Photo of an air purifier being opened to replace filter
Image of Winix air purifier

Maintaining a clean and healthy indoor environment is crucial to your well-being since we tend to spend most of our time indoors.

An air purifier is one of the best ways to promote good health at home because it removes polluted particles including dust, pollen, tobacco smoke, and pet hair that would otherwise find their way into your lungs.

But just like any other machine, an air purifier requires regular maintenance.

Regularly maintaining your air purifier will ensure that it operates efficiently and will promote its overall lifespan. A properly maintained air purifier will also run at its maximum efficiency, thus reducing your energy costs.

Additionally, routine cleaning will reduce the unit’s noise levels since the air will not pass through restrictions.

Let’s look at various ways on how to maintain an air purifier.

Note: If you haven’t invested in an air purifier yet, we invite you to check out our best air purifiers guide. It shows you the top 10 products you can buy today to clean the air inside your home.

How Often Should You Maintain Your Air Purifier?

Air purifier maintenance will vary depending on the model. How often you maintain it will also depend on how much you use it.

If you put an air purifier in a relatively clean environment, you will need to maintain it less often. However, if you continually expose it to a lot of dust, pollen or cigarette smoke, you will need to clean it more often.

For most people, a good rule of thumb is to clean the entire unit every 6 months. Making a note on your calendar to maintain your air purifier at least twice per year is a good plan to follow unless it is getting a dirtier more often.

How Long Should the Air Purifier Operate

Most air purifiers are designed to operate for extended periods of time.

Some people tend to believe that running the purifier for an hour or two is adequate to filter the air in a room. However, this is a wrong assumption since polluted particles are circulating in the air all the time.

Polluted air can be blamed primarily on ourselves (by bringing outdoor particles in) as well as our pets, open windows, airborne bacteria, pollen, dust, and more.

All of those things contribute to the contaminants in a room.

How long the unit should run will depend on the brand, model, and type. You can consult the manual to check the ideal running time of your air purifier but most are recommended to operate 24 hours per day.

If you don’t run your air cleaner all day, you should let it work for at least 8 hours straight to feel a noticeable impact on the air quality around you.

Anything less doesn’t give the machine enough time to exchange the dirty air with clean air inside the room.

Cleaning Ionic Air Purifiers

Photo of electrostatic platesIf you own an ionic air purifier and it comes with an electrostatic filter, then you have the luxury of it being easy to maintain.

Electrostatic filters work by passing air through an electrostatic field to trap pollutant particles. As more pollutants get collected on the metal plates, they become visibly dirty, and their efficiency diminishes. You should, therefore, clean your plates about once per week to ensure that they work effectively.

If you don’t know where these filters are located on your air purifier, open up your owner’s manual or look the information up online.

Once you find the filter location, take the plates out of the system and place them in a dishwater, sink, or bathtub and wash them thoroughly. Let them dry and then put the filters back into the unit.

Cleaning Air Purifier with Filters

Photo of a group of air filters: pre-filter, HEPA and carbonPre-filters

Most air purifiers usually come with pre-filters.

These trap large particles of hair, dirt, and dust helping to prolong the life of the other internal filters.

Pre-filters rarely need replacing. For most models, you only need to wash them regularly or wipe them clean using a damp cloth.

You should clean pre-filters at least once a month.

HEPA Filters and Activated Carbon Filters

The most critical aspect of air purifier maintenance is regular HEPA filter and Activated Carbon filter cleaning and replacement.

Some air purifiers have a filter change indicator that lets you know when it’s time to clean or replace these filters. In case it is absent, the standard practice is to change the filter every 3-6 months.

It’s important to note that you can also buy an air purifier with a washable filter. This means that you can clean and reuse it for the life of the product without having to pay for a replacement.

Other air cleaners, however, use disposable filters and these cannot be washed or reused. An example of this would be a dedicated air purifier for smell. The filter material it uses to collect odor particles must be disposed of ever three to six months.

In order to find out if your air purifier’s filter is washable or not, refer to the owner’s manual for routine maintenance procedures. In case you have misplaced the manual, consider getting a copy from the manufacturer’s website.

Before embarking on cleaning the air filter, unplug the device from the power first.

Find the filter compartment, which is usually located at the back of the air purifier. Some of the units will have user-friendly panels that are easy to open. However, you may need to use a screwdriver for some larger models to access the filter.

Dirty filters are usually very soiled, so be careful when removing them. Always have a plastic bag nearby, where you can put the dirty filter after removing it to avoid releasing all the contaminants back into the room. Dispose of the plastic bag responsibly.

Air filters are not universal.

Check with your manufacturer on where you can order one for replacements. Some of them will have unique designs that you won’t find just anywhere else.

Keep track of how everything is arranged before disassembling. That will make it easy for you to put everything back.

Cleaning Exterior Grills and Panels

This step is quite easy to do. Just inspect the grills and panel areas for dust buildup.

If cleaning is required, use a vacuum cleaner or clean them with a damp cloth.

Additional Maintenance Tips

  • Ensure that you give your air purifier adequate space. The unit needs to have a sufficient area around it for proper air intake and release to function properly.
  • Don’t drop or put any objects into the openings of the air purifier.
  • Never use a damaged cord or plug to operate the unit.
  • Don’t place any objects on top of the appliance.
  • Never use gasoline, detergents, furniture polish, glass cleaner, paint thinner or any other type of household solvent to clean any part of the unit.
  • Turn the unit off every time before you unplug it.
  • An ionizer may lead to a static charge build-up on the air outlet grille. If the unit is not properly grounded, the static charge is likely to be felt. To prevent static charge build-up, install a ground adapter or plug the unit’s plug into a grounded outlet.

An air purifier is crucial for any home as it improves its air quality helping you and your family to breathe a little better.

If you follow the procedures above on how to maintain an air purifier, it will give you excellent service for many years.

Proper maintenance will also ensure that the appliance operates optimally and efficiently for minimal energy consumption. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions while cleaning and maintaining your air purifier.