There is little question that air purifiers help improve indoor air quality. They effectively and efficiently filter pollutants like dust, smoke, and pollen from interior spaces. Air purifier power consumption is a concern among consumers interested in the benefits associated with using an air filtration unit. 

Most air purifiers work off electricity. Standard room air purifiers, when operated continuously, can use up to 550 kWh of electricity each year. The total cost to run an air purifier depends not only on which model you choose, but also on how you operate it.

What is an air purifier?

An air purifier is an appliance consisting of a filter (or multiple filters) and a fan. Its main job is to filter polluted indoor air. It accomplishes this task by drawing air with the fan and pushing it through the filter. Filters are designed to trap air pollutants and particles. The air purifier then pushes clean air back out. It is a simple process, but one that can significantly improve indoor air quality.

Most filters are made from borosilicate glass or plastic (polypropylene) fibers. Activated carbon filters are ideal for removing odors from indoor spaces and can be used separately or paired with another type of filter.

Do you really need an air purifier?

If you care about indoor air quality, then the answer to that question is a resounding yes. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that indoor levels of pollutants are 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor levels. On some rare occasions, indoor air pollution may be 100 times higher than it is outdoors.

One of the most efficient and effective ways to remove indoor air pollutants is with an air purification system. People who use air purifiers in their homes and other indoor spaces enjoy a boost to their overall health.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, improved indoor air quality is most beneficial for those with pre-existing lung conditions like asthma. Filtering out fine particulate matter from indoor air also alters blood chemistry in ways that may benefit the heart.

These are not the only benefits of using an air purification system. Other health benefits include:

  • Fewer allergy and asthma symptoms
  • Reduction of harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Removal of unpleasant odors
  • Lessened chance of airborne diseases
  • Improved sleep

It’s important to choose an air purifier that is suited to room size if you want it to efficiently filter indoor air and maximize your health benefits. Choosing an air filter designed to accommodate room size ensures it can remove allergens, viruses, and any unpleasant odors.

What are the common causes of indoor air pollution?

Indoor air pollution happens when sources inside your home release gases or particles into the air. Building materials and common household cleaning products are among the worst offenders. Tobacco smoke and wood-burning fireplaces also contaminate indoor air quality.

Here are some of the other common sources of indoor air pollution:

  • Live sources like dust mites, mildew, and mold
  • Carbon monoxide from fuel-burning heaters, stoves, and other appliances
  • Nitrogen dioxide from natural gas and kerosene combustion
  • Sulfur dioxide from burning kerosene or space heaters
  • Radon gas from the rocks and soil underneath it
  • Asbestos from cement, heating equipment, floor tiles, insulation, and spackling compounds
  • Formaldehyde from carpets, drapes, furniture, and particleboard
  • Particulates like dust and pollen
  • Pesticides from foggers, sprays, and strips
  • Fumes from household cleaners and chemicals
  • VOCs from plug-in air fresheners (yes, these actually add chemicals to the air rather than cleaning it!)

Stale, stuffy air and abnormal odors that linger are among the signs that your indoor air is polluted. As a rule, if you feel healthier and breathe easier when you are outdoors, it might be time to consider an air purification system to address indoor air quality issues.

How indoor air pollution harms your health

Americans spend 90 percent of their lives indoors. That means, for most of your day, you’re potentially breathing in unhealthy air. There are times when you can detect poor air quality just by using your nose. If indoor spaces smell musty, dusty, or otherwise have strong odors, chances are, your indoor air quality is lacking.

Sometimes health effects from poor indoor air quality are immediate. You may cough, sneeze, or develop headaches. Other times, the damage to your health can take years to surface. Here are some of the long-term health consequences you can experience from unhealthy indoor air:

  • Asthma and allergies — Chest tightness, coughing, and wheezing are all signs you are dealing with asthma. Itchy, watery eyes, and congestion signal allergy issues. Even if you did not previously suffer from either, you can develop both allergies and asthma from constant exposure to poor indoor air quality.
  • Cardiovascular disease — Poor indoor air quality does not just affect the lungs. Your heart is part of your circulatory system. Indoor air pollutants can restrict your blood vessels from free movement, cause blood clots, and disrupt your heart’s electrical functioning.
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) — This is one of the most common long-term conditions related to indoor air pollution. Chronic coughing, fatigue, swelling in the legs and feet, and increased risk of respiratory infections signal you have developed COPD.
  • Lung cancer — The World Health Organization (WHO) lists household air pollution as a contributor to developing lung cancer. WHO discovered that about 17 percent of all lung cancer deaths in adults were attributable to carcinogen exposure in household air pollution. Cooking with kerosene or solid fuels like wood, charcoal, or coal increases the risk.

You can reduce the effects of indoor air pollutants on your long-term health and well-being by using an air purification system. The best air purifiers are designed to remove allergens, bacteria, dust, mold spores, pet dander, pollen, smoke, viruses, and volatile organic compounds from the indoor air you breathe.

Should you run an air purifier all the time?

With the rising cost of electricity, it is understandable if you are worried about adding yet another electrical appliance to your home. You may wonder if air purifier power consumption is low enough to warrant continuous operation, or if doing so will significantly impact your energy bill. The concern is multiplied when it is an appliance like an air purifier, which may run 24/7/365.

