How To Troubleshoot A Winix Air Purifier (Solved!)

Air purifiers are an ideal way to help clean and circulate the air in your home. Major brands like Winix need to be maintained and properly cared for to prolong their functionality.

Before you attempt to take a vacuum cleaner to your filters, though, there are things you should know.

This review will look at the trouble codes, known issues, and common problems with Winix air purifiers and how to solve them.

We will also answer your questions and show you how to properly care for your air purifier.

Troubleshooting Common Winix Air Purifier Issues

Below you will find the most common and aggravating problems with Winix air purifiers. We will also cover general causes and possible solutions.

Winix Advanced Dual 4-Stage Filtration with PlasmaWave® Technology
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Ticking Sound

There are several reasons you may hear a ticking sound coming from your air purifier. The first and easiest to check is that something is interfering with the fan blades.

If you look into the fan and motor area, there may be debris or wires contacting the fan blades as they spin.

If this is not the case the main issue will be a loose mounting nut on the fan assembly itself. You will need to remove the front cover and back cover to expose the nut on the rear side of the fan shroud.

Tighten it down to relieve the ticking sound.

Won’t Turn On

When the air purifier won’t turn on the easiest culprit is the power cord. You want to ensure it is plugged directly into the outlet and that the connection is strong.

A worn or older wall outlet can cause a loose connection or a plug that wiggles in the socket.

Failing that, you want to check that the circuit the outlet is on is strong enough to hold the amperage of the Winix purifier.

Smaller circuits with multiple devices plugged in may not have enough power to operate the unit, or it can trip the breaker.

Won’t Turn Off

If you can’t turn your machine off, there is a wiring issue or a short circuit inside the unit somewhere. It is best to take it to a small appliance technician for diagnosis and repair.

If your unit is still under warranty, make a claim to save some money.

Otherwise, you can remove the front and back paneling and trace the electrical wires from the power cord to the fan motor yourself to see if you can find the issue.

Keeps Shutting Off

If you have to constantly turn the air purifier on there are a few things you can check. First, the issue can be caused by a faulty power outlet or circuit.

Check that the cord is in good condition and the plug is firmly in the outlet. If it wiggles or is loose, test it in another outlet. Once you have identified a weak outlet, you may need to replace it.

If the outlet is fine, though, run through the menu options on the air purifier setup screen and ensure you don’t have the timer mode turned on or the time set too low.

Remote Control Isn’t Working

If the remote control suddenly stops working, it can be caused by a few things. The most common of which is a dead remote battery.

Change the battery to restore power and proper working order to the remote.

If the remote is still not working, ensure that the IR sensor on the remote and the main unit are clean and clear of any dirt, dust, or debris.

If these two areas are blocked by anything, the signal may not get through.

Blinking Red Light

The red light on a Winix air purifier serves either one or two purposes, depending on the model. In most models, the dual purpose is to indicate air quality and alert you when it is time to change the air filter.

On other models, it is only there as an air filter indicator.

In either event, if the light is a solid red, the sensors have detected poor indoor air quality (IAQ).[1] As the unit runs and the air is cleaned, this light will go out.

When the light is blinking, though, it means it is time to change the filter. Locate the filter area, remove the old filter, and exchange it with a new one.

Using your model’s owner’s manual, locate the air filter reset switch and press it to reset the light and timer, so you know when to change the air filter again.

Two Lights Blinking

Certain newer models come equipped with two filter lights, one for the white HEPA filter inside the unit and the black pre-filter. When both lights blink, it indicates that one filter is clogged or needs a change.

This will happen when too much pollution, particles, air in the interior or exterior environment, or even the ground is excessively soiled.

Large particles are too small to see with the human eye but can quickly clog filter material.

Replacing the correct filter and pressing the filter reset button for 5 seconds will stop the lights from blinking. If you fail to change the right filter, they will begin blinking again in a few minutes.

Winix Filtere Replacement Indicator & Caster Wheels
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Fan Isn’t Running

Winix air purifiers are designed to prevent internal damage when something goes wrong. One of the features is that the fan will slow down or stop working when the filters are too clogged to move enough air.

