Because an air cleaner removes up to 90 percent of the airborne particulates from your home, electronic air cleaner maintenance is a critical part of a strategy to preserve healthy indoor air quality. If your air conditioner or furnace uses standard fiberglass filters, it’s only capturing about 10 percent of the particles in the air. Anything else floating around will be inhaled by your family if it’s not captured by effective air cleaning technology.
In essence, you either have an effective air filtration system as part of your home HVAC system or you and your family become the filter!
Electronic air cleaners generate an ionizing field that charges particulates in the air passing through the unit. Particles receive either a positive or negative charge, then pass into the stage containing collector plates that are also electrically charged. By the principles of electrostatic attraction, charged particles are attracted to collector plates with the opposite charge and gradually form a coating on the plates as they're captured and removed from the air.
Collector plates must be cleaned — usually every three months — or filtration efficiency declines. Particulates won't be firmly captured and will reenter the air in your home. Dirty plates also restrict airflow through the filter and increase stress on the fan unit. As with most simple preventive maintenance procedures, remembering to perform maintenance regularly produces best results.
Here’s a standard cleaning procedure that applies to most electronic cleaners:
- Turn off power to the filter. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to remove the collector plates.
- Fill a sink or laundry tub with warm soapy water. Common dishwashing soap works well.
- Submerge the plates in the water and allow them to soak for 20 minutes.
- Rinse the plates thoroughly in hot water. Make sure all soap residue is removed. A soapy film on the plates degrades performance.
- Allow the collector plates to dry overnight, then re-install the plates in the filter. Restore power to the filter.
- If the electronic air cleaner also incorporates a pre-filter, clean it according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Serving Cleveland area homeowners for over 75 years, P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling is your local source for the technology to preserve healthy air quality. Ask us about the do-it-yourself ease of electronic air cleaner maintenance.Follow @PKwadsworth
Paul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.
The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.
photo credit: donnasink