compressed-Air-Using “Self-Cleaning” Filter Systems

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  • Air-Cleaning Blowers™ (ACBs) revolutionize air purification by eliminating the need for pressurized air during the cleaning process. Unlike Compressed-Air-Using “Self-Cleaning” Filter Systems (SCFs), which rely on a continuous supply of compressed air, ACBs operate independently and efficiently without such requirements.

  • One significant advantage of ACBs lies in their maintenance simplicity. While SCFs necessitate the collection and disposal of debris they remove from the air, ACBs bypass this process entirely, as they do not accumulate debris in the first place.

  • Moreover, ACBs offer substantial cost savings compared to traditional self-cleaning fans equipped with filters. Their streamlined design and smaller size translate to lower purchasing costs. Installation expenses are also significantly reduced, often requiring minimal space and ductwork compared to SCFs.



ACBs, being compact, can often be installed much closer to the point of use, while SCFs may require central or remote locations due to their complexities. Additionally, SCFs necessitate ductwork, increasing the workload on their blowers and, consequently, electricity consumption.



Why Should You Choose an ACB?

  • SCF’s eventually require replacement due to clogged pores, incurring costs for buying, installing, and disposing of filter elements. ACBs, devoid of filter media, eliminate these expenses entirely.
  • ACBs typically release removed particles back into the environment they came from, often outdoors or into the surrounding dusty area. As a result, they maintain the original air and dust levels without altering the overall environment.
  • In contrast, SCFs collect dust, potentially reducing the dust level in their immediate vicinity. However, this impact may be minimal compared to the total facility dust, limiting their overall environmental effect to the specific application they serve.


  • ACBs generally consume less electricity per CFM produced compared to SCFs, with ongoing advancements further reducing their energy requirements.

Image provided by Better Plants, U.S Department of Energy

  • Self-cleaning filters encounter energy efficiency challenges compared to ACBs due to their inherent design limitations. These filters must strike a balance between the expense of cleaning and the operational costs incurred when heavily clogged:
  • Filters employing compressed air often operate with high pressure losses, resulting in significant energy consumption.
  • To mitigate continuous costly air consumption and potential media damage, most systems allow debris to accumulate until a predefined level of clogging (pressure drop) is reached.
  • Upon reaching this threshold, compressed air is activated to clean the media, typically set at around 4″ w.g. (water gauge) or approximately 1250 Pa. The system continues to run until the pressure loss reaches another set point, typically around 2″ w.g. of pressure loss.


To provide context on pressure losses:

  • New fan and filter elements typically begin with a capacity airflow rating of 0.5″ w.g. or lower. However, doubling the back pressure from clogging can escalate electrical consumption by up to 50%, even with constant airflow. This rapid increase in electrical costs underscores the challenge of maintaining efficiency as debris accumulates in self-cleaning air filters.
  • It’s important to highlight that once the lower trigger point for cleaning, often around 2″ w.g., is reached, filter elements never return to their original efficiency rating (approximately 0.5″ w.g.). Essentially, as debris accumulates to the bottom of their operating range, they operate at suboptimal efficiency until replaced.
  • Reducing the pressure loss of approximately 2″ w.g. necessitates purchasing new filter cartridges or bags, along with paying for replacement and disposal services.
  • In self-cleaning air filters (SCFs), the dust blown out of cartridges or bags by compressed air usually ends up in a receptacle that someone must empty, exposing them to potential hazards from the filter elements. Moreover, users must bear the costs of disposing of this debris, which can be substantial if accumulation leads to quantities deemed hazardous by regulatory agencies like OSHA, necessitating special disposal methods.
  • On the other hand, Air Cleaning Blowers (ACBs) do not collect or concentrate debris, eliminating the need for handling or disposal of waste.


  • ACB-based systems often offer lower initial and installation costs compared to SCFs, along with significantly reduced maintenance expenses. SCFs typically require complex control systems, often involving Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs), which can drive up overall expenses. In contrast, ACBs usually feature simpler controls, like an on-off switch, making them easier to manage.
Bag of Money
  • The consistent output of ACBs simplifies unit sizing for designers, ensuring reliable performance without the need to oversize units to compensate for fluctuations, as required with SCFs. SCFs inherently generate variable airflows, pressures, and energy consumption due to their design.
  • Moreover, if the materials removed from the air hold value or require collection for other reasons, ACBs can be adapted to direct them to a collection recipient. These recipients can be customized on-site to fit available space, resulting in lower installed costs compared to SCF manufacturers’ provided recipients.