Thursday, September 25, 2008

Particulate matter begone!

It is with mixed feelings that I set up my new HEPA air purifiers yesterday. I ordered three Honeywell units to place in various parts of the house. One large-area unit downstairs and two medium-area units in the upstairs bedrooms. I have about 1350 sq. ft. and the combined efforts of these three units should be enough to keep the air sweet throughout the house--despite three messy cats.

Hitch one is when only two arrived. I received notification from the shipper that the units had been sent and was given a UPS tracking number. On the scheduled day of delivery, I was working at home in order to be on hand to sign for the boxes. To my surprise a Fed Ex truck pulled up, a guy got out, dropped a box on my doorstep, rang the bell, ran back to the truck, and sped off down the road. No time to chat, I guess. The box was the one larger-area unit, but where were the other two--and why did it come Fed Ex when I had a UPS tracking number?

I fired off an e-mail to the shipper asking what happened. (I called first, but they were gone for the day.) Later in the day, UPS showed showed up with a single box containing one of the two other units. No mistake, just one box. The shipping label was clearly marked "1 of 1." So, I ground my teeth a bit and, minus a fine layer of tooth enamel, went to set up the units I had.

Hitch two: they're loud. I knew they wouldn't be silent, but I was surprised at the deafening roar the units make on full blast. However, the lower settings produce a tolerable hum and whoosh. For 24/7 operation, low is good enough. I only need high for clearing out a lot of dust or smoke. If I don't catch on fire, I'm good with them on low.

Hitch three: the one large-area unit needs to be placed no closer than three feet from any walls or furniture, so, pretty much smack in the middle of the room. Hmmm. Effective, but a bit of an eyesore and obstacle. I had planned to put it in one nook of the room and now I have to rethink. It's smack in the middle for now, but it's portable enough that I can move it about with ease and put it out of the way when I have people over.

I am relieved that the units don't frighten the cats. In fact, I think they kind of like them. Rhiannon, who's a 'fraidy cat in many respects, cuddled up next to the large-area unit downstairs after hesitantly sniffing the air output and making funny cat faces at it. Maybe the hum seems like mama's purr to her. I'm glad she didn't run under a bed and hide. Grendel and Maebh seem to take them in stride. Grendel is typically indifferent to anything that is not food and Maebh just can't be distracted from the evil plots she's always hatching.

And what of the missing unit? That's hitch four. When the shipper answered my e-mail, they said they were out of the medium-area units and could just send the one. Thanks, but that's the first I'd heard of it. They communicated with me by e-mail to confirm my order, detail the charges and shipping costs, and notify me of the shipping and delivery date. At no point did they let me in on the secret that my order was only being partially fulfilled. There goes another fine layer of teeth enamel.

Now, with the units on low for the last 24 hours, the air in the house is much sweeter. The dense, swirling mass of particulate matter that I could once see in the sunbeams than shone through the windows is gone. That's pretty amazing and exactly what I hoped for when I bought the units. Also, the unit in my bedroom, which doesn't need to be smack in the middle, provides that nice white noise hum that induces sleep.

Now I just need that other unit.

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