Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Wet Dog Smell

First off: I do not own a dog. The "wet dog smell" I'm referring to here is emanating from our (purported) air purifier.

This seems to be an ongoing problem with any air cleaner I've ever owned. I replace the carbon pre-filter, and replace the HEPA filter, but eventually the air that comes out of these devices ends up smelling, not purified at all, but rather like either wet dog or wet wool.

What the hell is up with these things?!?

I tried looking online, but apparently my Google-fu is weak. I find other people who have the same problem, but there is never any solution. One guy answered a question similar to mine with some discourse about how the smell is actually pure, clean air. Uh…no. It smells distinctly like a wet dog, and it's unpleasant.

So. Anyone else out there have this issue? Is there a cure? My newest model - a Honeywell, which by past experience is a good brand - is less than 6 months old. At a hundred bucks a pop, I'm not looking to replace it yet, but I've already cleaned and changed the relevant filters, and STILL I get this smell. Any takers?


Blogger Suze said...

We get that smell whenever we turn on the a/c. It is seriously gross. I think we might need to get our ducts cleaned (let's just add that to the staggering estimate we just got for finishing the basement, sob).
Wish I had some advice for you, but I don't! Only sympathy.

7:48 AM  
Blogger Strangeite said...

I don't know anything about air purifiers but if the unit has a metal pre-filter of either mesh or grid, then this might be your problem.

I would be willing to bet that the manual tells you to wash this piece with water, which in theory works. Until you get small microscopic pits and cavities caused by the humidity in the air, which would then trap water and mildew.

You could try soaking this piece in ammonia, which "should" get rid of any mildew.

Of course this assumes that your unit has some sort of metal pre-filter.

10:44 AM  
Blogger Animal said...

Thanks Strange, I was hoping you'd comment. The PRE-filter is just a dry, wraparound piece of black smuch…it goes around the HEPA filter which IS a sort of mesh grid. However, the directions for the unit are very explicit: the HEPA filter is NEVER to be washed, only vacuumed. In fact, when I took the filters out, neither of them had that wet-dog smell…but, nevertheless, the air coming out the thing does.

Thanks anyway!

11:23 AM  
Blogger Strangeite said...

Did you wash the pre-filter though?

What is the model of your purifier and I will see if my Google-Fu is still strong?

1:54 PM  
Blogger ric said...

Hey animal did you ever resolve this issue? It sounds like I own the same Air Purifier as you and I have the same wet dog smell!

8:23 PM  
Blogger Animal said...

Hey Ric,

Nope, never did. Ended up simply getting rid of those big circular ones and replaced 'em with small, quasi-tower versions. So far, so good. At least these are cheaper, so that if/when it dies, less expensive to replace.

10:35 AM  
Blogger superc00per said...

same problem here. it happens even without the pre-filter. and it does not happen when running the unit without the filter inside. so, it must have something to do with the "permanent filter".

12:25 PM  

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