It’s hard to tell if your air purifier is working, considering you don’t see dust particles moving into the machine and passing through the filters.

Over time, the appliance may start producing unusual noises, or perhaps you might notice the indoor air is not as good as before.

These observations may make you doubt whether your appliance is doing a fine job. The only way to confirm your suspicions is to test your air purifier.

In this guide, I’ll describe the different methods you can use to assess the performance of your air purifying unit.

More importantly, I’ll highlight potential air purifier problems you might encounter during testing and what you can do to fix them.

Ways to Test Your Air Purifier’s Functionality

Not sure if your air purifier is working? Try doing one of these performance tests. Just note that air purifier designs vary, so adjust accordingly and conduct these tests with your product manual.

1. Perform the Airflow Test

Place your hand in front of the air purifier fan. This part is in charge of drawing air into the unit for filtration.

If you feel a consistent airflow, your air purifier is working. You should also hear a soft whirring or humming sound, suggesting normal functioning.

Remember that the airflow and sound it makes depend on its settings. So, try switching to different fan speed levels during testing to spot potential issues.

Some problems that you might detect include:

  • The air purifier is either silent or whirring loudly.
  • The fan speed and airflow do not change even at maximum settings.
  • The air purifier is not blowing air out at all.

If you encounter any of the mentioned problems above, one of these suggestions might fix it:

  • Remove the air filter packaging. If your air purifier is new, check its filter and see if its plastic wrapping is still intact. Remove it to allow air to flow in freely.
  • Clean or replace the air filter. Filters can become saturated with dirt and pollutants over time. Clogged or blocked filters make it harder for the machine to work and cause poor airflow or strained motor sounds.

Note that filters in air purifiers vary, and each type requires cleaning or replacement at different intervals. Also, you may need to replace your filter more frequently if you use your air purifier daily.

So, be sure to check what your manual or manufacturer suggests.

Woman Doing the Air Quality Monitor Test

2. Conduct an Air Quality Test

The airflow test is a quick and easy technique you can do to tell if your air purifier is working. However, it won’t give you exact performance grades or specific air quality issues affecting your home.

If you want real-time data and targeted solutions, I suggest using an indoor air quality monitor. This tracking device varies from model to model, though.

You might need to buy a separate air quality tracker or download a compatible app.

However, here is a general testing procedure you can try:

  • Turn off the air purifier, then use the air quality monitor to measure your indoor air quality. Record this as your baseline reading.
  • Once done, close the door and windows, then turn on your air purifier.
  • Next, position the monitoring device close to the air purifier or the vent.
  • Check the monitor after 30 minutes or several hours, depending on your air purifier’s capacity. Compare the new results with your baseline reading. You should see significant changes at this point. If not, your air purifier may have a problem.

You can perform the same procedure at different times of the day, like when you know the outdoor air quality is poor. Try doing this test with the doors and windows open, too.

These variations should give clues about the ideal room set-up for optimum air quality. Also, the test should let you know the best time to use your air purifier.

Other Tips to Ensure Your Air Purifier Works Properly

Aside from the tests described above, getting an air purifier that fits your space and environment is equally vital in ensuring your unit stays in tip-top condition.

Here are a few tips to help:

  • Choose an air purifier with the right CADR. Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) indicates the amount of air an air purifying device can clean. This measure should match your room size and condition.
  • Select the appropriate air purifier settings. Your air purifier may not perform satisfactorily with too-low settings. Instead, use your air quality monitor to see which mode is best for your indoor space.
  • Keep your air purifier clean. Some parts or compartments of your air purifier can collect dust and affect its performance. Regular cleaning ensures your unit is not clogged.
  • Check and remove indoor pollutants. High humidity, window leaks, or dirty carpets can affect your air purifier’s performance. So, fix or remove things that can cause considerable particle emissions into the air.
  • Consult your manufacturer. If you think your air purifier has an electric issue or defective motor, it’s best to contact your manufacturer for assistance. When you do, check your product warranty coverage and conditions as well.

Air Purifier with a Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Final Thoughts

Air purifiers are health investments. So, naturally, you want your unit to perform well. While you cannot physically tell if your air purifier is working, you can do the airflow and air quality tests to check.

Either method should ensure your home air quality stays high and give you peace of mind.

Also, place your air purifier in the best spot possible for optimum performance. Lastly, I recommend getting a high-quality air purifier.

Choose a model with the features and filtration system that fits your indoor environment. Ideally, get an air purifier with indicator lights or built-in monitors to ensure everything is in working order.

Check out our list of top air purifiers to learn your best options.