Friday, November 5, 2010

Money Well Spent?

Every once in awhile, you have to spend money to save money (as long as you pay cash for it, that is) but is the money well spent?

Though I've reviewed books, movies, and television shows for, I've never reviewed products until now. Last year, with cold and flu season fast approaching I bought a Germ Guardian EV9102 UV-C Room Air Sanitizer and a Germ Guardian GG100 UV-C Pluggable Air Sanitizer.  They both proved to be worth the money though both were pricey for an initial investment. The bigger model runs around $130 while the small version costs about $60.

I paid out the initial investment in desperation. My children and I all have weak immune systems. Three years ago, despite getting the flu shot, both of my children got Flu A & B. Both ended up with pneumonia. One of my boys ended up with Shingles. (Yes, you heard me right: Shingles, the blistering disease that old people normally get.) For three months, at least one person was sick in the house at all times despite the fact that I'm a pretty good housekeeper. (The back yard  and front flower beds are not technically in the house so don't judge me.) When flu season approached, I instituted several new "house laws punishable by banishment" which included various things we could do to keep ourselves healthy. I also bought these two versions of the Germ Guardian. My husband, usually a miser, remembered how much the various E.R. and chest x-rays bills cost him the year before and refrained from rolling his eyes.

The Germ Guardian company advertises that the use the same ultra-violet system that hospitals use to sanitize their air only on a smaller scale model suitable for houses. A fan draws in air, runs it past a UV light bulb which kills 99% of airborne bacteria and mold, then vents the clean air out of the top of the machine. This process also eliminates odors.

I did not have the capital to invest in a whole house model, but I could pay for the two smaller versions. 
We put the larger model in a central location on our main floor and the smaller plug-in version in the boys' room. The first winter we had these machines, we noticed an immediate improvement. First of all, when someone in the house got sick, that person did not give away the disease to anyone else in the house. That's right, at no point did one person get a cold and then the cold work its way through the other members of the family. Our kids went from missing several weeks of school to missing about 8 days total. We paid out one co-pay for one sick kid rather than paying co-pays for all four of us. 

As I mentioned before, I implemented several other "home health rules" which I will share in another post. Because of those rules, I was not completely sure it was the Germ Guardian causing such great results.

At the end of the first school year, the bulb on the downstairs model went out -- much sooner than we hoped, but we had run the machine constantly. Since it was summer, we decided to wait until that fall to replace the bulb.  When the time to replace it rolled around, the local Lowes did not have any replacements on hand so we waited some more...

And got sick. Our youngest got the flu and, even though we still had all our "health laws" in place, the flu moved through the family with ease. That's when my husband ordered the replacement bulbs online. After that, nothing moved through the family the entire winter. Now we are once more in the midst of flu season and I did it again. I forgot to replace our Germ Guardian bulb and get the machine running again. So boy number one got sick... now I'm sick. Guess what I did last night?  I forked out the cash for shipping and handling because I can't wait to replace our bulbs. The bulbs are not cheap, but neither is missing work with sick kids, paying co-pays, and buying Mucinex... unless of course you own stock in Mucinex.

I give Germ Guardian all five stars! If you have a weak immune system, this is an investment worth making.