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Air purifiers! Who has them? Which ones are recommended?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Corie, Feb 21, 2006.

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  1. Corie

    Corie Minister of Fire

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    Well, my grandma has told my grandpa that there is no more burning allowed, at least until he figures out a way to keep the smoke from the air. My grandma (who is pretty much the best gramma ever) has emphysema and uses an oxygen concentrator around the house. Obviously she is very sensitive to pollen, smoke and just about every other allergen in the world.

    THe problem though, is that Poppie is very attached to burning his wood and everytime I talk to him, I can hear that is a little bit more blue that it's been over a month now since she's let him run the stove. He's hoping an air purifier will remove the smokey and any other contaminants from the air and allow him to resume burning again.


    Anyone have a purifier? Can anyone recommend a brand?

    :)

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  2. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    We have 2 Honeywells, they sure get lots of stuff on the prefilter, but with GM's situation, I can't say it would be enough. My kids have some minor Asthma, and the stove doesn't seem to bother them, but your situation is probably a lot more sensitive.
  3. Sundeep Arole

    Sundeep Arole New Member

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    Don't have any recommendations on particular models, but I heard that the ones which rely on generating ozone (some sharper image models) can be dangerous as their ozone outputs were measured to be dangerously high. It would be best to avoid those type.
  4. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    That is a pretty tough situation. I would be curious if there is anything they could do to stop the smoke at the source? Maybe add on to the flue, insulate or other measures to improve draft?

    If the are looking to clear smoke from the air, about the only filter that can catch something that small is going to be an electrostatic unit. But as Hot Flame points out, the byproduct is ozone which in some instances may be almost as bad as the smoke. I have seen some of the latest electrostatic cleaners (Sharper image) that have an ozone catalyst (to help convert the ozone back to oxygen). But have no information on how effective the catalyst is, or how much it further reduces the already minimal air output of those machines. A very good HEPA air filter may trap particles down close to the size of smoke, but I doubt it would catch much actual smoke. It may be good for the placebo effect, though.


    Corey
  5. djamwolfe

    djamwolfe Member

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    My daughter has asthma and we use a honeywell unit made be by Kaz, baught it at the HD. Works great - has a prefilter, hepa filter, and an electrostatic cleaner built in. Cost around $30, but the real reason I liked it was because you could turn the electroststic portion off sepratley from the rest. My mom has a couple of those ionic things in her house (she has 4 cats) and I dont think they works as well as the old HEPA Oreck system she had, not to mention the buildup of excess ozone worry.

    But as cozy heat said, you need to try to fix as much from the source. HTH
  6. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

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    Been running an ionic breeze here for several years. No adverse health problems. I think it works great. we run it 24/7 except if there is a blink in the power supply in which case you have to turn it back on again.
    My middle child has severe alergies but hasn't had much problem from smoke.
    I would say attack the problem. Realisticly you shouldn't have smoke coming into the house. Does he have a liner? how long is the chimney? what kind of stove does he have, ? how is it installed?
    When I was getting ready to put our stove in several years ago there were lots of people who filled my wife with stories of how dirty it was to have a stove. we have no increase in dust. The only increase in messis right in front of the stove from pits of wood that fall on the hearth when I'm loading the stove. ...

    Of course there are pellet stoves too.
  7. tutu_sue

    tutu_sue New Member

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    Based on what I own, Honeywell air cleaners. Not sure how well they clean smoke, but very good when I empty the ash pan. I get very little smoke now that I open the stove door s-l-o-w-e-r.
  8. Sundeep Arole

    Sundeep Arole New Member

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    Corie - email me for the consumer reports article on air cleaners. They reviewed a bunch in Oct '05.
  9. rudysmallfry

    rudysmallfry Feeling the Heat

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    Go for a good HEPA unit. They've been very good for my allergies. I have the Whirlpool Whisure AP450 model. It's good for a room up to 20' to 25' in size. It's as quiet as you'll find in the HEPA category. They use very small amounts of power. I haven't seen much of a change in my electric bill since I started using it. I only have to change the main filter once a year and it's not that expensive. I think about $60. When I pull out the old filter and see all the crap in there, I know it's doing its job.

