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How Long To Run An Air Purifier? Can You Leave It On All Day?

For those who just started using an air purifier, one might wonder how long I should run an air purifier for the best result. Wonder no more, as we will address how fast and effective an air purifier can be in cleaning the air. We also compiled other common questions related to the runtime, including why it is crucial to keep an air cleaner running. Give this post a quick run-through regardless of whether you are a beginner or a veteran in the air purifying world.
Short answer
Between 30 minutes to 2 hours at max speed.

 

How Long Should You Run An Air Purifier?

At least 12 hours a day. For the best result, we recommend keeping your air purifier running 24 hours a day as dust and airborne particles will circulate nonstop throughout the day. With constant clean air free from airborne irritants, you can breathe comfortably without suffering from allergies like cough, sinus, red eyes, headache, and itchiness.

It is OK to keep an air purifier on all the time, even if you are not at home. A HEPA air purifier will run safely and efficiently in removing allergens such as hair, lint, dust, mold, pet dander, and smoke without overheating. Newer air purifiers come with advanced features that allow the device to automatically turn on when indoor air is unhealthy and turn off when air quality is healthy. The only two criteria are that the air purifier does not produce harmful ozone, AKA ozone generator, and the need to regularly replace or clean the filters. With dirty HEPA/ carbon filters, the filtration performance will drop, and the air purifier will have to work longer to clean the air.

Light sleeper or not, you should also sleep with an air purifier turned on seven days a week to promote good quality sleep. According to The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), an air purifier promotes better breathing by reducing eyes, skin, and lungs irritation that could disturb your sleep. For a night of uninterrupted sleep, get a quiet bedroom air purifier and leave it close to you, preferably by the bedside/ nightstand. The closer it is to your breathing zone, the shorter the time clean air travels before reaching you.

How Long Should You Run An Air Purifier

How To Reduce An Air Purifier’s Cleaning Time?

We mentioned the right type and size of air purifier could significantly decrease the air purifier running time. There are also other methods to speed things up. Here are a few simple tasks that require minimal effort yet will maximize the air purifier performance and efficiency.

  • Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) – An official AHAM measurement in assessing how well a residential air purifier works in removing different sizes of airborne particles. Three separate tests were measured in cubic feet per minute (cfm) with 80% filtration efficiency against dust, pollen, and smoke particles. The higher the CADR, the quicker an air purifier can deliver clean air.
  • Air Changes Per Hour (ACH) – The extraction rate is a figure of how much air can be clean from a room in an hour. It determines the speed of the air purifier in cleaning indoor air. For example, an air cleaner running at four air changes per hour (15 minutes one charge) only takes half the time to clean the air compared with the same air cleaner running at two air changes per hour.
  • Room size – The air cleaner must also have enough airflow capacity to fulfill the exact room size specification. Otherwise, it will have to run endlessly to clean the room. For example, a 300 square feet room requires a large air purifier with a suggested room size of at least 300 square feet. Location and weather also play a significant factor in how quickly an air purifier will work. For example, more air pollutants like pollen will spread during the summer, increasing the time needed to clean the air.
  • Filtration types – Multiple filtration depth affects the speed at which the air purifier cleans the air. Most mechanical air purifiers come standard with a pre-filter, HEPA filter, and activated carbon filters. Some models come with an additional medium filter, antimicrobial, or addon filter that is customizable according to your needs. The more filters there are, the slower the airflow will output; a longer cleaning time is unavoidable.

If you cannot run an air cleaner 24/ 7, you can optimize the performance by choosing the highest speed for at least 30 minutes before entering the room or until the air quality indicator turns green. Most air purifiers can remove up to 95 to 99.97% of dust and other airborne pollutants in 1-2 hours. To maintain the room air quality level, switch back to low speed and allow the air purifier to run continually in the background.

How Often Should You Run An Air Purifier?

You should leave an air purifier running all day, every day, to ensure there is a steady flow of clean air all year long. Every time an air purifier is switched off, dirty air from outside will start creeping into the room, leading to dust and other airborne impurities accumulation. The room air will become contaminated again in a matter of hours. The air-cleaning process will have to restart to restore the previous clean air state.

There are no disadvantages of leaving an air purifier running 24/ 7 besides the higher running cost. The meager increase in utility bills is neglectable. However, the filters tend to wear out quicker with longer operational hours. Then again, it is a small price to pay for a healthier and happier you. Your body will thank you in the long run.

How To Reduce An Air Purifier’s Cleaning Time?

We mentioned the right type and size of air purifier could significantly decrease the air purifier running time. There are also other methods to speed things up. Here are a few simple tasks that require minimal effort yet will maximize the air purifier performance and efficiency.

  • Close windows and doors when using an air purifier. It prevents outside contaminants from entering the room and clean air from escaping. Only leave windows and doors open when you need quick fresh air and when an air purifier is not present, such as after cooking, dusting, or cigarette break.
  • Perform regular maintenance, including filter change and monthly cleaning. Ensure the air purifier is in working condition by checking if the airflow is coming out of the ventilation. A working air purifier will continuously draw dirty air and release clean air.
  • Give it some space. Place an air purifier 2-4 feet away from the wall or furniture to ensure no obstruction to the airflow circulation. We recommend placing an air purifier near a doorway or windows with the highest moving air point. In any case, never leave it underneath a window, wet area, or electronic device to prevent necessary damage.
  • Get more than one air purifier. Having multiple air purifiers in a room will not make you sick and dry out the air. It will increase the purifying coverage and the removal of airborne pollutants at a given time. If you are content with only 1, move it from room to room purifying so the air purifier will be first-hand in removing the nearby pollutants in the air.

