Commercial Smoke Eater FAQ

How do the SRS Smoke Eaters actually clean the air?

The SRS series of Commercial Smoke Eaters work through simple filtration.

Pre-Filter - This filter captures the largest smoke particles and extends the life of the Carbon and HEPA filters. As the smoke is drawn into the smoke eater, this pre-filter is first in line.

Carbon Filter - This filter's job is to handle the gases, fumes and odors. This is the second filter in line.

HEPA Filter - The last filter in line to capture the ultra fine smoke particles.
The combination of these three filters removes both smoke particles in addition to gases, fumes and odors.

Sounds simple?

It is simple. But it works.

With many flush mount and free standing smoke eater models ranging in fan speeds from 800 CFM to 2000 CFM - we can accommodate nearly any type of installation and ceiling.

How often will I need to change the filters on my smoke eaters?

  • The pre-filter is changed monthly. (you get 12 with the machine)
  • The carbon filter is changed every two months. (you get 6 with the machine)
  • The HEPA filter is changed annually. (you get one with the machine)

The machine comes with a full year supply of filters. Keep in mind - the level of smoke and other pollutants may cause your filters to clog up on a different time schedule, but the above is most common.

How much will I spend on replacement filters?

An annual filter kit includes 12-Pre filters, 6 Carbon filters and one HEPA filter.

The cost starts at $375 for the annual kit or $31.25 a month per machine. Break it down even further, that's just $1.03 a day per machine.

To put that in perspective, a big latte from Starbucks just once a week costs as much as our filters.

That's not too bad when you consider just how easy your new smoke eaters are going to be to maintain compared to the cumbersome electronic smoke eaters that require time consuming, messy cleanups.

(Filter prices vary based on the size of each machine. Our smaller sizes cost $375 for an annual filter kit, and the largest cost $460.)

Are the filters washable?

No, they are not. The filters in our SRS Series of Smoke Eaters are disposable.

Frankly, nothing that is washable has efficiency ratings anywhere near the combination of our pre-filter, carbon and HEPA filtration system in our smoke eaters.

In other words - washable filters don't work that well.

That's why you won't find electronic smoke eaters or washable filters on this site. I won't offer you anything that provides sub-par performance.

Why don't you sell the electronic or electrostatic smoke eaters that don't require you to buy filters?

This is just my opinion, but the technology isn't worth having for a lot of reasons:

  • Electrostatic smoke eaters lose their ability to capture smoke once they get dirty. Just imagine a magnet and picking up a stack of paper clips. Once you get so many on the bottom of the magnet, you can't pick any more up.
  • That's what happens with electrostatic air cleaners. Once they get a layer of smoke on the collection trays, they can't capture more. Unfortunately, they get dirty very quickly.
  • Once dirty and the efficiency drops off considerably - the system still tries to work. That means the ionizers still supercharge the smoke particles in an attempt to attract them to the oppositely charged collection cells. Unfortunately - if the cells are too dirty - the smoke particles fly right by and out of the machine super charged.
  • The big problem with this is now the particles are charged and want to stick to something. Typically that means that the smoke will stick to your ceiling, floors, bars and yes - patrons and staff. Not only do the electronic machines fail to remove the smoke once dirty - they actually make the problem worse by supercharging the particles and NOT capturing them.
  • Unless you are meticulous with your maintenance schedule, they work well only about half the time.
  • The best performance of an electronic air cleaner is the first day you get them. It goes downhill from there.
  • Cleaning them is messy and VERY time consuming often requiring expensive chemicals to strip the encrusted tar and nicotine off of the collection plates.
  • Electronic air cleaners have lots of electronics and moving parts to break.
  • The replacement electronic cells and ionizing wires are very expensive.
  • Many electronic smoke eaters have NO ability to handle gases, fumes and odors. And the ones that can handle odors do it with carbon filters.
  • So, the argument that you have "no filter costs" when you buy an electronic air cleaner for smoke goes out the window. Any electronic air cleaner that attempts to handle odors will have carbon filters. Often times, the carbon filters alone for these electrostatic brands cost more than our entire filter kits for a year.
  • Did I mention they don't work that well?

