How to tell if your air purifier is working properly

How to tell if your air purifier is working properly: 7 easy ways

How to tell if your air purifier is working properly: What do you do if your air purifier isn’t working? If you’re worried that your investment in an air purifier isn’t paying off, there are certain signs to look out for that can tell you whether or not your air purifier is up to the task of cleaning the air in your home. 

Taking care of your home’s air quality can be an important part of keeping you and your family healthy, and an air purifier can help make this easier by removing pollutants from the air around you. However, not all air purifiers are created equal, and plenty of problems can make them less effective than they should be. Here’s how to tell if your air purifier is working properly and some steps you can take to fix any issues it might have.

Why is my air purifier not working

An air purifier works by removing tiny particles and other harmful substances from our air. Because air purifiers are rather expensive pieces of equipment, you need to make sure yours is still doing its job properly. Many signs can indicate a problem with your air purifier. 

Here’s how you can tell if it’s not working as well as it should be and how you can fix it.

The first step in determining whether or not your air purifier is working properly is pretty simple: just check your filter. Ensure nothing is blocking it; otherwise, you won’t get much (if any) air through it, and your purifier won’t work very effectively. Cleaning out any blockages will let air flow freely through your system again! If all seems straightforward, try looking at some of these more complex issues that can affect how well your air purifier works.

It’s also possible that something else might be affecting how well your air purifier works, like humidity levels or even airflow patterns throughout your home. Check those factors before assuming that something is wrong with your air purifier itself.

How to tell if your air purifier is working properly: Ways to Test If Your Air Purifier Is Working

How to tell if your air purifier is working properly

An air purifier works by removing particles and gasses from your air. If it isn’t doing that, it isn’t doing its job! Fortunately, there are several ways you can tell if an air purifier isn’t working properly. Here are four simple tests you can do at home 

1. Look for dust on furniture: 

One of the easiest ways to tell if your air purifier is working is to look for dust on your furniture or other surfaces. Dust tends to build up when air quality isn’t excellent, so checking for dust buildup in areas where you usually find it (on tables, close vents) will give you a good idea of how well your air purifier is performing. If dust seems to be building up normally, but much more quickly than usual, then it could be a sign that something isn’t right with your air quality. 

2. Check your vacuum bag/canister: 

A second way to check if your air purifier is working is to check your vacuum bag or canister. Air purifiers work by collecting particles and gases in filters, which get replaced periodically depending on usage. So, if you notice that your vacuum bag/canister has been filling up more quickly than normal over time, it could mean that your air quality isn’t as good as you thought it was.

3. Filter light indicator test

There are some lights that indicate whether an air filter is working or not. If you’re wondering whether your air purifier filter needs to be changed, all you have to do is check for these LED lights. 

These LEDs can come in three colors: red, yellow, and green. When they’re on, it means that there’s a problem with either maintenance or functionality of the unit and we need to get it checked out as soon as possible. Here’s what each color of light means: red = low filtration; yellow = regular filtration; green = full filtration. If you see any other color (purple, blue), it may mean that something needs servicing!

4. Noise level

Another indication of how well an air purifier is working is noise level. This doesn’t mean you should ignore a sales pitch about how quiet a unit might be, but take it with a grain of salt. The ideal setting for most units would be between 10 and 30 decibels (dB), which are comparable levels of a whisper (30 dB) or some street traffic (35 dB). 

In most cases, you’ll need a good set of earplugs in order to sleep comfortably through 40 dB. Above 50 dB, it will sound like there’s constant construction happening in your bedroom; while many people can sleep through that, depending on their sensitivity to sounds and caffeine intake levels.

5. Fan speed & air flow rate

An air purifier should have a fan speed or suction rate that allows it to operate as advertised. On most models, you’ll find a Low, Medium, and High fan speed setting. To test whether an air purifier is operating at full capacity, turn on high and make sure it produces enough airflow that you can feel the difference when standing directly in front of it (and more airflow would be better). If there’s not much of a difference between low and high settings, it may be time for a new filter. You might also want to check out our guide on how often you should change your air filters.

