Bedding for the Summer Season


Bedding for the Summer Season

With summer upon us, we reluctantly put away our Artic weight Hypodown comforter. We have air conditioning but our bedroom is still quite warm in summer months. My best picks for summer comforters are the Ming Dynasty silk-filled comforters (reviewed below in next article) or the Hypodown 800-fill southern weight comforters. Both are in the category of "spoil yourself" but silk-filled comforters cost less than you would think. The value choices are the Hyperclean down blanket and the Primaloft synthetic down blanket.

We also have a coupon special for silk comforters. $25 off any silk comforter.
Use the previously-advised coupon code at check out. Valid until July 31, 2002.

All about Silk Comforters

Silk comforters are a new addition to our site and I have been educating myself as the subtle differences between brands and what makes a silk comforter worth taking a look at for a summer bedding choice.

As the weather has warmed up, even in Boston, reluctantly, my husband and I jettisoned our Monarch Arctic 800-fill Hypodown "to die for" comforter. My husband, who had previously complained he was always cold before we got the Hypodown comforter, was now complaining of being roasted alive. This opened the way for me to turn our bedroom into yet another laboratory for product testing - this time silk comforters. My husband is now a very willing participant in these experiments. Here is what I concluded.


  • First thing I noticed was how unbelievably luxurious, supple and drapeable the whole silk comforter felt.
  • While not as "puffy" as down, it was just dreamy as a fabric. In fact, my husband said he liked being able to easily see the television in bed, as he has had to mash down the Hypodown Comforter in order to see over it!
  • Silk is naturally hypoallergenic and inhospitable to dust mites, so no allergic reaction or need for dust-mite encasings.
  • The silk comforter was as light as a feather and I did not feel weighed down, such as with the summer cotton blanket and cotton coverlet, I had been using. I sleep in an air-conditioned bedroom in Boston in the summer, and found the silk comforter surprisingly warm, in fact, warmer than I predicted. This is due to the fine thermal properties of Mulberry silk (explained below).
  • I have tried out several silk comforters including those made of Mulberry silk, the best quality silk in the marketplace. The Ming Dynasty silk comforter felt softer and smoothest of all the comforters I tried, due to it being made out of long fiber high quality silk. Tussah silk or wild silk is coarser with more impurities than Mulberry silk. Mulberry silk has better thermal properties.


  • Whatever silk comforter vendors say about silk, it is NOT as warm as Down even in heavier weights such as found in the Imperial Delight silk comforter that also I tried out, but it makes it a perfect summer weather candidate. I did find it to be warmer than Primaloft summer blankets or a Hyperclean down blanket.
  • I was startled to detect a slight, but not unpleasant odor, to silk comforters when I first unpacked them. Apparently, that is the smell of natural silk intensified by a plastic bag. It dissipated over a couple of days' duration.
  • A good silk comforter will last about 5 and up to 10 years if proper care is taken of it. This includes always having a duvet cover on it and never trying to wash it yourself, which would invalidate the warranty. A silk comforter needs professional cleaning.
  • This is not the kind of comforter to have your pets and children hang out on. While the feel is incredibly luxurious, it also feels much more "fragile". At the very least, I felt this was a bedding item to be treated "carefully". I concluded that a duvet cover was absolutely essential and is needed in order not to void the manufacturer's warranty. In the end, my favorite duvet cover was a 400tc cotton sateen; a very silk and supple feeling fabric but had the advantage of being washable - an absolute necessity for those of us who have pets who sneak up on the bed.
  • The "hand tacking" ties on the Ming Dynasty models initially appeared like the finish work on the comforter was somewhat lacking, until I learned that hand tacking or hand ties are the traditional Chinese design and are there to keep the hand ties in place. In any case, the ties do not show once the comforter is put into a duvet cover.


I am thrilled with my as a summer addition to my bed. It feels extremely luxurious and it has just the right of warmth for the warmer weather. From $269.95.

Don't forget about our silk comforter coupon special! $25 off . Use the previously-advised coupon code at check out. Valid until July 31, 2002.

Update on Primaloft Synthetic Down

Primaloft is a hypoallergenic fiber which mimics down. As such, it is perfect for the allergy sufferer and what's more it is a fraction of the price of real down bedding. It is very soft and lofty. So as you can imagine, it is very popular with our website visitors. In theory, you can also wash it, and the label on the comforter gives precise instructions as to how to go about doing that.

