Why Does My Air Purifier Smell Like Burning

Why Does My Air Purifier Smell Like Burning?

Why Does My Air Purifier Smell Like Burning?

If your air purifier suddenly starts emitting a burning or chemical smell, don’t panic. There are a few potential causes and solutions.

1. Dirty or Clogged Filter

The most common reason an air purifier smells like burning is a buildup of dust, hair, and other debris on the filter. Much like a clogged air vent, a dirty filter can cause the motor to overheat and give off an unpleasant burning odor.

The fix is simple – clean or replace your filter. Refer to your owner’s manual for specifics on your model. You may need to vacuum the filter, soak it in warm water, or replace it entirely. Replacing filters every 3-6 months is recommended for optimal performance.

2. Electrical Issue

If cleaning the filter doesn’t solve the burning smell, it could point to an internal electrical issue. Air purifiers contain motors, fans, and control boards that can overheat or short circuit. Pressing a reset button or unplugging the unit for a few hours may help, but a persistent burning smell likely means professional repair or replacement is needed.

3. Singed Dust

Some air purifiers use an electrostatic filter that actually attracts dust and particles to metal plates inside the unit. Over time, this collected debris can get singed by the electrical charge and create a burning odor. Cleaning the metal filter plates or replacing the electrostatic filter should take care of the issue.

4. Ozone Production

Certain air purifiers designed to generate ozone may emit a metallic, chlorine-like odor. While ozone can help sanitize the air, high levels can cause respiratory irritation in humans. Make sure your ozone setting isn’t too high if this is the cause of the burning smell.

When to Be Concerned

A minor burning smell that goes away quickly after cleaning the filter is no cause for alarm. However, if the odor persists after troubleshooting, unplug the unit and contact the manufacturer – prolonged overheating can lead to fire hazard.

Also be wary if the burning smell is accompanied by other symptoms like loud noises, sparks, flickering lights, or electrical shocks. Unplug the air purifier immediately and have it inspected by a professional.


Why does my air purifier smell like chemicals?

Chemical smells from an air purifier are often caused by ozone production. Make sure the ozone setting isn’t too high if this is the case. A dirty filter or electrical issue can also cause strange chemical odors in some cases.

Is it normal for air purifiers to smell at first?

It’s common for new air purifiers to have a “new electronics” smell at first as the motor breaks in. This should fade over the first few days. Persistent or strong chemical/burning odors are not normal.

Can air purifiers catch fire?

Air purifiers are generally designed to prevent fire hazards, but malfunctions do rarely occur. Prolonged overheating, electrical shorts, and motor issues can lead to fire if not addressed promptly.

Why does my air purifier smell like poop?

Unusual smells like rotten eggs or poop are not common with air purifiers. The culprit is likely an external source, not the unit itself. Try locating and removing the odor source elsewhere in the room.

Should you run an air purifier 24/7?

It’s fine to run an air purifier continuously if desired. But it’s not strictly necessary in most homes. Runtimes of 12-16 hours per day are usually sufficient. Just remember to periodically check and clean the filter.

Can air purifiers reduce odors?

Yes, air purifiers with activated carbon filters are effective at removing odors like smoke, pets, cooking fumes, mold, and more. But they won’t eliminate an odor source, just help clean odor molecules from the air.

Related Resources

For more help with air purifier odors, check out these useful guides:

Recommended Products

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Published by

Dennis Reed

Dennis Reed Owner and Author @ BreatheBetterAir.org