During California Fire Season the Dyson Pure Hot+Cool Is The Best Filter Of All
We learned the hard way years ago to have multiple methods of air scrubbing since we have asthma issues in our house. The day the fires started, we closed all the windows. We have a couple of Honeywell air filters, one in each bedroom. We tend to only use these when someone is sick, or it is pollen or fire season. We turned these filters on and went to sleep for the night. When I went out to use the bathroom, the smell woke me up. Every other room in our home smelled like a campfire. Only the rooms we were sleeping in didn’t reek.
The Smoke from the Camp Fire in California
Visibility was down to half a mile at one point on the Interstate
This was a good day - when you could see over a mile!
Frustratingly, it can take several weeks before you have a good rain that puts out the blazes and clears the air of the smoke particles. Since it kind of looked like a red sky post-apocalyptic type of morning, and I was trying to imagine spending the day dragging the Honeywell air filter with me from room to room, it occurs to me, why don’t we invest in a better air filter, that could maybe clear the air in the rest of the house where we live?
This Fire Season
I bounced from store to store finding every one sold out or that air filter machines were something the store only had in their online catalog. I ended up at Costco staring at one of the last two Dyson Pure air filters. I looked at the box, up at the price tag, down at the box. This is more than I wanted to spend. It’s hundreds of dollars.
Now, I like Dyson products. I consider their wand vacuums to be a level up, like when corded phones went cordless. Amazing. Freedom. But I’m here, looking at the price… Looking at the picture on the box. It heats, and it’s a fan. I don’t care. I have heat and fans. HEPA filter. Ok, you’ve got me with HEPA filter.
I text and get the spousal thumbs down. I think about us having to hide out in our bedrooms for weeks or learning to live with kennel cough. We compromise: if it sucks, or just isn’t that great, we’ll return it. Thanks for being unknowingly reasonable, Costco.
So, for several days this has felt like a rented item we shouldn’t be enjoying. We put the Dyson Pure in our family room, which is in the central part of our home. The campfire smell went away. There was a kitchen oopsie that filled the house with smoke. It took about 20 minutes for the Dyson to eliminate every trace of that smell.
If you like the smell of dinner cooking in your house, this is not the air filter for you. If you live with aged flatulent bulldogs, this is probably just what you need. The fact that none of us are wheezing when we breathe deeply (when the air outside isn’t giving us over 1 mile of visibility) is pretty amazing.
The Dyson is quieter than our other air purifiers; the only thing you really hear is the breeze of air coming out of the unit. The remote control is tiny (and necessary) and I kept trying to hide it from myself until I realized it is a magnet and snaps right onto the top of the unit so you won’t lose it. Yeah, I didn’t read the manual. And neither will you (but keep it so you can change the filter in a year or use your warranty).
What I like about Dyson products is that they design to preempt issues rather than just releasing whatever piece of junk and maybe fixing things for the next version.
So, are we using all the features? We used heat in the morning when the room is cold, and that is pretty pleasant. Our old cat parks in front of it and melts into a puddle. The oscillation, temperature and output volume of air are all really nice to be able to control.
It has a tip-over/ overheat cut-out function, since we’re thinking so much about fires… Best to not add your own home to the list.
So, what is the conclusion? It’s expensive, and it works well.
We’re considering it to be a part of our emergency preparedness and balanced against what it would cost to take our daughter to the hospital, or to lose time from work due to respiratory issues, or just not having to worry about breathing in burned up toxic construction materials, plastics, ash, and who knows what else, it is worth it.
If live with a smoker or in a moldy place with no heat, it’d probably be worth it too. So really it comes down to a question of what is clean air worth. The Dyson earned a place in our house so we can enjoy piece of mind, and not smell ash when we sit down for dinner.
Yes, we dressed the Dyson Pure Hot+Cool up because it pretty much saved our lungs and totally rules.
The Lessons We’ve Learned
Over a decade ago, we went through a couple of really bad fire years. One left me wheezing for months; having to sit down to catch my breath. I was shocked to have been so flattened in my early 30’s that I researched what I could do to keep from feeling that way again. Years later, we had a preemie whose lungs were underdeveloped and later suffered from childhood asthma. So breathing has been a theme at our house, you might say.
What I learned:
- Assume all air-fresheners are irritants. If you spray an aerosol bottle into the air to change the smell of a room, it is compromising your lung activity. Assume this is also true for most diffuser products as well as scented candles. For a healthy person with limited exposure, the difference easy to ignore, but that isn’t true for everyone. Just because they sell it, doesn’t mean it is safe.
- Assume scented products are irritants. If you use scented products for household cleaning, detergent, fabric softener, this can irritate your lungs too. That powder that is a mixture of baking soda and mountain meadow scent that makes your carpet smell good? Not so good for you, as it turns out.
- If you live in a humid climate, you need to take greater precautions to control dust mite activity. These guys can easily colonize your bed, and occasionally beating a small cloud out of your pillows isn’t a solution. You can cut down their population by getting effective allergy barriers on your mattresses and pillows, and by limiting surfaces where they can live. People have various levels of reaction to dust mite droppings. Personally, I can vouch for it feeling like an immediate runny nose head cold when I inhale a little dust mite party into my lungs.
- You need to know how to check your home for mold, and how to eliminate it. Check under your sinks regularly to ensure there is no water accumulation in areas with obvious plumbing.
- Controlling pollutants that can recirculate in your house can help. Some people have allergy issues with pet dander, some with pollen, but everyone suffers from chemical pollutants: smog, alkali dust, exhaust, smoke, etc. Many of those substances can be filtered out of the air to limit the impact on our lungs.
- If you have central heat, your filters can do more than you think. Years ago we discovered medical grade air filters, which you can buy as replacements for the cheap ones in the air intakes that should have been changed 2 years ago. The micron size of what a medical grade filter can grab, vs. a standard fiberglass filter can get is much smaller, meaning you can just run the fan in your house (without the heat on) and use it to clean the air.
Even for people without allergies or asthma, reducing the load of irritants in the air allows for better overall health. It just takes an investment of some key items to make your home a healthier place to breathe.
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