Bad, vile and meaningless: About Oxy3Silence from Alan's clob

Oxy│Silence z9010 -- a review

This is a simple user's review. I don't possess measuring equipment to analyse the effectiveness of this device apart from my nose.

First of all, the prices for home air cleaners vary. The most expensive models can go up to 1000 euros (or more, but they tend to have medical usages), and some respectable units such as Elixair's E400 sell at 700 euros or so. The Elixair models have been very well received, and have fared well in tests, although there are no comprehensive tests comparing many of the models in market today. However, in this competition, Oxy│Silence is a bargain and can be had at 250 euros or less.

Thus, one Elixair unit would be competing against nearly three Oxy│Silence units before the costs become matched. Even more importantly, it was also the one which was available: the local supermarket carried it. So, I went and bought it last Tuesday.

Theory

The world is filled with 1 micrometer and submicrometer particles. These particles come from car exhaust, pollen, tobacco smoke, whatever. They can cause discomfort, clogged noses, contribute to infections and could in fact clog up the lungs over time. So, in principle there is some small health benefit to be expected in having an air cleaner.

The units combat the mites hanging in the air with some of the following strategies:

The unit is a 50-liter box with a large cavity in the center. The cavity houses something they call "corona wire" which is apparently an ionifying device, and the motor that propels air around. Attached on top is an electric filter unit, basically a grill of plasticish material whose plates are kept in high voltage potential when the unit is operating.

The air intake is at the bottom, and there's a simple large-holed grill in the air intake path on both sides, nothing fancy at all. Clearly the world of air cleaners is vastly overpriced. There is not enough technology inside any of them to warrant prices much above 100 euros.

There is no active carbon filter in z9010 by default, but I'm told it is possible to fit one in every model. The active carbon filter would be placed on top the electric filter unit, and would cause the expelled air to be almost completely pure.

Specifics

The cleaner uses 36 W and makes 31 dBA noise in the lowest operation mode. The low power consumption allows one to run the machine constantly. The fancier models z9020 and z9030 feature a LCD display and sensors for dynamic modes of operation. For instance, it is possible to make the unit filter more when the air becomes less clean, or when the background noise level is already greater. However, the z9010 is a no-frills static model that lacks all those dynamic goodies, but otherwise it has the same basic features.

Operation

The device makes a low hum that is registerable but almost completely ignored by anyone spending life with laptops or PCs, almost no matter how quiet. Any household noise, including water running through radiators, is likely to make just as much noise.

The unit makes a smell that reminds me of rain and hot iron, although the air it outputs is not warmed. The smell is probably due to some ions in the air. The manufacturer also says the unit makes small ozone emission, well below expected standards. Maybe so: if there is any ozone I can't smell it.

As soon as I turned it on this place begun to smell differently. I had this damp smell from old garbage and general neglect, and the unit appeared to definitely clear it up in the first 30 minutes of operation. Since then I haven't been able to determine any fundamental changes to the smell. It's been steady and fairly neutral, although it does smell a bit like rain.

I have slept 2 nights with this device and can attest that I have woken up with my nose clean in both mornings. I'm a lousy housecleaner and I confess not having vacuumed for at least a month. Consequently this place is probably pretty dirty, at the micrometer level at least. I suppose this proves that the device works.

Verdict

If only it were possible to know in absolute terms how efficient the device is, or have more competition. Right now I have a cautiously positive assessment, lacking long-term experience of different cleaners or their performance.

The unit is certainly working, and has caused palpable changes in my apartment. That being said, the prices for air cleaners need to go down. These units are not worth 250 euros, they are worth 150 euros or less. We need more good competition, tests, and analysis for the different models.

Also Finland's allergy institution needs to recommend models that regular users can actually go and buy. I'm not an allergic, but it was the obvious first place where to look.