Why Does My Air Purifier Smell like Plastic?

Air purifiers work to trap bacteria, germs, and dust to make the air healthy for people. These devices’ filters also remove foul or stubborn odors. What if the reverse was the case and the air purifier was the one emitting a strong plastic odor?

The plastic smell is due to leftover processes during manufacturing air purifiers. So, when the device is plugged in for the first time, the previously trapped smell escapes. It usually lasts for the next 24 to 48 hours.

If your air purifier is giving off a plastic smell, then you might not have to worry. However, if it begins giving off other awful smells, then there’s a problem. This post gives in-depth information on different air purifier smells, their meaning and how to get rid of each.

Do Air Purifiers Smell?

Air purifiers should remove odors from your space, not cause your room to smell. If you notice that the cleaning device gives off strange odors, it indicates a problem. The reason for the smell usually varies.

Why Would My Air Purifier Smell like Plastic?

When you install a purifying unit for the first time, you might notice an overpowering plastic odor. The reason for this smell is quite simple; the filter materials may have picked up some plastic smells during manufacturing.

Plastic emits a smell because of the polymerization or polycondensation process during the manufacturing procedure. These odors are often not completely off the device before its makers package them.

As a result, the smell remains trapped and only begins to escape once you plug in the device. Sometimes, the plastic smell might be due to a fault from the device’s inner components.

The smell could also be from the filters. Prefilters and activated carbon filters are designed to capture odor molecules. During manufacturing, these filters could capture the odors only to release them after the device is in use.

Plastic smells can be annoying and disturbing, but there’s nothing bad about it. If you’re worried about it being unhealthy, you shouldn’t. If anything, the smell is only foul, and you’ll only experience it for the first few days or weeks.

How Do I Get Rid of a Plastic Smell from an Air Purifier?

If a new air purifier’s plastic scent bothers you, try running it at maximum speed for a few days. Even though you’ll have to put up with more noise, this method can effectively eradicate the smell of plastic from your home.

If you still notice this after a few days, the problem could result from a wire short-circuit. In this case, the plastic might be burning from within. If you bought this device from the manufacturer, return it to its package and take it back to the store.

These types of mechanical issues are under the manufacturer’s warranty. Therefore you wouldn’t have to pay any fees for repair and other services. Instead, they might do a quick fix or give you a new one.

Why Does My Air Purifying Device Smell like It’s Burning?

A burning smell from a UV-C air purifying machine indicates a blown or malfunctioning UV-C light lamp. This can be caused by a smokey pollutant being trapped in the HEPA filter.

Aside from malfunctioning, the smell could be from excessive ozone production. While UV lamps enhance indoor air quality by killing germs, some poorly built UV cleaners produce harmful ozone.

People often mistake the smell of ozone for chlorine because it has a distinct aroma that can resemble “a burning wire.” However, high quantities of ozone can cause a harsh odor, detrimental to health. As a result, such a smell means that the device requires a quick fix.

What To Do If My Air Purifying Device Smells like It’s Burning?

If it’s a burning smell, never assume it’s a manufacturing problem. This assumption might cause you to let the purifying device run longer than it should. The more it functions, the more ozone it produces and the more harm it causes to you.

Once you notice this, check the UV lights to ensure the problem isn’t from there. If it is, the best option is to return the device rather than fix it.

Why Is My Air Purifier Giving off A Smoke Smell?

Your air purifying device can last you a long time and remain functional during this period. However, it might begin to emit disturbing smoke smells like it was burning after a while. At first, you might not find the smell disturbing, but it only gets worse with time.

Instead of waiting till it reaches an unbearable point, it’s best to find the source of the problem. A smoke smell usually results from a few things, which you’ll see below:

Blocked Air Filter

You might be part of the lucky individuals to get a long-lasting air cleaning device. Still, this doesn’t mean that you’ll neglect it, leaving it uncleaned for a long time. 

Remember that these devices use filters to trap particles. Later, these particles begin to accumulate in the filter, and it’s only a matter of time before it blocks airflow. 

Restriction to air passage can put pressure on the fans and other components of the device. This could result in the smell the device emits.

Solving this is straightforward. First, bring out the filters and check if they’re indeed clogged. If they are, wash them and dry them before putting them back into the device. 

In some cases, washing might not solve the problem; instead, you’ll need to buy a new filter. You can purchase suitable filters in a store for an affordable price. Nevertheless, ensure that it’s a perfect fit for your device.

Burning Dust

You can leave your device without using it for a long time. Then, when you turn it on, it might still be functional but might emit a smoke smell. This is because of the dust that has gathered over time.

