22 June, 2013

F-PJD35A's Time To Shine

First post

You know that moment in a product's life when you realise "This is what it was made for", or "I've gotten my money's worth"?

Recently, Singapore has been hit with record-breaking, health-hazardous haze. This level of pollution has never been seen before in Singapore. It was accompanied by selling out of respirator masks and, I never expected, air purifiers. There's even pre-orders for air purifiers. Cheap ones, $1000 ones, they're all gone.

Before this, I had been using my F-PJD35A, always wondering if it did any good. It was pretty dusty when I vacuumed it every 2 weeks, but, other than that, the air or surroundings didn't seem any cleaner. On the days with the worst haze, there was still a smell of smoke in the room. Was my air purifier working?

After the 3 heaviest days of haze, I thought the air coming out smelled a little smoky and decided to open it up to have a look, even though it wasn't due for a cleaning (last cleaning about 1 week ago). First, I noticed there was some dust around the edges.

Inside: WOW! There was a thick layer of sickly yellow dust!
So, not only did it collect more dust than usual, the dust was of an unusual yellow colour. Previously it was always white. It reminds me of phlegm, which is white when healthy and yellow when diseased.

This is a close-up after I vacuumed half the filter to see the difference.

After absorbing all the pollutants during The Great Haze Days, and using it for about a year before that, I think it has served its purpose. If only all my appliances could be like that. I still think it's amazing air purifiers are selling so well. Hopefully this will result in more choices and reviews.

Some words on air purifiers: despite this purifier's performance, I still can't help thinking of it as a fan with an air-tight filter. I wonder how much replacement filters cost; if they're very cheap then the fan part is overpriced.

There are some purifiers which try other methods of purification: water (e.g. Goodaire), electrostatic precipitation, ion generation (Sharp's handheld Plasmacluster), even plants, but I like to look to industry to see what works. And industry overwhelmingly uses filtration (cleanrooms). Even with filters, I don't trust the small units. To work effectively, the purifier must draw a certain volume of air through it in this much time. For small units to draw as much air, the velocity must be very high, making them very noisy. You should also look at maintenance to tell how effective a purifier is. If it only needs filter replacement once a year and nothing in between, it's not doing much filtering.

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