How to Protect Your Indoor Air Quality During the Wildfire Season
During the height of our wildfire season here in Washington, you can take steps to prepare for the safety and comfort of your loved ones.
Start with your indoor air quality (IAQ). Smoke can cause health issues for people miles away from an actual wildfire, but fortunately, you can use your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system to keep it in check.
Our team at Ballard Natural Gas wants to do everything we can to help throughout the year. We specialize in creating healthy homes and happy families. Here are a few practical ways to protect your air quality during the wildfire season.
Your HVAC System and Wildfire Smoke
Even if your Lynnwood property is a safe distance from an actual fire, the ashes and smoke can spread for miles and still pose a health risk. These particles can lead to runny noses, burning eyes, and illnesses such as bronchitis. Long-term exposure can trigger heart and lung diseases.
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. Smoke particles enter your Washington home through open windows and doors—even tiny cracks. Seal them tight to maintain fresh air.
Do not run kitchen or bathroom exhaust fans that vent to the outdoors. Doing so allows the polluted outdoor air to enter your living spaces.
Turn your thermostat fan switch from Auto to On to continuously circulate your indoor air through the HVAC filter. Shut your system’s outside damper if it has one.
Keep a close eye on the HVAC filter throughout the wildfire season—these filters play a vital role in trapping those small particles before they can circulate throughout your home. If the filter is dirty or clogged, replace it immediately. If you have a ductless system, wash the filter frequently.
Use a broom or brush to sweep away any ashes that accumulate on your outside unit. Clear away any vegetation or debris near the outdoor unit to ensure adequate airflow.
Consider installing a whole-house air purifier that integrates with your HVAC system to capture airborne particles. If you purchase a portable unit, be sure it is the right size for the rooms in which you plan to use it.
Be sure to schedule a tune-up of your system—especially now when you may need to run your equipment for extended periods. Planned maintenance visits stretch the service life of your equipment, allowing our professionals to catch a minor issue before it becomes a costly problem.
A good tune-up rejuvenates your HVAC system and keeps it operating at optimal efficiency. Schedule an appointment today.
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 go outdoors for an extended time during smoky conditions, wear an N95 respirator if possible. Scarves, surgical masks, or bandanas will not protect your lungs.
Keep your pets indoors except for brief bathroom breaks. You can exercise them when the dust and smoke settle. If you can feel the effects of smoke, they can too.
Call Us Today
Protect your Lynnwood, WA home during the wildfire season. At Ballard Natural Gas, we offer products and services designed for all types of buildings and uses. Call 206.784.8101 or request service online today to learn more about indoor air quality systems and which ones work best for you and your home.