Wildfire season is upon us. The worst of it usually hits between June and August. The air is hotter and dryer, rain is less abundant, and people are spending more time outside. That last one matters because humans cause roughly 85% of wildfires in the US. Neglected campfires, the burning of debris, improperly disposed-of cigarettes, and deliberate acts of arson wreak havoc on Mother Nature and anyone in the wildfire’s wake. What can you do if you live in an area prone to wildfires? Outside air pollution affects indoor air and can have serious ramifications for your health. So, let’s talk about how to remove wildfire smoke in your home.
Why is Wildfire Smoke Dangerous to Your Health?
A little smoke never hurt anyone, right? Wrong. The fine particles in smoke are a serious threat and irritate the respiratory system. Exposure to higher concentrations of these particles can cause coughing, wheezing, phlegm, and difficulty breathing, even in perfectly healthy people.
Furthermore, these particles can make it difficult for the body to remove any foreign materials it’s inhaled, like viruses and bacteria, from the lungs. If you’re already dealing with any sort of respiratory or cardiovascular disease, wildfire smoke can make it worse. It can even lead to early death.
So, removing the wildfire smoke from your home is important for keeping yourself and your loved ones healthy.
4 Ways to Get Wildfire Smoke Out of Your House
If wildfire smoke or ash has already made its way into your home, what can you do about it? Here are a few practical suggestions.
1. Reconsider Your HVAC System/Filters
Some HVAC systems have a fresh air intake. This means that it can bring air in from the outside. If this is the case with your system, close it or turn the system to recirculate mode, which means it essentially recycles your indoor air.
In terms of the filter itself, opt for something that’s got a rating of MERV 14 or higher. Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values, or MERVs, reflect how well a filter can capture particles between 0.3 and 10 microns in size. Consider that the average smoke particle is somewhere between 0.4 and 0.7 microns. A MERV 14 filter can catch 75-84% of particles 0.3-1.0 microns in size. Any filter lower than that won’t be able to do a good job.
2. Maintain Your Indoor-Outdoor Barriers
Keeping the windows closed might sound like a given when it comes to keeping wildfire smoke out of your home. But it goes even further than this. Stand in front of all of the windows and doors in your home. Do you feel even a slight draft? If so, then wildfire smoke is able to get in, even if you can’t see it. These tiny gaps need to be sealed. Do you have a mailbox slot in your front door? Same thing!
Minimize how many times you open the doors throughout the day as much as possible. This will help keep wildfire smoke out.
3. Bring an Air Purifier Inside the Home
Hands down, one of the most powerful ways to remove wildfire smoke from your home and the air you breathe is to have an air purifier running. But not all air purifiers are created equal.
There are two things you want to look out for. First, your purifier should have multiple layers of filters and defense. For example, Sans offers three layers of protection: the pre-filter, HEPA 13 filter, and the activated carbon filter. Lastly, pulses of UV-C light neutralize the dangerous particles the purifier trapped so that they can’t grow on the other filters or escape back into the air you breathe and make you sick.
Secondly, always opt for a purifier that uses a medical-grade HEPA 13 filter. Every Sans purifier is equipped with this kind of filter. It’s able to remove at least 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns, and 99.95% of particles as small as 0.1 microns. How small is that, exactly? Well, consider that the average human hair is about 90 microns thick.
You might notice that some air purifiers use a washable HEPA 13 filter. We don’t recommend this. While a reusable filter might sound nice, the last thing you want to do after your filter has trapped dangerous toxins, viruses, and bacteria is wash it by hand.
4. Adjust the Way You Clean Your Home
Cleaning your home regularly is important for protecting your indoor air, in the first place. However, it requires even more consideration if you’re trying to remove wildfire smoke from your home.
For instance, while regular vacuuming is always a smart idea — especially if you have pets — it’s not as efficient at picking up the fine smoke particles that will fall from the air to your floors. There’s a good chance a vacuum cleaner will simply blow these particles back into the air. Instead, try using a damp mop to pick them up.
These particles don’t just settle on the floors. They also find their way onto your clothes and bedding. If you spent any time outdoors, change into clean clothes as soon as you get inside. You should also aim to wash your bedding more frequently, as well.
Be mindful of your pets, as well. As is, they track all kinds of bacteria into the house. If they spend time outside where there’s wildfire smoke, then they might be carrying that indoors too.
If you’re in an area near wildfires, there might not be much you can do to control the quality of the air outdoors. However, when it comes to your own home, you have much more say.
- Adjust your HVAC system and filters.
- Maintain a solid barrier between the indoors and outdoors.
- Use an air purifier.
- Adjust your cleaning habits to account for smoke particles.
Sans is here to help. Our three-stage filtration plus UV-C light ensures that you and your family are protected from the dangers of wildfire smoke. Shop with us today!