Wildfire Smoke and Your Home's Air Quality


Increasing amounts of summer and fall wildfires are leading to major indoor air quality concerns for most families. Smoke contains particulates that can affect respiratory health both in the short and long term. Proper air filtration is key to breathing clean air when the smoke and ash are flying.

How Smoke Gets Into the Home

Smoke enters the home through both obvious and hidden means. Obvious means of smoke infiltration include open windows and doors and ventilation systems that work by drawing in outside air. Your home's air conditioning can also pull in smoke, depending on the type and the settings used.

Less obvious means are the passive vents in your home's attic or small cracks and openings in the foundation or around doors and windows. Failing weatherstripping and damaged window frames can also create openings that allow smoke into the house.

AC and Filtration Improvements

The most drastic improvement you can make to lower smoke in the home is to improve filtration. Your home's air conditioner can help with this as long as it is not a model that requires an outdoor air intake (which is rare in residential models). Simply switch your fan settings so that the unit recirculates indoor air by turning the fan on. This can be indicated on the thermostat as "fan," "recirculate," or a simple "on/off" setting for the fan.

Filtration improvements can be done using your existing system or by installing an additional air filtration and purification unit. Most importantly, change out the current filter in your AC for a HEPA filter, which will trap more particulates. You may need to change this filter every week or two during times of heavy smoke. You can also install an inline air filtration system that removes additional particulates from the air before it is recirculated through your AC.

Addressing Ventilation Concerns

The next step is to properly seal up your home. Start by addressing drafts around doors and windows. Replacing the weatherstripping and repairing damaged sills or thresholds will prevent a large amount of smoke from entering the house. Further, avoid using any vents that use an outdoor air intake, such as the bathroom or oven vents, until the smoke danger has passed.

If moisture buildup in the home is a concern, then you can install sealed vents in the attic or other areas that need some ventilation. These vents allow air and moisture to escape but do not allow air to enter. Instead, a fan is used to pull air from inside the home toward the vent. Fresh air is brought in through a filtered system that removes particulates before the fresh air can circulate through the home.

Contact a residential air filtration service to learn more about your smoke prevention options.


12 February 2021

Talking About Electric Heating Systems

Hi there, my name is Shelley. Welcome to my site about electric heating systems. Electric heat has recently fallen out of favor due to the efficiency of natural gas systems. Electric heat is still suitable for small buildings that do not need the high temps provided by upgraded systems. I will use this site to explore all of the building types that can benefit from electric heating systems. I will also share information about system components, installations and repairs. I welcome you to come by often to learn more about this exciting topic. Thanks for coming by. See you soon.