Oh, man! What a week!!! And, I don’t mean the election. My only comment about that is that I would rather not discuss that on the blog. No matter your views, you are entitled to them, but please let’s stick to less controversial topics like air conditioning. Okay?
Indoor air pollution is real, and we’ll get to that in a minute.
But first, the news. And lovely people out there. I’m so glad you’re here. Sometimes I feel terribly alone.
Many of you know that Friday, the 6th was the new apartment’s closing date in Boston. The time-frame was insanely tight due to forces beyond my control. If I knew what I know now, I never would’ve agreed to that. The mortgage company missed their first deadline to secure the mortgage. But, made it within one hour for their second deadline last Monday, the 2nd of November.
However, they could not manage to come up with the loan on the day of the closing until 5:00 PM, and the closing was at 10:00 AM.
Yes, you read that correctly. Therefore, I do not officially own the apartment until Monday. And since I don’t own it, I can’t go inside. I know. But, I was so exhausted by then, I just fell into bed.
Therefore, I am back in New York, with my car still full of stuff I had brought with me to drop off. The money did come through, and the sale will be certified on Monday. But, since it would mean two more nights at the Airbnb, I decided to come back and regroup. Besides, I need to have cable, internet, and electricity going, at the very least.
In the meantime, I did a lengthy walk-through of the apartment and did notice that while “broom clean,” the living room is quite dirty from what looks like soot.
Oh, I hope the seller isn’t reading this. She has been incredibly kind and left me all sorts of wonderful goodies, like all of the plants in the garden and the grill. Oh, and the TV and stereo equipment. And more! Plus, I hear she’s a super-nice lady.
However, all of that exquisite trim has many areas where it is black if you run a paper towel over it. And, some of it is where furniture was and when it is taken away, that’s what you get. That happens to us all. Plus, it is in the heart of Boston, with other houses densely packed all around. It is unavoidable. But, that’s the purpose of this post. I want to explore some solutions to combat things floating around in the air and landing on our surfaces.
Please understand that having lived in New York City for nearly 13 years, I am no stranger to soot and city grime.
In fact, when I first moved to my Bronxville apartment, because of the other apartment buildings, which were burning oil, my place got pretty sooty quite quickly. However, about 5 years ago, all of the buildings converted to gas, and the soot problem diminished considerably.
Still, I need to wipe the sills regularly.
The rest of the place stays remarkably clean, which I love since dusting is not exactly my idea of fun.
One thing I do multiple times a week is vacuum.
And some areas get vacuumed two or three times a week and some not as often. However, I have found that if I vacuum a lot, the place doesn’t collect much dust.
My vacuum cleaner has a HEPA filter. HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. So, I guess that’s clear that it traps the tiniest dust particles. The filter gets cleaned, and then it is good to go for the next time it is used.
So, I need a heavy-duty cleaning service to come and really clean the walls, including the ceiling, as well as the floors. They should be cleaned before painting anyway.
Okay, but then what?
I don’t want that black stuff getting all over my furniture, walls, and floor. Also, I certainly don’t want to be breathing it in.
Therefore, what I’d love is to have a discussion regarding the best solutions for keeping indoor air pollution down. And, also eliminating soot, grime, and dust.
Of course, there is also the virus issue and what we can do to keep ourselves safer from it, should it get into our living space. Quite frankly, I think that would be awesome; however, I don’t want to go that far because there is still so much we don’t know about the virus. I recommend following the instructions of the authorities for this.
My goal with this post is dealing with indoor air pollution and grime from a VISIBLE standpoint. The concern is eliminating dirt and grime that we can see, not what we can’t see.
Okay, so let’s dive into this topic and see what we can do to eliminate the build-up of soot, dust, mold, and other allergens.
I mean, it only makes sense for health reasons. And besides, who out there really LOVES dusting?
I mean, wouldn’t it be wonderful not ever to have to dust? I’m not sure if that’s possible.
Since this is not my area of expertise, I welcome those who have bonafide experience with home air filtration systems to chime in with what they know to be true, from their own experience. And, I would like to discourage comments from those who are talking off the top of their heads without any firsthand knowledge.
One thing I know from my firsthand experience is regular vacuuming with a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
I adore my Hoover WindTunnel cordless vacuum. It’s very lightweight and comes with a detachable dust buster and HEPA filter. However, they’ve discontinued the model.
Below are two other highly rated cordless vacuums. These are so wonderful because they are very lightweight, yet still quite powerful. My theory is that even if slightly less powerful than the big guns, it’s okay. The reason is that one is more apt to vacuum if it is easy. And, these babies make it super easy.
Of course, the filter needs to be cleaned. After every vacuuming, I take out my filter and bang it against the sink to release some of the fine dust. And, then, once a month or so, the filter gets washed by running a lot of water through it. That seems to work well.
Still, if you want even easier, then I heartily recommend the I-Robot Roomba vacuum cleaners.
I don’t have one, but I’ve talked to people who do, and they love theirs.
I think I’d love to get a Roomba Robot vacuum cleaner.
