A ir purifiers are the solution to this century’s hyper industrialized life, which usually results in higher levels of pollution, denser smoke caused by wildfire or produced by factories, and even dangerous chemicals that are released into the air and water. Plus, we tend to make the air in our home even harder to breathe by bringing in pets and the dust from outside. Therefore, as we have mentioned, we need a reliable machine that can draw the polluted air through a filtering system and release it allergen-free. Depending on your needs, you can choose specialized models, as an air purifier for pet owners, which will come with filters that can destroy bacteria and germs.
Nevertheless, once you have installed one in your home, the next detail you need to consider is maintenance. It is essential to keep the filters clean so the machine can operate at its highest capacity. Or, if filters are not involved, the components need to be carefully dusted. So, how often should you do it? And which are the steps to follow for safe filter replacement? This is what we will try to explain in our article, so stay with us as we show you how to perform impeccable maintenance step by step.
How Often Should you Perform Maintenance?
As a rule, you should open your device twice a year. This is the average lifespan of the filters and, although you may find HEPAs that last for a year, the activated carbon filter usually gets dirty earlier, while the prefilter can get clogged with dust mites. So, yes, you will want to check on the filters every 6 months. Nevertheless, this is not enough, as you can do more every day to improve the performance of your unit through daily maintenance tasks.
There are a few causes that can lead to your air purifier not working properly. If it seems not to filter the air as expected, you should check first that you allow it the runtime necessary to circle the air in the entire room. Many machines can work continuously, and this is a good thing, especially when used in large spaces, but they can get pretty costly when it comes to energy consumption. However, you should make sure that your device operates for at least 8 hours a day in order to be performant, especially if you suffer from allergies and need it for complete allergen removal. Thus, you will allow it to circulate the air multiple times and the pollutants won’t have the time to enter your breathing system.
The second problem you may encounter is usually accompanied by an annoying noise. In this case, the unit is probably filled with dust and you need to open and clean it. Nonetheless, you can take plenty of action to prevent this from happening, by making sure that you perform the following daily maintenance tasks:
- Make sure that the area around the device isn’t crowded so the air intake is as large as possible
- Gather dust mites that tend to form around it. They are for the vacuum cleaner to collect not for the filters
- Do not place objects on top of the unit
- Do not unplug it before turning it off
- Perform exterior cleaning to prevent dust from accumulating in exterior grills and panels
There are different types of air cleaners on the market, so maintenance will be different depending on the construction of each machine. Nevertheless, ionizers and filter air cleaning systems are the most common, so we will concentrate on them.
How to Clean an Ionic Air Purifier?
This type of device is marketed as extremely easy to use and maintain. It doesn’t come with filters but instead, it uses electrical current to generate negative ions. The ions are released into the air and are attracted by positively-charged atoms which are found in airborne particles and microorganisms. Their extra weight is enough to drag them down. In some cases, a collection tray is present and the contaminants are contained inside, but it is not uncommon for the particles to be let to settle on the floor and furniture.
Therefore, when dealing with a model that includes a collection tray, the maintenance should be performed more often than in the case of a classical air cleaner. Once a month, you may notice a light indicator that lets you know it is time for maintenance.
Here are the steps you should follow:
- Unplug the device and remove the collection blade unit – Never open the machine before ensuring that it has been unplugged. An ionizer poses a higher risk of electrocution as electrical current is its main tool.
- Remove the electrical charge – Touch the blades against a metal object like a faucet or a water pipe to get rid of any electrical charge that may have built up inside them.
- Clean the blades – Use a damp cloth or a sponge to remove the dust and dirt on the blades. It isn’t necessary to use any cleaning product.
- Carefully wipe dry the blade unit – Never insert it wet as it can damage the device.
- Let the blades dry for two to three hours – Thus, you can be sure that when you insert them back into the unit and power the system on, no water will interact with the electrical current causing electrical shocks that can lead to permanent damage.
- Assemble the unit – Make sure to put everything in place and power the device. let it run for a few hours and check if it is functioning properly. More advanced units will let you know if a malfunction has occurred and some may even give you hints of how to fix it.
How to Clean a Filter Air Purifier?
A filter indicator light, which is available in most high-quality air purifiers, will let you know when it’s time to replace the filters. So, let’s see what you will have to deal with once you open the unit. We recommend to read the manufacturer’s instructions and purchase the right filters before starting maintenance, so you can have them at hand.
Clean the Exterior Panels
- Turn off the device and unplug it
- Use a damp cloth to remove the dust and dirt on the exterior
- If necessary, use a vacuum cleaner to clean the exterior grills
- Pre-Filter – It is usually washable. With a looser weaving, it captures the larger particles, functioning as a protector for the HEPA, which is considerably more expensive. When cleaning the pre-filter, make sure it is in good condition and replace it if some damage has occurred. If it is intact, proceed to carefully wash it with warm water and let it dry completely before inserting it back
- HEPA Filter – This is the heart of your machine, the most performant filtering layer. And the most expensive. It will probably be covered in dust so make sure you have a plastic bag at hand where you can place it immediately and avoid the dust and allergens being released once again into the air. Once you have removed it, just place the new filter in the spot and secure it
- Carbon Filter – As part of the system, it is in charge with odor and smoke removal. Depending on what contaminants it needs to absorb, it may get saturated sooner or later. For example, if it has to deal with tobacco smoke and odor, you will have to replace it more often. Just like HEPA, it needs to be removed from the unit and a new filter needs to be placed in its spot
Some HEPA filters are permanent, which means that you can clean them multiple times before you need to replace them. If your device uses this types of filters, check out our article about how to clean them and learn the basics. Take into consideration that improper maintenance will lead to permanent damage.
If you are sensitive to dust, we recommend wearing gloves and a mask when performing maintenance, so the dust doesn’t irritate your airways or your skin. Moreover, once the maintenance is ready, dispose of the bag with the used filters responsibly and run the device immediately so it can collect any contaminants that might have been released into the air.
These are some ground rules you should follow to expand your unit’s lifespan and reduce the costs with repairs:
- Always turn off the unit before unplugging it – This way, it will get the chance to lower its activity and shut down its functions and shocks that can lead to damage can be avoided.
- Do not use a damaged cord – If the cord is damaged, replace it immediately. It can wreck the unit and will represent a possible electrocution danger at the same time.
- Do not use solvents to clean the device – Furniture polish, gasoline, detergents, or any household cleaning solutions should’t touch the unit
- Make sure no tiny objects fall in the openings – It is better to leave the top of the unit free, otherwise, small objects can fall inside and damage the mechanism.
Carefully-performed maintenance will only bring you benefits. An air purifier that is free of dust is quieter and faster in cleaning the air. Moreover, as it doesn’t have to put a lot of effort in performing its task, it will last longer. So, make sure you provide it the necessary space and time to work its best while checking on it periodically to make sure the filters haven’t reached their maximum capacity. If they did, just wash them or replace them and get ready to enjoy the freshest air. On the other hand, an excellent alternative to periodical maintenance work could be a filterless air purifier, which is easier to maintain, so if you are a rather busy person, you may want to consider one for your home.