A wildfire can quickly change a community or family in an instant, damaging homes and impacting your health. With wildfires being common here in the Pacific Northwest, we at Vanport Mechanical and Fire Sprinkler would like to offer tips for improving your indoor air quality during wildfire season.
The Risks of Wildfire Smoke
The smoke emitted from forest fires and brush fires contains soot, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide. Wildfire smoke also contains a variety of particulate matter. These microscopic bits of dust, ash, and chemicals are unseen to the naked eye, but can cause significant respiratory issues when inhaled, including prolonged breathing issues and asthma.
Toxic carcinogens, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are another risk factor. They are released into the air through burning wood and are linked to lung cancer and terminal cardiovascular disease.
How To Prevent Wildfire Smoke From Entering House
It’s simply not enough to stay indoors when there’s wildfire smoke polluting the air. Here are some tips to follow to help keep wildfire smoke out of your home.
- Shut all windows and doors
- Invest in an air purification system
- Use fans to stay cool
- If your HVAC system has a fresh air intake, set it to “recirculate mode” or shut the outdoor intake damper.
- If you have a window air conditioner, shut the outdoor damper and ensure the seal around the unit and window is tight.
Additionally, consider keeping N95 masks on hand and avoiding other activities that create indoor air pollution such as smoking cigarettes and burning candles.
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How Do You Run an Air Conditioner in a Wildfire?
Wildfire season is most prevalent during the hot summer months when you’ll also be using your air conditioner. It is safe to use your AC during wildfires, as long as you use it effectively. Here are some recommendations to follow, depending on the type of air conditioning system you have as described by the Environmental Protection Agency.
- HVAC system with fresh air intake: set the system to “recirculate mode” or shut the outdoor intake damper. Check out our step-by-step instructions on locating and closing your damper.
- Window air conditioner: shut the outdoor damper and ensure the seal around the window is tight. If you are unable to close the damper, don’t use the AC.
- Portable air conditioner with hose: don’t use it during smoky conditions.
Once your filters have been replaced and the fresh air intakes closed, you can run your air conditioning system as you normally would. We recommend running it at maximum efficiency. Don’t turn it off at any point while there’s wildfire smoke in the air unless there’s an emergency that requires it to be shut off.
iWave Air Purifier
It can sometimes be difficult for standard HVAC systems to trap all airborne contaminants being blown around your home. In addition to changing your HVAC air filters regularly as described in your owner’s manual, you may also want to supplement your HVAC system with an air purifier. We offer iWave air purifiers to filter out fine particles like smoke. Take a look at how fast and effective this small device is!
The iWave air purifier also:
- Kills mold, bacteria, and viruses
- Reduces allergens
- Is self-cleaning
- Is maintenance-free
- Installs in any HVAC system
- Comes with a 3-year warranty
HVAC Services in Vancouver WA
Poor indoor air quality can take a toll on your body. In many cases, smoke particles can cause itchy eyes, sneezing, and congestion. Whether you’re looking for ways to improve your indoor air quality or just need a reliable HVAC contractor to inspect your system and indoor air quality, Vanport Mechanical and Fire Sprinkler is here for you. With our help, you can filter out contaminants and smoke and start living a healthier life. Contact us today for your quote! We offer 24/7 same-day emergency service!
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How to Run Your HVAC System During Wildfire Season in Vancouver WA
Serving The Greater Vancouver WA and Clark County WA Areas