How do I know when my electrostatic air cleaner needs cleaning?


The easiest way to tell if your electrostatic air cleaner (EAC) needs cleaning is when you see smoke or oil mist blowing through. At this point, when you can see the visible plume, it is too late, your air is now hazy, the machine operators are complaining, and your blower is getting dirty. EACs collect the smallest particles that go deepest into your lungs but they are often not visible to the human eye, so your air cleaner can be blowing smoke through before you notice it.

So how can you check your EAC and catch it before smoke is blowing through?

There are a few things you can check:

  • Pull out the collection cell, they start to get dirty on the leading edge, towards the intake side. As they get dirty, they collect farther and farther back on the cell plates. You want to clean them before it is dirty all the way back preferably catch it at about three-quarters of the way back. On a double pass or tandem pass EAC, check both sections, sometimes cleaning the first pass more often can extend the life of the second pass.
  • Pull out the ionizer, some models this is one piece with the collection cell, and check the ionizer wires (or spikes on some brands) to see if they are dirty. If the wires have build-up on them, it can insulate the charge so that the smoke or oil mist does not get charged. If the smoke and oil mist does not get a charge, it will not get collected in the collection cell. Also, on the ionizer check the high voltage insulators, if these are dirty, depending on what you are collecting, they can drain down the voltage making the air cleaner less efficient.
  • Pull out the after-filter, this is a one-inch aluminum mesh filter that most brands have after the collection cells. If the after-filter is dirty, it is time to clean. If your EAC is functioning correctly and service at proper frequency this filter will remain clean.
  • Most brands of EACs have an indicator light. This light indicates that the collection cells and ionizers have the correct high voltage. If this light starts to flicker or goes off it is past time for maintenance. When this light goes out, service is needed right away.
  • Lastly, you can pull out the pre-filter, this usually is not a problem unless it restricts the air flow. The prefilter is often a one-inch mesh filter similar to the after-filter but comes before the ionizer. The prefilter can also be two inches thick, or some models use an impingement baffle as well. If you hold the prefilter up to a light and can see light through the filter, it is usually ok. The pre-filter is typically only a problem if you are collecting a heavy particulate, most smoke or oil mist applications it will not be a problem.


At Bee Clean Specialties, we look at all these points when helping our clients determine the correct cleaning frequency. To have us help you with your air quality call us today at 888-451-0844 or click on the chat button.