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How Much Energy Do Air Purifiers and Humidifiers Use?

how much electricity is used by air purifiers in the home

Air purifiers like the one in the photo above are designed to be kept on for many hours a day. When choosing any appliance for your home you should know what the cost to operate it will be. We took our power - use meter and checked the energy consumption of air purifiers such as this one made by Honeywell. Here is what we found.

Results Of Honeywell Air Purifier Energy Use Test

The air filter system above is one that I have used in my own home for months without checking to see how any watts it drew. I was surprised to find out how much energy this air purifier really used on the high setting.

Results: On high setting the air purifier consumed 175 watts, on medium it used 132 watts and on low 82 watts. No standby power consumption was measured when the unit was in the "off" position.

How much does it cost to operate an air purifier in the home day after day? If your electricity cost per kilowatt hour is ten cents and if the filter is used on the high setting for twenty four hours a day, running all year long, you could find the annual cost of operation using the following calculation: 175 X 24 = 4200 watts per day or 4.2 Kwh.  Daily cost: 42 cents. Yearly cost: $153.00   Most of us won't be running an air purifier around the clock, all year long, so it is unlikely that one would cost you as much as our calculation indicated above.

Does A Dirty Air Purifier Filter Cause More Energy Use?  It appears that keeping your air purifier's filter clean or replaced with a new one on a regular basis, helps reduce energy consumption. To simulate a clogged filter in a "not so scientific" test we took a strip of plastic cut from a garbage bag and covered half of the Honeywell air purifier's filter and then tested it again with the Kill a Watt. This time the air purifier's energy use was recorded at 185 watts on high, 143 watts on medium and 94 watts on low. It does seem that a dirty filter will cause higher air purifier energy use.

Note that the cost to run an air purifier in the home shown above does not reflect other benefits such as reducing allergies, reducing dirt on refrigerator coils,  keeping the HVAC system clean and reducing the amount of cleaning products used in the home for dusting, etc.

Results Of Bionaire Air Purifier Energy Consumption Test

I have a smaller room air filter that we use beside our bed each night, both for "white noise" and to keep down dust and pollen which cause allergies. Using the power meter we checked it on all three settings and also with the ionizer button depressed.  

Results: On high the air purifier's energy consumption was 75 watts, on medium 61 watts and on low 57 watts. Turning on the ionizer feature increased overall energy use by two watts on all settings. There was no measurable phantom load created when the device was off.

The energy use of the smaller air purifier was about half that of the larger one, however the bedside filter does not clean as many cubic feet of air per hour. All in all air filtration devices aren't the biggest energy culprits in a home, but the amount of wattage they draw is worth noting. Instead of running these units full time you might want to put them on a timer or turn them off before you leave the room.

How Much Energy Do Humidifiers Use?

Many people use small room humidifiers to relieve health issues caused by dry air. These are especially popular in states with hot climates such as Texas and Arizona. How much does it cost to run a humidifier? Let's take a look at a typical small, bedside unit. The model below is a Red Cross brand which costs around $30.

Results of Red Cross Humidifier Energy Use Test

On high the unit above used 28 watts on high and 18 watts on low. It did not create any phantom loads due to standby power. 

Larger humidifiers may use over 100 watts and dehumidifiers use even more. Before buying any of them you should take a look at the product label showing power consumption. Remember, if power use in watts is not listed, simply multiply 120 (volts) times the amperage (A) shown on the label. This will give you power use in watts.

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