Guide to Air Purifier Repair

Indoor air pollution is a fact of life, and in many cases, the air indoors is less healthy than the air outdoors. Between dirt, pet dander, dust, and various microorganisms, indoor air can get quite dirty. Many people use air purifiers to make the air that they breathe inside their homes cleaner. But like every other electronic appliance, air purifiers get dirty, and when that happens they run far less efficiently, but there is a lot you can do to improve its efficiency if you’re reasonably confident do-it-yourselfer.

This air purifier repair guide was based on many years and many different units.

air-purifier-repair Home air purifiers are fairly simple devices, and periodic maintenance according to the instruction manual can keep them running efficiently.

You’ve probably at some point noticed a layer of dust built up on top of your television or on a table in your home and wondered just how much of the stuff there is floating around in the air. Believe it or not, in an average home, every cubic foot of air has some 3,000,000 particles of dust suspended in it!

Air purifiers come in two basic types: mechanical and electronic. With a mechanical air purifier, a fan draws air through one or more filters. Typically, a pre-filter removes the biggest matter (such as pet hair), and then a filter with activated charcoal is next in line to remove odors. The third is usually a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which removes more than 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter or larger.

Electronic air purifiers use a simple device called an electrostatic precipitator to remove particles like pollen and smoke from the air. Electrostatic precipitators charge air particles positively and then traps them on a grid that is negatively charged. This type of air purifier often contains a pre-filter and perhaps an activated carbon filter to get rid of dust and odors as well. Some of them also contain an ionizer, which is not the same thing as an electrostatic precipitator. An ionizer releases negatively charged ions (and sometimes ozone) into the surrounding air to trap dust particles.

3 Possible Air Purifier Problems You Can Repair

Depending on how many different filters and features an indoor air purifier has, a number of things can go wrong. Many of them are simple problems that you can fix yourself. Problems such as a dirty precipitating cell, dry motor bearings, clogged filters and air intake, bent collector plates, or broken ionizer wires can often be fixed right at home.

How to Fix Common Air Purifier Problems

1. Cleaning Grill and Filters

clean air purifier clean fans

For a mechanical air purifier, the first step is to turn the machine off and unplug it from the wall.

Usually there will be release buttons that allow you to remove the intake grill containing the foam pre-filters. Do this and remove the filters. To clean the foam filters, remove them and vacuum them through the grill (so the vacuum won’t attach itself to the filter while you’re using it).

Next, remove the screws that hold the filter housing. Vacuum or clean with a soft cloth. If you use a vacuum, keep the screws and other small parts that could be sucked up by the vacuum away from the part you’re vacuuming.

2. Cleaning the Fan


If you need to get to the fan, take out the long screws that hold the housing together and gently pull the two halves of the housing apart.

The fan will have a locking ring at the end of the motor shaft. Put on a pair of safety goggles and remove the fan by twisting or prying the locking ring, but be very careful that you don’t bend the ring.

Take out the screws that hold the motor housing and the switch together. Pull the motor housing apart so you can see the motor. At this point, the switch module should slide out from the housing. You can clean the parts off with a soft cloth.

3. Replacing Broken Ionizer Wires

Ionizer Wires

You can replace broken ionizer wires with replacement wires. Your owner’s manual for the air purifier will tell you where you can get replacement wires. Making sure that the air purifier is turned off and unplugged, remove the precipitating cell according to the owner’s manual instructions. Generally, you use a pair of needle-nose pliers to disengage the wire spring from the connector on each end. You may need to press down on the connector with a screwdriver to free the wire. then you reverse the procedure to put a new wire in place.

3. Testing the Precipitator Cell


If you want to test the precipitating cell, you need to be familiar with using a multimeter. If you’re not, you probably shouldn’t do this. First, remove the precipitator cell from the machine. Set the meter for Resistance x 1, which may be labeled Rx1 on your meter. Clip one probe to the frame of the precipitator cell, and then touch the other probe to the ionizer terminal, then touch it to one outer collector terminal, and then the other outer collector terminal. If your reading is “1” (which means “infinity”), the cell is working properly. If you get a lower reading, the cell has a short circuit and you need to replace it.

With the right tools and information, you can pretty much repair any of the popular air purifier models such as Blue air, Dyson, Levoit, and even the full range of Honeywell purifiers. If you follow our guide and your purifier still does not work then you will likely have to take it to an electronic appliance specialist.

If after reading this post you decide that it might be easier to just replace your air purifier then be sure to check out the top devices we recommend for 2020:

Be sure to check out my top air purifier recommendations for 2020 (all budgets covered!)

