Is your air purifier cracking & sizzling? There might be nothing wrong with your appliance. Here’s what’s happening.

Your air purifier does a lot for you. It not only guarantees that both you, and yours are constantly breathing clean air, but also prevents the accumulation of dust to a certain degree.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I turned my air purifier off. At this point, I’ve grown so accustomed to its versatility, and ease of use, that thinking about trying other air-cleaning solutions, is off the table.

Now, before you close this page because you think I’m trying to sell you a new model, wait. I promise I’m not. If you’re here reading this, you already own an air purifier, and sadly, it’s cracking, and sizzling like a steakhouse rib eye.

Why is this happening, and can you fix it?

In short, there is no single answer, but there are definitely a ton of solutions we can try; however, in order to choose the right one, you need to know exactly what to be looking for.

This is why I’ve prepared the list below, where you’ll find the most common causes to this occurrence, and the simplest steps you can take to address them. I’m confident that, if you follow them to a tee, your air purifier will stop cracking and sizzling in the blink of an eye.

Ready? Let’s go!

Fixing a Cracking Air Purifier

I know how tempting it can be to pry your appliance open, and try to look for the problem inside it right away, but please, don’t do that just yet.

We will look inside your machine, but only as a last resort. More often than not, the cause behind this noise is much more closely related to an external factor, than to a technical fault.

It is very important that we go about the troubleshooting process in a detailed and orderly way. Doing otherwise is the best way to waste precious time and money, and risk doing further damage to the appliance, if there is any.

How Do Air Purifiers Work?

In order to provide you with a pollution-free environment, your air purifier sucks in the “dirty” air in the area it’s located, passes it through its filter, and then releases it cleaned up on the other end.

There are other, more complex internal processes that allow the unit to turn on, function, and spin its fan, but the broad strokes should give you a good idea of how your machine cleans up the air you breathe.

Having covered that, let’s dive into the potential causes to this problem.

#1 Normal Operation

Your air purifier might just be noisy

This might surprise you, but there might be nothing wrong with your machine.

Depending on your make and model, your air purifier could simply be designed in a way that creates excessive amounts of cracking noises while operating normally. This usually happens when large particles pass through the filter, and onto the fan.

Unless you notice any kind of overheating or damage resulting from the cracking noises, you have nothing to worry about.

Good news, right?

Solution: Sit back, put on your favorite show on TV, and enjoy the clean air.

#2 Moisture Buildup

The weather conditions in your area could be causing all your problems

Okay, let’s assume that there is, in fact, something wrong with your unit. If this is the case, the first thing we must consider, is the possibility of moisture buildup.

Believe it or not, using your air purifier in the same room as a humidifier, could contribute to the appearance of this issue. The same goes if you place your unit next to a bathroom where you often take showers, as condensation could quickly become a problem.

Moreover, even external factors, such as the weather conditions where you live, could worsen this condition.

Hands taking out air purifier filter to clean it
Like any other filtering system, your air purifier should be serviced, cleaned and perhaps replaced.

If your air purifier is cracking and sizzling, you might want to take a closer look at where you’re placing it, and determine whether it is, in fact, the best place for it to be.

Solution: Do whatever you can to eliminate the factors you can control in order to reduce the moisture your machine is exposed to.

If you’ve already done everything in your power, and there’s still excessive moisture in the environment, you can try relocating the appliance, or buying the famous moisture-absorbing pellets sold at hardware stores.

#3 Dirty Components

Make sure to clean your appliance regularly

Proper maintenance is essential to extending any appliance’s lifespan.

Yes, your air purifier is a wonderful cleaning solution, but, from time to time, it needs to stop cleaning, and be cleaned instead. You see, as time passes, and your unit does its job, the filter, and other components inside it can become dirty and obstructed by debris.

While this is completely normal, and not immediately dangerous, failing to clean or replace the filter inside your unit could cause several issues, such as overheating, improper air cleaning, and, you guessed it…cracking and sizzling noises. 

It is of the utmost importance that you replace the disposable part every 3 to 6 months, or every 30 to 60 days if you suffer from allergies, or asthma, as this replacement frequency will guarantee the optimal purifying conditions.

Solution: Provided that you do not want to replace your filter just yet, here’s how you can clean it:

  1. Unplug your unit, and let it cool down
  • Remove the outer plastic panel (it should come off easily)
  • Remove the outer filter vent
  • Remove the filter
  • Carefully vacuum it to remove any debris, and then clean it under running water
  • Let it dry completely
  • Place it back into the machine, and reassemble

Again, this process is only advised if your filter is not 6 months old yet. If it is, no matter how well you clean it, it will never work as well as a new one.

#4 Improperly Placed Filters

Make sure everything’s sitting tightly inside your unit

If you do not place your filters properly, you’ll run into trouble down the line.

This might seem like something extremely obvious, and impossible to miss, but improperly placed filters are among the most common culprits behind a cracking and sizzling air purifier.

And this makes a lot of sense. After all, it is the most apparently unimportant things, that we tend to overlook more frequently.

If you’re certain that neither excessive moisture, nor dirty internal components are to blame, there’s a very good chance that you have placed your filters wrong after cleaning them.

Solution: I know it’s annoying, but you’ll have to go back in.

Carefully disassemble your machine, and make sure to place everything back together properly. Being a little more conscious about how you operate, disassemble, and reassemble your appliance will prevent this from happening in the future, and save you a lot of time.

Girl Placing Air Purifier Filter
The most common cause of a cracking and sizzling air purifier is incorrectly positioned filters.

#5 Factory Defects

Check your warranty, and call your manufacturer

If none of the solutions above have worked out for you, and your air purifier keeps cracking, and sizzling, the chances of there being a factory defect to blame, is not too crazy.

Sure, modern-day production quality standards are extremely high, but even in the most optimized processes, there is always room for error. This means that it’s not impossible for a faulty air purifier to have made it into the market inadvertently.

Assuming that you’re the unfortunate owner of one of these units, there are several things you can do about the situation.

Solution: If you’re still under warranty coverage, do not hesitate to call your manufacturer.

Normally, I’d be all for trying to do your own repairs, thus saving precious time, and money, but given that this is a factory defect, you want to avoid tampering with your appliance as much as possible.

If you try to fix your machine yourself, you could immediately void your warranty, leaving you in the infuriating position of having to pay for repairs that could have been taken care of by a pro for free.

Due diligence is extremely important here. 

Recommended Best Practices

In recap, while fixing your air purifier should be fairly simple, it’s always better to prevent, than to repair, right?

Here are some best practices you can implement in order to keep your appliance working like clockwork:

  • Clean the filters regularly
  • Place the unit far from excessive moisture
  • Watch out for overheating
  • Reassemble consciously
  • Do not buy knockoff filters
  • Check your warranty

Making sure to stick to these practices will extend your purifier’s lifespan significantly, and save you copious amounts of money. 

Conclusion

When your air purifier starts cracking and sizzling, you’re left in a very uncomfortable, and confusing position. Not only do you have to figure out where the noise is coming from, but also find a way to repair the damage that might have stemmed from it.

Truly disastrous.

Fortunately, as you’ve learned on this piece, there is very little proper maintenance, and regular cleaning can’t solve or prevent when it comes to these machines, so make sure to keep yours in tip-top shape at all times.

Thank you for reading. If this article helped you, why not check out our other incredible resources below? You never know when another one of your appliances might fail.

Happy projects!