Want to take air purification to the next level in ~750 sq ft apartment.
March 16, 2014 7:57 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to cleanse the air in my apartment of the neighbor's cigarette smoke and the exhaust particulate that comes in the windows. Already have home air purifier, looking for something more powerful.

Currently I use a Truman Cell air purifier by Oreck in one room. It works OK in the room its in, but I'd like to deal with the air in the whole apartment.

I think I need something more intensive than a standard home air purifier. I have a suspended ceiling and can get approval for hardwired, in-wall or in-ceiling options.

Should I be looking for a commercial product? What's out there? I'd be thrilled if there was an option that was hidden, quiet, and removed any odor from the entire ~750 sq ft living area.

Also, I've been reading up on particle sizes. It seems that tobacco smoke is in the 0.3 micron range, whereas HEPA filters generally filter down to 3 micron particles. This tells me that a lot of what I'm trying to get rid of would pass right through a HEPA filter.

Do I need an industrial product? I'm willing to entertain very expensive options but would much prefer if an inexpensive option existed (note: "move" is considered a Very Expensive Option that I'm already aware of, but I'm looking for ways to make this work).

It looks like some furnace filters capture particles down to 0.3 microns, so maybe I could use the furnace-filter-on-box-fan approach periodically. But that seems a limited option.
posted by reeddavid to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Looks like I am wrong about HEPA only going to 3 microns. I'm now seeing several more that claim down to 0.3 microns.
posted by reeddavid at 8:08 PM on March 16, 2014

Is "close the windows" an acceptable option?

I don't know enough about air filters to help, but when I shared a condo wall with a smoker long ago, I was surprised to realize a lot of the smokiness was actually coming through the plaster walls. My clothes always smelled like smoke, because the closet was between the two living spaces. I moved before dealing with it, but I was thinking of painting the walls with Killz or a similar odor/smoke banning paint. Maybe do a check of your home to be sure exactly where the problem is, and attack it more directly than with a filter? (Or, of course, in addition to a filter.)
posted by instamatic at 9:26 PM on March 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have had the IQAir filter for about 6 yrs and love it. It runs about $1000 plus the ongoing cost of multiple replacement filters. I run it for about 12 hours a day and it eliminates all odors - the cat box, fried onions, general odors, you just have to keep up with filter changes.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 4:13 AM on March 17, 2014

Have a look at Rabbit Air.

I currently run a Minus A2 on auto 24/7 and it quickly cleans the air of pet and cooking smells. When there is a particularly bad smell you can manually turn it up to clean the air even faster. Plus there is also the happy side benefit that because of the strength of the filter, my house is rather dust free.
posted by lstanley at 7:28 AM on March 17, 2014

FWIW With all these fans you may be creating a negative air pressure and actually drawing dirty air into your house. Without major efforts at sealing all potential vectors your best bet is to continue with HEPA units in every room.
posted by Gungho at 8:43 AM on March 17, 2014

Gungho is thinking like I'm thinking: smoke infiltrating through cracks in the plaster, gaps in baseboards, etc is probably a bigger vector than the windows (which I'm sure reeddavid is closing when the smoke approaches, if they've even been open at all during this cold weather).

Question is how to create a positive air pressure in the apartment. Do you bring in outside air and filter it? Would that be worse?
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:04 AM on March 17, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for bringing up the negative pressure scenario-- our instinct is to turn on the bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans to get odors out, but I think that does create negative pressure and draws in more smoke from the neighbor (I can confirm that the smoke comes through the ceiling / walls and not through the windows; opening the windows gets the smoke smell out but lets all the heat out).

Any outside air would need to be heated. The only source of non-cold air would be from the hallway, which doesn't always smell great but typically smells better than smoke.
posted by reeddavid at 9:55 AM on March 17, 2014

I have very serious respiratory problems, allergies, etc. At some point, I gave up on Ionic filters and yadda yadda. I began buying multiple boxes of baking soda for the fridge/freezer, the kind with the flow through mesh intended to soak up odors in your fridge/freezer. I sometimes bought as many as 10 for a room. This did wonders without sucking in air from elsewhere, etc. They are relatively cheap and you pitch them when they stop working and buy new. Over time, I needed fewer of them. Problems began being less serious.
posted by Michele in California at 12:00 PM on March 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

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