Here is our caveat. A Primaloft comforter will give you good honest wear, as long as you put it inside a duvet cover to minimize the need to clean it. What's more when you clean it DO NOT wash it in your washing machine at home. Most home washing machines are too small and the comforter will come out lumpy (read "ruined"). The same advice applies to Primaloft Pillows. While a Primaloft comforter could give you several years wear if treated with care, a Primaloft pillow will last 18 months to 2 years before losing its loft and going completely flat. Primaloft is delightfully soft and is very reasonably priced, but do not make the mistake of thinking it either has the lasting power of a top quality down comforter or indeed the warmth of an artic weight down comforter. We believe that many people in the Northeast would not find that Primaloft comforters are warm enough in winter. Conversely, a Primaloft blanket is an excellent value choice for southern or summer climates.

Update on the perfect pillow

Ever since I wrote the article last year "In Search of the Perfect Pillow", people keep on asking me, "Well have you found it yet?"

Here's a link to that article:

Now here's my update!

Wool Pillows
Wool is inhospitable to dust mites and it goes on forever. I see our wool pillows as virtually indestructible. It is not a lofty pillow and what loft it does have disappears quite quickly. Great for those who like a very firm pillow.

Alpaca Pillows
Alpaca pillows are an undiscovered little jewel. As hard wearing as our pure wool pillows, they contain 70% alpaca and 30% wool. BUT given Alpaca is softer than cashmere they have all the advantages of a wool pillow but are discernibly softer.

Cotton Pillows
For those people who want a firm pillow but one softer than wool with no chance of having any allergic reaction to it, cotton may be the answer. It is not as lofty as down or Primaloft but it wears quite well and is definitely softer than wool.

Hypoallergenic Down Primaloft Pillows
See my remarks in above article. We actually enjoy our Primaloft Pillows, I just wish they lasted a little longer, but for the price they cannot be beat. The medium-fill compresses down quite a bit within 6 months and is flat after two years. For a synthetic down, feeling as soft as it does, you cannot beat it ,especially at the price.

Royal Pedic Natural Latex Pillows
These are wonderful pillows especially if you need to align your back and neck. They are best for side and back sleepers but not for those who like to sleep on their stomachs. We are disappointed that they were not larger in size and they are not for those who wriggle around in the night, because you manually need to readjust the pillow when you move, as the latex is rigid in form. Also they are not for people who like to mash a pillow into a ball beneath them.

Hypodown Pillows
In my opinion, these are the cr®®me de la cr®®me. We started with Hypodown firm pillows which after a year show virtually no signs of aging. However, given the choice again we would go with Hypodown Soft or Medium 800-fill pillows.

We did a blind test in the office between the 600- and 800-fill pillows. Everyone got it right, there is a noticeable difference between them.

Hyperclean Pillows
Hyperclean Pillows are good hypoallergenic down pillows which are more value priced compared to the Hypodown and also have some useful child and travel sizes. They do not have the same luxury feel as a 800-fill pillow but they will still last for years and not cause allergic reactions.

Your Furnace Filter

What A Furnace Filter Can Do For You

Traditionally, furnace filters were designed to protect the furnace and fans. With increased air quality awareness, some filters are now being installed to reduce exposure to particles which can affect your health.

There is a wide variety of furnace filters available. However, you may find it difficult to select one that suits your needs and know what to expect since there is no common rating system. This purpose of this document is to provide you with guidance when selecting your furnace filter.

What Airborne Particles Are Found In Your Home?

The particles you breathe in your home come from a variety of sources including:

  • dust on floors or other surfaces that is disturbed by activity in the house;
  • dust generated by smoking, burning candles, cooking, doing laundry, etc.;
  • hair and skin flakes from humans or pets;
  • and particles from the outside air which come into your home with infiltrating air.

Some particles are so small that they are inhaled and then exhaled without being trapped in your lungs. Some larger particles are trapped in your nose and throat and never reach your lungs. Still other particles are too large to be inhaled.The particles most dangerous to you are those that enter your lungs and lodge there.