Some people ask if they really need to run an air purifier all the time. The short answer to that question is yes. The longer answer requires more explanation. Continuous operation of your air purifier is recommended to ensure your indoor air quality remains consistent.

No matter how well insulated or constructed your home is, it is not completely sealed against outdoor air and pollutants. For this reason alone, you should run your air purifier all the time.

In addition to the potential for outdoor allergens and pollutants making their way into your home, there are some other interior factors that make the continuous running of your air purifier necessary. They include:

  • Accumulation of fumes and smoke from cooking or home heating sources
  • Accumulation of chemical byproducts from building materials, carpeting, and furniture
  • Accumulation of carbon dioxide (makes the air stale)
  • Accumulation of excess moisture, leading to mold and mildew growth

There are other advantages to running an air purifier nonstop besides cleaner indoor air. Most homes and other modern indoor spaces follow regulations recommending a set number of air changes per hour (ACH). 

ACH is measured based on the ventilation in a room. It assumes that the air in a room is mixed well, ensuring the inside air is displaced at the same rate to prevent stagnant spots. 

Homes with lower ACH do not exchange musty air with the outside. This makes your air conditioning, ventilation, and heating systems run more efficiently, producing energy savings. If you’re worried about the cost to run an air purifier, you will save on your energy bill by using the filtration system consistently.

How to measure air purifier energy consumption

Air purifier power consumption is a top concern for many consumers. You may want to know the cost to run an air purifier as part of your research on specific models before buying. Depending on where you live, the price of electricity fluctuates. The average cost of electricity in the U.S. is 11.74 cents per kWh.

The top five most expensive states for electricity costs per kWh are:

  • Hawaii — 36.72 cents
  • Vermont — 19.97 cents
  • Connecticut — 17.83 cents
  • New York — 17.26 cents
  • Alaska — 17.07 cents

The cheapest states for electricity costs per kWh include:

  • Louisiana — 8.38 cents
  • Idaho — 8.47 cents
  • Washington — 8.61 cents
  • North Dakota — 8.62 cents
  • Missouri — 9.11 cents

Whether you plan to measure air purifier daily power consumption or air purifier yearly power consumption to determine energy efficiency requires electricity costs per kWh.

Most air purifiers have a maximum wattage between 40 and 200. One of our most effective air purifiers, the Max Air Purifier, only uses 90 watts. Here is a comparison of the energy consumption of home appliances and electronics to help put things in perspective.

Appliance

Energy Consumption Per Watt*

LED Light Bulb

10

Mobile Phone Charger

33

Television

180

Refrigerator

194

Computer/Laptop

550

Microwave

1100

Coffee Maker

1200

Hair Dryer

1875

Washing Machine

3000

Air Conditioner

3300

Water Heater

120,000


U.S. Department of Energy estimates

Regardless of where you live, the good news is, air purifiers do not use a lot of electricity to operate. Whether you choose to measure air purifier weekly power consumption or air purifier monthly power consumption, the impact on your energy bill is the same.

To put it in a way that most people will understand: an air purifier uses about as much energy as a cell phone charger. That means you can run one all day long at a cost of about $120 per year. To get an exact energy consumption estimate for the air purifier you are considering buying, take the watts per hour and multiply it by:

  • 24 for air purifier daily power consumption
  • 168 for air purifier weekly power consumption
  • 730.001 for air purifier monthly power consumption
  • 8,760 for air purifier yearly power consumption

Tips for choosing an energy-efficient air purifier

Once you decide on the size of the air purification unit you need, the next step is to choose the most energy-efficient model that meets those parameters. One way to ensure energy efficiency is to look for air purifiers with an ENERGY STAR Rating.

Not all appliances earn this coveted ranking from the U.S. Department of Energy. The energy department uses strict energy-efficient criteria to determine whether an appliance or electronic device deserves the rating.

To earn the ENERGY STAR, products must:

  • Use less energy than traditional appliances and electronics.
  • Protect the environment by causing fewer harmful emissions from power plants.

Beyond energy efficiency, it is important to understand how Clean Air Delivery Rates (CADR) work when choosing an efficient air purifier. CADR is how quickly an air purification unit delivers filtered air. The higher the CADR, the larger the room it can serve and the faster it can clean the air. When a model is sized correctly for space and has a high CADR, it also is more energy efficient.

Choosing an air purifier with a HEPA filtration system also boosts energy savings. HEPA filters provide the highest level of indoor air quality available from residential air purification units.

All Oransi's energy-efficient air purifiers qualify for free shipping within the U.S. Oransi uses the highest efficiency EC motors in its new air purifiers. That means consumers achieve up to 90 percent energy savings when using our products.

How to keep your air purifier operating at peak efficiency

Even the most energy-efficient air purifiers must be maintained if you wish to keep them operating at their peak efficiency. This means changing the filters when indicated.

Most air filtration systems come with a filter indicator light that lets you know when the filter is at capacity. When you run an air purifier with a clogged filter, not only do you risk damaging the unit’s motor, but you also reduce its energy efficiency. Always choose replacement filters that are made for your unit to ensure optimal performance.