If you notice your fan is moving but it is slow, replace the air filter and see if the problem corrects itself.

If this doesn’t solve the problem, then the issue is mechanical and will need to be fixed by a trained professional in small appliance repair or by making a warranty claim with Winix.

Fan speed will be the largest factor here. A slow fan speed can mean a clogged filter or faulty power supply. A fan speed that is intermittent or not moving at all is most likely a motor or power supply issue.

Make sure the power button isn’t stuck and works properly and that all electrical connections are secure.

Sleep Mode Isn’t Working

When sleep mode is activated, it will only turn on when the sensor detects that the room is dark. If you leave lights on, or there is a glare on the sensors, it may not activate.

Dust and debris can also reflect light from far away.

First, ensure that sleep mode is activated and that you haven’t set auto mode on instead. Using a damp cloth, wipe the sensor area to ensure there isn’t any dust or reflective build-up.

You also want to ensure the room is dark enough to activate the sleep mode cycle.

You can use auto mode along with sleep mode, but you need to start auto mode first. The manual will have a full operational breakdown to show you, step by step, how to ensure the proper settings.

Smells Bad

When the air purifier is pushing around a strange or foul odor, it is time to change the carbon pre-filter.

While it may not be calendar time to change it, the filter can quickly fill with bad odors and stop preventing them when used in heavily smokey, dusty, or odor-rich environments.

You will need to change this carbon filter more often to maintain freshness and reduce the bad smells.[2] Make sure that when you service your unit, you use hot water or room temperature water.

Cold water may not evaporate fast enough and can leave deposits behind, which may contribute to household odors.

Other contributors are stale food, water leaks, pets and pet dander or messes, smoking, mold particles or spores and mildew particles.

If you maintain the operation of your purifier and wash your filter in soap and water, you can eliminate the build-up of these particles on the interior wall space and prevent moisture on the exterior walls from seeping in.

Winix Smart Sensor & Air Quality Indicator
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On But Doesn’t Seem Effective

When the unit runs but doesn’t seem to move a lot of air, or the air it does move isn’t good quality, there can be a lot of causes. The most common, of course, is the filter and the cleanliness of the machine itself.

After checking the air purifier filters and cleaning the unit (see below for more details) it may still not operate as you think it should. In this case, a reset may be the solution.

The reset procedure is the same on all models, and we detail it for you further below. However, a full reset can solve most non-filter issues, including unit effectiveness.

How To Clean A Winix Air Purifier

The process of cleaning your Winix air purifier is done in three stages: the filters, the fan, and the body.

You will need a screwdriver, dry cloths, and warm water (avoid detergent and other volatile fluids, though). An air compressor with a blower nozzle or a leaf blower will help, too.

Sometimes a vacuum cleaner with a blower or reverse suction mode can work in a pinch.

Stage 1: Cleaning The Filters

The first thing you want to do is to turn the air purifier off and remove the plug from the outlet. Moving to a designated and well-ventilated room is also recommended.

Next, you will remove all of the filters for your unit, including the primary internal HEPA filter, activated carbon filter, and mesh pre-filter.

Note that the pre-filter is the only one that can be cleaned; the other two must be exchanged.

The true HEPA filter is good for 12 months before it needs to be replaced, and the carbon filter should be changed every 3 months (90 days).[3]

Using your air compressor or leaf blower, blow out the pre-filter until all dust and debris are gone. If the filter is too clogged, you can use a soft brush or handheld vacuum to remove the stuck debris.

Throw out the other filters (if they are being replaced) and open new filters. Set them aside and continue on to Stage 2.

On some models, though, the filter replacement indicator will just mean your pre-filter is clogged or dirty.

You can change it out, but this isn’t always required. In most instances, you can use room temperature water to rinse it off.

Make sure it is completely dry before returning to service, though. You will need to check with your air purifier owner’s manual to see if your pre-filter and carbon filter can be washed.

