How To Use Your Home’s HVAC To Protect Air Quality During Fire Season
It’s that time of year again, where the temperatures are getting warmer and wildfires are becoming a more common occurrence. The risk for dangerous pollutants in the air is also rising. To protect your family from these harmful substances, there are many things you can do to ensure you have clean air inside your home. One option is to invest in an HVAC system that has been tested by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as being effective at removing smoke particles from indoor air. Another solution would be to use high-efficiency particulate arresting filters on any heating or cooling equipment within your home, which will help prevent smoke particles from entering through vents and ductwork located around your house.
Here are some additional tips for protecting your home’s air quality from wildfire smoke:
- Close windows and doors tightly to prevent smoke and ash from entering your home.
- Do not use your home ventilation (bath vents, kitchen vents, etc.) because it brings in outside air.
- If you have an air conditioner/heat pump, turn it on. It is safe to use during wildfires and can help improve the indoor air quality of your home.
- Rest assured that your AC / Heat Pump System does NOT bring in outdoor air (unless you have a fresh air intake system $$$$ – which is typically used for commercial properties only).
- Turn on your system’s “Fan” or “Recirculate” option to run the fan continuously (even when the system is not heating or cooling) to circulate the air in your home through your filter. This can significantly improve the quality of your indoor air. 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 the thermostat is actively heating or cooling, and On means the fan runs continuously).
- Examine the filter in your home’s heating and cooling system. If it’s dirty and clogged with dust/hair/particulates, replace it (ducted systems) or wash it right away (ductless systems). Running your system with a clogged filter makes things more difficult for you.
- Ensure that your air conditioner is cleaned and maintained by a professional HVAC Service Technician to ensure that it is operating safely and in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Keep debris (e.g., tree limbs and brush from wind gusts) at least 3 feet away from your outdoor unit to ensure adequate airflow. If there is a lot of ash on top of the unit, take a broom and gently sweep it away (while wearing a face mask). If your unit becomes heavily clogged and dirty with soot and ash (for example, if your house is very close to the fire), have it professionally cleaned after the wildfires have passed.
- During wildfire season, check your filters and replace/clean them more frequently. When there is smoke and ash in the air, filters clog up more quickly than usual.
- Staying inside with the windows closed if you don’t have air conditioning can be dangerous if the weather is extremely hot. If this is the case, seek alternative air-conditioned shelter.
- If you don’t have an air conditioner, there are a variety of rebates and incentives available for high-efficiency heat pump/air conditioning systems for various types of homes. Please contact us to find out what your home is eligible for.
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!