Since March, wildfires in Canada have been tearing across its vast wilderness. It’s a terrible situation for our northern neighbors, but the effects of these fires don’t stop at the border. I’m sure you’ve seen the photos of Chicago and Wisconsin as the smoke from the blazes hangs heavy like fog, causing a massive air quality problem.
Unfortunately, the tainted air has made its way down to Indiana, sparking air quality alerts from local and national weather experts. As Indiana’s #1 HVAC authority, we feel it is our job to help you deal with these air quality problems in your home, so we’ve put together a list of ways to help keep the smoke out of your home, help reduce the particulates that do get inside, and some things to consider to help your overall air quality.
(Image by Fox 59 via fox59.com)
It’s just some smoke. Is it that big of a deal?
Wildfire smoke contains a complex mixture of gasses and fine particulates, which can reduce air quality significantly. Exposure to wildfire smoke, even from thousands of miles away, can lead to various health problems, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, eye and throat irritation, headaches, and fatigue. Individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions, cardiovascular issues, and compromised immune systems are particularly vulnerable.
When air quality is poor due to wildfire smoke, it is advisable to limit your time outdoors. Reschedule outdoor activities or move them indoors. And if you must go outside, try to wear a mask, N95 or better. In addition use the circulation feature to circulate that air that is in your car when driving.
Keeping your home’s air clean:
While the mild weather as of late may have you enjoying the breeze with your windows open, it’s a good idea to keep doors and windows closed as much as possible.
This is an excellent opportunity to look at the seals on your windows and doors. Resealing them where need be to help keep the dirty air out. This is also a great way to help keep your home’s temperature more consistent and help your home’s system not work as hard at cooling and heating your home.
- Filters – Look at your HVAC system’s filters and replace them if they are dirty. Your furnace and air conditioner share the same filter. Furthermore, consider investing in high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters to help filter even more particulates from your home.
- Whole-Home Air Purifiers – If you suffer especially hard from allergens in your home, having a whole-home air purifier system installed directly into your HVAC system is a good idea. These work differently than air filters by using ultraviolet light to vaporize the intruders in your air system, drastically improving air quality. We use a Reme Halo system, and with this and any other ultraviolet purification system, we do not recommend self-installation, as the dangers of ultraviolet light need to be handled by a professional.
- Portable Air Purifiers – If you live in an apartment and can not install a whole home system, these are great supplemental methods to reduce air pollutants inside. Simply plug them in, and they begin working immediately.
- Reduce other indoor pollutants – With wildfire smoke creeping into your home, avoiding other activities that increase indoor pollution is a good idea. Refrain from smoking, burning candles, or using gas stoves, which can further degrade indoor air quality.
Take Care of Your Health:
- Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of water to keep your respiratory system moist.
- Follow medical advice – If you have pre-existing respiratory or cardiovascular conditions, consult your healthcare provider for personalized guidance.
- Use appropriate masks – When air quality is severely affected, wearing an N95 or N99 respirator mask can help filter out harmful particles. Ensure the mask fits snugly and is worn correctly.
If you are concerned your home’s air quality is suffering more from these hazy days of late, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We have you covered, from installing new/better air filters, Reme Halo air purifiers, or simply doing an air quality test on your home.