Here are some helpful tips to protect your home air quality from wildfire smoke
- Keep windows and doors closed tightly to help prevent smoke and ash from getting inside your home.
Do not run your home ventilation (bath vents, kitchen vent, etc.) because it brings the outdoor air into your home.
- Run your air conditioner/heat pump if you have one. It’s safe to use during wildfires and can help improve your home’s indoor air quality.
- Rest assured, your AC / Heat Pump System does NOT bring the outdoor air inside (unless you have a fresh air intake system $$$$ – which are generally used for commercial properties only).
- Turn your system’s “Fan” or “Recirculate” option on to continuously run the system’s fan (even when its not heating or cooling) to circulate the air in your home through your filter. This can significantly help improve your indoor air quality. If you don’t see “Fan” or “Recirc” options on your thermostat, look for “Auto/On” which is a common fan control (Auto means the fan only runs when it’s actively heating or cooling and On means the fan runs continuously).
- Check your home heating/cooling system filter. If it’s dirty and clogged with dust/hair/particulates, immediately replace it (ducted systems) or wash it (ductless systems). Running your system with a clogged filter makes it harder for your system to run properly, shortens its lifetime and decreases your indoor air quality.
- Make sure your air conditioner is properly cleaned and maintained by a professional HVAC Service Technician to ensure it’s operating safely to the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Keep debris (e.g. tree limbs and brush from wind gusts) 3′ away from your outdoor unit to help ensure the unit has adequate airflow. If you have a large accumulation of ash on top of the unit, take a broom and gently sweep it off (while wearing a face mask). If your unit becomes heavily clogged and dirty with soot and ash (e.g. your home is very close to the fire), then have the unit professionally cleaned once the wildfires are over.
- Check your filters and replace/clean more often during wildfire season. When there is smoke and ash in the air, filters will become clogged faster than usual.
- If you don’t have air conditioning, staying inside with the windows closed may become dangerous if the weather is extremely hot. If so, seek alternative shelter with air conditioning.
- If you don’t have an air conditioner, there are several rebates and incentives offered for high-efficiency heat pump/air conditioning systems for different types of homes.