Ode to our air filter

This post is from 2011 (hanging out in unfinished drafts)– Our Austin air filter is still going strong, though we’ve had to replace the actual filters several times.  Austin Air has no idea that we exist.  Also, 2011 was 10 years ago– there are a lot more good options for air filters than there used to be.  Here are wirecutter’s recommendations (their upgrade pick is only $300 and is a Blueair purifier, which they like better than the Austin filter because it is less expensive, prettier, and quieter).

I am allergic to almost everything that grows– grasses, most trees, and all the stuff that normal people are allergic to like ragweed and goldenrod and mold spores.  I’m also highly allergic to a lot of crawly things like dust-mites and *shudder* cockroaches and so on.  (Also mildly allergic to cats, though I’m more allergic to some cats than others.)  I can’t do much about the things that give me hives, but I can do something about the allergens that make my nose drip or that clog up my sinuses.

Back in 2011 I bought an Austin Air Filter for around $500.  There are now more options and they range from $750-$1000.  Not cheap!  The replacement filters are also not cheap– you could get a new Blueair purifier for about the same price these days.

For me, it was Worth Every Penny.  Having a good air filter on high in a room is better than most anti-histamines (though Zyrtec is still my new best friend).  It just clears everything up.

Here’s a post from Schlock Mercenary describing the experience of filtering out a room for the first time (back in 2007).  It’s what convinced me to get a super expensive air filter instead of the cheap small walmart/target ones we’d had before.

*heart emojis*

Do you have an air filter?  What kind do you use?  How much do allergies suck?  How do you deal with allergies? 

17 Responses to “Ode to our air filter”

  1. mnitabach Says:

    My main annoying allergy is to cat dander & we have two fucjen cats!!! If untreated, it causes mild asthmatic symptoms, but daily 10mg montelukast has kept it completely suppressed for the last fifteen years.

  2. librarianinprogress Says:

    We had four cats when I bought my first air filter which is not as fancy and I’m intrigued by yours. I have a germ guardian tower and bought a second one at some point after the first. Allergies, dust, I don’t think I fully realized how much it helped till I realized I was miserable visiting my mother and realized I could buy an air filter for her guest room / basement. It made a significant difference! Also helps just with general quantity of dust and cat fur in my house 🙂

  3. Turia Says:

    Intriguing! We discovered last year that E has environmental allergies (tree and grass pollen) plus dust mites. I have a dumb question- do you need more than one filter? Would we need one for the living room and one for his room? Right now we medicate him April-August but if we could avoid that that would be great.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      It depends… my allergies often get worse at night so we have the filter in our bedroom. On its highest setting it also clears out my office and a little of the living room without moving it, but the highest setting is loud. You can also put it in another room on high to clear out that room. When pollen is especially bad or DH is vacuuming I will hide out in the bedroom. But I do sometimes just take a Zyrtec.

  4. bogart Says:

    My DH was convinced he has allergies he does not have (long story, and new info. suggests he has unpleasant side effects from metal-on-metal joint replacements leaching into his blood, so I don’t in any way intend to downplay his experiences, just that he’s been repeatedly evaluated by allergists who have assured him he doesn’t have allergies) and wanted air cleaners at a time toward the beginning of the pandemic when I wanted air filters because COVID is airborne, so we got 2 Honeywell HPA300 HEPA Air Purifiers. They are noisy (at their high setting) and we run them pretty much constantly (my choice, see: airborne), and I can’t tell if they are doing anything (meaningful), but we do run them pretty much constantly.

    I’ve been seeing a lot of info. on how to create really cheap HEPA filtering systems using box fans + HVAC filters + tape, for (e.g.) schools seeking to make classes safer (airborne), that are supposedly pretty effective. These days I follow a lot of air-quality scientists on Twitter, and they — at least those I follow — are pretty riled up (to be clear, I’m not really qualified to evaluate their science, but these are people publishing in peer-reviewed journals in their fields). Airborne.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Riled up about schools not focusing on filtration?

      • bogart Says:

        Yes, that. Also more generally about the failure of organizations (WHO, CDC) not to (a) acknowledge that COVID is airborne, for a darned long time, and (b) now that (I think?) they have, not to communicate clearly what this means and how understanding and addressing it can help us reduce spread.

  5. Steph Says:

    I have a Blueair 211+, which I purchased 2 years ago when it was wirecutter’s top pick. As they now note, the base cost plus filters is more pricey than other options. It made a huge difference in my old apartment, where I had several neighbors who smoked (despite it being against our lease), so I put it next to the door to help stop the smoke & smell from coming into my apartment.

    These days it sits in my office near one set of litterboxes. It doesn’t completely remove the smell (especially since my cats refuse to cover their mess), but it does help knock it back.

    It’s fairly noisy on its highest setting so I rarely run it that high, and it’s developed a weird just-slightly-non-periodic pattern when it’s on its lowest setting, which bothers me if I’m in the same room. So it lives on the medium setting, and is good white noise.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      The white noise aspect can be quite nice. Cigarette smoke is awful. Up there with incense in my nose dripping catalogue.

    • Sarah Says:

      We have two Blueair 211+ for our bedrooms; amazon had a them for under $250 in April. We use them during fire season in the bay area and also use to block out our neighbors noise. I love them and want to buy another one for our living room.

  6. nanani Says:

    I recently got a Sharp Plasmacluster air purifier. It has a HEPA filter. I don’t have allergies so I mostly got it for odor elimination. The air stinks from wildfires and neighbours who smoke and all that, but the purifier zaps that VERY quickly.
    For example if cigarette smoke starts coming in through the window, I just turn the purfier to high and it zaps the smell as it comes in without even needing to close the window. Truly magical.
    It’s not loud enough to double as white noise though.

  7. middle_class Says:

    I used to have an air filter. But honestly I couldn’t tell if it was making a difference. It wasn’t an expensive one.

  8. SP Says:

    I have the Coway AP-1512HH Mighty in my bedroom, and have had it a few years. I do think it helps a ton with my allergies (mostly just dust), such that I don’t need to neti pot regularly anymore. Unless it is smokey from wildfires outside, I generally just leave it on low/eco. Last year I bought a Blue Air 211 for the living/kitchen area, partly for smoke reasons and also to filter out cooking smells. I can’t 100% attribute anything to the purifiers, because my allergies seem to go through phases that I can pinpoint the cause of.

    In any case, a purifier has basically become an essential home item in this area due to wildfire season. i have moved it from room to room during a few bad days.

  9. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    Last year we had to buy one because of the wildfires. We went with a Dyson before we realized that the company was probably not the company we wanted to be spending money with, though my memory is currently hazy on why. The machine works well, though, and helped us breathe better when we couldn’t crack open a door or window without feeling like choking. JB just reminded us of that bizarre day here last year when the fires were so bad, our entire sky was dark grey-orange and the daytime was like night the full day.

  10. Cloud Says:

    We have a Blue, can’t remember the exact model. It is good. I love that the prefilter is washable, but hate that I have to remember to wash it every week or it gets disturbingly dusty! Seriously, SoCal is so dusty.

    Anyway, the Blue is the replacement to the Honeywell HEPA filter I had for ~15 years before it died right in the middle of the last wildfire season. Since we couldn’t get the Blue right away (everyone was sold out/backordered on all decent air filters due to the fires) I also have a small less than $100 thing I bought on Amazon from some Chinese company. It works OK, too, but the Blue is better. Getting an air filter was one of the best things I did for my allergies and asthma. it makes a huge difference. I just bought a replacement filter to have on hand in case we get wildfire smoke this year, although now that we have a heat pump it is likely that the heat pump filter will bear the brunt of that.

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