How to Tell if Air Purifier is Working?

While adults are said to breathe more than 15,000 liters of air per day, children breathe even 50% more. However, it is estimated that

93% of all children in the world breathe toxic air. An air purifier, therefore, helps us clean the air we breathe while some can monitor the air quality and make sure that we do not put our health at risk.

The air purifier is the ideal tool for cleaning the indoor air of a house or office. However, like every other electronic appliance, it is bound to malfunction or stop working.

In this article, we’ll see how to tell if air purifier is working. We will also see some common signs that can indicate problems with the air purifier, as well as ways to solve and prevent these common problems.

Let us have a closer look at the most common signs of malfunction:

Flashing indicators

One of the ways to know there’s something wrong with your air purifier is through the indicator light. Whether you have a Winix, GermGuardian, Philips, Honeywell, or Dyson purifier, when the air purifier’s filters are dirty and need to be washed or replaced, the indicator light will let you know with its light flashes.

After the filter is replaced or washed, the indicator light will stop working. Some models or brands also indicate poor quality of air by flashing red light and good air quality with a blue or green light.

The air purifier produces excessive noise or is not purifying

Air purifiers are not noiseless. They make some noise, albeit, they are relatively quiet. A good air purifier in top condition produces around 32 decibels of noise while standard models produce up to 36 dB. Some of the best air purifiers , and mind you, quite affordable models,

on the market even have operation noise levels below 30dB. So, when the noise is exceeding 50 or 60 dB, that’s unhealthy for the human hearing and could be an indication of a problem.

Clogged pre-filter

A clogged pre-filter can also be a source of unusual noise from an air purifier. Asides from the noise, a clogged pre-filter will result in poor performance of the unit. The solution is to remove the pre-filter and wash it under running water with the use of a toothbrush or soft brush. After washing, you’ll need to air dry the pre-filter.

Packaging on filter

The problem may be with the plastic bags in the filter. Perhaps the filter packaging was not removed. Check the filter out to see that there is no packaging on it. Also, ensure the parts are securely placed.

Blocked air outlet or inlet

Another possible problem may be that the air outlet or inlet may be blocked by an object. The unit may turn noisy and not function if these parts are blocked or clogged. Check this out and try to deobstruct the purifier.

Ways to solve and to prevent problems

Here are some ways to prevent and solve some common air purifier problems which might render the device inactive, malfunctioning, or inoperable.

Using air quality monitors

Using air quality monitors

One of the ways to diagnose, solve, and prevent problems is by using air quality monitors. While there are air purifiers with built-in air quality monitors, the conventional air quality monitors are portable devices that can help you measure the temperature, humidity, VOCs, CO2, and PM2. 5 in a room where your air purifier is working.

Thus, you’ll be able to know when your air purifier isn’t working and how to solve the problems when the numbers of these parameters drop below or above the threshold.

The possible integration with an app of some models like the Awair Element which helps homeowners monitor the air quality, and thus, the air purifier’s performance is also helpful.

Manual check

You don’t have to wait for the indicator light to alert you of a dirty filter, it’s always advisable to have it regularly checked every week. This will ensure you have the best air quality, good operating performance of the unit, and longevity of the device.

With the use of an air quality monitor, you can always check the temperature, CO2, humidity, and VOC levels to ensure the device is working appropriately.

Buy the right air purifier

The best fire brigade approach to solving and preventing problems in your air purifier is simply by purchasing the best model from the right brand. If you are planning to buy an air purifier, you need to identify:

The reason for its use: For example, there are models designed for the kitchen. These are ideal for getting rid of cooking smells quickly and effectively. There are also models for asthma sufferers which are designed for people with allergies.

The surface of the part to be purified

Its technology: filtration, photocatalysis, combustion, etc.

The type of filter according to your needs: HEPA particulate filter, activated carbon filter to eliminate odors, etc.

The CADR: it is the air renewal rate

Its noise level: especially if you want to use it in a bedroom or a meeting room for example

Watch the coverage area

Using a low capacity model in a larger than normal room might make you think the air purifier isn’t working. For example, using a model with 200 square feet coverage area such as the PureZone 3-in-1 in a 450 sq. ft. open office will make the unit almost ineffective. Many users complain that their air purifier is not working properly.

Final thoughts

Diagnosing and troubleshooting a malfunctioning, ineffective, or inoperable air purifier can be complicated. The first source to consult is the user manual supplied by the manufacturer.

If this doesn’t help or provide the right answers, you might need to confirm what the light is indicating. We have seen various causes and how to tell if air purifier is working.

The most common problems with air purifiers are in the filter level. A pre-filter and the primary filter have to be cleaned every three weeks and six months to one year respectively, depending on the level of pollution in the room.

Otherwise, the air quality will reduce drastically as the days go by and the unit might end up not working and inoperable. Also, an air quality monitor can come in handy in monitoring both the room’s air conditions and the unit’s working status.


1.More than 90% of world’s children breathe toxic air, report says, as India prepares for most polluted season – CNN

Around 93% of the world’s children under 15 years of age breathe air that is so polluted it puts their health and development at serious risk, accounting for 1.8 billion children, according to a report published by the World Health Organization ahead of its first global conference on air pollution and health in Geneva.

2.Are Air Purifiers Loud? – HVAC

The noise from an air purifier is typically considered ambient noise. However, depending on the model and operating speed of air purifier, the volume of noise varies.

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