Air Filters & Purifiers

Parent Q&A

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  • Air filter for at home pod learning

    (13 replies)

    Hi,  We are considering joining a pod for educating our children and hope to have it outside but want to plan for weather requiring the kids to move indoors.  Any recommendation for a good air filter/air purifier to put in the room where the kids will be learning/playing to clean the air and minimize the risk of transmission if anyone is asymptomatic carrier.  We can accommodate 6' distance but likely won't force the kids to wear masks all day long.  We will have windows open as well but want to do everything possible to minimize risk.  Cost is not an issue.   Thanks.  

    Cost not an issue then Coway Airmega 400. Quiet, large air volume. Not too ugly. Buy multiple if cost is REALLY not an issue :)

    We have had a good experience with the RabbitAir Minus A2. It's on the pricier side but covers a larger area (700 sq ft) and they have excellent customer service. 

    We are considering purchasing a second air filter and are looking for a lower cost option. A friend of mine recommended the Coway AP-1512, which is Wirecutter's top pick and can be purchased on Amazon for $200.

    My understanding is that filtering the air doesn’t prevent transmission for the people that are currently in the space. Air exchange is meant to help the next group of people (in an office or store, for example) who come in. I’m not an expert but that’s what the faculty at Johns Hopkins stated on a group q&a that I heard about a month or two ago.

    If cost is not an issue, one of the best filters out there is IQ Air (made in Switzerland), can get HEPA and gas

    filtration. Comes with 10 year warranty.  I had a problem with the wheel on mine, and they sent me a replacement right away and it was very easy to replace---ie good customer service. I would ask them which model is best for your particular needs.

    Austin Air Purifiers are great.  I have one and love it, especially during fire season.  If cost is not an issue, IQAir makes phenomenal air purifiers.  


    We use our air filters indoors. With the amount of air movement we have outside, I believe the air filters would be ineffective. We have a Molekule Air Filter in our kitchen/dining area, a Mini Molekule in our bedroom, as well as a Mini in our daughters' bedroom. In our attic, where my husband works and the girls play sometimes, we have 2 Germ Guardians that we bought on Amazon, which are cheaper. We have a total of 5 air purifiers going 24/7 in our home.

    The Molekule air filters require a subscription so that filters will be automatically delivered to your home when they need to be replaced (the larger Molekule is every 3-6 months; the minis are every 6 months). I order HEPA and carbon filters for the Germ Guardians on Amazon. This has proven effective for us. Asthma episodes have been nonexistent during SIP, but we've also had low-to-medium risk activity only. We are hoping that our older daughter is growing out of the asthma, too.

    My workplace uses Dyson air filters; our daughters' preschool had 2 Dyson air filters per classroom of 12 kids and 2-3 teachers (pre-COVID). We have a number of friends that have Dyson or Austin Air Filters. Both of these seem of a high quality, too. We went with the Molekule because it was available, and it's easy on the eyes. I believe they all cost about the same.

    I love my Coway  400 with hepa filter. It automatically turns on to clean the air—not sure about viruses—quiet and easy to clean the prefilters.

    IQ Air is truly the best. You can get them locally at Lakeshore Sew & Vac on Grand Avenue in Oakland--they are the only local retailer. We have two and they are great. They are a cut above the other brands--pricey, but we got ours on a no-interest payment plan. 

    Hi-Tech air reactors are top of the line. Model 101 is perfect for what you are looking for. 

    I highly recommend a Molekule air purifier. They are a local company that makes a few different designs depending on the space and all kill viruses! They also filter the air of particulates and allergens. We love ours. Here is a link.

    I'm not an expert, but wonder if a filter such as Blue wouldn't just stir around the aerosols as it blows its cleaned air into the room. I am part of a group studying how to clean and sterilize performance spaces. 2 thoughts - if you get a filter, run it when the space is unoccupied right after kids leave. Then shut off several hours before school starts (timer, home automation) and re open the wi dowsas soon as practical.

    We have this filter. It's relatively quiet even on the highest setting:

    Good ventilation is important so that's great that your windows will be open. Please reconsider masking since it is the most effective and will cut your transmission rate by at least 64%. Primary transmission is via respiratory droplets and aerosols. Studies show that talking loud, laughing, singing can have droplets travel 20 feet. My daughter has been wearing a mask at camp all summer and she's used to it. 

