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Oreck ProShield Plus Air Purifier
on May 17, 2012
I've had one of these newer Oreck ProShield air "purifiers" for almost two years now. It's Okay as an "air cleaner", but was an expensive disappointment for it's intended use.
First, these units are not air "purifiers". The "Truman Cell" is just a fancy electronic grid of wires and flat metal panels that ionise particulates as they pass through, causing them to adhere to the metal plates by a static charge. Particulates large enough to be affected by the change in ionic charge are trapped, while smaller ones may still travel through the unit and remain suspended in the air. It is very effective at removing particulates from the air. But, this is far from "purification".
This is also nothing new, and Oreck have actually been making this exact same air "purifier" in the same essential design for at least 30 years. The only differences are that the units have gotten larger, and they now have pretty blue LEDs--they are also almost 5 times the price.
Back in the 1980's I had purchased one of Oreck's Truman Cell air cleaner units and I was rather amazed as how floating dust went in and became stuck to the metal plates. It was certainly convenient enough to wash clean without having to buy new filters every month or two.
After all the hype over the Sharper Image Ionic Breeze I decided I wanted a unit that had an added carbon filter to help remove perfumes and other chemicals from the air (as I happen to be allergic to them) and since the Oreck units are essentially an Ionic Breeze with extra fittings, I figured it would be a good choice. What I got was an oversized version of the air cleaner I had in the 80's.
Oreck claim the unit is "Whisper-quiet" which is nonsense, unless your are hearing impaired. Even on the lowest setting the centrifugal fan in the back of the unit buffets the air in an annoyingly noticeable manner. It's unavoidable as this type of fan is inherently noisy. At the higher speeds, the unit grows more and more intolerably loud.
There are two different units: one with an activated carbon filter, and another with what Oreck call the "UV-A Helios Shield".
The carbon filter model has contains a removable/replaceable flimsy honeycomb insert of activated carbon that is designed more for high air flow than for absorbing anything. As well, due to the limited surface area of the carbon filter, these would need frequent replacement, and at $50 per carbon filter, Oreck has positioned themselves for a fair profit.
Not only is there insufficient carbon surface in the carbon filter to remove odours for any length of time, it also fails to absorb airborne chemicals in any useful manner. If someone walks into the room dowsed in perfume or body spray, I'm better off leaving the building than relying on this thing to clean the air.
The "Helios Shield" is a UV light device that is intended to kill airborne micro-organisms that "cause odours" and are intolerant of UV radiation. Unfortunately, on the scale permitted by the unit's size and power consumption, this does more for one's emotional ease than it does to sanitise the air. This is not even close to a hospital grade UV bacterial shield. Save your money. You don't need UV light in shelf-top air cleaner.
I have read complaints in other reviews about the direction of air returned to the room and static "snapping" coming from the "Truman Cell".
The air return is directed over the front of the unit to help increase circulation in the room so that static pockets of air don't form at the far side. It is also meant for shelf use, as well as a free standing unit, and should the unit be placed under another shelf the air needs to be directed so that it can escape from the shelf space.
I would certainly prefer moving vent louvres so that the owner can adjust the air flow--especially with the option to rotate the vent to the opposite side of the unit when in a standing position. This is not at all possible. The louvres don't move at all.
The snapping sound from the metal plates is common on these units, and with all cleaners that use this type of ionising grid. When particulates become trapped between two electrified surfaces they arc, creating the snapping sound. This can be increased by soap residues (use a grease-cutting dish soap, and rinse very well), as well as by moisture/humidity in the metal grid.
Keep in mind, this is essentially the same technology used in backyard bug zappers, except that the grids are designed to trap dust, not bugs.
If all you want/need is to remove dust and allergen particulates from the air, this is definitely a capable unit to do it. It will work a bit more efficiently than the Ionic Breeze, but with that efficiency comes the sacrifice of added noise due to the squirrel-cage type fan.
It will certainly not suck in dust that has settled on furniture, and if the quantity of airborne allergens is too dense, this unit may not be able to compete. (I.e., if allergens are flowing in through an open window, this is not a solution unless you close the window.)