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Change your air filter. Nobody likes a Pannus.

August 12, 2010

by Ashley Akin

When I woke up this morning, I had the distinct feeling that I smoked 3 packs of Marlboro Reds in my sleep last night. (I’m sure I didn’t – I only smoke those with my cab driver A.J. while we ride around discussing the meaning of life.)  My mouth was dry, my eyes were itchy, and my lungs felt like they were filled with that nasty pink insulation we’ve been hounding you to fill the holes in your attics with. My initial reaction was that my body was literally rejecting the 118-degree heat index Memphis has been clocking in at, but I think I stumbled upon the actual culprit while doing some Smallest User research for you fine folks.

So here’s my confession: I can’t remember the last time we changed the air conditioning filter in our house. And that is both depressing and disgusting to me. Depressing because I’m the only one living in my house who would ever even think to do this and disgusting because we have now lived there for a full year. This means my obsessive-compulsive tendencies have completely failed me. And now I feel like I’m just one step on the filthy ladder above this guy my friend Anne told me about who came into her hospital a few years ago. He was rather large and apparently lacking in the hygiene department, and when they were cleaning him off for his physical, a decomposing Dorito bag fell out of a fold. Yeah, you read that right. A fold. I hope you’re not eating while reading this.

I tell you this because this utterly disgusting image has spurred me into action, and I’m hoping it will do the same for you. Changing an air conditioning filter is stupid easy, and the picture to the left shows you the difference between the air you are breathing and the air you should be breathing. Depressing and disgusting, right? Yep. So here are the 3 easy steps you need to take to climb out of your gross depression:

  1. Do NOT be the moron who goes to Home Depot, buys a 12-pack of filters and then gets home to realize they are the wrong size for your unit. You will never bother to return them, and you will probably be so hostile toward the whole endeavor that you’ll just say “screw it.” So go find your old filter, take a moment to recognize that you, also, are a mild version of Decomposed-Dorito-bag-guy, and write down the size. (Really gross side note: a fold of skin that is large enough to hide something like that is called a “pannus.” We have a freaking name for that, America. I bet that’ll make you want to put down that Big Mac.) Oh, and if your filter doesn’t have the size on it, measure it.
  2. Buy a new filter (You can get one at Home Depot, Lowe’s, or your adorable neighborhood hardware store where that old guy always sits outside in the rocking chair chewing a toothpick and talking about his hunting dog Cooter. Y’all have one of those right? I think I’ve been spending too much time in small-town East Tennessee…)
  3. Put the new filter in the slot where you removed the old one.

Poof, you’re Bob Vila. There are actually much more complete directions for this process, so check those out here if you like. And if you need any more motivation, I was doubly disturbed to learn that you’re actually supposed to be changing these things at least 4 times a year, so I’m quadruple gross. Furthermore, not changing them can actually make you sick, so get to it. Because I do not want the next stomach-turning story I hear to be about the Med recovering a Twinkie wrapper from some Memphian’s stomach folds. Yick. I apologize for everything you just imagined.

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