Decisions, Decisions

I hate when I blow the household budget on boring things like replacing old, defunct air conditioner/filtering system that has just died a horrible death. It was taxed for too many years and finally gave out. In this day and age, it is a necessity of life so I was on the hunt. There are so many models at every price point. If you have a central system, you replace the master unit. There are also room cleaners with powerful fans and high-quality circulating HEPA filtration.

I did some research at and found that it is the most effective type. Rather than do ambient air treatment, I am going to get a HEPA system for the central unit. There are cheaper HEPA-like units, but why skimp on something important. I want the genuine article. Only the real thing will tackle the frequent cigarette smoke that lingers in the air after a party.

I have really compromised on my values by letting people smoke in my house as opposed to the front or back yard. I see neighbors lighting up, the butts glowing in the dark of night. Do that many people still smoke? I guess so, but you just don’t see people smoking in photos on Facebook like you used to in old printed photos. I have a few friends and family members who are heavy indulgers and it goes with the territory if you want to stay connected. I have banned pipes and cigars, but that is as far as I have gone. I hate dictating behavior, but there is that not-so-secret health concern, even from second-hand smoke.

This issue has helped me make my decision to get the best air filtration and cooling system available for a single-family home. HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters cleanse the air to medical-grade levels by means of a thick media (pleated) to remove a whopping 99% of airborne pollutants and allergens. If you worry about toxic microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and mold spores, this is your baby. There is one problem that may make you want an ersatz HEPA-like filter. The more efficient the system, the more it constricts duct airflow. Yes, this is a fact. What it means is that your AC decreases energy efficiency and reduces system performance. There are clearly plusses and minuses.

My serviceman has helped me see the light. There is an alternative to in-duct HEPA filtration—and that is an external filter connected to the system ductwork by means of a bypass duct. You then install a blower in the filter to draw air out of the main duct. It pushes this air through the filter and sends the filtered clean air out of this duct. You get continuous cooling and filtration in your household, all keeping within HEPA standards. No more restricted air volume. Problem solved.

I put in the system the expert recommended and was more than satisfied with the results, and the cost. It was just a bit more than a simple no-brainer replacement. Now I don’t mind if a few recalcitrant guests insist on smoking during a party.