Most of us in Beijing are already conditioned to equip our homes with air filtration devices due to the city’s deadly air – but how many of us bother to check regularly if our air filters are actually still doing their job?
I have the HealthPro by IQ Air AG and it does a bang-up job (proven with a handy particulate matter measuring device we picked up on Taobao), and I replace the filters as recommended. However, one of the basic premises of air filtration is that if the air isn’t actually passing through the filters, it’s not going to be filtered – which means maintaining good airflow is critical.
After playing around with my measuring device and finding the readings high in my living room, I flipped over my HealthPro only to find that the bottom filter where air comes in was caked with a thick matt of household dust, and further investigation revealed a rather constricted airflow coming out of the top of the device.
I immediately sprung into action and used an ordinary household vacuum to remove the think pad of dust – and my problem was solved. Since then, I’ve made it a regular weekly chore – every Saturday I turn my HealthPros on their side and vacuum out the bottom filter. The vaccuming is simple – the only tricky part is turning the machine on its side to access its underbelly. Make sure you unplug the machine first.
Even on good air weeks I’ll typically find a layer of dust, so I do it religiously every week and I’m assured of peak airflow from my units.
If you’re too lazy or organizationally challenged to do this weekly, a handy way to test airflow (albeit unscientifically) is to drape a Kleenex tissue over the top of the unit and let half it hang over the side at the fold. While holding the tissue with one hand, snap a pic of the billowing tissue at the speed you typically have your machine set on. Then you’ll have a reference for the airflow that you can test regularly; when the tissue droops at that speed, it’s probably time to vacuum the intake.
So you’ve got your mask, you’ve got your air filtration system – now take the next step and make sure it’s working.
This post first appeared on theebijinger.com on June 30.
Photo courtesy of Mike Wester