You can see the particles of dust which accumulate on your television screen, shelves, and furniture. But you can't see the respirable particles. Respirable particles can be easily inhaled into your lungs and provoke respiratory illness. Although you would probably like to keep visible dust out of your home, the main health risk comes from respirable particles, which include tobacco smoke, spores, bacteria, and viruses.

The activity levels of the people in your home can affect the air you breathe. Activity such as vacuuming and cooking can create or stir up particles. On the other hand, during periods of inactivity such as the middle of the night, particle concentrations tend to be much lower.

Filter Research

CMHC conducted a study to verify filter manufacturer claims and to determine whether good filters will significantly reduce your exposure to airborne particles. All results are compiled and discussed in the research report: Evaluation of Residential Furnace Filters (1999). You can obtain a copy of this report by calling the Canadian Housing Information Centre (CHIC) at 1 800 668-2642. A summary of the results of this study follows.

Research Program

The CMHC study first tested ten filter types in a single home and then the following filters in 5 additional homes:

i) 25 mm (1") premium media filter
ii) Charged media type electronic
iii) 100 mm (4") pleated media filter
iv) High efficiency bypass filters, such as a HEPA (high efficiency particle arrestor)
v) Electronic plate and wire (ESP)

Air in the houses was tested when these higher efficiency filters were in use. The results were compared to when no filter was used.

The electronic plate and wire filter (ESP) produces some ozone during its operation. Exposure to elevated ozone can irritate your lungs. Separate testing was done to verify whether the amount of ozone produced by the ESP could affect the occupants of the home.

Testing Limitations

Each filter was in use in each house only for one or two days. The effects of dust accumulation on filter performance could not be evaluated in these tests. If a filter actually cleaned dust out of a house by cleaning house air, these tests were too brief for such effects to be seen.

Research Results

The research showed that exposure of the house occupants to airborne particles appears to be directly linked to their activities when they are in the home. The furnace filter appears to have only a moderate effect on the exposure of an individual to respirable particles in the home.

Consider each member in your home to be followed by a cloud of dust-like "Pig Pen" in the "Peanuts" comic strip by Charles Schulz. When occupants are moving around, they stir up the dust.The dust in this cloud is usually not affected by the quality of the furnace filter because the filter is far away down a duct.

The table below shows the percentage of improvement provided by each filter versus having no filter. The improvements are greater when there is no activity in the home, but particle levels were quite low in the test houses during these periods whether or not the air was being filtered.

The Cost Of Clean Air

For a furnace fan filter to be effective, your furnace fan would have to run almost all the time. Unless you already have your furnace fan operating all the time, this additional fan use can add up to $200 per year to your electric bill. The following table shows the cost, including maintenance, of each filter over a period of 15 years compared to the cost per unit of clean air they provided.

and capital costs,
per year, over 15 years ($)

Amount of clean air produced

Cost of clean air
per year

25mm pleated

25mm premium

Charged media

100mm pleated

HEPA bypass


The following table shows the cost, including maintenance, of each filter over a period of 15 years compared to the cost per unit of clean air they provided. The table shows that filters which cost the least produced very little clean air. The 25 mm pleated filter actually had the greatest cost per unit of clean air. The ESP filter was the most cost effective because it produced the most amount of clean air, and cost very little to do so.

Filter results

% improvements
during active periods in the home
% improvements
during non-active periods in the home

25mm premium

Charged media

100mm pleated

HEPA bypass


What About Ozone?

Despite being the most effective filter in the tests, the ESP produces small amounts of ozone during operation. In the research project, a survey of fifteen homes with ESP filters showed that all ESPs created ozone in the air stream of the duct. None of these raised ozone levels in the house air above the safe concentrations recommended by health guidelines. During the test period, ozone levels were always higher in the outside air than in house air, despite the ozone production by the ESP filters.


This research showed that the particles in the duct air can be reduced when an upgraded filter is installed.The results also showed that this reduction will only moderately reduce indoor exposure to respirable particles.

So... How Do You Reduce Levels Of Respirable Particles?

Our best current guess is to reduce dust entry by:

  • removing footwear on entry;
  • keeping major dust generators (smoking, pets, etc.) out of the house;
  • reducing dust collecting surfaces (open shelves, carpets, upholstered furniture, etc.);
  • diligent and frequent vacuuming with an efficient vacuum cleaner;
  • reducing the entry of particle-laden outdoor air by closing windows, improving house airtightness, and installing an intake filter on the air supply;
  • using a good furnace filter.