Disclaimer: Look, this isn't based on scientific evidence. It's just based on talking to thousands of prospects for over a decade. Many of these prospects were looking to replace their "electronic" smoke eaters because they just weren't getting the job done. I've heard more horror stories and very, VERY FEW people happy with the results from their electronic machines.

For a detailed comparison of our SRS Series of Smoke Eaters
versus Electronic Smoke Eaters, click the image below.

Smoke Eater Comparison Chart

What makes the filter based SRS Smoke Removal systems the right ones for me?

Our Filter based smoke removal systems:

  • Are super easy to maintain requiring a 5 minute filter change once monthly. Most of that time is spent pulling the ladder to the machine.
  • As long as you change the filters, you get "like new" performance month after month.
  • No messy cleanup.
  • QUICK to change the filters compared to the time consuming dismantling, cleaning, drying, reassembly required for electronic smoke eaters.
  • Capture efficiency remains high and actually gets more efficient when the filters begin to load.
  • 10 year warranty.
  • No expensive electronics to break and replace. (Just take a look at the parts lists and prices for some of the electronic smoke eaters on the market. - Scary!

How many smoke eaters will I need?

When it comes to smoke removal, the size of the room, ceiling height and the smoke levels are three of the main things to look at in determining how many machines are required.

I hate when a company publishes that their machines will handle 1000 square feet with NO mention about ceiling height. CUBIC footage is way more important than square footage.

There is twice as much air to suck through the smoke eaters in a 16' high ceiling as there is in an 8' high ceiling. If a company doesn't ask you your ceiling height - they are doing you a disservice.

Here are the calculations:

Length x Width = Square footage.
Square footage x ceiling height = Cubic Footage. THAT is the number that matters.

From there, we do some simple calculations.

  • Cubic footage divided by 7.5 = total CFM fan speed required for 8 air exchanges per hour. (moderate smoke)
  • Cubic footage divided by 6 = total CFM fan speed required for 10 air exchanges per hour. (bad smoke levels)
  • Cubic footage divided by 5 = total CFM fan speed required for 12 air exchanges per hour. (really bad smoke)

If the calculations tell you that you need 3450 CFM (cubic feet of air per minute) of airflow to achieve 10 air filtrations per hour....

And your ceiling is sheet rock and 10' high...

Three of our SRS 1500 smoke eaters with 1150 CFM EACH will do the trick.

But don't worry about figuring this out yourself, we can figure it out for you.

How many times per hour will I need to filter the air to keep it smoke free?

Obviously, the more times per hour you filter the air, the less smoke there will be.

In my experience, a minimum of 8 times an hour is necessary to make a strong impact on the smoke levels.

"Moderate" Smoke Levels: 8 times an hour or once every 7.5 minutes.
"Bad" Smoke Levels: 10 times an hour or once every 6 minutes.
"Really" Bad Smoke Levels: 12 times an hour or once every 5 minutes.

Any less than this, you probably won't be happy with the results.

Click the button below to request a smoke removal quote for your business.
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What happens if I get less than the recommended number of smoke eaters?

As noted above, you probably won't be happy with the results. It's kind of like being told you need 30 tons of air conditioning. If you buy 15 Tons - you've got no right complaining that your bar is too hot.

Look, smoke is a difficult thing to tame. Without the right amount of power - you're fighting an uphill battle the entire time. The smoke will get worse and worse throughout the night.

Yes - anything you add will help - but there is a tipping point to having enough to truly realize the benefit.

Lastly, if the size space and smoke levels dictate you need four machines and you get two, you are now expecting those two machines to do the work of four.

This means your filters will load TWICE AS FAST as normal because the same amount of smoke is now being captured by two sets of filters instead of four.

While you think you are saving money - plan to double your filter usage and annual costs.

