Will my purifier still be effective if I have a window open? Of course, closing windows keeps pollution out. Real-world tests show that–even without an air purifier–simply keeping doors windows closed keeps particulate pollution levels at 50% the level of outdoor air.
But for some, keeping windows open is a necessity. You might want to keep your windows open to reduce chemicals such as VOCs and formaldehyde levels down in your home or office, or maybe to reduce CO2 levels inside.
Can we have it both ways – clean air AND open windows? CK from the Smart Air team put this question to the test by running the DIY Cannon air purifier Smart Air’s 12m2 Beijing test lab six times with the window open and closed.
The Test: Air Purifier vs. Open Window
The effect on indoor air pollution levels of having your window open will be more prominent when outdoor air is hazardous, so CK chose two days when outdoor air pollution was bad (February 14th and 15th) for his tests. During these two days, Beijing’s AQI averaged 239 and 290 according to the US Embassy.
To keep the baseline level of pollution consistent across tests, CK opened the window to let in outdoor air (and outdoor air pollution) until it the indoor air pollution levels were the same as the outdoor level.
When the particle counts for indoor and outdoor air were equal, CK turned on the Cannon air purifier on high for 20 minutes. He ran three tests with the windows open and three tests with the window closed.
Results: Can You Use a Purifier with The Window Open?
With the window closed, the Cannon reduced particulate by an average of 90% after 20 minutes (blue lines). With the window open, the Cannon air purifier managed a 60% reduction (red lines).
The data shows that it’s clearly better to close the windows with running your air purifier. No shocker there!
But here’s the more interesting part: even with the windows open, it’s still possible to significantly reduce indoor particulate by turning on an air purifier.
Turning on the air purifier with the window open still reduced pollution levels by 60% within 20 minutes.
Can I Turn on My Purifier and Open a Window?
Closing your windows and turning on your purifier will give you the lowest PM2.5 levels in your home. That’s obvious.
Power Is Key
The best way to do this is to use a purifier that’s rated for a larger area than your room size. We do this in the office by using the super-charged Smart Air Blast, which cleans up to 130m2. Here it is kicking butt in Beijing while the window is open.
At home, I use the Blast Mini, which cleans up to 85m2.
Choon Khin is a Smart Air engineer from Singapore, studying chemical engineering at the National University of Singapore