You clean the cell by soaking it in warm soapy water in the kitchen sink: "
soak the Electronic Collector Cell in warm
water in a kitchen sink or bathtub. Mild dish detergent (powder
or liquid) may be added to the water to help break down the
dirt on the Collector Cell. The Collector Cell should be allowed
to soak for two to three hours."
See the instructions here: http://www.oreck.com/customer-service/owners-guides.cfm#
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You might be able to download a manual for free. Just google "Oreck XL Professional Air Purifier manual". Look for one that's free but there will be plenty offers to sell you one. Your other questions will be answered in the manual.
If it was just clean recently, it's probably picking up dust particles and that's what you hear or see arching, like a bug zapper.And conversely, if it has been cleaned recently, dust particles on the filter are breaking off and getting zapped. In which case, you need to clean the filter.
Unplug the unit before cleaning. Wipe off the cabinet with a soft cloth and a mild non-abrasive cleanser.
To clean the electronic collector, loosen the front grill retainer screw then press in the lock and remove the grill. Pull out the collector by the tabs on the sides using both hands. Snap off the charcoal filter from the back of the collector. Then slide off the pre-filter. Spray the pre-filter and the collector with the Oreck Assail-a-Cell cleanser and then let stand for a few minutes before rinsing with water. Otherwise, soak the pre-filter and the collector in warm water (bathtub or sink) with mild dish detergent. Soak for 2-3 hours. Rinse well.
Then allow the parts to dry for completely before reassembling the air purifier. Air dry only.