Review of: Hoover WH10600 HEPA Air Purifier w/ TiO2 Technology
It's been about a week since this arrived, so I've had time to evaluate it properly. The first thing to understand is this is not an 800 dollar air cleaner. I am rating and reviewing this against other units in its price range.
The Hoover WH10600 HEPA Air Purifier w/ TiO2 Technology is a "room air purifier," not a whole house air purifier. If your concern is for your whole house, you could put one of these in the room in which you spend the most time and another one in another part of the house. Together, these will give you something close to whole-house air purification if left to run long enough and if your home isn't subject to massive air changes.
This comes in a well-designed, informative product box. I was pleased that I didn't need to fire up a chainsaw or use the Jaws of Life to extract this from its product box. Already off to a good start, I pulled this out and was immediately struck by how handsome the unit is.
It's relatively heavy for its size, too. It feels substantial. I didn't take it apart to see how it's built, but it's unlikely Hoover simply added dead weight to fool customers. The "heft" of the unit is due, most likely, to its having a high quality blower motor and solid case construction. That means the unit isn't going to rattle or fall apart, and it means its motor is going to last for many years to come.
That positive first impression lasted until I turned it on. What an awful smell. Note to Hoover: Generally speaking, the motivation for people to buy an air cleaner isn't that they want to stink up their home. While I realize this is "normal" for air filter units these days and goes away after a few hours of run time, it is probably the main reason people send these back for a refund.
While we consumers are price-sensitive, we aren't counting every nickel when deciding between products. It's more on the order of $50 or $100 differentials. On a per unit basis, it should not cost more than a few dollars to add a "curing" step (air them out with a forced draft) in the production process.
I ran the unit for about 10 minutes, then shut it off. Over the next several days, I ran it intermittently. The smell gradually went away.
While it does offend the nose, it is kind to the ear. On its lowest setting it's actually quiet. You could set it in your living room and not even know it's there, quietly cleaning the air you breathe.
This unit uses HEPA media, but Hoover doesn't say that it's a true HEPA filter. So is it a HEPA filter or not? The DOE is the authority that defines HEPA. The DOE definition of HEPA is that it removes 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3 micrometers. The product box quotes this verbatim as a performance claim. Based on that, we can say this is a true HEPA filter rather than a "HEPA-like" filter. I just find it odd that Hoover doesn't state "True HEPA filter" for those who aren't inclined to look up definitions.
The filter is easy to access. I mean really easy. On some air cleaners, it's tricky to open the access panel and painfully frustrating to try to get it to snap back in place. Not so with this one. It's secured by a latch and tab, which it works quite nicely. No need to get out a laser alignment tool and a set of crowbars just because you were foolish enough to attempt a filter change.
There is a pre-filter, which can be washed and/or cleaned with a standard household vacuum cleaner. My experience is that you should always vacuum and never wash these. Washing them damages the material without getting it clean. I'm also capable of making a replacement from a sheet of the same material (available at any hardware store).
The HEPA filter is not washable; washing will destroy it. Hoover sells a replacement, and talks about replacing the filter. My recommendation would be to vacuum it rather than replace it, until vacuuming proves insufficient. The filter should, I think, last for several years without needing replacement.
This unit also has a charcoal filter. Charcoal absorbs gases, so in the case of excess burrito consumption this could be a very useful feature. However, charcoal has a limited absorption capacity and then it's used up. To reduce replacement costs, avoid putting odors into the air. For example, if you are going to pop popcorn then shut the filter off and open the windows. To dispose of the fumes from excess burrito consumption, run the bathroom fan or go outside.
This is a really great air filter. Let's look at more reasons why, taking our cue from the product box.
Clean. The unit uses a Titanium Oxide screen to boost the effectiveness of its germ-killing UV lamp. The claim here is it helps remove 99.9% of germs. I didn't do a germ count to verify this.
Smart. This device has the Intellisense Control System. It monitors air particle levels and automatically adjusts the fan setting. On the one hand, having the lighted panel going and the unit essentially on standby all the time wastes electricity. I'm one of those folks who unplugs my DVD player after watching a movie, and I don't leave chargers plugged in either. On the other hand, if your goal is to have clean air at the lowest cost, then this system eliminates the guess work. It takes less power to run the electronics than to run the fan at high speed. Turning a blower on and off is also an energy-sapping thing to do.
LCD display. This is well-executed. The box says user-friendly interface and I found that was actually true.
Remote control. Suppose you have this in your living room and are entertaining company, but it's running on high mode. You can push a button to manually over-ride that to low mode without having to get up. Same thing if it's in your office and you want to answer the phone.
Intellisense Control System. The display of the ICS actually changes color to show you the air particle level. The three colors are blue (good), yellow (fair), and red (poor).
Change filter indicator. Really, you should make filter vacuuming part of your regular house-cleaning chores. This way, you aren't running a dirty filter. I clean my filters when I vacuum my carpet (yes, that is a very efficient way to do it, both in terms of your time and your energy bill). But if there's been high dust and your filter's clogged or if the vacuuming just does not do the job anymore, this unit will let you know your filter needs changing.
Ionizer. Just about any air filter will come with one. Use this sparingly, as it makes ozone.
Timer. This seems counter to the "monitor and adapt" philosophy of the ICS. It allows you to set a shutdown time X hours from the current time.
UV/TIO2 On/Off Controls. This is a great feature if you have a sick kid or some other situation in which the household germ count might be dangerous. Do keep in mind that UV lamps have short lifespans and you either use them sparingly or replace them often.
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