Why is my air purifier blowing cold air? We ask the experts

Ever wondered why you feel cold air from your air purifier? Find out the internal mechanisms that contribute to this cooling sensation – and how you can minimize it

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you have an air purifier, you've probably noticed a cold breeze coming from the machine. As these products are designed to capture and remove airborne particles and allergens from our space, the internal workings of this process often lead to the air purifier producing streams of cold air.

However, many of the best air purifiers aren't necessarily blowing out cold air, it turns out there are a few contributing factors as to why it feels this way, as an air purifier, by design, has to create this effect.

We asked the experts to find out why we feel cold air blowing from our air purifiers, and what we can do to minimize the feeling when needed.

Does an air purifier blow cold air?

Actually, no. It may seem like it does, but really the air is the same temperature as the ambient temperature in the room.

We asked Leighann Burke, business unit director at Guardian Technologies, why an air purifier blows cold air:

'An air purifier doesn't blow cold air. The purifier takes your room-temperature air and moves it with a fan, giving it a little bit of a speed boost. This creates a gentle breeze, and when air moves over your skin, it feels cool.'

Why does it feel cold?

Essentially, it has a similar effect as any of the best fans you'd have at home. Fans cool us by blowing air over our skin, but the temperature of the air remains the same.

But there are more functions at play within an air purifier that contribute to the specific cold sensation it creates. Asif Bux, owner of Comfort Union, elaborates on this, explaining that there are three mechanisms responsible for the cooling effect:

  • Fans and airflow: 'For the air cleaner to work properly, it needs to move a lot of air through its filters. This movement makes a clear flow of air that can feel cooler than the air around it, a lot like how a normal fan does.'
  • Filter process: 'Several filters, such as HEPA and activated carbon, are used to clean the air as it goes through the cleaner. These filters don't actually cool the air, but they can change how warm it feels. The air temperature can be lowered a little as it moves through the filters and other parts of the cleaner.'
  • Evaporative cooling effect: 'When air moves quickly over your skin, it can help moisture evaporate from the surface of your skin, which cools you down. This is like the wind chill effect, which says that air that is moving feels cooler than air that is not moving but is the same temperature.'

A white air purifer on the floor beside a side table and house plant

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How can I minimize the cooling effect?

Simple steps include lowering the setting, or moving the air purifier away so it isn't in your personal space as much. As they're often capable of purifying entire rooms, you don't have to be in the 'breeze' to breathe the purified air.

Or, better yet, there are air purifiers out there that double up as heaters. This would be the ideal option, as it allows you to use the purifier all year round, without the worry of cooling your indoor space in the winter months that are already cold enough.

To get the most out of your air purifier, we've actually learned the best place to put your air purifier according to air quality experts. It won't hurt to clean your air purifier, while you're at it, too.

Dan Fauzi
Home Tech Editor

Dan is the Home Tech Editor for Homes & Gardens, covering all things cleaning, smart home, sound and automation across the Solved section. Having worked for Future PLC since July 2023, Dan was previously the Features Editor for Top Ten Reviews and looked after the wide variety of home and outdoor content across the site, but their writing about homes, gardens, tech and products started back in 2021 on brands like BBC Science Focus, YourHomeStyle, Homes & Antiques and Gardens Illustrated.

Dan is based in Bristol, UK with a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Magazine Journalism. Outside of work, you'll find them at gigs and art galleries, cycling somewhere scenic, or cooking up something good in the kitchen.