Dust busting
December 4, 2006 9:24 AM   Subscribe

HEPA Filter, uh, filter: AskMeFi is awash with general references to HEPA filters. How about some more specific advice? My books, which really own the house, would like a HEPA filter for the main library (11 x 22). I've been looking at the various Kenmore brands, for starters, as well as the usual consumer ratings sites. Price is a moderate object--a whole-house filter is out of the question right now, but a room-size portable can be done. Any recommendations from experience?
posted by thomas j wise to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
A Honeywell Enviracaire would be a good choice, IMO.
They are pretty easy to clean, and move a decent amount of air.

I wonder if removing dust would do much for preserving books. A HEPA air cleaner would remove dust GENERATED by a lot of paper, though, which would be good for your lungs.
posted by Danf at 9:35 AM on December 4, 2006

I like my Honeywell, although I believe that the company manufactures air cleaners for a variety of brands.

One way these filters are a little deceptive is when it comes to filter replacement. My filter came with a big thick OEM filter, about 4 inches tall. I looked up the price of the replacement filter: $29. You need to replace it once a year. Fine.

Turns out the replacement filter is 2 inches tall and you need to stack two of them to replace the filter in this model. The OEM filter is not sold in the aftermarket.

I am somewhat sensitive to various dusts and I was able to notice the difference from the filter immediately.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:03 AM on December 4, 2006

The only advice I would give is get one larger than you need. They are usually rated based on maximum flow speed, which means maximum noise too. If you get one that is rated for a larger room, you'll be able to run it on medium or low which will make your ears a lot happier.
posted by chairface at 10:39 AM on December 4, 2006

Moving enough air to make a difference in a medium sized room will cost you some power, too. My room sized Honeywell HEPA filter, running full tilt, costs about a dollar a day in power cost, running an average 8 hour day (evenings, when I'm home). Running it 24x7 costs around $90 a month on the power bill, here in FL, and plugs up the filter in a couple of months. Running it the lower 8 or 12 hour a day duty cycle, at a power cost of $30 a month, and filter life of 2 months on the carbon pre-filters, and maybe 6 months on the main HEPA paper filter, is my spring/summer pollen compromise. Filters for my unit are about $70 for the main, and $20 for a 3 pack of carbon pre-filters.

Most estimates of power use and filter life don't envision running these kind of portable HEPA units at full throttle, continuously. They can produce noticeable improvements in air quality, but the relative costs for doing so may be more than you first consider. Whole house air cleaners installed in your furnace or air conditioning ductwork seem more efficient, because they trade on processing air you are already moving for air-conditioning or heating reasons, if you have forced air heating/cooling.
posted by paulsc at 11:11 AM on December 4, 2006

The top 3 from consumer reports. They actually place the Whirlpool over the kenmore for price and noise.

Friedrich C-90B
Kenmore (Sears) 83202 83200,
Whirlpool AP45030R
posted by doctor_negative at 12:32 PM on December 4, 2006

The guys I work with (I work in the vacuum and air purifier industry) recommend the Blueair Digital 250E Air Purifier, which is in the same price range as the Consumer Reports choices recommended above. The replacement filter prices are also comparable. If you're willing to spend more, the IQAir HealthPro Plus was recently rated Best Air Cleaner by Wired Magazine (scroll down), but it comes with an expectably larger price tag. The Wired article also has other ratings for air purifiers, including the Friedrich C-90B that was rated by Consumer Reports.
posted by sa3z at 4:23 PM on December 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

We have a Kenmore in one room, a Honeywell in another. Both make a noticeable difference to air quality, but the Honeywell has been more reliable overall. The Kenmore died once and had to be replaced (while under warranty). The Honeywell goes longer without needing a new filter.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:25 PM on December 5, 2006

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