Final Thoughts

Many people have a misconception that running an air cleaner for a few hours is enough to provide you with clean air for the rest of the day. That is not the case as airborne pollutants never stop, nor should an air purifier that will work round the clock. So don't waste your hard-earned money and let the air cleaner sit in the corner doing nothing. Let the air purifier work its magic to provide fresh air as it is intended.

Can You Leave Air Purifier On All The Time?

You should leave your air purifier on all the time to ensure there is a constant flow of purified, clean air. When the air purifier is turned off, it will stop filtering the air thus harmful particles like dust, pet dander, mold, pollen, bacteria, viruses will gradually return within 2 to 4 hours. The health effects of air pollution are pervasive but the risk can be reduced when the air purifier is kept on. The only time you should not be running an air purifier is when there is a safety hazard such as a damaged power cord, dirty filters, or the presence of an ozone generator that diffuses harmful ozone.

can you leave air purifier on all the time

Should I Sleep With Air Purifier On?

Yes, you should. As we spend about one-third of our life sleeping in the bedroom, keeping an air purifier on during bedtime can improve your sleep quality and overall health according to The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). With an air purifier continuously removing airborne contaminants while you sleep, you will be at less risk of breathing into the allergens and wake up feeling refreshed the next day. It prevents airborne allergens from build up overnight and can disrupt your sleep by triggering allergic reactions e.g. night cough, choking, sinus. Note that not all air cleaners are suitable for nighttime use because of the loud fan noise. To find out which model does, visit the best bedroom air purifiers that we reviewed recently here.

Should I Leave My Air Purifier On When I'm Not Home?

Yes, you should leave your air purifier running when you're not at home to ensure airborne particulates are always removed. You will be greeted with clean, fresh air when you return from work or holiday rather than having to wait for the air purifier to restart the cleaning cycle. It is not possible for the room air quality to remain clean with only a couple of hours of runtime.

Is It Safe To Run An Air Purifier All The Time?

It is perfectly safe to leave a HEPA air purifier on day and night as it is designed to run 24x7 without overheating, breaking down, or releasing harmful byproducts. Most models are also CE/ UL listed with strict safety compliances, children/ pet friendly, and CARB certified to be ozone-free. Just remember to clean the pre-filter every 2-3 weeks and replace the HEPA/ carbon filters accordingly to maintain its filtration efficiency.

Is It Safe To Run An Air Purifier All The Time?

Is It Costly To Run An Air Purifier All Day?

It is not costly to run an air purifier all day every day compared with other home appliances. It will only cost you an estimate of $0.08 to $0.30 dollars daily depending on the airflow speed, power wattage, and states you're in. Some model even has a power consumption rate equivalent to a light bulb. Regardless of how long the air purifier is running, you will not see a huge spike in your electric bills.

We do not recommend running an air cleaner intermittently in order to save cost. It is far from economical and you will be at risk of inhaling harmful contaminants when the air purifier is off. The air cleaner will also have to work extra hard to restore back the clean air and may end up using more energy. Instead, pick an Energy Star Rated air cleaner or model that comes with an energy-saving Auto mode that only uses higher fan speed when there is a high concentration level of pollutants detected.

To calculate the running cost of an air purifier, multiply the energy consumption with the rate of electricity (by states) and hours of operation. For the monthly electricity bill, multiply the cost by 30 days.

Should I Open Windows With An Air Purifier On?

With an air purifier turned on, you should keep all windows shut to reduce the number of irritants from flowing in. Even if outdoor air is not polluted, leaving windows open forces the air cleaner to work harder as unfiltered air will keep on coming in and clean air continues to flow out.

When Should I Turn On My Air Purifier?

Whenever possible but the best time to turn on an air purifier is when you step foot in the home. Run it at the highest speed for at least an hour to remove the lingering airborne pollutants before switching it back to normal speed or auto mode. Again, we highly recommend you leave the air purifier on and never switch it off unless you intend to move the device elsewhere.

Optimizing An Air Purifier That Runs All-day

Airborne pollutants do not take a break while you sleep or not around. While opening windows is the quickest and easiest to improve indoor ventilation, it is not a long-term solution and is less effective compared with an air purifier. That said, if you plan to run an air purifier day and night, it is important to check on the filter condition regularly. A dirty filter is less effective as more and more particulates are trapped inside. The below steps will also help extend the air purifier usage life and help improve indoor air quality. Every little bit of effort counts.

  • Only choose a mechanical HEPA air purifier over a standalone ionizer or UV sanitizer. Never go with an Ozone generator that produces harmful ozone.
  • Replace the HEPA filter and carbon filter when the filter change indicator is flashing typically between 6 to 12 months.
  • Keep your home clean and tidy by vacuuming regularly to reduce the air purifier workload.
  • Pick the right size air purifier e.g. tabletop, tower where you can place it at a comfortable location.
  • Make sure the air purifier's suggested room size is adequate at a minimum of 2 air changes per hour. Ideally, the CADR should be at least 200 cubic feet per minute.
  • Ensure the air purifier noise level is at an acceptable level that you can live with it.
Can You Leave Air Purifier On All The Time

You should leave your air purifier on all the time to ensure there is a constant flow of purified, clean air. When the air purifier is turned off, it will stop filtering the air thus harmful particles like dust, pet dander, mold, pollen, bacteria, viruses will gradually return within 2 to 4 hours. The health effects of air pollution are pervasive but the risk can be reduced when the air purifier is kept on. The only time you should not be running an air purifier is when there is a safety hazard such as a damaged power cord, dirty filters, or the presence of an ozone generator that diffuses harmful ozone.

Max Fernandez

A loving father and a dedicated reviewer for airfuji.com with more than 1000 air purifiers under his belt. Max Fernandez is also one of the million patients currently suffering from asthma. Feel free to nudge him if you have any questions.
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