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3 Simple Ways To Test If Your Air Purifier Is Working

Air purifiers are some of the most effective devices you can use to clean up your indoor air. These handy machines pluck out harmful pollutants from your interior so you can breathe easier. (If you haven’t picked one up yet, be sure to check out our air purifier FAQs first!)

Despite the practical uses for air purifiers, it can be hard to trust something you can’t see for yourself. When it comes to air quality, the pollutants dirtying your air aren’t visible to the naked eye. Similarly, you can’t simply intuit the quality of your air. So, how do you really know if your air purifier working?

In this post, we’re going to provide a few methods to test your air purifier. While there are several types of air purifiers, we will only be discussing how to check air purifiers with HEPA technology (air purifiers with a filter inside).

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Test Your Air Purifier’s Airflow

A simple way to test that your purifier is working is by checking the airflow out of your purifier.

Air purifiers have a fan that draws in air from inside the room. As the purifier filters out harmful pollutants from your air, the purifier will blow out clean air. If the purifier is on but isn’t blowing out any air, the purifier is most likely not working properly.

You can also use the fan inside the air purifier to tell you about the status of your purifier. The fan, ideally, shouldn’t be working hard to pull in and blow out air. If the fan is very loud, the filter might need replacing, or there might be another underlying problem with your air purifier. Likewise, if your air purifier isn’t making any sound at all, it’s probably not pulling in enough air to improve your air quality.

Quick Tip: Be sure to place your purifier in a well-circulated area, and make sure nothing is covering it up.

Checking the Filters in Your Air Purifier

One of the most common reasons your air purifier may not be working is a bad filter. As your purifier cleans up your air, it forces air through a filter that traps particles like pollen, mold, and other particulates. Eventually, the filter will get clogged up and will need to be replaced.

Some purifiers have a filter service indicator that will tell you when your filter needs replacing, but you should also check manually. Most of these indicators are just timers, letting you know when the recommended time frame to replace your filter has passed. However, in polluted areas, your filter won’t last as long and you will have to replace them more often. Many purifiers also have more than one filter, so you should inspect all of the filters in your purifier regularly.

When you inspect your filter, you should look for any discoloration or black spots. Overall, if the filter looks dirty, it needs replacing. Your purifier can even become a source of pollution itself, blowing bacteria, molds, and particulates back into your home, so a dirty filter needs to be removed ASAP.

A clean-looking filter doesn’t mean you’re off the hook, though. Many pollutants are too small to see, and any damage to the filter may be microscopic. This brings us to our third testing method - using an air quality monitor.

Using an Air Quality Monitor To Test Your Purifier

One of the most effective ways of checking the performance of your air purifier, no matter what type, is to use an air quality monitor.

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The test is simple: first, get a baseline air quality reading with the purifier off, then turn your purifier on. With all windows and doors closed, any improvement in air quality can be attributed to your purifier. Then, you can either place the air quality monitor near the vent of the purifier, or in the spot where you usually hang out in the room.

Your purifier, depending on the size and shape of the room, should bring the air quality back down to healthy levels between 30 minutes to a few hours. If your purifier is on for a substantial amount of time with little to no change in air quality, then you’ll know that the purifier isn’t working.

This information isn’t just helpful for testing your purifier, either. Many of our Laser Egg users thought running their purifiers for 30 minutes would do the trick; after the test, they realized that they may need to run their purifier for a much longer time to purify the entire room.

Now, you may be thinking: my purifier already has an air quality monitor, why would I need another one? Simply put, the monitor built into your purifier is unreliable, and you shouldn’t trust these readings wholeheartedly.

Built-in monitors are often equipped with cheap sensors that provide inaccurate readings. In addition, the air around your purifier is the cleanest in the room, so these readings will not reflect the true air quality of the room. For more information on how the air quality monitor built into your purifier may not be up to scratch, check out this article.

For more tips on how to pollution-proof your home, read more below!

Learn everything you need to know about indoor air pollution - download our ebook today


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Kaiterra is a global company on a mission to end air pollution. We make air monitors that empower people to make small changes in their everyday lives and help with researchers, NGOs, and governments around the world to end air pollution at the source.