6. Get a new filter: 

A third way to test whether or not an air purifier is working properly is to get a new filter! Filters should be changed every 3-6 months depending on usage. So, if you think that your air purifier might not be working correctly and it’s been over 6 months since you last changed your filter, try replacing it! It may help improve air quality—or confirm what you already suspected. 

7. Use a particle counter: 

The final way to test whether or not an air purifier is working is to use a particle counter. Particle counters measure air quality by measuring particles in microns per cubic meter (μg/m3). Ideal indoor levels are below 50 μg/m3; anything above 100 μg/m3 indicates poor indoor air quality and requires immediate attention.

You can also check out our other related article How to Choose the Best Air Purifier for Migraines:

5 Things You Can Do To Improve An Underperforming Air Purifier

If you have an air purifier that’s not performing as well as you’d like it to, there are a few things you can do to improve its efficiency:

How to tell if your air purifier is working properly

1. Keep the filter clean and replace it at the recommended intervals. The longer you wait to change your filter, the more work your air purifier will have to do. If a filter is dirty, it will not be able to remove all of the pollutants in your household; and when it comes time for replacement, your air purifier will have to run at maximum capacity to compensate for the lack of filtration power. You should replace filters every 3-6 months depending on usage. 

2. Clean out the air filter free-flowing area (where air passes through). This is where dust, pollen, pet dander, and other airborne particles collect and build up over time. It’s important that this area is kept clear so that airflow does not slow down or stop completely as it passes through the filter. If it does, your air purifier will have to work harder, which will decrease its efficiency. 

3. Change the air filter if you are feeling any burning or irritation in your nose or throat while breathing. Sometimes, a dirty filter can cause this effect by blocking the airflow and trapping particles in the filter that irritate you when inhaled. 

4. Make sure that your air purifier is operating at full capacity (or as close to full capacity as possible) when using it. Most manufacturers recommend operating their products at 80-90% of their maximum capacity for best results; and if you are using a model with an auto-shutoff function, make sure that the machine shuts off when it reaches its maximum capacity or overheats (this is usually indicated by loud beeps or flashing lights). 

5. Check your air quality from time to time, especially if you have a pet or child in the house or if you are using a HEPA filter. A good way to do this is to place a small fan in the room and see how much air it moves through in one minute; this will tell you how well the HEPA filter is working. If you notice that there are still particles present after one minute of running the fan, you may want to look into purchasing a new air purifier (or an upgraded model with better filtration power).

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some important Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I know if the portable purifier is working?

If your air purifier is working, you should notice that it’s covering up the smell of smoke or pet dander. Also, you should be able to tell by the amount of noise the machine makes (and how much it’s running). If you can’t find any of these things, there may be something wrong with your unit; and in this case, it’s best to contact the company and ask for help.

Which is better: a HEPA filter or an activated carbon filter?

The answer to this question depends on what your needs are; some people prefer HEPA filters because they’re more effective at filtering out particles than activated carbon filters are, while others prefer the latter because they’re more efficient at removing odors and other impurities than HEPA filters are (both types of filters can remove all types of airborne particles).

How do I clean my air purifier?

You shouldn’t have to clean your air purifier very often; most units are designed so that they can be cleaned with a simple wipe-down. You should also keep in mind that there are some allergens (such as dust and pet dander) that can build up on the surface of the machine over time, so you may want to take special care in cleaning it regularly (e.g., by using moist wipes and a soft brush).

Are there any dangers in using air purifiers for your health if they’re not properly maintained? 

There are definitely some dangers associated with using air purifiers for your health if they are not properly maintained. In fact, improper maintenance can actually lead to negative health effects such as asthma attacks and dangerous breathing conditions.


Your home should be one of your greatest investments in life. It’s a place where you live and sleep, so it makes sense that we need to keep it clean and at an optimal humidity level. An air purifier can help you make sure that happens. 

So to check if your air purifier is working properly, try the above mention tests that help you a lot to find out the problem. Here we have also given you ideas about the things that improve the performance of an air purifier.

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