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Dealing with Smoke

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Aug. 31st, 2009 | 09:47 am

So the air around my apartment is varying between "unhealthy for sensitive groups" and "unhealthy".

However a few weeks ago I'd made a small purchase that I think has helped my indoor air quality. I picked up a an air filter that's designed to trap dust and pollen, and last night I left the AC fan on.

Most air conditioners have an intake vent, and the standard fiberglass filter is designed to just remove lint to protect the blower. There are now also AC filters that are designed to filter out smaller particles. At OSH, the replacement fiberglass filter for my AC was less than a dollar and would last for a year, the middle of the road particulate filter was more like $4-$6 and should last for 3 months.

The important thing to know about swapping a filter is the length, width, height dimensions. (If you've got a standard size, everything is easy).

The one thing I'm concerned about is this is probably making the blower work harder, which might shorten the life of the blower.

There are also stand alone air filters that are likely to be more effective, but much more expensive.

Another possibility to improve indoor air quality, is How to Grow Fresh Air. Some years ago a researcher figured out that some houseplants make good chemical air filters. I don't have the book next to me so I can't check how useful it'd be for cleaning up smoke though.

A google search for "How to Grow Fresh Air" also turned up a TED talk.

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