    From the CDC: "When used properly, air purifiers can help reduce airborne contaminants including viruses in a home or confined space. However, by itself, a portable air cleaner is not enough to protect people from COVID-19. When used along with other best practices recommended by the CDC, operating an air cleaner can be part of a plan to protect yourself and your family. "

    I work in a laboratory at the university and we are doing essential research. My building has >6 air exchanges per hour with fresh outside air drawn through HEPA filters and inside air expelled to the outside (i.e. not recycled) and the university is still requiring face masks. Is this necessary or overkill? Who knows, but we haven't had any community transmission in the research community, despite there being some positive cases detected through regular testing. I have a child myself, and if I were you I would have the kids wear their masks on top of having air filtration. The kiddos can adapt, and it's better than not having the pod at all.

  • Air purifier recommendations wanted?

    (8 replies)

    Any recommendations or experience with air purifiers?

    Trying to get clean air in the house before the baby comes!

    I bought two, different sizes of these,  during the fires last year.  High quality, well made.  Pay attention to the recommended square footage.  

    We love our Dyson Pure hot + cool. It’s a filter, space heater and fan. It also has a cool app that tracks indoor air quality and can turn on automatically if the quality drops. 

    First, get rid of stuff that is making the air dirty. Get fragrance-free personal care products. Scrub and clean the mold. No new carpet or paint. Then get this air cleaner:

    Best air purifier solution is replace your heater's filter and run the heater in fan only/no heat mode.  The $500 room air purifiers use the exact same filter as your heater but only purify the air for one room.  And if someone opens the door it's going to take hours to circulate all of the air through the room size air purifier.  The air filter in your heater will filter the air in one room in a mater of minutes. 

    I bought some room-sized HEPA filters from Amazon last summer when the air was so bad from the Camp fire. We have a 100+ year old house with a lot of leaks and a kid with asthma, and the smoke was really bothering my throat and eyes too.  I got Honeywell "HPA100 True HEPA" for up to 155 sq. ft. It cost about $130.  It has two filters - a thin liner filter just behind the front enclosure that you replace every 3 months and a bigger baffle-type internal filter that is replaced every year.  I just replaced the big one and it had a LOT of stuff on it. The thinner filter which was black was light gray with dust and particles after just a couple months. I like it - it's easy to operate and simple to replace the filters, and it makes a pleasant white noise hum that you can barely hear on the lowest setting. Replacement filters are easy to order on Amazon. I have one running in my bedroom all the time and although I have no way to measure the cleanliness of the air, it feels like it's cleaner and is definitely collecting a lot of stuff from the air.

    I got three Blue Pure 211+ air purifiers in the past few due to the wildlife smoke. I love them. You could really tell the difference in air quality after turning them on. 

    Another vote for BlueAir. I have an old one from the 200 series. Those are built to last and mine really helped during the fires last year. Also have a small 411 model for my toddler's room. This one whines a bit even when turned off (but plugged in), but I usually have it on low setting which is very quiet.

    youtube video inspired diy air purifier:  this poor man’s air purifier worked great for us in our leaky old house.  i think we spent $25 total.   you’ll need a standard box fan, duct tape and 20x20 furnace filter(s).  NOTE: filters must be rated MERV 11 or higher for the small & most dangerous smoke particles.

    there are a few ways to configure this. 1) tape a single filter onto intake side of fan as you want to draw air through the filter.  2) tape two filters together then to the fan creating a triangle. then tape a triangle cardboard lid to seal the top. 3) best option is to create a three sided box with three filters (and a fourth one for the lid if you like) and tape to fan.  you’ll have a box fan box... lol.

    the more filters you use, the more room it will take up in your home. but it will also be easier on the fan motor and you’ll have a more efficient air purifier.  

    bulk MERV filters can be found online pretty cheap.  good to have extras on hand as the hardware stores sold out.  bulk boxes of N95 masks also helpful to share with less prepared neighbors etc.

    MANY youtube videos on this technique.  some show folks testing the air before and after using one with stellar success.  works great for all types of allergies. some review they work better than expensive air purifiers as california has use/sale restrictions due to ozone in the better ones and some argue they are also the greener way to go in the not so long run. we’re stocked up for the next fire/smoke situation... sadly but realistically so.

