How Does Fire Season Affect My HVAC System?
The end of July and beginning of August signals the start of Fire Season. It’s a time when brush, grass and forest fires peak in activity across the United States. There are more firefighters, patrols and wildfires during this time, as well as an increase in air quality alerts. Many residents choose to stay inside if they smell or see smoke outdoors because breathing smoky or fire-tainted air irritates your eyes, nose throat and lungs
Compared to other weather conditions, external temperatures have little influence on these events. Wildfires typically occur during periods with dry temperatures around 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius). However, it is not uncommon for a wildfire to break out during a cool winter night after a few days where average temperatures were more than 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius), and humidity was less than 15 percent.
Fire season is a time when we must practice increased awareness of our surroundings — especially if you live in an area where severe weather is more common this time of year, such as the southeastern United States which has their own risk factors for outdoor fire hazards. The National Weather Service issues alerts that warn residents of coming dry thunderstorms which can contribute to more frequent wildfires, so it’s important to monitor current conditions during this time of year. Smoke from outside fires can affect the air quality and overall temperature inside your home and on HVAC systems and appliances specifically:
1) Fire Danger Is A Risk To Your Air Conditioning Units
Cooler outdoor air can cause overcooling to the touch-points of the refrigerant cycle, such as indoor coils and heat exchangers, which can lead to condensation. This condensation creates corrosion to metal components, drips onto evaporator coils and triggers mold growth within your ductwork, all of which damage your unit’s efficiency. Your system also needs to replace the lost airflow during this time because hot air escapes through areas that are now colder than before.
2) Internal Heat And Moisture Rise
Due to the lack of outdoor ventilation during fire season, homes trap smoke particles indoors along with moisture. The excess humidity may affect your system’s ability to cool effectively without having enough airflow across internal components like coil fins (much like when ice forms on a coil). These moisture conditions can also lead to:
- Increased corrosion and rusting to indoor coils and ductwork
- Delayed ignition from pilot lights due to excess humidity
- Mold growth within the components of your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system
- Inability to properly cool or heat your home’s internal environment
3) Increased Drying Effect On Sensitive Plants And Grass
The National Park Service warns people against burning leaves, brush or trash during fire season due to the risk that nearby dry vegetation will catch fire. This often leads homeowners to use their HVAC systems more frequently in order to compensate for the drying effects of the summer heat. However, this reduces the effectiveness of your unit because it doesn’t have enough time to recover between cycles. Additionally, the more frequent use of your home’s HVAC system can cause wear and tear on its components that can lead to malfunctions or failure during fire season.
4) Cooling System Damage From Aftermath Of Fires
During major fires, local authorities may recommend leaving your windows open overnight following the event because toxic compounds are released into the air. These toxins are often invisible but remain in your home’s environment for several days. Even if you don’t smell smoke or see ash particles floating through your air, these gases affect indoor air quality that end up settling inside wall cavities and on surfaces where mold begins growing after a few days. This can be detrimental to an efficient HVAC system because these contaminants can cause damage to internal components.
In order to prevent the risk of fire danger from affecting your HVAC systems and appliances, you should:
5) Activate Your Home’s Carbon Monoxide Detector
Even if it has a built-in CO detector, the elderly and other vulnerable groups should have an additional one put in each individual bedroom. Purchase a battery powered model that emits a loud alarm when carbon monoxide levels seem high so that you know when it’s time to open a window or leave your home until fresh air is restored. One good place to install the detectors is near any combustion appliances like gas dryers or furnaces since they’re potential sources of CO leaks.
6) Keep Fire Exits Clear
In case you need to evacuate your home quickly, having a lot of furniture or other belongings in the path of a door can slow your escape. It’s also important to keep stairs free from items since they could obstruct emergency responders from reaching upper-level floors if an accident occurs. If you have pets, make sure that all family members know where collars and leashes are kept so they can swiftly find them if an emergency arises.
7) Hire Trained Professionals To Inspect Your Equipment
Heating and cooling units require regular maintenance for them to operate effectively without any problems. During the fire season, it’s even more important that these systems are working well because malfunctions during this time significantly increase the risk of a fire breaking out. It’s also a good idea to have your home professionally examined before the fire season begins so you can schedule any repairs or maintenance needed in order to make sure your family stays safe from heatstroke, carbon monoxide poisoning and other dangers related to fire.
These are just a few of the reasons why it is important that people with HVAC systems think about hiring a professional air conditioning repair service to inspect their equipment before summertime arrives because it’s essential that appliances, vents and coils are working well during these months when there’s an increased risk of fire danger. Regular maintenance appointments ensure that your system is capable of delivering optimal levels of comfort without increasing energy bills much more than usual. In addition, these visits help homes avoid having their HVAC systems damaged from ash and other pollutants that come with wildfires.
Are you Worried About Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) During Fire Season?
You don’t have to worry about your home’s IAQ this season if you call Superior Mechanical Services today for high-quality air conditioning service. We’re here not only during wildfire seasons but also after they’ve passed, so you can rest assured that we’ll take care of any concerns or problems while providing peace of mind knowing our team is onsite if needed in future years. As the effects of wildfire season continue throughout Northern California many homeowners find themselves feeling less comfortable due to smoke and other toxic particles that can enter through even seemingly tight structures. Superior Mechanical Services, Inc. began in 1948 as a family-owned business with a vision to provide value-minded service with a down-to-earth approach to customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. As the premier Commercial and Residential HVAC Service provider for Livermore, Dublin, and Pleasanton, Superior Mechanical can do it all, from heating and air conditioning services to boiler services, to plumbing services. Our technicians are certified professionals who will ensure every part of your project is done right using a careful checklist to guide and test each step. Contact us today for help ensuring your home’s IAQ stays healthy and clean every day of the year, regardless of the season!