Machine Monday: Air Purifiers

Filter #1

This is the first air filter machine we bought. It is small and was relatively inexpensive (around $60). It was early in the season and they were the only air filters we had seen, so we bought two of them and put one in each of our bedrooms.

In retrospect, they were not a good purchase. Both because they don’t have a great rating and because we’ve learned it’s impossible to find replacement filter inserts for them, even at the store where we bought the machines.

Filter #2

This is a high quality (and VERY expensive) air filter machine from IQ Air. Mt. View Church in Oregon had given us $1,000 to help with air filtering once we moved. We spent all of that on this machine…plus some. (You can read more about the adventure of paying for this filter here). We are very grateful for the kindness of that gift.

Side note: This air filter cost more than a Mongolian who is working full-time, making minimum wage (like elementary teachers and many government workers) would make in an entire year. Minimum wage here is less than $100 per month and, while things are generally cheaper here, they’re not that much cheaper. You could have 4 adults working in a home and still maybe not be able pay rent let alone feed yourself and your kids…that’s why so many people live in the ger districts….someday we’ll tell you more about the ger districts. Certainly, a lot of people make more than minimum wage–there are a fair number of Lexuses on the street and some high-end malls–but most people do not make a living that we would consider comfortable in the west.

This income disparity is part of the reason we feel a little guilty that we can afford things, like air purifiers, to maintain our health. It’s not an overstatement that this purifier could prevent us from getting sick several times this year, from ending up in the hospital, or prevent us from loosing a few years of our lives.

I had to pause as I typed this and felt the weight of what it said.

If we did not have an air purifier our lungs would be poisoned. Most people cannot afford an air purifier so their lungs are poisoned. This is incredibly unjust and I don’t know how to feel or what to do about it so I’m just living in the tension feeling grateful and feeling guilty and feeling unsure how to move forward.

It has 3 internal filters which require some maintenance. We (who am I kidding? Cory…) vacuums the pre-filter weekly. The other levels of filters inside need to be changed at varying times between 3 months and 2 years depending on the level of pollution, how often it runs, etc. The internal filters cost about $100 per filter to replace.

Filters #3 & 4

Cheap but effective. These are filters attached to fans. The first is a fan that is specially shaped to hold the filters. This filter system was designed by a Ph.D. student in China because he realized that most air purifiers were prohibitively expensive for the people who needed them most (the people in the developing world). So he started a company with the goal of creating low-cost air filtration systems. The one we have is roughly $45. Replacement air filters cost $20.

Since it appears to be a filter tied to a fan, we are experimenting with just attaching a filter to a fan we already have to see how that works.

This is the only filter where we can actually see how gross it is. You know how when you put a fan in the window dust collects in the shape of a circle behind it? It took about a day and a half for the filter to be noticeably darker simply from sitting in LeYanna’s room.

The reason we got this filter for LeYanna’s room is because she was going to need the fan on anyway (it adds ambient sound and cools her off in temperatures that are regularly over 80f/27c due to government controlled heat) so we figured we’d do our best to blow filtered air at her. It works. We change these filters about once a month.

Filter #5

This one we bought because it was a fan and humidifier that also has some mild cooling capabilities. We’ll talk about those functions in a future post. It also has the ability to filter large particles which makes all the other filters’ jobs a little easier and why it’s being mentioned in this post.

We vacuum this filter on a weekly basis.

Those are our air purifying machines. Are you overwhelmed? We were researching and buying them. But we are grateful that they exist and that we’re able to buy them.

Next week’s post will be about humidifiers (because the air here is SO dry).

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