When it comes to cleaning, we are accustomed to instant results and black-and-white proof. A wipe of the counter results in crumbs, and a swipe of Windex produces a clear view.
Indoor air quality solutions aren’t always as clear-cut. And because we cannot see air particles with the naked eye, it’s easy to start to doubt whether or not an air purifier is working to eliminate indoor pollutants.
So, maybe you’ve taken the plunge and bought an air purifier or air purification system, but want to test it yourself to ensure it’s working. Or perhaps, you’re considering investing in a purifier and not only want to make sure they work but make sure they’re effective at improving IAQ.
Here are a few easy ways to test an air purifier yourself.
Is My Air Purifier Working?
We promise–you are not the first person to ask that question.
While air purifiers are a popular air quality solution on the market, they operate in the background to provide cleaner air, which can cause a bit of suspicion.
Whether you can’t tell and want peace of mind or are looking to test the purifier’s efficacy, we can suggest a couple of steps.
Remember that the tests look slightly different depending on the system, purification method, and whether it’s a whole-home solution or portable purifier.
Testing the Performance of Portable Air Purifiers
1. Airflow Test
First, check the system’s airflow. A working air purifier features clear, consistent airflow. If the purifier is not blowing out air (easily determined by placing your hand in front of the system), there’s likely a problem.
If you are unable to hear anything, that’s also a sign the purifier isn’t working.
Conversely, if there is a lot of noise from the unit or it seems like the purifier is exerting extreme effort to blow air–that’s also a problem. You’re looking for the ideal middle sweet spot for airflow.
2. Filter Test
The filter test means examining the internal filters that come with the device.
A full or dirty filter is a sign that the system is working. That means air enters the device and the filter is capturing pollutants before the air leaves the device.
However, once the filter is dirty or clogged, it’s important to change it. A full filter, while a good sign, makes it harder to push air through and the purifier can no longer work efficiently.
Good filtration is crucial for air purification. That’s why it’s important to check and change system air filters routinely.
How to Test Whole-Home Air Purifiers
Testing whole-home purification systems differ from standalone units. It even differs for the type of whole-home purifier. For example, a whole-home media air filter means the best method is a filter test, just like with portable units. For other types of whole-home air purifiers, it’s a bit trickier.
Bipolar ionization and photocatalytic oxidation are two popular whole-home purification system technologies that are difficult to test.
Why? These methods reduce indoor pollutant levels by literally eliminating the pollutant. That means you cannot see the contaminants captured in a dirty filter or something similarly rewarding. Instead, you resort to other methods.
1. Odor Test
The first option is an odor test. The best and most effective whole-home air purifiers target three contaminants: germs, gases and particulates. That includes odors.
To test a whole-home air purifier, you must make the space smell. Cook the smelliest food you can think of, let the wet dog indoors, or burn potent incense that produces a noticeable odor.
Then, turn the HVAC system fan on and notice as the odor dissipates. That is proof the air purifier is working.
2. Dust Test
Another option is a dust test. Or rather, a lack of dust. One of the best aspects of whole-home purifiers is that they effectively treat the entire home. That means less dust throughout your living space. And a lack of dust is a noticeable change for most homeowners.
3. Airflow Test
The final test is an airflow test. It is possible with whole-home systems, but it requires a different method. It means making sure the entire home has a healthy airflow balance.
Make sure vents are open and not blocked by furniture or miscellaneous items. Because whole-home systems install directly into the HVAC system and work with the existing ductwork, purification depends on good air circulation.
Universal Methods to Verify Your Air Purifier’s Effectiveness
In addition to the system-specific options, there are two final methods to ensure an air purifier is working and working efficiently that apply to both portable and whole-home units.
1. Air Quality Monitor
An indoor air quality monitor is an easy way to verify that the air purifier is successfully doing its job. It is also a helpful and accurate method that can provide real-time data.
It simply requires recording readings at different times. Monitor levels with the purifier off and then on and see what changes.
Try it with the windows closed and then the windows open to see how the purifier does on its own and then in combination with natural ventilation. Test it overnight, test it when multiple people are in the home, test it when outdoor air quality is bad, just test and track!
Not only can monitoring air quality levels and the effects of the purifier provide peace of mind, but it guarantees that the air purifier is working.
To go the extra mile in your home, consider an in-duct air quality monitor. With it, you can notice trends in your home’s air quality, store long-term data and it’ll even pair with your smartphone.
Learn More →
2. Professional IAQ Testing
Finally, if you’re still not convinced the air purifier is working or doing enough for your space, consider having professional testing done. A professional indoor air quality assessment by an expert will quickly determine if and how purification is helping your space. Plus, IAQ testing helps assess other potential air quality concerns.
How Long Does it Take An Air Purifier to Work?
The time it takes for an air purifier to clean the air in a room depends on several factors, including the size of the room, the power of the air purifier, and the level of pollutants in the air.
As a general rule, most air purifiers can clean the air in a room within a few hours, but for optimal results, it’s best to leave the air purifier running continuously.
Don’t leave it to chance – try our Home Air Purifier Efficiency Calculator today and breathe easier tomorrow!
It’s important to note that while an air purifier can help improve your indoor air quality, it’s not a one-time solution. Maintaining clean air requires regular use of the air purifier, along with other measures such as proper ventilation, regular cleaning, and controlling sources of pollution.
The Impact of Effective Air Purification
Effective air purification can have a significant impact on your health and well-being. By removing pollutants from the air, an air purifier can help reduce your exposure to substances that can cause allergies, respiratory issues, and other health problems.
In addition to health benefits, effective air purification can improve your comfort and quality of life. It can eliminate odors, reduce dust, and create a cleaner, more pleasant living environment.
Remember, an air purifier is an investment in your health. By ensuring that your air purifier is working effectively, you can make the most of this investment and enjoy the benefits of cleaner, healthier air.