Informational Guide

How To Tell If An Air Purifier Is Working (5 Easy Tests)

Noticed a change in the air quality of your home lately? Learn 5 simple ways to know if your air purifier is working as it should be.

by Josh M

If the air in your house has been feeling a bit stale lately, you might be asking yourself, “how do I know if my air purifier is working?”

Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place.

An air purifier works hard to clean the air in your home. It removes toxins, allergens, and other contaminants from the air you breathe, so it must always be in working order.

There are several tests you can perform on your own to determine whether your air purifier is working as it should. Although a professional should diagnose any serious problems, you can do a few things first to troubleshoot the issue. If you’re not sure how to know if an air purifier is working, give these tests a try.

Air Purifier in the Living Room

1. Airflow Test

Air purifiers work by pulling air from your space, filtering out contaminants, and blowing the sanitized air back into the room. If you look at your purifier and see that there’s no air going in or out, it’s likely your fan isn’t working.

You can also check the air intake to see if it’s clogged. Sometimes, as the purifier draws air in, the intake can become blocked with dust and other debris. Take a moment to check and clear the intake area to make sure air can flow through smoothly.

A dirty intake is also a sign your filter might be nearing the end of its life, so you should also check the filter when you check the airflow.

Related ArticleDo Air Purifiers Help With Dust?

2. Indicator Light Test

Many air purifiers come with indicator lights that can alert you if a problem arises. For example, your purifier might have an indicator light to tell you when the filter needs to be changed, your fan isn’t working to full capacity, or the air quality has become poor.

If you’ve noticed declining air quality in your space, take a look at your machine to see if any lights are illuminated. Most filter indicators have three lights that indicate when it’s near time to change your filter. If this light is yellow or red and the air quality is poor, that means it’s time to change your filter.

3. Filter Test (Mold, Dust, Particles)

Like any machine that handles air in your home, an air purifier utilizes a filter to collect all of the dust, mold, dirt, and other particles in the air. Unfortunately, these particles can accumulate over time, and eventually, you’ll end up with a blocked filter.

So, if your air purifier is pumping out air that isn’t up to its expected quality, it’s probable the filter needs to be changed. Fortunately, it’s a simple fix that you might be able to do on your own. However, if you’d prefer a professional to do it, you can call your local repairman, and someone can take a look at it for you.

Related ArticleDo Air Purifiers Help With Mold?

4. Air Quality Performance Test

Once you’ve performed the previously listed tests, you can do an air quality check to determine what the air quality is in your room. Poor air quality could indicate that your air purifier isn’t working as it should.

The easiest way to perform an air quality performance test is with an air quality monitor. If you don’t own an air quality monitor but tend to suffer from allergens and other contaminants, it’s a great device to have on hand for occasions such as this.

5. Odor Test

One of the main reasons many people purchase air purifiers is because they’re good at filtering out the particles that produce foul odors. For instance, if you have a dog that tends to smell quite bad, an air purifier might help reduce that odor.

If you’ve purchased an air purifier and the smells haven’t dissipated, it’s likely the unit either isn’t working as intended or is too small for your space. For example, a single-room air purifier won’t work to purify the air in an entire house, so make sure you’ve chosen the right size for your needs.

What To Do If My Air Purifier Is Not Working Properly?

Fortunately, many air purifier problems are relatively simple to fix. Not everything requires an expensive repair or replacement. If you’ve figured out why your air purifier isn’t working, there are steps you can take to instantly remedy the problem.

Indoor Air Quality Is Terrible

If the air quality in your room is bad, you could try changing the filter in your air purifier. However, you should also confirm the air purifier you have is right for your space. If it’s too small, it might not purify the air as well as you’d like.

Room Dust Has Built Upon The Filters

When room dust builds up on the filter in your air purifier, you can either clean the filter or replace it. Both will allow air to flow freely through your unit. However, it’s also essential to keep up with regular dusting so your purifier won’t have to work quite so hard.

Objects Are Blocking the Air Intake & Outlet

In order for your air purifier to work, the intake and outlet must be clear of any blockages. To ensure air can get in and out smoothly, keep your purifier away from the wall, free of dust and debris, and don’t push it up against furniture.

The Air Purifier Is Close To The Corner

For best results, you should always put your air purifier in an area with maximum airflow, such as a doorway or near a hallway. If you place it in a corner, the amount of air it can take in will be limited, so you won’t get the same benefits.

Where to Place an Air Purifier

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Can air purifiers remove viruses?

Air purifiers can remove many contaminants from the air, including viruses. However, it’s important to note that an air purifier alone won’t prevent you from getting sick.

Should I sleep with the air purifier on?

To ensure maximum air quality all the time, you can sleep with your air purifier on. You can let it run in your bedroom to get the best results.

Can I move my air purifier from room to room?

Most air purifiers are portable so you won’t have a problem moving yours from room to room. However, make sure the room you’re placing it in is suitable in size.

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Do air purifiers make houses cold?

There are no coolant or cooling elements inside an air purifier, so the purifier itself won’t produce cold air. However, the air blowing from the outlet will have the same effect as a table fan in that it’ll blow air around your room.


Air purifiers can make a great addition to your space if you want to improve the air quality in the areas you spend most of your time. However, if you feel as though yours isn’t working as well as it should, take a few minutes to perform these tests, and you’ll be on your way to diagnosing your problem.

Related ArticleAre Air Purifiers Worth Buying?

Last Updated on April 13, 2022

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.