Wildfires and Indoor Air Quality
How clean is your air?
As wildfires continue to spread across California, Oregon, and other parts of the country, this is an appropriate time to think about improving the indoor air quality (IAQ) of your Turlock home or business. Even if you and your loved ones are unaffected by the ash and smoke, these fires remind us all of the importance of fresh air.
At Valley Air Conditioning & Heating, we offer practical solutions on how to get the most value out of your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment. We do things the right way to keep you comfortable for years to come!
Your Air Quality and Wildfires
Even if you are not close to the wildfires, the air pollution from the smoke and ash can still impact your health. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the biggest threat from smoke is from microscopic particles that can get into your eyes and respiratory system.
These particles can lead to runny noses, burning eyes, and illnesses such as bronchitis. Long-term exposure can trigger heart and lung diseases.
Air pollution can affect your health both indoors and outdoors. Smoke particles enter your California home through open windows and doors, exhaust fans that vent to the outdoors, and HVAC systems with a fresh air intake. Even small cracks around your windows and doors allow for infiltration.
Air Cleaners and Filters
Air cleaners can serve as the first line of defense against airborne contaminants in your Turlock home. You can choose between a portable system to move around your home or a whole-house purifier that integrates with your HVAC system.
If you decide to purchase a portable air cleaner, be sure it is the right size for the rooms in which you plan to use it. You can schedule an appointment with our team to determine the right system for your needs and budget.
In choosing the right air filter for your HVAC equipment, the EPA recommends purchasing a filter with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) 13 rating or higher. Be sure to choose a filter rating your system can accommodate—otherwise, you risk compromising your airflow.
Your HVAC System and Smoke
If you have a central air conditioning (AC) system with a fresh air intake, turn the lever to recirculate mode. Doing so prevents your system from drawing in smoke-polluted air from the outdoors. Also, be sure to change the air filter at least every 90 days to get the most protection.
If your home has a window air conditioning unit, close the outside air damper to help keep out the smoke. Be sure the seal is tight between the air conditioner and the window.
The air ducts in your home play a vital role when it comes to your indoor air quality. Dust, dirt—even ash—will accumulate in your ductwork over time. Having your ductwork cleaned and sealed will improve the air you breathe and help extend the service life of your HVAC equipment.
Know Your Air Quality
Smoke levels can change a lot from one day to the next. You can monitor the change and respond accordingly by checking airnow.gov for air quality forecasts and current conditions.
If you must be outdoors for an extended time during smoky conditions, wear an N95 respirator if possible. Scarves, surgical masks, or bandanas will not protect your lungs.
Create a Clean Room
Dedicate a room in your Turlock home that is large enough to fit everyone comfortably. It will come in handy, particularly if you have family members who are young or old or have lung or heart conditions. A bedroom with an attached bathroom is your best choice.
Keep windows and doors closed to this room. A portable air cleaner helps here if it fits in your budget. Otherwise, take all possible steps to prevent smoke from entering this room. Do not use this room for exercising or cooking.
Our professionals at Valley Air Conditioning & Heating can offer suggestions on how to create and maintain a clean room to help you stay comfortable and healthy.
Call Your Indoor Air Quality Experts Today!
Take steps today to protect the air you breathe inside your Turlock, CA, home. At Valley Air Conditioning & Heating, we offer products and services designed for all types of buildings and uses. Call 209-524-7756 or request service online today to learn more about indoor air quality systems and which ones work best for you.