Not only does it put itself back on its charger when it’s done, but first, it empties the dirt for you. That is incredibly thoughtful. Oh, I know. I know. It’s programmed to do that. If only people could be programmed like that!
One thing about these cleaners is that they take a long time, and they don’t get into the corners. Therefore, of course, one needs to do that by hand. However, I understand that they are quiet and do a very good job. Plus, they are continuously sucking up the dust that’s in the air.
If you have a Roomba, please let us know how you like yours.
The next way to combat indoor air pollution and keep things cleaner is with an air purification system.
Now, if you have central air conditioning, your AC most likely already comes with this, or it can be retrofitted, I’m presuming.
Besides, I do find that window air-conditioners do filter out some of the dust. It does help to remember to clean the filter. Mine just gets rinsed.
In addition, when we are talking about central air conditioning, there are two types.
- With ducts
The former is great if you already have it. If not, it’s quite expensive to put in and can create some aesthetic issues with the ductwork sometimes.
Ductless airconditioning is called a mini-split and requires a condenser, outside the home. And, then one or more of those fugly plastic boxes that hang high on the wall. (see above) OR, there is also a console version that is also pretty ugly.
The other consideration with the ductless air conditioners is that the compressors are noisy. Ugly and noisy is not a good combo. We had a big heat pump HV/AC, for years, but we didn’t have a choice.
Can you hide the compressor if you have a small outdoor area like I have?
Yes, you can. But, there is still a noise factor. Who wants to be sitting outside with one of those loud things wrecking the serenity?
There might be ways to muffle the sound. We can definitely create a housing that will be attractive and functional for our outdoor living areas. If we can make the condensers beautiful and quiet, that solves our outdoor problem.
But, what about the big white plastic box hanging on the wall?
Pretty horrible, right? Why can’t they make these things beautiful? Air conditioners are starting to get somewhat better. I wish that they would get a lot better.
This reminds me that an apartment has been on the market for a long time not too far from my place. And not only do they have a couple of those plastic white boxes, they put them off-center.
It’s like maybe if we stick it as far in the corner as possible, no one will notice it?
And, in the bedroom, the location is even more strange, in my opinion.
They’ve reduced the price at least twice. I imagine that the ugly plastic boxes placed randomly or in horrible spots like over the fireplace are not helping.
So, is there a solution?
To tell you the truth. I’m not sure.
I believe you can recess these units in a cabinet. However, there needs to be good air circulation around them.
So, maybe you could do something like this.
Or maybe you could embed it in the wall, something like the one above. I am surmising that is the vent for an AC with ductwork, however. This is something to discuss with an air conditioning professional. However, they may not have ever heard of such a thing. The point isn’t whether he thinks it’s a good idea or not. The goal is to find out if it’s possible. Maybe the shelf underneath the unit isn’t a real shelf. It does need to be able to cool the room, not the cabinet, of course.
I love the idea of using an architectural grill over the face, whether it’s in the wall or part of a cabinet.
Below are some ideas of how that might look.
There are dozens of designs one could use.
POC+P architects – Australia – register cover.
Architectural Grille is a terrific source I have used for a radiator cover you can see here. You could paint it to match the wall or trim.
I love this idea so much better than louvered doors. You can also use a smaller scale pattern, or caning is also beautiful. Remember Lotte Meister’s gorgeous cabinet with inset caned doors?
But what about those condensers?
Well, the good news is that they aren’t quite as large as the HV/AC heat pumps, but they aren’t small either. They are usually about 33″ x 33″ x 13″ or so.
Below, I found a couple of ideas for ways to hide the condenser outside.
The side isn’t covered, or maybe they just pulled it out so you could see what is behind it.
Above is another idea that looks a lot better than the gray industrial box. Plus, it makes an attractive console table.
This has been a brief overview giving some ideas for ways to keep interior air pollution, dirt, dust, and other undesirable substances down to a minimum. And, I’m always looking for ways to make our lives easier. If we can also make our spaces more beautiful, that’s a bonus.
I also love those over the sill air conditioners.
However, the sill depth can only be a maximum of 12″ and 11″ respectively. And, I can see that mine are at least 16″-18″. The walls are thick, and then there are sills, both inside and out. And, I’m not allowed to change anything on the exterior. It’s a historic district.
God only knows that folks are stripping the insides of these antique beauties of their original mouldings and walls. They divide some of them up quite strangely, as well. I wish they wouldn’t do that, but they do.
And then they paint them gray and light them with super-white-bright LED lights.
I found out that the trim in the den/second bedroom is NOT original. However, I think they did a spectacular job, in that case. The tell was that it is in fabulous shape.
If you have a terrific air purification system or other ways of keeping your indoor air pollution way down, please share in the comments. I’d love to hear what you’re doing, what works, and what doesn’t.
Gosh, I hope this wasn’t too boring a post. Oh, wait a sec. This might spice things up somewhat. The other day, I found the coolest light switch cover. You guys might remember how much I love Michaelangelo’s David.
PPS: Monday, November 9, 2020 – The sale went through! The apartment is mine now.