Most of these recommendations will also reduce the amount of visible dust in your house.

?1996-2002 CMHC-SCHL, Reprinted with permission

See Selection of furnace filters at


Products for Summer Travel

As the new Lincoln car TV ad states there are those who travel, and those who travel well. We have a few products for those who want to travel well. A in a pocket or for those who are not sure who and what has slept on hotel bedding before them. Some to take out the chlorine from bath water, a for the car traveler and a for a light weight portable air cleaner are some of our best picks.

New Product Roundup


This model replaces the old top of the line model 6999 and still comes with a washable HEPA filter and is priced at $899.00 but we sell it for $699.99. Basically some of the little irritations we had criticized in the 6999 model have now been eliminated. Softer vinyl wheels for easy maneuverability and an easier new wand lock release are the best improvements in our opinion. BONUS ITEMS at Allergy Buyers Club: a FREE mini turbo brush AND a FREE deluxe 12-inch floor tool!


We've answered your requests to provide a larger range of beds, bunk beds, loft beds, trundle beds and cribs for children's rooms and nurseries. Our range is a decently-priced natural wood collection of quality furniture which includes birch, ash and maple. Accessories such as desks, nightstands and dressers are also available.


For those with multiple chemical sensitivities or needing odor, smoke and gas control, AllerAir has a good range of cost-effective products to suit such needs. Check out the various AllerAir models available in our store.

Some points to consider about Dehumidifiers

(found at a public message board) "pelmark" wrote:

What to look for is "AHAM" rating, which is measured at 80 degrees F., and 60% RH, which is far closer to what you are actually going to be dehumidifiying. ("AHAM": American Home Appliance Manufacturer's spec of 80 degrees F., or 27 C., at 60% RH, or "relative humidity".)

AHAM may not be voluntarily provided, as AHAM is a much truer measure of what your dehumidifier will actually remove in the humidity conditions found in normal homes and structures, even when humidity levels are high, and as you obviously do, the homeowner wishes to dehumidify. I live in the subtropics, the southern tip of Florida, and I seriously doubt that "up here" you experience humidity levels we do.

I am doing a major flood right now in which the home's RH is 78%, and is soaked. I am talking water surfacing when you walk on carpets from the cushion (pad), and dry wall soft enough to push holes through with light fingertip pressure. Even at this level of water present inside the structure, my dehumidifiers will not reach their maximum stated extraction; the temperature is too low (76 F) and so is RH at 78%. I have a dehumidifier rated at 24 gallons which is probably pulling 18 gallons every 24 hours. That's a guess. Now, I will get this to increase over time, and for awhile (until significant moisture removal is accomplished), by using air movement to raise RH.

Its rating is established at 90F @ 90% RH, and it has a 12,700 BTU compressor, and is moving 450 CFM. If I get the indoor air to 90F, I will increase RH to probably 90--95% (water will evaporate to the air), but I then run the risk of really activating biological growths, and more damage to the structure and contents.

So I add blowers to get water vapor to the air, which then increases RH levels through evaporation, and my dehumidifier removes the water vapor. Air movement alone, will indeed dry out a structure, but it will take far longer which increase damages, both structural and contents. And without air movement, dehumidifiers will never dehumidify adjacent rooms unless the moisture laden air is *brought* to them.

It would, however, allow the dehumidifier to remove more water in 24 hours. Warmer air carries more water than cooler air. Air movement gets water to water vapor to air to increase RH, and moves this air to the dehumidifier.

Previous message(What I know is that I've seen. For the size of building and approx. humidity,the recommended unit was way too small. IOW, the "recommended" 25 unit would shut off during the night)

Because if at MAX, it removes 25 liters per day, then at the humidity levels in you home which are closer to 80F and 60% RH, it is actually removing approximately 13 litres per day. Why it shuts off, depends on the unit. Tank filled?

Your 50 litre per day dehumidifier is assuredly rated at high temperature (90-95 F) and maximum humidity of 90-95% RH.

Unless your structure is at those levels, it will never extract that much water.It is simple, really. Your advice was correct: get a larger unit, because the rating is deceptive as to capacity. We are differing on the why sort of.