Or, you can get enough to do the job in the first place, get better results and normal filter life.

Do the SRS Series of smoke eaters remove the odors too, or just the clouds of smoke?

Yes, with the three stages of filtration, the SRS smoke eaters can - and do - remove odors. The main filter for odors, gases and fumes is the carbon filter. Over time, that carbon will saturate which is why we provide you 6 carbon filters per year.

Some companies boast having 20-30 lbs of carbon. Because carbon can saturate quickly requiring the entire 30 lbs to be replaced, our approach is smaller carbon filters with more frequent filter changes. This maintains consistent performance and minimizes costs.

How difficult are the Smoke Eaters to install?

Generally, it is like installing any commercial equipment. You need someone with experience in hanging this type of equipment. Our machines come with an installation kit. Each machine will have eye bolts on the top and industrial strength hanging cable. You simply tie the cable into the eye bolts and then tie the other end of the cable into the joists.

Different ceiling construction will obviously affect exactly how you attach the mounting cables to the beams or joists.

Each smoke eater runs off of a 110V standard 3 prong outlet. If you have outlets in your ceiling already - then no additional wiring may be needed. Check out the amperage for the model you are selecting to ensure that your circuit breaker panel has enough power for the number of machines you plan to install.

Does offer installation?

Unfortunately, No. (a division of is a national distributor of these commercial smoke eaters. Unfortunately, since we sell to all states that still allow smoking - it is simply impossible to maintain a contractor network large enough to provide coverage for all the areas we ship to.

We have never had a customer tell us they can't find someone to do the installation for them.

Who can do the installation for me?

Most heating and air contractors along with electricians and restaurant supply contractors are all very capable of this type of installation.

My recommendation is to hire someone with experience who is insured for this type of work. It's not really a do-it-yourself job and I don't recommend you risk the machine coming down on someone. We have NEVER had that happen to any of our customers - but it is worth mentioning.

What should I budget for installation?

This all depends on the type and number of machines, the ceiling height and type of construction.

An open beam ceiling at 12' is going to be an easier job than a 20' ceiling where you need a lift to even get the cables connected to the ceiling structure.

I'd love to ballpark you a figure, but it's nearly impossible. Instead of making it up, I'd rather just tell you. "It depends."

How can I get a quote or estimate for the number of machines I need?

You will need to gather some information prior to requesting a quote. If you can find out the following information, that will expedite the quote and recommendation process.

  • Square footage of the room or space to be treated.
  • Ceiling height
  • Ceiling type - drop ceiling, solid ceiling or exposed beams/open.
  • If drop ceiling the amount of space above the drop ceiling.
  • If you have at least 13" or 18" of clearance. (Required for our different flush mount machines.)
  • Number of HVAC systems for the space you need treated and whether or not the systems share one run of ductwork or if they have their own ductwork per system.

You can either give us a call toll free at 1-888-472-8736 with the information requested above. Or...

Use our online quote request form here:
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How come you need so much information about my business to give me a quote? Can't you just tell me how much square footage a machine covers?

As I discussed above, ceiling height totally matters. The more information I know about your business, the more accurate I can be with my recommendation.

It's like going to the doctor and not telling him everything that's wrong with you and complaining when they don't make you feel better.

Provide us the details and you'll get a recommendation I guarantee that you can count on to get the job done.

What's the best for performance, running the machines 24/7 or just during smoky times?

Many of our customers leave the smoke eaters running 24 hours a day. They find the trade off of electricity is well worth the cleaner air.

If you shut off the machines once the people leave the bar, you still probably have some smoke in the air. If you must, put them on timers and turn them off several hours after the patrons have left.

When in doubt - leave the systems running.

The last thing to note is this:

When you turn the machines on and off every day, it is possible when the filters are loaded you may get a gust of stale filter smell coming out of the machine when you turn them back on. By keeping the machines running - this won't happen. Essentially, a machine that continues to run will clean up after itself and you won't have this problem.

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