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Keeping Your Indoor Air Clean During Wildfires

Keeping Your Indoor Air Clean During Wildfires

Air Clean During Wildfires: Wildfires are a hazard in certain parts of the country and even if you are in a safe location and don’t have to worry about fire damage the associated smoke produced by local wildfires can negatively impact your home’s indoor air quality. Your home’s air quality is important because a reduction in it due to outside irritants such as smoke can make breathing difficult especially if you have allergies or various other respiratory issues. With wildfires creating a notable amount of smoke keeping it out of your home is key. There are ways to keep your home’s indoor air quality hire during wildfires including using HVAC system during a wildfire.

Keeping Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality High

  1. Block Outdoor Air When Possible: keeping your home’s air quality high involves not letting the smoke in. The first step is to prevent drafts and other openings by closing your windows, doors, and sealing any leaks or drafts. Windows with drafts can be sealed with shrink-wrap covering designed for windows to caulking. While preventing drafts can be useful (especially if you find large and notable gaps) it is the first step and air often still finds a way to get in, lucky there are other steps you can take.
  2. Turn Off Your Exhaust Fans:air from the outside enters your home due to pressure differences between your home and the exterior. Exhaust fans suck air out of your home creating a situation where air from outdoors comes in more readily. When a wildfire is going on this is something you don’t want to happen so be sure to turn off the exhaust fans in your bathrooms and over your stove. This keeps air in your home and discourages external airflow.
  3. HVAC Settings:the settings on your HVAC system are critical for keeping the air in your home clean. You should switch your AC from ventilation to recirculation. Under normal ventilation settings your HVAC system cycles in air from the outside to keep the air in your home fresh and clean. However, in smokey conditions, you want to keep this smoky air outside. When set to recirculation your HVAC system cycles the cleaner air that is already in your home. How to adjust this setting does vary depending on the type of system you have. For central air systems, you should close the air intake ducts to prevent access. These ducts are found on your home’s exterior and often have a grill or another type of protective covering on them. If you make use of an in-unit AC, also called a window AC, you can uselessly just change a setting.

Keeping Your Home’s Air Clean

Even when taking proper steps smoky air is likely to still find its way into your home. In response to these irritants cleaning your home’s air is a must. For homes with central air, you should replace your existing air filters with those with a MERV rating of 13 or higher. A higher MERV rating means a filter is better at collecting particles and cleaning the air. However, such thick filters can reduce airflow. Some HVAC systems also allow you to directly control the fan and setting it to auto can help remove smoky air. For in-unit ACs, you lack filtration features so after setting it to recirculate you should make use of air purifiers. The best method is to use a freestanding air purifier to clean the air in your home by placing one in each room.

Even when your home is not in danger of fire damage wildfires can still greatly reduce your overall quality of life. Reduced in-home air quality can be a problem but by taking proper steps you can reduce the overall impact.

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