how do i know if my air purifier is working

How do I know if my air purifier is working?

It is a common question and you should know the answer to ensure you do not compromise on indoor air quality.

It might be difficult to quantify the effectiveness of an air purifier. Air pollution particles are typically too small for the naked eye to detect.

There is a risk of doubting a purifier’s efficacy because of its simplicity to use and low maintenance requirements.

That is why it is essential to learn how to know if air purifier is working.

Your air purifier is working fine if the filter looks clean and unclogged, the air quality is high, the fan is working properly, and the clean air delivery rate is high. 

How Do I Know If My Air Purifier is Working Fine?

air purifier in working condition

It does not have to be difficult to confirm the performance of your appliance, but sometimes, it can be a tad confusing, as you cannot easily test indoor air quality.

Here are some ways to confirm if it is working properly or not: 

The Filter Looks Clean

The most important component to check in your air purifier is its filter.

If it is good, your air purifier will keep doing its job like a pro. If you suspect any decline in performance, you may inspect the filters manually.

Do you notice any dirt or debris?

the filter looks clean

Even worse, it may have been clogged because you do not know when you last cleaned it.

Sometimes, air purifiers come with built-in sensors and indicators to tell you about when to replace a filter.

But unfortunately, most of them are not that accurate.

Moreover, you are likely to change a filter much earlier depending on indoor traffic. 

The Air Quality is High

If the air quality is low, it is a telltale sign that your air purifier is not doing its job.

Before and after running the air purifier, the room’s air quality can be measured using an indoor air quality monitor.

the air quality is high

Exposure to airborne pollutants like PM2.5, PM10, and volatile organic compounds can be tracked in real-time with different monitors.

Here is how to use your regular air quality monitor:

  • Get a reading of the air quality before turning on the air purifier.
  • Close all the doors and windows and switch on your air purifier.
  • Place your monitor next to the purifier’s air vent or your preferred seating area.
  • Get a reading after 30 minutes and then again after a few hours.

If the air gets better after you switch on the purifier, then it is doing its job.

Fact: Do not rely on any inbuilt air quality monitor on your air purifier because they may come with cheap sensors that are not accurate. 

Chemical Air Quality Test Kits

indoor air quality testing

If you want the most accurate readings about the performance of your air purifier, you may want to opt for a chemical air quality test kit.

With one of these kits, you can test for mold, pollen, mildew, and a host of other volatile organic compounds.

Here is how to use it:

  • Begin by turning off your air purifier.
  • Wait for a couple of hours.
  • Take the kit and follow any instructions you find on it.
  • Get reading and then turn on the purifier.
  • Let the purifier run for at least 24 hours and then take another test.

Now, if the results show no change from the first one, your purifier is likely not working.

Fact: Investing in a good air quality monitor is important because built-in sensors can only check the air quality around the air purifier and not in the entire room. 

Pay Attention to Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR)

clean air delivery rate

Using an air quality monitor is a good idea, but you should first know the CADR certification to get an idea about the power and potential of your air purifier.

The Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) system provides additional information regarding the effectiveness with which an air purifier removes airborne particles.

With this standardized method, you can easily evaluate various air purifier models to determine which one is the most suitable for your needs.

You can find the CADR certification on your purifier or its packaging.

Check it and then compare it with the readings you find on your monitor for a better idea about its performance. 

The Fan Speed is Good

the fan speed is good

Most units in this category of air purifiers have variable fan speeds, which is good.

You can test the fan’s functionality by changing the speed.

Always keep in mind that if the air volume and velocity are changing, the fan is doing its job.

If you turn up the fan’s speed, you might hear a difference in noise, too. Do not worry; your air purifier appears to be operating normally. 

The Condition of the Pre-filter is Satisfactory

Many people are surprised to learn that an air cleaner has more than one filter.

As a result, you need to double-check each of them to guarantee the best possible performance from your appliance.

Some air purifiers have a pre-filter that collects larger particles like pet hair and dust before the purified air is released into the room.

It is important to keep an eye on the pre-filter and clean or replace it as needed.

If the pre-filter gets clogged with dust and other particles, the air purifier will also not work.

No Strange Noises

no strange noises

There will be some noise from your air purifier, but it should not be too loud.

To ensure your appliance stays in top shape, never ignore any weird noises.

Any sharp noise may be coming from the motor itself or the fan is not working smoothly.

In any case, you will notice the performance of your air purifier going down quite significantly. 

No Weird Odors

Now, it can be tricky to judge the performance of your air purifier based on odor alone.

The reason is that most air purifiers will have some type of odor. But if it is too strong, know something is amiss.

It is usually fine to notice a mild smell, as it is because of your new activated carb filters that absorb chemicals.

As this happens naturally, it has no health risks.

But, you need to ensure that the smell goes away after a few weeks of use.

If that does not happen, it may again be an indicator that something is just not right with your air purifier. 

Check Visual Indicators

The effectiveness of many modern air cleaners is shown by lights on the device.

Check the manual for your air purifier to see whether it has any visible signs.

If you use a modern air purifier, you will be in luck because these devices typically feature visible indications confirming whether or not they are doing their job.

indication of a good air quality

For instance, filter replacement indicators are included in some models and serve to alert the user when it is time to get a new filter.

Some people may have a sensor that measures air quality and displays the level of pollution as a color shift.  

So, yes, you should definitely try other ways to confirm the performance of your air purifier.

But, you should not ignore if there are visible indicators suggesting your air purifier is malfunctioning.

Fact: Keep your air purifier on the ground may affect its performance, so leave some space around it, and keep it on a table to get better results. 

What to Do When an Air Purifier Is Not Working?

So, you have exhausted all of your options and determined that the air quality in your home has not improved since utilizing your air purifier.

So, what should you do now?

You should first see if the appliance’s warranty has not expired, and if it is still active, file a claim immediately.

air purifier malfunctioning

But, if that is not the case, you may need to fix it on your own.

The air filters in your air purifier may need to be cleaned or replaced if it is not working.

Strange noises, though, could signal a problem with the motor, in which case you would need to call in a repairman.

Fact: Not keeping your windows properly shut would directly affect the performance of your air purifier and make it go rogue quite quickly. 


How do I know if my air purifier is working? The best way is to check the filters and ensure they are clean and not clogged.

But using an air quality testing monitor or kit can also help confirm the efficacy of your air purifier. There are other ways too and you should try them all.

It is important to learn about the performance rating of your air purifier to ensure that indoor air quality is high.

It also means you may be able to claim any warranty you have in case your air purifier is not working optimally.