Oreck Proshield Review
Ahhhh, today I stepped outside and it was brisk.
Autumn isn’t quite my favourite time of the year because although I loooove sweater weather and the fact that I don’t feel like I’m being cooked every time I step outside, the decreased amount of light makes me feel a little lonely. I’m already feeling the effects of sundown at 7pm and daylight savings hasn’t even happened yet.
But with the colder weather and no sun to light up after-dinner park visits (ahhh, till next year!), it means more time spent indoors. And when the heat comes on, there’s no fresh air circulating through open windows or patio doors (unless you enjoy throwing money down the drain). This can mean that poorer quality air gets cooped up in the house and people with allergies and breathing difficulties are a little SOL.
I was fortunate to receive an Oreck Proshield air purifier from the folks at TTi Floorcare to review and put to the test!
First of all, the Proshield boasts some impressive features. Along with fighting allergens, dust and pet dander; it claims to:
- remove the cause of indoor air pollution and leaves crisp, clean air behind
- break down odors and volatile organic compounds like chemical fumes and aerosol vapours
- permanent electrostatic air filter never needs replacing
- oxygenator converts ozone into pure oxygen
- cleans the air of an 8′ x 10′ room twice every hour
- gets rid of cooking odors
- Air Revitalizer provides additional air freshness via release of negative ions
As you probably noticed, there’s a whole lotta SCIENCE happening in this unit. It’s not a machine that sucks in air through a piece of crepe paper that needs to be replaced every 3 months. This is a diagram of the 5-step purification process off the Oreck website FAQ:
The pre-filter catches the big stuff like hair and lint, smaller particles are electrically charged and then trapped by the charged plates of the collector cell. The odor absorber absorbs household odors, and then the air revitalizer freshens stale air with negative ions.
Yep – electrically charged – like a bug zapper. In fact, this is the label they’ve placed on top of the unit:
I almost feel like this is too high tech for me, haha. Although fortunately, the only thing I needed to do out of the box was plug it in! Here’s the tour before I did just that:
The Proshield is made of plastic and reminds me of a scanner from the early 2000s.
A handy design feature is that it can stand both horizontally and vertically to accommodate placement.
Inside the Proshield, it houses the pre-filter, Truman Cell, and odor absorber charcoal filter.
The “Truman Cell” has the alternately charged plates that catch all the particles, and is a “forever” filter. It never needs to be replaced, and can be cleaned just by soaking and rinsing with warm water and dish detergent.
The charcoal odor absorber however, is optional, and Oreck recommends to replace this every 6 months for full effectiveness. It cannot be washed, although you can vacuum it clean if necessary.
Initially, I tried to set up the Proshield in the living room by our entertainment system. This ended up not being possible because the cord was a foot-and-a-half shy of a good time. It measures at about 5′ in length, and somehow I feel like it should be at least 8′ if not more, especially since it requires you to place it on a hard surface like a desk. A standard desk or counter would already eat up about 2-3 feet of cord before you even hit the ground, so you pretty much need to have an outlet immediately beside it. 5 feet just seems a little restrictive. I’ve got hair appliances with longer cords than that. Just sayin’.
I decided to temporarily relocate to the hutch in the dining room.
The Proshield has a space-age glow to match it’s space-age technology. This night-light functions at full or half brightness, as well as the option to turn it off completely. I haven’t found myself craving a blue neon glow out of the corner of my eye lately, so I opt to keep this off for now.
The machine itself is very easy to operate with only 3 buttons to worry about. The top button controls the light, the middle controls the motor speed, and the third button turns the air revitalizer on and off.
The air purifier has three speeds: Low, Medium and High. The low setting is very quiet, and I would compare it to the sound of a laptop whirring when you’re running low on RAM. The medium setting is about as loud as an oscillating fan, and the high speed sounds like a kitchen exhaust fan. Oddly enough, while working close to the Proshield one day I found the white noise from the medium setting very relaxing!
You may have read previously that I moved into a new construction home, and so I would say that my house is pretty “clean” in the sense that it hasn’t had time to accumulate much in all the nooks and crannies. Dust isn’t a huge issue for us and I think that it may have something to do with the house’s energy efficiency rating. I ran the Proshield hoping to get some of those big zaps and arcs as promised on the label, but I haven’t heard anything yet. I even tried fluffing our couch cushions in front of the unit to generate some dust… but alas, no zaps. I guess that’s a good sign, right?
But I didn’t want to leave you empty-handed with this review, so I wanted to make sure I checked out two of the other big claims of the system: the odor absorber and the air revitalizer.