(Ergo, less humidity removed unless I get up to empty the tank or have it hooked to a drain (not yet)).

Perhaps you have the owner's manual? See what it says (if anything) on *how* it is determined the unit removes "50 litres" per day.

You may misunderstand me: I am saying that if you need 25 litres of water per day removed from the structure, you will require at least a 50 litre per day dehumidifier. Not a dehumidifier which is rated at 25 litres per day, maximum water removal, which will only remove 13 litres. And dehumidifiers are sold rated at "maximum water removal", NOT what they will remove in a 75 degree house.

The marketing on dehumidifiers is simple: they state the maximum amount of water a dehumidifier will remove, but it is not stated that this amount requires saturation which is high temperature and high humidity, much higher than what is in your home, unless your home is at 90F and 90% RH.

There is not a home dehumidifier unit, excluding HVAC system units, sold by any retailer which matches the smallest commercial building dehumidifiers, and the smallest of these are mostly rated at 14 gallons per day, or 7.25 gallons at AHAM. They also cost $775 US.

Dehumidifiers NEVER match what they are rated at, per sales claims, UNLESS they are placed in structures where those conditions they are rated at are met. In drying out buildings for eight years, I have never encountered a job in which I walked in and found the air at 90F and 90% RH, and that includes a telephone switching four story building in which a two inch water main broke and ran for several hours before discovery; a very hot, wet building. I measure every job with a digital hygrometer which is accurate to 1% of RH and temperature, and I can tell you *exactly* how much water I have removed from a structure after I compare a few hours of running, and the inside/outside temps/RH's. It is the science of psychometry, and removing water from air is simple physics.

Buying dehumidifiers is simple, also: compare apples to apples, not oranges. What will the dehumidifier remove at your needed point. If your home is kept at 75 degrees F, and the humidity level is 60%, how much water will it remove per day? What is the RH in the home, and what do you want it to be? The cooler the air, the less water is easily removed. Below 33 F (and usually in the forties), refrigerant dehumidifiers don't even work, water will not condense from the air in these types of dehumidifiers at these temperatures.

AHAM is used *precisely* to eliminate these overblown claims of what dehumidifiers will remove. I don't *care* what it removes at some theoretical temp/RH levels it will *never* actually be exposed to; I distinctly care about what it will remove in the building I put it in.


See our selection of dehumidifiers at at

Letter from a customer about their Blueair purifier


Just wanted to confirm that we received the and have had it working in the living room for a couple of weeks now and it is just terrific! Both my husband and I were completely comfortable living with the unit right from the beginning. It is elegant looking, hard working, and unbelievably quiet. As quiet as it is, the efficiency of the unit is very apparent. The "taste" and smell of the air has noticeably and dramatically improved. The "dust test" that I conducted in the bedroom, where I dusted all the surfaces and thoroughly vacuumed and then ran the air purifier consistently to see if the dust level remained low, I am now conducting in the living room. Since we are in the midst of disarray just now with some late "spring cleaning," it's a bit harder to determine. When we have cleaned some more of the clutter off of some surfaces, I'm sure we will find that the results with the Blue Air are every bit as good as, if not better than, the Hamilton Beach.

I have to reiterate that the noise level of the Hamilton Beach, which we are using in the bedroom, is really very unobtrusive and comfortable for us even in contrast to the eerily-quiet Blue Air. It turns out that the low persistent sound of the fan of the Hamilton Beach is becoming something of a comfort now that we have been living with it for awhile. With the summer weather upon us we are now running fans all through the night anyway. The air purifier makes less noise than the fans on everything but the very highest setting. Also we are finding that our general comfort this summer is superior to what we have experienced for the last several years. Clean air indoors does make a particularly big difference when the air is generally more prone to being still, hot, and "heavy" with pollutants. Adding the purifiers to the fans has made a remarkable improvement.

We are extremely pleased with all our purchases from you and we'll be back when we have other needs (and more money to spend). I'm planning to be back to you very shortly, actually, for dust mite encasings as my husband dislikes the ones we have. Certainly we'll be back for the replacement filters we'll be needing for the air purifiers.

Thanks again for the time and patience you showed us in helping us carefully select the perfect solutions for our needs. You have won yourself two extremely satisfied and very loyal customers!

Althea & Derek L

Mercia Tapping,