    I'd stay away from anything ionic or ozone. They smaller ones don't produce enough ozone to hurt you, but as a result, aren't very efficient. The larger ones border on releasing unsafe levels of ozone and can result in long term lung effects. Do a google search on ionic purifiers and you'll find plenty of info on potential health effects.
  10. rumpole37

    rumpole37 New Member

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    For total control of pollutants in a home I believe only a central system is adequate. The small single-room units will work in a bedroom or bathroom, but just can't handle a whole house. The choice then becomes either a filter system of some kind or an electronic precipitator, either attached to the air ducting on a central heating and/or air conditioning system. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. When I needed one in a particularly dusty envrironment, after much soul searching, I opted for the filter system. It required me to descend to the depths of the crawl space under the house where all kind of undesirable creatures lived, and a 3 foot headroom (the guy that built the house obviously never intended to go down there) about twice a year to replace the filter. But then there is also maintenance on the electrostatic filter. Both, of course, require you to run your furnace fan 24/7.

    As someone else sagely advised in an earlier posting, it's better to keep the pollutants out of the air in the first place. Think gas or pellet insert....




    As Gecko and the pellet manufacturers say "Greed is good!"
  11. roac

    roac New Member

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    I don't think any air filter will satisfy grandma because she will still smell the smoke. At this point she has conditioned herself to think that if she can smell it, it must be bad for me. No hepa filter will remove the smell. I use to work in a semiconductor clean room and the air was hepa filtered a 100 times a second and you could still smell any type of fire outside. The air was clean but it still smelled. Look at improving the draft of the stove because I'm afraid they will waste their money on false hope with an air cleaner.
  12. Corie

    Corie Minister of Fire

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    I believe that a large part of the problem is the fact that Grandma can smell the smoke. I already added another two feet to the chimney this past year, and strong draft is not the problem. MY grandfather is very slow opening the door and when you do so, no smoke comes in at all. A very faint aroma comes in and I believe that my grandmother thinks that smell indicates huge amounts of smoke are leaking into the house.

    Unfortunately, replacing the stove with anything else is not really an option. Without going into great detail, the house doesn't have gas or propane and my grandfather has been burning this stove for a long time. I've tried to convince him many times to update, but he's an old timer and he's stuck in his ways, so I've reserved myself to not trying to change his mind.

    I guess the best I can do if get one of the good Hepa units that you all seem to be recommending. Even if they do nothing for the smokey smell, as was mentioned earlier, the placebo effect may have greater power. Also, I think the benefits and filtering out the various other allergens in the world could be of great benefit to her.

    The best part of the situation is that the area where the air must be purified is only about 700 sq ft, so hopefully one reasonable sized unit should do the trick.

    Thanks for the help!

    Hotflame, I pm'ed you my email addy!
  13. rumpole37

    rumpole37 New Member

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    Roac is exactly right. No air filter is going to remove the odor of smoke. The odor can be masked with "perfumy" things, which are usually worse than the odor itself. The filter will just remove particulates, which are the actual cause of the problem. But leaving the odor in will likely make Granny cranky. And no one wants a cranky Granny, or a cranky wife, for that matter.
  14. richg

    richg Minister of Fire

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    Honeywell and Friedrich were rated highest by consumer reports. They use electrostatic precipitators, but unlike the Ionic Breeze, use fans to create airflow. Consumer reports mercilessy derided the Ionic Breeze as absolutely ineffective. Sharper Image sued Consumer Reports for slander, lost the suit, and had to pay Consumer Reports for their legal fees. One of the best air cleaners I ever used was super high-tech: I got a box fan, and on the back of it taped a layer of electrostatic hepa filter (found at Homies or Lowes). The fan cost $19.99 at Wal Mart, the filters cost about 2.00 per month, so, it would take me 190 months of usage to equal the cost of the Ionic Breeze. I should have patented it, made an annoying infommercial, and quit my day job.
  15. rudysmallfry

    rudysmallfry Feeling the Heat

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    I found these $5 cans in Home Depot that absorb odors. I don't remember what they're called. They're about the size of can of baked beans. I think you can get them in Vanilla, Forest or Cinnamon. You just place the open can near the offending source and it eats up whatever smell you're trying to eliminate. Obviously it wouldn't have an immediate affect, but it might eliminate the day old burnt smell that you tend to get with the older stoves. I used one once for cat pee, and it really did work.
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