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New BlueAir SmokeStop filter leaving me sour

Posted on july 5, 2020 by Laura in miscellaneous

I'm currently weeks behind on less essential work related things and things in my private live. This is mainly caused by above average health issues, the new website and the whole Ford ordeal. This causes things like this post to take weeks to create, because of priorities and lack of energy.

BlueAir SmokeStop filter set with box. Barcode: F-500S-E-18-002385At ASK-Solutions, we purify the air we breathe. We are located in one of the older parts of the inner city, only a couple minute walk away from Haarlem central train station. We're surrounded by red brick housing, shops, workshops and small to medium industry. It's also only a couple of minutes drive to both mayor highways.

Due to my condition, I've lived with air purifiers for nearly my whole life. Because of my constant illness, my parents bought a Mountain Breeze air purifier with activated carbon filters on three sides. Not only do I care for my own health, but also for the health of others. To be honest, I care less about myself than others; a personality flaw which is being worked on.

After years of good service from multiple generations Mountain Breeze units, it was time to look ahead. Replacement filters for the older units got a pain in the backside to obtain and on top of that the motor on one of the units burned out. After seeing a video by Fran and doing some research, I decided to get three BlueAir Classics 505. Unfortunately without SmokeStop filters; those were sold out and my supplier told it could take a few months before they would be in stock again. Luckily, Amazon.de had a couple on stock that were genuine filter sets, not the imitation filters sold on eBay.

About a couple of weeks ago I started to notice a sour smell causing me respiratory irritation, but I did not realize it could be caused by the SmokeStop filters. From experience, I knew carbon filters don't remove all smells, so I started to clean all the rooms thoroughly. Again, it was a video from Fran which pointed me in the right direction. She noticed a sour smell, only a couple of weeks after getting a BlueAir purifier fitted with a SmokeStop filter.

I switched out filters between rooms and air purifiers. The smell was definitely coming from one of the filters. The two other filters also had a sour smell, but not as strong. I contacted Amazon.de, they immediately offered me a refund but were not able to offer replacement filters.

I also contacted BlueAir, in the hopes that they knew what the problem was; especially because of all the stock problems I experienced. I clearly explained the problem and that the filters were practically new. Their reaction: "The air in a room is a complex mixture. Air purifier filters can cause smells over time, especially when they get older and need to be replaced. Some people are very sensitive in noticing those smells. You can buy new filters directly from us".

Well I'm sorry, that does not instil confidence. You could at least work with us to verify the Amazon.de bought filters are indeed genuine by asking if I've got a photo of the filters and box or having them sent in. They could have offered replacement under warranty, or shown a sign of care about our health instead of their sales.

I'm probably going to send them back to Amazon.de and claim a refund. Those filters are not worth petty cash, they're quite expensive. In fact it is undoable if you need to replace them nearly every month.

UPDATE july 7, 2020

Fran made a new video about the BlueAir filter problem.

UPDATE july 18, 2020

Fran has made another video about the air filter problems. BlueAir took back her BlueAir Classic filters. Fran now has new filter from Austin. These filters are classified as being industrial laboratory filters instead of personal home usage filters.

In her video, Fran states that the issues with the BlueAir filters could come from the fact that she’s not using them ‘at home’, but in her lab. I do not agree, and I speak out of a lifetime of experience with air filtration, both at home, at the office and in ‘real’ industrial and laboratory settings. I placed the word “real” in air quotes because I speak out of experience; industrial as in a floor operated with 5 to 30 people, filled with wood and/or metal working machinery, hydraulics, pneumatics, conveyor belts, welding robots, CNC machines and hydraulic presses. And I mean laboratory as in a chemical or high energy labs fitted with fume hoods, vacuum chambers, autoclaves, scanning tunneling microscopes where a couple of people work with strong smoking acids, bases and / or radioactive materials.

In those environments you need totally different multistage filters, often with part of the system inside and part of it outside the building. Fran's lab is more comparable with our office. Our soldering, wood and metal working takes place in a separate building. We use completely different filters there. In fact, the BlueAir filter that smelled the most sour, was the filter fitted in a quite part of the office where few people come. The less smelly SmokeStop filter was in the office with only desks and a maximum of three people doing deskwork there at the same time. We've run a single 3D printer in the office whilst the BlueAir SmokeStop filter was present. It's print time, whilst the BlueAir was present, was only a few hours with a good quality PLA filament.

I've also got years of experience in similar setups with Mountain Breeze carbon filters and nobrand carbon filter and DIY modified filters to fit in the older Mountain Breeze units. Including experience of hours of soldering next to one of those filters. I've had three bad experiences with carbon filters in my life:

  1. Having the filter next to an open window in the middle of a thunderstorm. Soaking both the filter and unit, which both had to be replaced. Such things happen to everyone at some point in their life.
  2. Having a replacement filter in stock for too long, which had partially disintegrated and was blowing fine black particles through the room. Buying to much, after not being able to source new filters.
  3. Spray painting a cabinet in the woodworking workshop, whilst forgetting to turn off the JET® AFS-1000 Air Filtration System, fitted with a carbon filter set. Lesson quickly learned when you notice the pitch of the air filter going up and seeing a different color front of the unit.

In the meantime, BlueAir, or the official distributor in our country has not contacted us. I've not heard back from BlueAir at all. I'm going to ask around again and also contact the distributor directly. I've still not sent back the sour filters. I've placed them in an empty vented room in direct sun light. I'm curious to what happens, as some people have suggested that can help. I'm also wanting to experiment with one of our UV-C lights, and see what happens.

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