Electronic Air Cleaners: Clean Them So They Can Do Their Job
Electronic air cleaners are proven to reduce the amount of dust mites, mold spores, bacteria and other contaminants in the air. In fact, they’re 10 to 20 times more efficient at trapping particles than standard fiberglass HVAC filters. Because of the way they operate, though, their efficiency is dependent on how well they’re maintained.
Electronic air cleaners, or electrostatic precipitators, consist of three areas: screen pre-filter, a high voltage ionization section and metal collector plates. When air enters the cleaner, larger particles are trapped by the pre-filter. As the air moves farther into the cleaner, the remaining particles receive an electric charge that’s the opposite of the collector plates’ charge. The collector plates then use an electrostatic field to trap the air contaminants.
The particles stick to the collector plates until the plates are washed. If the collector plates become clogged, they’ll be unable to trap more contaminants and improve your indoor air quality. A dirty air cleaner also slows airflow through your HVAC system, which forces the blower motor to work harder and waste energy.
Under average conditions, electronic air cleaners should have their collector plates cleaned once every three months. If you have smokers in your household, multiple pets, a large amount of dust or other indoor air quality problems, you may need to clean the plates more often.
How to clean the collector plates
According to your manufacturer’s instructions, slide out the pre-filter and plates. Pour water into a large tub and add 3/4 cup dishwasher detergent for each cell. Soak the pre-filter and plates for at least 15 minutes, swishing the water periodically. After washing, rinse the pre-filter and plates with clean water, let them air dry thoroughly, then slide them back into your air cleaner.
Some models are dishwasher safe, but don’t run your pre-filter or collector plates through the dishwasher unless the manufacturer’s instructions suggest this.
For more expert guidance on maintaining your electronic air cleaner or other HVAC equipment, get in touch with us at Sobieski Services. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).
Image Credit: PedjaP