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What Is The Cause Of My Air Purifier Zapping Sound?

By Elysia
Elysia is a seasoned content enthusiast who has been steering the creative ship at Bebest since 2022.

Air purifiers are crucial in many households, serving as essential appliances. While certain operational sounds can be easily overlooked, others, such as the zapping sound, might cause discomfort. Therefore, it is essential to understand the reasons behind the air purifier zapping sound.

The occasional zapping sound arises when the air purifier captures larger particles, similar to when a bug zapper comes into contact with a bug. The constant zapping sound indicates that maintenance is needed in device cleaning or ensuring thorough drying of its components. In this article, we will discover the causes behind the zapping sound from your air purifier and how to fix it.

What Causes Air Purifier Zapping Sound?

Air purifier zapping sounds are prevalent in electrostatic units, which generate an electric field to charge airborne particles drawn in by the fan. These particles then proceed into a second chamber, settling on oppositely charged plates.

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Causes of air purifier zapping sounds

Upon impact with the plate, each particle releases a surge of energy. A large particle hitting the plate can generate sufficient energy to create an audible zapping sound, similar to a bug zapper hitting insects. Although these sounds are considered normal, excessive air purifier zapping sounds may indicate potential issues with your air purifier. These are factors that can lead to an excessive occurrence of the zapping sound:

1. Filters installed incorrectly

The excessive noises can indicate a potentially incorrect installation or malfunction of the filter. If the filter issue is extreme, the air purifier might stop functioning. Fixing this issue involves the following steps:

  1. Turn off the air purifier and disconnect it from the power outlet.
  2. Open either the front or rear grill of the air purifier and remove the air filter from its housing.
  3. Check the installation of the filter, ensuring the airflow arrow is oriented in the proper direction.
  4. If the filter was incorrectly installed, reposition it.
  5. Carefully close the front grate cover.
  6. Reset the device by pressing the Clean/Reset filter button.
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Dirty or clogged filter

2.Clogged or dirty filters

A clogged or dirty filter can strain the air purifier’s engine, forcing it to operate with double the effort to draw in and recirculate the air. This can lead to unwanted noises such as popping, spitting, or coughing.

Besides these unusual sounds, the filtration system will function below its optimal capacity, allowing unclean air to persist. As usual, the filter indicator light on your air purifier will be turned on, indicating it is time to change the filter. The following steps show how to replace the filter:

  1. Turn off your air purifier and disconnect it from the power outlet.
  2. Open the front or rear grill cover and remove the dirty filter.
  3. Place in the new filter, ensuring the arrow is oriented in the right direction. If the filter doesn’t have an arrow, follow the manual for the installation guidelines.
  4. Close the grill cover and reset the filter change indicator.

3. Debris inside the unit

The debris consists of fragments from a destroyed object and can lead to air purifier zapping sounds if it enters the system. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid inserting foreign objects into the unit as they can disrupt the regular functioning of your air purifier. If left unresolved, they could cause damage to the device. To solve this issue, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off your air purifier and disconnect it from the power outlet.
  2. Open the grill cover or dismantle the entire device if needed.
  3. Examine the housing for any debris, foreign objects, or dust buildup.
  4. You can use a brush to clean the unit or a vacuum cleaner if the filter is not clogged.
  5. Close the grill cover or reassemble the unit as required.
  6. Reset the air purifier to its normal settings.

4. The filter requires a replacement

Unusual sounds will occur more often when the filter reaches a critical point of needing replacement. These noises come from the filtration mechanism, which struggles to capture and cleanse the air. In some cases, it might not produce the right amount of airflow. To determine whether it is time to replace the filter, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the air purifier and disconnect it from the power outlet.
  2. Take off the rear cover and press the air filter housing’s release button.
  3. Remove the filter from the housing and inspect its color – if it has turned black or gray.
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Filter replacement

5. Putting the air purifier in the wrong place

The effectiveness of the air purifier is significantly influenced by its placement. You will likely observe some air purifier zapping sounds if the device is incorrectly positioned. Consider the following steps to solve this problem:

  1. Position the device either on the floor or 3-5 feet above ground level.
  2. Do not put the unit in places with minimal or no air circulation.
  3. Avoid corners when placing an air purifier.
  4. Eliminate any obstacles that may block the airflow.
  5. Avoid placing them in areas with high levels of humidity.
  6. Maintain a distance between the air purifier and electronic devices.

Do I Need to Worry About My Air Purifier Making Noise?

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Air purifier making noise

Air purifiers draw in air, capture pollutants, and then release purified air into the room. Due to air movement, air purifiers may inevitably generate certain noise levels.

During their operation, they produce background or ambient noise. However, an air purifier can produce various sounds, some of which may indicate issues with the device. To help you understand the concerning noises, here’s an overview of the types of sounds an air purifier may generate:

  • Beeping: Air purifiers’ beeps and light flashes are standard means of communication. A beep is usually a brief and high-pitched tone, indicating the need to replace the filter. It might coincide with a persistent flashing light. Occasionally, a beeping noise from a functioning purifier may require resetting the device.
  • Zapping: This sound resembles a sequence of sharp and brief noises. When your air purifier bursts, crackles, or emits sparks during operation, it suggests it has captured a larger particle.
  • Whispering and humming: These are the typical operational sounds when the device runs at a low fan speed or actively purifies the air.
  • Rattling or clicking: Describing a sharp and concise motor sound, this noise occurs during the device’s calibration process.
  • Whistling: Whistling noises often mean damaged or faulty air filters. This is particularly relevant if the whistling begins right after installation or before the filter has collected enough dirt. If the unit starts whistling after the filter becomes dirty, it is likely due to a clog.
  • Hissing: This harsh sound is generated when the air purifier’s fan turns off. This occurs as the fan slows down when you power off the air purifier.

Essentially, beeping, humming, and whispering are typical operational sounds. Conversely, hissing, rattling, whistling, or zapping sounds generally signal the need for repairs or regular maintenance.

Factors Affecting the Noise Volume

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Factors affecting the noise volume

Air purifiers commonly have varying levels of noise, influenced by the following factors:

1. Air purifier types

The noise from a portable air purifier is generally more noticeable than that of a whole-house air purifier. Whole-house air purifiers are integrated into your home’s HVAC system, typically positioned away from living spaces. The noise generated by these units is usually confined to spaces such as the basement, garage, or utility closet, resulting in lower noise levels.

2. Air purifier models

Certain air purifier models have differing levels of noise, depending on purification technologies. For instance,  when air purifiers with HEPA filters operate at high speeds, they tend to be louder than air purifiers with the fan turned off.

3. Air purifier operation speed

The fan of an air purifier is an essential component of the unit that determines its air-cleaning efficiency. Operating the device at maximum fan speed can increase noise levels but faster air purification in a room. On the other hand, opting for the middle or lowest fan speed can reduce noise while slowing down the air-cleaning process.

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Operation speed

4. Air purifier location

Having an air purifier in your bedroom while sleeping will result in more noticeable noise compared to placing it in an empty room. The noise level is amplified in a bedroom with wooden floors and high ceilings, whereas a room with carpets and furnishings will help absorb the noise effectively.

Bottom Line

Identifying the source of an air purifier zapping sound is pivotal for ensuring optimal performance and a tranquil environment. Various factors could contribute to this issue, from electrical malfunctions to dust or debris buildups within the unit. Regular maintenance or seeking professional assistance from the manufacturer can provide valuable insights into resolving the problem. By addressing the causes of the air purifier zapping sound, you not only enhance the longevity of your appliance but also create a healthier and more peaceful living space for yourself and your loved ones.

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