Washing Air Purifier Filter
Stage 2: Cleaning The Fan

With the panels open and the filter removed, you have access to the fan shroud and housing. Using a damp cloth, wipe away the debris and build-up on the fan blades through the shroud.

Ensure that you also wipe the housing and surrounding areas.

Use the air compressor or leaf blower to get the larger pieces free and out of the unit. How much force air is needed can vary depending on how clogged the material is.

Wipe down once more with a damp cloth to collect the smaller particles. Using a dry cloth, dry the inside of the unit to prevent damage to the fan motor.

Place the true HEPA filter and activated carbon filters back in place and reassemble the air purifier, except for the front panel and pre-filter. It is time for stage 3.

Stage 3: Cleaning The Unit

Using a clean, damp cloth, you want to wipe the entire unit down from top to bottom. Make sure you get around the sensors, control panel, and all vents and louvers.

For stubborn dust or debris, you can use a cotton swab.

Wipe down the front panel completely, ensuring you get both sides, and then wipe the entire unit again with a dry cloth to mop up any excess water.

Replace the front panel and pre-filter, and your Winix air purifier is clean. You can return your air purifier to its rightful spot in your home and plug your appliance back in.

How Do I Reset My Winix Air Purifier?

The reset is done by cycling power and pressing the reset button on the machine. Depending on the model, your reset button can be located in one of a dozen places.

The most common is near the filter replacement indicator. Your model’s manual will have the exact location and show you how to adjust it.

To reset your air purifier, first, you want to turn the unit off and then pull the plug from the wall outlet. Wait 3 to 5 minutes to clear the internal battery before plugging it back in.

Locate the reset button pinhole and use a paper clip to press it for about 5 seconds. When successful, there will be an audible beep, and the filter replacement indicator should flash (model dependent).

Other Winix Air Purifier Troubleshooting Questions

How long should I run my Winix air purifier per day?

Ideally, the unit should only be turned off to change the filters or to clean the unit.

Air purifiers do not cool or heat the air; instead, they continuously cycle the indoor air and filter out impurities, odors, and dust.

Unless there is an issue, though, they should stay on at all times. Your air filter replacement indicator LED will light up when it is time for service.

What does the sensor in the Winix air purifier do?

There are three main sensors for the Winix units. The first sensor is for the remote control, and it is located on the display panel.

Next, there is an internal monitor that checks the quality of the air entering and leaving the unit, which will light up an air quality indicator LED if the exhaust air isn’t clean enough.

Finally, the filter sensors on the control panel alert you when there is a problem with the filter or when it is time for a filter change.

What do the colors mean on the Winix air purifier?

The particle sensors tell you about the quality of the air that is coming into the unit and passing through the true HEPA filter.

The air quality indicator sensors sense the amount of contaminants in the air before it is cleaned and show you an indication via a colored light sensor on the control panel.

A red LED means the air quality is poor, while an amber LED color means the air is fair but not the best. Blue LED colors mean your IAQ is good and at healthy levels.

Do any Winix air purifiers have carbon filters?

Yes, Winix air purifiers come with three separate filters. The permanent HEPA and pre-filter are standard. Most models will also include an activated carbon filter to help control odors.

A light sensor will illuminate to alert you to filter replacement intervals.

The light sensor will also alert you to dirty or clogged carbon or HEPA filters, and you need to ensure you use the filter reset button to restart the timing cycle.


Winix air purifiers can be purchased at Costco and other home improvement stores like Home Depot. You can also find them online through sites like Amazon.

No matter where you make your purchase, though, your air purifier will have your home smelling and feeling fresh in just a few hours of operation.

You will also need to replace the HEPA and carbon filters regularly. Filter cleaning is allowed on the pre-filter and some carbon filter styles. Using the filter reset button will restore the LEDs to the new cycle.

As with any appliance device, though, there will be times when something isn’t working right.

Troubleshooting can be difficult. Hopefully, the guide here has helped you identify the problem and given you the steps to correct it so you can enjoy higher indoor air quality once again.



Last Updated on February 13, 2023

Josh M