Wildfires are devastating for the environment in so many ways. In addition to burning natural vegetation, wildfires also release a ton of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, further exacerbating greenhouse gas issues for our environment. Likewise, they also greatly reduce our air quality, making the simple act of breathing difficult for just about anyone, and particularly unsafe for those who suffer from respiratory issues. What that means is it’s important to take refuge inside, where air quality can be under control. But how can you keep your indoor air quality at a high level when the air quality outside is so poor?
This blog has the answer for you. Check out these four tips for keeping your indoor air quality healthier during wildfire season so that you can breathe easier in your home while the air outside is full harmful impurities.
Keep Doors & Windows Closed Tight
When the air outside is full of smoke, ash, and other particles, the last thing you want is to be breathing that air in, especially not in high quantities. It’s extremely unhealthy for your lungs and can lead to health issues. What that means is you need to keep the outdoor air separated from your indoor air as much as possible. And to do that, you need to keep your doors and windows shut tight.
While many people choose to stay cool by opening windows on summer nights, that simply isn’t an option during wildfire conditions. Use your air conditioner as your primary way of staying cool during this period, and that means you may need to run it more often. Running fans, including ceiling fans, can help you take some of the load off your system by letting you set the temperature a couple of degrees higher while still staying cool.
To avoid pulling too much outdoor air inside of your home, we recommend turning off the whole-home fan and covering the fresh air intake. This will not damage your unit, but it will prevent any smoky air from getting into your home.
Avoid Particle-Releasing Indoor Activities
Certain activities release a lot of particle matter into the atmosphere inside your home, and while these aren’t that big of a deal when you can open your doors and windows to air out your home, they become a lot more strenuous on your air quality when the air outside is compromised in quality. Perhaps the best example is smoking: while smoking outside may not seem like a possibility during smoky conditions, smoking inside only allows more particulate matter into your air. This will only worsen your indoor air quality. Another one that might surprise you is vacuuming, which often releases dust particles into the air that may have been buried deep in your carpet. Avoid vacuuming unless you use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
Change Your Air Filter & Run Your HVAC Fan
Your HVAC system is going to be perhaps your single greatest asset for keeping your air clean and breathable during periods of heavy smoke outside. Not only does your HVAC system circulate the most air in your home, but it also is the greatest source of air filtration you have as well. Your air filter is going to be responsible for gathering up and containing a lot of smoke particles and other dust, so it’s a good idea to check your air filter right away. If your filter is dirty, change it so it can filter as much debris as possible.
There’s a very good reason to do this: you’ll probably want to run your HVAC system’s fan even when your air conditioner isn’t running. This will help continue to circulate air and pull more air through your air filter. This in turn removes more smoke and dust particles, improving your indoor air quality. It may consume more energy, but it will definitely help you breathe easier while you’re stuck with your doors and windows shut tight.
Avoid Strenuous Activities Indoors that Can Cause Health Issues
Strenuous activities during smoky times cause two problems: they emit more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere of your home, and they cause you to inhale more of the smoky air in the atmosphere around you. That means your activity could negatively impact your health, and it could significantly degrade the quality of the atmosphere in your home. It might be tempting to try and get in a home workout in order to avoid having to go to the gym or work out outside, but do try to limit the strain as much as possible. Your body will appreciate not consuming as much smoke-filled air.
Install an Air Purifier
Air purifiers are a great way of managing your indoor air quality, especially when the outside air is poor. An air purifier is a specialized piece of equipment that can be installed into your existing HVAC equipment and helps eliminate contaminants like smoke and ash particles. While different systems have their own way of doing so, the Reme Halo system works by releasing ions into the air. These ions give the floating debris particles a particular charge. Opposite charges attract, creating bigger chunks that are easier for your air filter to capture and hold on to. As a result, your air is cleaner and healthier for you to breathe. The Air Scrubber Plus works to kill pesky indoor air pollutants before they can even make their way into your home. For any existing impurities that may be floating around, Air Scrubber’s Active Pure technology will fight to remove them, leaving your air clean and pure.
An air purifier is a great investment for virtually any home, even outside of wildfire season as well. For example, when winter temperatures cause us to stay inside and keep our doors and windows closed to avoid losing heat, odors and other air quality contaminants can develop quickly. Air purifiers help keep your indoor air fresh and healthy, even with limited fresh air ventilation.Make sure your air conditioner is there to help you when you need it most! Schedule a tune-up or inspection service by calling Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning at (425) 689-7778 today!