Speaking of rip offs, what about air purifiers?
I know it's not directly related to credit reports, debit cards and the other topics here on real life debt, but I have to say that I feel like we'd go completely broke if I tried to keep up with the air purifiers, air filters, and air cleaners my wife has purchased for our house - and my office - in the last year or two.
What most bugs me about these air purifiers, I think, is that they're designed to go through their so-called consumables fast. Really fast. Ridiculously fast, actually. So a small kitchen air filter we bought at Wal-Mart that plugs neatly into a wall outlet and pulls smells out has a charcoal filter that - guess what - needs to be replaced every thirty days.
And our bigger HEPA air purifiers, from Austin Corporation, are wonderful floor fans and filters, but they need to be vacuumed every other day, and Austin says that the filters themselves should be replaced every six months or so. These air filter inserts cost upwards of $75 each, and that's a big chunk of money going out the door month after month for the dubious distinction of "cleaner air".
It's no surprise to me that our new "biowheel" aquarium filter also uses charcoal and that those filters also need to be replaced every thirty days, according to the manufacturer. I remember my childhood fishtank had a filter that I don't recall ever changing, but if I had kept to the recommendations back then, I'm sure I wouldn't have been buying new filters every thirty days, that's for sure!
So what's changed in our culture that we've become gullible and so much more susceptible to these clearly idiotic air purifier marketing strategies (and they're certainly not limited to air purifiers! My favorite example of this aggressive usage encouragement: shampoo bottles always encourage you to wash your hair twice each time. Why? To use up the shampoo faster, of course!). Is this just "give away the razor, sell the blades" gone completely mad?
Do my air purifiers, air filters, and air cleaners really need to have parts replaced so rapidly, and if so, why can't they be refilled and recharged like inkjet and laser printer cartridges? Or am I just barking up the wrong tree here, missing the real point of all of this?
Subsequent to this posting, I received a nice note from a reader, who shared:
"I just came across your article by chance and wanted to say that if you really want a good air purifier that DOESN'T require new filters or whatever every so often, you should check out the EcoQuest ones (formerly Alpine). They're expensive up front but only require an occasional cleaning for the next however-many years. I have two that I bought in 1996(?) and I rarely even clean them. A new ozone plate every year ($5) is nice but maybe not even necessary. And no, I don't sell these!! And I know almost nothing about all the others out there. Alpine (EcoQuest) is the best...so I don't even look. =) No need for a reply, of course...and do check out the main website rather than just the Google ad."Thanks for sharing that tip!
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