Air purifiers, either with the use of filters or ionizing technology, get rid of the impurities from the environment, making the air in our homes safer and more breathable. Without one, people with allergies and respiratory issues may suffer from irritation, cold, itching, and headaches.
However, these appliances run on electricity and for an air purifier to be truly effective, it must run for 24 hours. Day and night. Now, that’s a lot of electricity consumption, right?
This takes us to the most asked question, “Do Air purifiers use a lot of electricity?” A fair question, given you assume it’s adding a dollar to your bill every second it is turned on.
How Much Electricity Does an Air Purifier Use?
Air purifier sales have been rocketing through the years and there’s a good reason why. With all the studies showing that the air inside our homes is much heavier and more polluted than the air outside, there’s no wiser way than to invest in an air purifier.
For anyone running an air purifier all day, the good news is an air purifier does not use a lot of electricity. From the lowest speed setting to the highest, an air purifier has a power wattage rating between 40W to 200W. If you think this is a lot, remember that a fridge of average size uses 3 to 5 times more electricity compared to an air purifier.
Few factors would vary the electricity consumption of air purifiers. Like all electrical appliances, the cost of energy consumption of an air purifier is also measured in kilowatt-hours. This means a device that is rated 1000 watt (1-kilowatt) will add 1 kilowatt-hour to the electricity cost if it runs for an hour.
For you to have an idea of what other electrical appliances have as power rating, a desktop computer uses wattage from 100 to 400 Watts, whereas an air conditioner has a rating from 1000 to 4000 watts. With a television running on 90 W, a washing machine used the most electricity, hogging up to 2000W of power. A Refrigerator computer is close allies to an air purifier in terms of how much electricity each appliance uses.
All air purifiers don’t use the same amount of electricity. With few using as low as a light bulb’s rating, multiple factors determine the power consumption of the appliance.
Factors Affecting Electricity Consumption of an Air Purifier
Some air purifiers need more electricity to run than others. This is not only because they are placed in a different sized room or have more sweeping capacity. The following factors contribute to how much electricity an air purifier would use:
Washing machines have the highest power rating, with air conditioning a close second. An LED bulb does not use as much electricity as a watt rating of 5 watts will consume a lot less energy than an electric kettle rating 1500W.
The power rating on most modern air purifiers is 40 to 50W with few powerful ones in for commercial use with higher ratings. The higher the power rating, the higher the energy or electricity consumed, and the greater the bill addition of the purifier
Air purifiers essentially use two main components: filters and a fan. The fan is primarily responsible to create the airflow in and out of the purifier. It functions by drawing in dirty air from the room, passing through the filters, and delivering fresh air back to the room.
The operation of the fan uses electricity to run, and the bigger the fan size the more electricity it would consume.
The capacity of the room that the air purifier is placed in will not only determine the appliance’s efficiency but also the amount of electricity it consumes. That’s precisely why larger purifiers with bigger fans and filters are used in larger rooms.
One of the most important factors, the Clean Air Delivery Rate, CADR, is determined by the area of the room. The higher the CADR of a room, the greater the volume of clean air delivered after filters. This means, bigger rooms require air purifiers with higher CADR ratings and hence, ones that consume more electricity.
Air purifiers use different filters. Among them, there are HEPA filters, fiberglass, polyester, and washable air filters. Filters like HEPA uses very fine, multi-layer sieves to filter out impurities from the air. A polyester pleated air purifier similarly uses a straining technique that resists airflow more than traditional filters.
Fiberglass filters are similar too. When the filtering technique uses more layers and micro sized sieve, the air resistance is intensified.
The fan, in turn, has to use more power for longer to make sure the airflow rate is maintained. This increases the use of electricity. Hence, on a general note, premium quality air purifiers using grade A filters will use more electricity than cheaper ones.
Whatever the type of air purifier and whichever filtering technique it uses, all have a feature that allows the users to vary the speed of the purifier. The speed is simply the rate at which the fan turns, with higher settings indicating the fan turns faster creating more airflow.
The significance of the speeds is how quickly the purifiers clean the air. In regions where the air pollution is considerably higher, a high setting is required. The higher the speed setting, the more electricity the purifier will use.
Both the cleanliness of the rooms and filter has an impact on how much electricity the purifier is drawing. If the room is not cleaned regularly, it is natural that more impurities will be packed in the air, causing filter blockage.
When filters are not cleaned and replaced, the blocked filters will resist airflow. This, in turn, requires the fan to use more power and run longer, gobbling more electricity.
Cost of Running an Air Purifier
If you are thinking electricity bills, there is a simple way of finding out how much electricity is being used by your purifier per day and hence how much cost it would incur per month.
If an air purifier has a power rating of 50 watts, and runs for 12 hours, at first, we have to find out the total power consumed in a day. The number is then converted to kilowatt-hours to find the total consumed in one month. To the total, the electricity rate is multiplied to find the total cost of running the air purifier in the whole month.
To sum it all up in a formula:
Monthly Cost of Air Purifier = (Wattage x No. of hours run in a day) / (1000 kW x 30 days x local rates)
Energy Efficient Air Purifiers
Even though air purifiers do not use a lot of electricity and incur a feasible cost, a lot of people do look for cheaper alternatives. After all, these appliances run for 24 hours a day, it is only wise to look for more energy-efficient purifiers.
Along with air purifiers that have labels from AHAM on the reliability and validity of the appliance and its features, it’s important to look for air purifiers that energy star certification. When an air purifier is energy star certified, it used a lot less electricity than ones that are not.
These air purifiers are the environmentally responsive appliance. They can save up to 250 kW-hr electricity annually. That means, energy certified air filters consume 40% less electricity than an average purifier.
To address the confusion surrounding, “do air purifiers use a lot of electricity”, the answer is no. They do not consume too much electricity and can be categorized as one of the low power consuming appliances.
Yet, being on the run for day and night, air purifiers, especially ones with bigger fans and HEPA filters, can add to your monthly bills. In that case, always look for cost saving ones with energy certification.