Clean your damn fan or air conditioner

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If you have central air, I recommend buying a service agreement with an HVAC company. Ours costs $277 a year, which gets us two cleaning visits plus a replacement air filter (we opted for an expensive filter system, which is $48 bucks to replace). The tech will clean other parts and test the system. It’s worth it.

Plus change your car’s cabin air filter at least once a year. You can do it yourself: the instructions are in your driver’s manual, which, if you’re like most people, you probably never read. You’ll save $20 or more. Don’t confuse this with the engine air filter. The cabin air filter is probably behind your glove box. (Your engine filter is also easy to change yourself.)


On the job, I inherited a facility with >100 tons of cooling capacity and managed to cut unanticipated maintenance visits from 3x/month down to zero. I also had a business identifying sources of mold in homes.

Thom’s article is spot on. Not just for his allergies. Otherwise healthy people exposed to this stuff can develop health problems.

For your health at home, also clean your computer fans including the laptops, if you have access to them, or bring them in at least every couple of years. (I found my Dell laptop relatively easy but had to prep for organizing the screws).

@alboalt’s advice for vehicles as well. You can take charge of both your cabin and engine air filters. K&N Filters are essentially lifetime filters (only warrantied for a million miles though) that instead of replacing you take out and wash every few months. My MPG improved with their engine air filter. I have mixed feelings about the cabin air filter.

I see on K&N’s website they are also making home filters. I don’t see any HEPA standard mentioned, only “ASHRAE 52.2 Tested.” Here’s a layperson’s backgrounder (PDF) on what more they should be saying. I had a similar sense about the auto cabin filters.


If the dust is trapped is it then not in the air?

The Fan’s efficiency makes sense. Ducts are different but the EPA suggests duct cleaning is unnecessary, is there data that shows otherwise?

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My brother bought K&N air filter for his Kawasaki motorcycle. The quality is incomparably better than the original.

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One of my clients has a number of apartments with through wall A/C’s & I keep seeing ones that the condensate tray gets filled with a mix of water & dust which then becomes a wad of some sort of biofilm glooop.I causes them to leak water inside, & god only knows what the air being drawn over the bacteria & mold laden water is doing to people. The real scary thing is when you pull the grill off the front & see the mold growing in the styrofoam ductwork leading to the vents. Those things need a good vacuuming out & then hosing down with lysol or something similar.

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