ICHQ: The Dust Problem and the search for the right air purifier

primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' BoopinDetroit, MI Icrontian

I have dust allergies; dust is one of the few things I'm diagnosed allergic to (Another is pine sap. Weird, I know). This means I'm pretty much perpetually sniffling and have megaboogers on a daily basis. I make a lot of throat-clearing noises and hock up big loogies daily, because everywhere I go is dusty.

ICHQ, in particular, is extraordinarily dusty, as one would expect in a 116-year old home with two dogs. Given a few weeks, a pretty substantial layer of dust will have coated all of our computers, consoles, furniture, and monitors. As you can imagine, this is not only bad for our hardware but bad for my software, if you get my drift.

I'm pretty committed to getting a room air purifier for our home office, but starting the search for one is like pissing into the ocean; Google searches are totally polluted (GET IT?) by forced SEO from manufacturers and of course, every product is the best. Amazon reviews are not really helpful either as many of them look like shills wrote them.

Things to consider:

Noise level
Ability to thoroughly clean this room (Approximately 20x20x15)
Cost of operation (Are filters cleanable or disposable/replaceable? How expensive are replacement filters? How often?)
Tech (HEPA? TSS? Ionization?)

It seems like most air purifiers try to be everything-in-one. Sterilize! Remove Mold! Kill Bacteria! Feed Starving Children! I am mostly concerned with the dust filtering capacity and low cost operation. I don't care about mold and virus and odor removal.

I'm hoping someone here has some solid experience-based feedback based on purifiers they use. Thanks, Icrontic!


  • RyderRyder Kalamazoo, Mi Icrontian

    I have one of these that I like.. 3 fan speeds: http://www.amazon.com/Honeywell-50250-S-99-97-Round-Purifier/dp/B00007E7RY

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    Things to consider: Can @Cannonfodder 3D-print upgrade components to make this thing even better? :biggrin:

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    @Ryder said:
    I have one of these that I like.. 3 fan speeds: http://www.amazon.com/Honeywell-50250-S-99-97-Round-Purifier/dp/B00007E7RY

    How often do you replace the filters? Looks like there are two to replace: A pre-filter and a main filter. Do you replace them at the same time?

  • RyderRyder Kalamazoo, Mi Icrontian

    the pre-filter is just a thin black mesh that you can wash.
    I have had the things for 2+ years and haven't had the filter light come on yet
    I don't run it 24/7/365 especially in the summer when windows are open.. can't clean the whole outdoors.

  • RyderRyder Kalamazoo, Mi Icrontian
    edited February 2015

    I actually have 2 of them... if you want to drive over and try before you buy, you're welcome to.
    And by that I mean... come get one of them and use it at your house.

  • MiracleManSMiracleManS Chambersburg, PA Icrontian

    I have a very similar problem as you Brian, but even in a new house. I'll be watching this one pretty close.

    Our biggest problem is that we have forced air, so everything gets blown around. I'm not sure what the heating/cooling situation is in ICHQ, but if you have any sort of air blowing system I HIGHLY recommend putting some sort of rudimentary filter system in place there. When we finally dedicated to making sure our filters were in place and clean at all times it reduced the work needed tremendously. We were vacuuming 2-3 times a week just to keep me from being a gigantic snot box. Now its once very 2 weeks.

  • RyderRyder Kalamazoo, Mi Icrontian

    ICHQ has hot water radiators.

  • I, too, have dust allergies, and feel your pain :( this fall, they were especially bad (may have been a bad ragweed year also, as that is one of my other confirmed allergies). I impulse bought one of these for the bedroom


    I only run it at night, but it seems to do a good job of filtering out dust and whatnot. Haven't woken up all snorfly with itchy eyes as much since I bought it. Dust also doesn't seem to be building up on our stuff in the bedroom as quickly anymore. May just be placebo effect though, so YMMV. Might not be big enough for the office in ICHQ though.

  • LincLinc Owner Detroit Icrontian
    edited February 2015

    @primesuspect said:
    ICHQ, in particular, is extraordinarily dusty, as one would expect in [any home in the world where no one dusts or vacuums regularly].

    FTFY. There are Swiffers & dusters in the broom closet and the HEPA filter vacuum is in the linen closet.

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    Don't be snarky. I do actually dust my stuff more often than you think, but the problem is bigger than just "be more clean"

  • SignalSignal Icrontian

    There's the ghetto budget version of a furnace filter on a box fan.

  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Der Millionendorf- Icrontian

    @BetsyD is also allergic to dust. Beyond good filters on vacuums and fans we've made a lot of other changes that have been useful. For example: we put doors on all of our bookshelves; switched from blinds to curtains; put dust-inhibiting liners over our pillows; never buy used, upholstered furniture; and other stuff. She could tell you more.

  • AnnesAnnes Tripped Up by Libidos and Hubris Alexandria, VA Icrontian
    edited February 2015

    I pretty much default to whatever The Wirecutter family of sites tells me to buy if I don't have any pre-existing preferences. This is their write-up on air purifiers. I haven't read through it, so I'm not sure if they're working with all your specifications but I'm usually very satisfied with what they recommend.

  • RyderRyder Kalamazoo, Mi Icrontian

    Wow... my honeywell fails there.