  • Sawdust smell in flipped home

    (2 replies)

    We purchased a flipped house one year ago in March 2018. Even after a year, the smell of sawdust has really lingered. I don’t smell it every day, but anytime I go out of town and return home, the smell seems just as strong as the first time we visited as prospective buyers. We change the air filters every three months as directed.

    This doesn’t seem ideal and we have a baby in the house, so we called a duct-cleaning company to ask about this and get a quote. (I called a company recommended on BPN.) The person on the phone was so dismissive that it made me wonder if this is even a legitimate concern. His response was basically: “EPA studies haven’t shown any real benefit of duct cleaning so don’t worry about it.” On the one hand, I appreciate the honesty — on the other hand, it made me feel like maybe he didn’t really listen to the question. 

    Has anyone else had smell issues like this after moving into renovated home or new build? Does anyone know if there are any health issues that could be associated with sawdust? Lastly, if you have any company recommendations I would gladly welcome them. I was so surprised by the response that I’ve felt too silly to pick up the phone and call anyone else about it. Thank you all in advance.

    I wonder if what you are smelling is not really sawdust. Living in new or renovated construction smells - there are a LOT of chemicals involved in paint, floors, carpets. You might try a charcoal based air filter, which are the only ones that can purportedly remove off-gassing from the air. I'd also recommend that you open plenty of windows to provide good ventilation every chance you can. I wouldn't be overly worried about your baby, but would take the precautions I mentioned - you can also pay to have the air quality in your home tested. Good luck!

    If it is a flip, the house was framed a long time ago and the sawdust smell is unlikely to be coming from the studs and joists. But they likely sanded the floor. So is the sawdust hiding someplace? In the heating vents? On the top of moldings or cabinets? Maybe try dusting everything with a damp sponge. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

May 2004

Hello: I want to purchase an air purifer and was looking at the kinds that are installed in the HVAC system rather than the large, boxy units that I don't have the space for. My husband, baby and I all suffer from pollen and dust mite allergies, these are our primary concerns for wanting an air purifier. Bacteria, virus and odor are secondary concerns. Can anyone recommend a good and effective system? There are so many. The one I'm looking at uses Ozone to clean and kill allergens (sol-aire). Ozone??? Isn't that harmful? Help! You can post to this newsletter or send me email directly. THANKS!! jessica

[no replies received]

Mar. 2004

I would like recommendations for effective room air filter systems for living room (24 x 12 ft) and bedrooms (11 x 13 ft). The house we live in attracts more dust than other houses I have lived in. We don't have central heating, have good ventilation and all new dual pane windows. I was thinking about an ozone filter because it doesn't require filters, but I just read that ozone damages respiratory tracks. Want something that is not huge, is quiet and economical. Thank you. Barbara

[no replies received]

Feb. 2004

Re: White Noise

We use our air filter for this -- it screens out miscellaneous noises and it helps reduce my husband's snoring in the springtime (yay!) without drugs. I would suggest going somewhere where they stock them and plugging them in and listening to them before buying. I saw one at Costco yesterday, we bought ours at Osh (3 or 4 years ago) and I have also seen them at Sears. Sara

Feb. 2004

Re: White Noise

We used a hepa air filter which we bought online (originally to keep the air clean when I was pregnant while we were remodeling the house.) We found it created white noise and cleaned the air for her fragile repitory system. We have a dog and two cats so it was a great way to remove the fur from the air. She's outgrown it now (8 months) but we used it constantly when she was very tiny. Who knows if it made a difference? But I figure anything that is done routinely to help signify ''sleeptime'' is useful for them. You can buy little ones that aren't as expensive. They also sell machines that produce ''white noise'' -- I think you can get them at Target. anon

We had the same issue in our small, not sound-proofed house. We find our air filter on medium does the trick. I think we bought it online (hunter brand) but Berkeley vacuum sells them as well. For travel we use a sharper image noise maker/alarm clock on white noise setting. It's not as white noisy as the filter but it definitely does the trick on the road and is quite lightweight so you could try that first before investing in a filter and finding out your daughter hates the sound. White noise lovers

How about a HEPA air filter...white noise plus delicious air to breathe... we use one despite the noise, because its so good for filtering out allergens and dust. Heather

Jan. 2003

I live near the freeway and am looking into buying an air purifier. Any advice? Do any of you own a Surround Air purifier? Angela

EL Foust makes good air purifiers. I especially like the room air purifier on this page:

It is small enough to move from room to room. Most of the good purifiers are too large. sunsol