Such odor has no health effect on you, though it can be disturbing. Plus, all you have to do is leave it on for a while. You’ll notice that the smell dissipates after it runs for a few minutes.

If the smell continues after a while, it could result from some other problem within the device.

Faulty Capacitors

Every air cleaning device has a capacitor that works together with the motor to function effectively. If there is a problem with the capacitor, it could lead to overheating the motor. In most cases, the device starts giving off a burning smell.

Your capacitor could develop faults for different reasons. Sometimes, it could result from a sudden power outage or wear and tear. 

When you notice this, the best option would be to call for the service of an electrical professional. If it’s something fixable, the expert will inform you but, you should consider changing the capacitor in most cases.

Faulty Motor

Like the capacitors, the motors can also develop faults, leading to smoky smells. Such malfunction usually results from a weak bearing which causes the device to overheat.

If you notice the smoke smell and are sure, it’s from the motor, simply lubricate the motor bearing. Lubrication will reduce the friction and return it to a functional state. If the condition is severe, you’ll have to replace the old motor with a new one.

Belt-Drive Motor Overheating

Air purifiers have different models that usually have varying makeups. One of these makeup is using a belt drive instead of a drive blower. 

Models that use rubber belts are prone to wear and tear after prolonged usage. When this happens, it begins to overheat, leading to a burning smell.

Turn off the device when you notice the smell and check if the problem is from the belt drive. If the belt is worn, the best option will be to replace it with a new one.

Why Does My Air Purifier Smell like Fish?

Burning or smoking smells or not the only orders that your air purifier can give off. Sometimes, you might experience a foul fish-like smell from the cleaner’s vents. While you may believe it might be from a dead animal, this isn’t always the case.

A fish-like smell in an air cleaner is because of a problem with the plastic electric components of the device. Since plastic consists of different smelling chemicals, a minor issue could cause it to emit such odor. However, the plastic may become too hot and burn in some cases, giving off a urine-like odor instead.

This situation is usually serious and needs to be addressed immediately. The first step is turning off the air purifier and locating the smell source. If you can’t call for a professional’s help.

Why Does My Air Purifier Smell Like A Wet Dog?

Aside from a fish smell, you might also experience a wet dog odor from your device. This odor is usually caused by microorganisms that develop from an accumulation of bacteria. It also results from the growth of mold or mildew in your vents.

Wet dog smell is awful and can also negatively affect your health. Thus, once you notice this, ensure you try to solve the problem.

After disconnecting the device, pull out the filters and wipe them with a dry cloth. Wash the filter if they’re too dirty and allow it to dry before returning it to the device.

Why Does My Air Purifier Smell like Vinegar?

Is your purifier emitting the smell of vinegar? If it is, there’s a problem within the purifying device.

Any unpleasant vinegar smell can result from the power motor experiencing technical problems. Some of the issues causing this include faulty filters, clogged condensation pan, and dirt accumulation.

To solve this problem, unplug the device from the power plug. Afterwards, inspect the purifier to ascertain where the fault lies. 

Usually, thorough cleaning of the device might solve the problem. However, if this doesn’t work, you might have to replace some parts. Consider calling a professional who can help identify the primary source of the problem.

Why Does My Air Purifier Smell like Chlorine?

If your air purifier is emitting a chlorine-like smell, it means that it’s emitting ozone. As mentioned earlier, this gas is hazardous and constant exposure could put you at risk. 

This substance might take a long time to affect you, but you’ll notice certain medical changes when it does. Some changes could include lung infection and the development of other allergies. 

Ozone is also terrible for people with existing respiratory illnesses. People who have asthma or other heart-related diseases must stay as far away as they can from this gas. Therefore, call a professional or get a new device if your device gives off this smell.

Why Does My Air Purifier Have a Strange But Sweet Smell?

This smell might not catch your attention initially because it might be too mild. Sometimes, it might have a fruity aroma that might seem strange yet pleasing. You might even be quick to conclude that the smell is some sort of purification from the device.

This weird smell is no air freshener installed within the device; it’s only coming from the recycled air. You’re bound to notice this if your purifier is brand new and has carbon filters.

This strange smell shouldn’t bother you as it causes no harm to your body. 

How Do I Remove the Odor from My Air Purifier?

If your air purifier is giving off any awful disturbing smell, there are a few things that can help eliminate them. First, know that most of these smells come from a problem with the interior components. So, you’ll have to check inside the device to pinpoint where the problem is coming from.

Some elements you should look out for include dust accumulation, mold, faulty motor, and clogged fitters.

Most times, the problem lies with the filters. Therefore, you’d have to check them regularly to ensure they’re not blocked or malfunctioning. In cases where these filters are worn, you’ll have to purchase another.