    Also.. unless you are going to close the office doors... none of these are going to be super effective (especially after reading the article above). The air just changes too much.

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    They pretty strongly recommend the Coway AP-1512HH Mighty, but eeeesh $250 is a bit more than I wanted to spend. Thanks for the review site, though. That's very helpful.

  • pragtasticpragtastic Alexandria, VA Icrontian

    I'm also on board with most of Wirecutter's recommendations. Even if you don't want to go with their top pick you can usually way the pros/cons of other good candidates by the information available in their articles.

  • I researched this crap for about a month after I finally settled down. Best advice I can give you is to either:
    1. buy a unit that you can turn ionization off with
    2. buy a unit that doesn't ionize
    Ionized air is not particularly great for you. With that said here is some info and my specific recommendation.

    Any true HEPA filter purifier is part of a commodity business. Most use the same HEPA manufacturers in China to make panels customized to fit their devices. Any true HEPA filter with a fair amount of air pressure is going to clean your room within a few hours / cycles. Higher powered fans do it quicker, and they are also louder.

    There are a few differentiation techniques manufactures use to help market their stuff:

    • noise level
    • price
    • aesthetic design of the device (if you care)
    • something that you can disable ionization with
    • Long term filter cost
    • User friendly way of notifying you your filter(s) need replacing
    • Ease of cleaning

    With all that in mind, instead of simply "which filters filter the air the best" since most do the same job, my recommendation to you is Rabbit Air. I use the BioGS. http://www.rabbitair.com/ It looks fantastic, and that's why I bought it. It helps me out a ton with Tomato. Also, I'm superficial when it comes to my home and I like things to look pretty.

    You can get a filter that does the same job for less, but it won't look as good. Check @Annes link for what I'm sure are a list of decent air filters that all do practically the same thing, while some are just cheaper to operate in the long run or may clean a room 30 minutes quicker.

  • drasnordrasnor Starship Operator Hawthorne, CA Icrontian

    At an industrial level, lots of forced air exchanges with HEPA filters. If you can stand the noise and humidity, you might consider a large swamp cooler as a hybrid solution. Regardless of what you choose, if your air is dirty and your purifier is doing a good job then you will need to clean/change the filters often.

  • BetsyDBetsyD Cincinnati, OH Icrontian

    Yes, I am very allergic to dust, pollen & mold, but I have had good luck by making modifications to my home environment and getting allergy shots. Probably terribly obvious but: Talk to your allergist about changing allergy meds, Claritin/Claritin-D works well for me, zrytec is CB's choice and Allegra seems to work the best for Martin. According to our allergist we all have substantially the same allergies but our body chemistry makes different meds better.

    We just got the air filter that costco has. I'm sure there are others on the market that do it better, quieter, whatever other specs can be had... But this one was cheap ($80), in our old house we ran it in the upstairs hallway and it significantly minimized waking up stuffy for us. After a bit we did get a second one to run in the basement. It's not particularly noisy unless you have it turned all the way to high. I usually leave the ionization and UV light off because I don't notice any particular change to my allergies with those on. There is just the one filter, and needs to be vacuumed off about every couple months.

    The biggest things that helped us was everything other than the filter: Wash (in hot hot water) all bed linens weekly (including and especially big puffy blankets/duvets/comforters), run your pillows through the dryer individually on the hottest setting they can be unless you have foam pillows, in which case dust mites dont like those anyway. Put dust mite covers on your mattress, box spring and all pillows in your bedroom. Don't have much "clutter" in your bedroom; ie: minimize the things that dust can settle on like mini blinds, bookshelves, carpets/rugs, upholstered furniture. I don't wash our curtains as much as I should, but at least I can when I start to have more allergy symptoms. Might seem counterintuitive, but running a humidifier in the winter also helps our allergy symptoms. Evidently our symptoms get worse when our mucus membranes are too dry to produce the regular mucus to clear out the allergens.

    Things that don't apply to Brian's situation but I will mention for anyone else who might care:
    Change the furnace filter regularly and use a decent allergy rated one.
    Get the ducts cleaned every couple years.
    Keep the windows closed year round so that the mold & pollen (that frequently exacerbate dust allergies) stay outside.

  • Just want to throw in a few devil's advocate tips on the non-purifier advice.
    Swamp coolers and humidifiers will not be efficient in environments that already have moist air.
    Furnace filters with high allergy ratings ruin blower motors because they have to work very hard to get enough air to operate. I wouldn't do it, but that's your call.
    Regular service duct cleaning, as I am told by people in HVAC, is mostly a scam and almost never really necessary unless you renovated and didn't cover the ducts, (ie. you dumped a ton of crap in your ducts).

    Best long term option is to get allergy shots over time, which is something I brought up in another thread about as much maybe 2 years ago and the only person here who did it (ryanmm I think) agreed this was a good thing.

  • WagsFTWWagsFTW Grand Rapids, MI Icrontian
    edited March 2015

    I might be able to hook you up with an air treatment system from work. It has received a lot of awards and Joe really likes his. Let me know.

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    Link? Price? info?

  • WagsFTWWagsFTW Grand Rapids, MI Icrontian
    edited March 2015

    @primesuspect I'll PM some info. Yes, it requires a big discount.

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