Owning an air purifier is only part of the battle in keeping your home’s indoor air quality top notch. Routine maintenance including regular filter cleaning and replacement is critical to ensure that your air purifier always operates at its peak efficiency.
Follow along below as we detail how to clean air purifiers.
Things You’ll Need
- Screwdriver (not all models)
- Vacuum (optional)
- New Activated Carbon Filter
- New HEPA Filter
Cleaning An Air Purifier
Most air purifiers have a visual indicator to alert the user that it’s time to clean and/or replace the filter assembly. For those without any indication on the unit itself, the best practice is to change your filter every 3-6 months. Refer to the manufacturer’s guidance for specific models and routine maintenance procedures.
Before proceeding with an air purifier cleaning, you should ensure the device is unplugged first. Never clean or replace filters without first turning off power and removing the electrical cord from the wall receptacle. Once power is removed from the unit, you can begin to clean your best air purifier.
1. Clean Exterior Pre-Filters
Permanent, exterior pre-filters can be cleaned with a damp cloth, and debris like hair, fibers, and dust bunnies can be vacuumed away. Pre-filters are often included as part of the purification process on many portable air cleaning units.
2. Remove Air Filter Cover
Locate the air filter access panel on your air cleaner. Typically, user-friendly panels (secured by easy open tabs) are located on the backside of air purifiers like in the Alen BreatheSmart photo above, however some larger models may require a screwdriver to access filter compartments. If you’re having trouble locating the filter panel, please refer to your manufacturer’s manual or website for specific instructions on how to find and remove it.
3. Remove Air Filter
Soiled filters contain a lot of nasty stuff, so take caution when removing your old filter. We recommend having a plastic bag at the ready to carefully put your dirty filter in, avoiding releasing contaminants back into your home’s air.
4. Dispose of Old Filters
Place the bag containing the used air filter in an outdoor waste receptacle.
Manufacturers make many different configurations of both activated carbon and true HEPA filters, and depending on your specific filter’s design, you may need to consider proper disposal and recycling methods. If your filter assembly contains glass, or plastic, please dispose of it responsibly according to EPA guidelines.
5. Install New Air Filter
Filters are typically designed to be installed for one-way airflow. Look for arrows, or slots, indicating airflow direction before installation, and replacement filters for home air purifiers aren’t universal. Check the manufacturer’s website for guidance on ordering replacement parts and filters, as some air purifiers have very unique filter designs that aren’t available anywhere else.
Read More: Best Air Purifiers 2018
Multistage filters require installation per the air cleaner’s physical design. Usually, air flow is pulled through the exterior pre-filter, then through a carbon filter, and finally through a HEPA filter. Sometimes though, activated carbon filters are placed after the HEPA filter in the adsorption process.
Always ensure you install filters in the correct order according to operation manuals.
6. Replace Air Filter Cover
Replace the filter assembly cover and ensure that it’s secured in place. Plastic alignment tabs on the cover should meet with corresponding guide holes, and if you had to remove screws to access the filter compartment, you’ll need to reinstall those now.
7. Plug In and Test for Proper Operation
Perform a startup to verify that the machine recognizes the new filter, and resets control functions that monitor filter performance accordingly. Some machines will recognize improper installation and alert the user that changes need to be made before operation, depending on the included features.
As with any appliance in your home, always refer to specific installation and maintenance documents provided by the manufacturer before performing any serious maintenance. Cleaning an air purifier regularly will help to maximize the machine’s life, and keep your indoor air quality at its best during operation.