Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge

Air Filtration for Health and Happiness

We need air filtration! Sanding the floor, sanding drywall, sweeping everything, dust is the remodelers constant companion. Old houses have an infinite supply of dust, it’s like flaking off skin or something. We’re waking up with stuffy noses most mornings, our sinuses and lungs are acting as the primary filtration units in the house right now, and that doesn’t seem like the best plan. 

Consumer Reports recommends whole house models and/or freestanding room models. The whole house version is an expensive unit that usually requires professional installation. That’s a quick order of magnitude price bump, out of the hundreds and into the thousands. The other whole house option is to upgrade to a higher quality filter. But our furnace somehow does not have ANY filter right now. Not sure how that is possible, but it confirms Mark Fallin’s definition of the furnace as the “dust collection and distribution system.” We’ll be fixing that soon, not sure how we will hack in a filter, but we need it.

OK, so let’s look at the freestanding room models. Two units that received CR’s highest ratings: Whirlpool Whispure AP45030S, Kenmore Progressive 83202. I’m going out into the wilds of the internet to see what I can turn up ….Kenmore air filter

Oy, trying to locate one of these was a nightmare. The Whirlpool Whispure and variations are still available, but they are now priced around $1000, not as reasonable as the former price of $250. I guess all of those positive ratings on Amazon and CR went to their head! 

Here’s what I decided to do, since several Kenmore (a Sears brand) air filters had decent ratings on CR, I took an unusual tactic and physically went to Sears. I am not a common visitor to the mall (except for regular sojourns to the Apple store, yum), but an air filter was a noble cause for a trip. It is no small thing to even locate the air filter section, it seems Sears employees do not train as diligently on item location as at other stores. As luck would have it there was a version of the filter that I thought would be a good fit there, and it was out of the box. I took it over to the nearest wall and plugged it in and tested it on each setting. I was my own consumer reporter, testing it primarily for noise. From what I could glean from the Amazon and Consumer Report reviews a HEPA filter is a HEPA filter, but noise is the weak link. It seemed quiet enough. I was in a hidden corner of Sears and there wasn’t much competing noise, it seemed like something I could sleep through on the lowest setting.

And after having it home for a few weeks, that has been true, the white noise of the filter running on low provides no impediment to sleep. And it seems to be reducing our snuffles. 

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