As drought conditions expand across California, wildfire researchers have been giving residents grim predictions: we’re in for a devastating wildfire season in 2021. Along with wreaking extensive property damage, wildfires worsen breathing conditions indoors and outdoors for many miles. In fact, during the West Coast fires of 2020, 1 in 7 Americans experienced “unhealthy” or worse air quality due to the smoke.
Bottom line: you don’t have to be next to a wildfire for your health to be impacted by one.
HOW TO KEEP SMOKE OUT OF YOUR INDOOR AIR
First, sign up for local alerts for your neighborhood, town, or county, so that you can be ready to act (or evacuate, if needed) in case of a wildfire. To preserve your indoor air quality, use the following tips.
1. Make sure all of your windows are closed.
Even if the wind isn’t blowing, smoke can still drift indoors. Check your house from top to bottom to make sure every window and door is firmly shut. Try to minimize the number of times you open and close your doors.
2. Let your HVAC system run periodically.
Smoke can enter your home through unsealed gaps. As your air conditioner or heater runs, soot and other pollutants will get trapped in the air filter.
3. Put in a fresh HVAC air filter (if you haven’t changed yours recently).
Generally, we recommend a MERV 13 air filter to effectively capture smoke particles, unless you know that your system cannot handle a filter with an efficiency rating that high.
4. Save money by letting your HVAC system’s fan run.
When you don’t want to heat or cool your indoor air but still want to trap smoke particles in the air filter, just let your HVAC system’s fan keep running instead.
5. Use any portable air purifiers that you have.
If you already own portable air purifiers, now is the time to get them out and crank them up. Note: Check the ozone levels your air purifier produces (if any) to be sure that the ozone production does not cause lung irritation, especially in those with respiratory conditions.
6. Install a whole-home air scrubber in anticipation of wildfires.
For advanced indoor air quality protection for your entire home, you’ll need a whole-home air scrubber that works in tandem with your heating and cooling system. Although an air scrubber costs more to buy than a portable air purifier and requires professional installation, it comes with significant benefits.
At Econo Air, our Econo Air Scrubber:
- Destroys up to 99% of airborne contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria
- Significantly reduces dust, dirt, and pet dander
- Reduces or eliminates any odors, including cooking odors and pet odors
- Prolongs the lifespan of your HVAC equipment by reducing dust buildup
This advanced equipment improves indoor air quality, creating a much healthier living space year-round, from fire season to flu season.
For more information about the Econo Air Scrubber, including how it works, please don’t hesitate to contact our Brea indoor air quality specialists: (714) 710-1070. We look forward to serving you.