1.Best for Most People – LEVOIT Pet Edition
LEVOIT Air Purifiers for Home Allergies and Pets Hair, H13 True HEPA Filter for Bedroom, 24db Filtration System with ARC Formula, Remove 99.97% Odors Smoke Dust Mold Pollen, Core P350, Gray
  • Genuine Replacements: Search for "p350-rf" or "B087R7ZFPB" for levoit 3-in-1 customized pet filter with ARC Formula to ensure excellent performance
  • Perfect Gift for Pet Families: Ideal for pet allergies, improve your air quality and help you and your pets relieve allergic symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, sinuses and heavy breathing. Ozone-free, approved by CARB, ETL listed and CA PROP 65 certified
  • High Powered: The Vortexair Technology offers an increased CADR of 141 CFM / 240 m³/h, handily covering rooms as large as 219 ft2 (20㎡) and refreshing the air 5 times per hour, perfect for bedroom, living room, dining room or pet room
  • H13-Grade True HEPA Filter: Reduces up to 99.97% of harmful air pollutants, smoke, pollen, mold spores, dust mites and other allergens as small as 0.3 microns from the air. This new fine non-woven fabric pre-filter is more effective than other common pre-filters at capturing floating hair, pet fur, pet dander, dust, fibers, lint
  • Sleep Mode & Timer: The QuietKEAP Technology keeps noise levels as low as 24dB. Set a timer for 2, 4, 8, or 12 hours, then turn off the display light to enjoy a perfect and undisturbed night of sleep. The pet lock button prevents your pets from tampering with any of the other buttons or settings

2. Budget Friendly – $75ish Hamilton Beach TrueAir
Hamilton Beach TrueAir Air Purifier for Home or Office with Permanent HEPA Filter for Allergies and Pets, Ultra Quiet, Black (04386A)
  • High Performance Hepa Grade Filter: Captures 99% of pet dander, dust, dust mites, pollen, and mold / mildew spores as small as 3 microns from the air.
  • Easy to clean: Allergen reducing air purifier has a permanent Hepa-grade filter that easily vacuums clean.
  • Compact, stylish design: Allergen reducing air purifier is perfect in the office or in rooms up to 160 square feet
  • Versatile air care that fits anywhere: Position the unit vertically or horizontally to best fit in your bedroom, den, nursery, hallway or living room at home or at the office.
  • Quiet and powerful: Use whisper clean for extra quiet operation at night, the medium setting or the quick clean setting for more powerful air cleaning.

3. Winix 5500-2 – For those with bigger rooms
Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier with True HEPA, PlasmaWave and Odor Reducing Washable AOC Carbon Filter
  • True HEPA filter captures 99.97% of airborne pollutants; dust mites, pet dander, pollen and other allergens as small as 0.3 microns
  • Washable AOC Carbon Filter, made from activated carbon granulars for removal of household odors. Decibels 27.8 dB
  • PlasmaWave acts as a permanent filter to safely break down odor, allergens, chemical vapors and other pollutants with no harmful ozone
  • Smart Sensors gauge the air and our Auto Mode adjusts the fan to filter the air as needed; with a sleep mode for silent night time operation
  • CADR rated for 360 square feet room size. Suitable for medium and large rooms; kids bedrooms, family rooms and kitchens

4. Coway Airmega 400 – If you need the very best or the largest space
Coway Airmega 400 Smart Air Purifier with 1,560 sq. ft. Coverage
  • Coway Airmega 400 room air purifier is designed to accommodate large room sizes up to 1,560 square feet and cleans the air at least two times per hour when used as recommended.
  • Coway Airmega Max2 filter—combined activated carbon and True HEPA filter—captures and reduces up to 99.97% of 0.3 micron particles in the air, including pollen, pollutants and other allergens. It also reduces volatile organic compounds by more than 99% and reduces fumes such as NH3 and CH3CHO. Includes washable and permanent pre-filter to catch larger dust particles.
  • Coway Airmega’s pollution sensor communicates indoor air quality testing in real-time. The brightly colored LED ring lets you know how clean or dirty your indoor air is, every minute of the day.
  • Coway Airmega has five fan modes: Smart, Sleep, Low, Medium and High. Noise level is nearly silent at lower speeds. Max noise at highest setting is 43.2 dB.
  • Coway Airmega is a smart, energy efficient air purifier with a three-setting smart mode to adapt to its surroundings. Fan speed automatically adjusts based on the room’s air quality and lighting conditions to improve air quality.

Last update on 2020-10-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2 thoughts on “Guide to Air Purifier Repair”

  1. This is a cool article and the closest I have come to having good repair info for these units. I have an EcoQuest Flair that will not ionize. New plates have been installed but no luck.

    Any ideas on things to check with this particular unit? What is the most common cause of failure?

    Any help is appreciated.


  2. I have a similar problem in that mine will start and shutdown in a few seconds. It worked great for 2 months. One day it said to clean it as I have before. Cleaned it and now it don’t work. I thought maybe there’s extra dust on the electrode under the blades, cleaned them but still no go. I’m hoping warranty will fix it but I suppose $hipping. It’s a shame. I proudly showed the Ionizer to a friend and next day it don’t work.

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