I’m sometimes reluctant to cook certain dishes in the house simply because of the overwhelming smell that takes a day or two to clear. So I thought to myself: “what is the most aromatic dish I could possibly make?”
The answer? Curry.
Dan and I have developed an obsession over Indian food over the past few years but our favourite Indian restaurant is almost 40 minutes away. To tide us over our cravings, I’ve been stocking up on various jars of Butter Chicken sauce from the grocery store. (Totally not the same, by the way.) But I also picked up a jar of curry paste last time I was there, and I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to try it out.
I closed all: doors, windows, vents, fans, and any sources of air movement whatsoever before I started cooking. Then I sautéed some onions and fried the curry paste into cubes of chicken. For like… a long time. I made sure no smell was left unturned! I didn’t use a lid to try and contain the spicy vapours like I normally would, and I even deglazed the pan once for extra aromatic release.
After a delightful dinner, I stepped outside to reset my nasal memory and walked back into the house.
Yep. Full on curry.
Then I turned on the Proshield at full speed and let it do its thang while Sweet Pea and I went upstairs. This was at 6:31 PM.
At 7:45 PM, I came back downstairs just to see how it was doing, and it was like dinner hadn’t even happened yet. No cooking smell to be found!
I was blown away. A smell like this would take DAYS to dissipate in my house. Because we opted for an over-the-counter microwave/hood-fan combo, the exhaust capability in my kitchen kind of… sucks. (Or doesn’t, ironically. It’s like buying a shower head that’s also a radio. …Yeah, I know.)
So in my previous, pre-Oreck life: I would have had to open up my patio door and living room window, turn on the “exhaust” fan, and burn a scented candle to neutralize the smell of our main floor. The Proshield busted all of that in just over an hour. Totally makes up for my non-hood-fan hood-fan. (Can you tell I’m disappointed in my hood fan? I’m not sure ;))
Air Revitalizer + Negative Ions
I was really interested in the air revitalizer and its claim to release negative ions for fresher, cleaner air.
I first learned about negative ions when I purchased a ski-jacket that used “Ion Bodies” to enhance performance. Negative ions carry health benefits and are found in places like the forest, after a rain or snowfall, close to moving water, etc. Basically, it’s that’s refreshing feeling in the air that you can smell and feel when in these areas. They have positive effects on the mind and body by removing excessive positive ions in the air caused by electronics and appliances.
I know that one place in my house that is definitely full of positive ions – is our home office. We have all sorts of gadgets running in there like computers, routers, hard drives, and every time I step in there I just feel a little… zapped. I read an article once about these children in Sweden who tried to grow watercress in a room with a wi-fi source and one without.
The watercress in the wi-fi room did not grow, while the other specimen was lush and thriving.
Y’all. This is a problem.
So I jammed that Proshield in the office and let it run for a few hours on medium speed.
I found that it did “feel” fresher in there, even though it still smelled “electronic-y.” (Does that even make sense? You know – like when you walked into your school’s computer lab, it just smells like a big hard-drive?) I’m kind of surprised it did smell that way, so I’ve decided to leave it there for the time being to see if it changes over time.
The Oreck website says that the catalytic oxygenator takes Ozone (which is a molecule of 3 oxygen atoms [O3]) and converts it into an oxygen molecule [O2] and an extra oxygen atom [O1]. Then O1’s bond to other O1’s creating more O2’s = Yay, more oxygen for you!
I literally do not even know how to prove this or show you that it’s happening.
The only thing I can offer is that maybe it wasn’t the white noise that got me concentrating, but extra oxygen instead? I hear that they pump oxygen in Vegas casinos to make everyone super energized and wanting to play slots. 😀
Although I wasn’t able to do any testing based on dust, pollen or pets, I do hope my review of its odor neutralizing and air revitalization capabilities has answered some of the questions you may have about the Proshield. I was very impressed with the way it handled cooking odors in our house (other smells neutralized were: pan-grilled burgers and the accompanying fat-drippings, steamed zucchini, cabbage rolls, pizza and baked applewood chicken.
I am also intrigued by the negative ion technology that is *possibly* improving my productivity. Upon further research of the benefits of negative ions, I also read that they can be effective in treating Seasonal Affective Disorder, so maybe I won’t feel so crummy this winter after all! Updates to follow, I’m definitely interested in the long-term results of this unit 😀
The Oreck Proshield is available at Costco.ca for $249.99.
**Update, Proshield to the rescue!**
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by TTi Floorcare. I received an Oreck Proshield for the purposes of this review. All opinions are honest and my own, as always!