Electronic air cleaners are handy devices. At times, however, they may even work too well, trapping so much dust and dirt that they cease to function properly. Before you decide to crack the case open or call a repair service, however, you might want to read a few of these basic tips on electronic air cleaner troubleshooting.
Identifying the Problem
Many air cleaners that are actually broken seem to work fine because they exhibit partial functionality, so you might not even notice the problem at first. For instance, your cleaner's fan could be circulating air, but the ionic blades that actually do the filtering might be clogged.
The best way to distinguish between different types of fault is to observe the cleaner for a while. If you're renovating and you find that your in-wall air filter doesn't seem to push air to your new addition, even though it works everywhere else, then a closer inspection might simply reveal that you've got a clogged filter in a specific spot. By keeping a close eye on the different parts of your electronic air cleaning system, you'll make it easier to decide on a course of action that actually works.
Check the Manual
In some cases, your electronic air cleaner or HVAC filter circulator will present you with nonsense error codes. While it's tempting to simply call a repair service that can translate and deal with this nonsense, you may just need to look the error up in the manual or online. Doing so can save you a lot of time if the problem is simple enough to correct yourself. Researching the problem could also save you money by making it easier to get more specific estimates from competing services.
Things like filter replacements are easy to take care of on your own, and in most cases, they should be a regular household chore. You can generally follow the replacement scheduling guidelines established by your air cleaner manual, but you may have to install new filters more often if you're renovating.
Construction dust can clog filters or even load them down with particles that you're better off not inhaling on a regular basis. To avoid these problems, however, you can also seal off areas that are being repainted or otherwise modified. Using good external ventilation in the vicinity of your home upgrade projects is a must if you want to keep your air cleaners in good condition. Also, remember that keeping your air cleaners clean can drastically improve their energy efficiency.
Of course, there are definitely things that you shouldn't do yourself. Leave all electrical work, ventilation exploration and other potentially hazardous jobs to the pros. The small amount of money you could save with DIY is not worth the risk of damaging your property or causing yourself severe bodily harm.
Electronic air cleaners may not be as common as they once were, but more often than not, they ensure clean and healthy air for you and your family. The next time your electronic air cleaner stops working, consult these DIY tips before calling a pro.