The Sound of Silence

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There are people who can work crosswords and other puzzles on a train or plane or bus no matter who is around. They can do it in a restaurant full of families and screaming kids for that matter. The lure of the correct answers is enough to keep them at it in spite of the noise. On the other hand, some find all this background din destroys concentration. That would be me if the truth be told. I don’t even like music blasting from the neighbor’s apartment or the sounds of a TV on full volume. It is so bad that I don’t even like the hum of my top rated quiet air purifier. I have to have it on during allergy season as it cleanses the air of allergens and other respiratory irritants that keep me from breathing at my best. I went to a lot of trouble to get a good portable model so I can move it about the house and it accompanies me often where I am laboring over a tough puzzle or two. I prefer the sound of silence. I keep it on low to avoid any telltale noise.

Of course, I need the air purifier and had the strict requirement when selecting one for my own use that it be a very quiet machine. This is something that the top-of-the-line products boast of. If you are in the market and this is an issue for you, as it is for me, watch for the word “quiet” in the literature and description. Then you won’t go wrong.

An air purifier is a handy device and I will make allowances about it such as a slight hum if it does its job well in purifying the air of mold, smoke, germs, bacteria, allergens, and the like. A tiny noise is okay all things being equal. I can’t say that I detect it with my super keen ears. I am pretty content overall and can enjoy my puzzles anytime the machine is running. I like the fact that the device removes more particles at a high speed so I have that option. Speed usually means more noise, but not always. Getting the right size machine is what determines the degree of speed necessary to get the clean, odor-free air you desire. A large appliance can run well at a lower, quieter speed. Air purifiers are rated for efficiency reporting value (MERV), developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers. The top performers in our tests typically had a MERV higher than 10. Looking for this will help you avoid a machine that squawks. These would be the types that use a fan to suck in air.

A word to the wise from a noise-conscious owner is to be sure your unit is clean. A clogged one can generate odd sounds. For example, if it has an electronic preciptator’s collector plate assembly, you need to tend to it about once a month. A little labor is a small price to pay for quiet.