Unfortunately, wildfires are a common occurrence when living in the Pacific Northwest. It’s not surprising that your heating and cooling system is the last thing on your mind when you are scrambling around trying to protect your family and home. That being said, checking your HVAC system is one of the important steps the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has listed to help homeowners prepare for wildfire season.
Checking Your Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning System (HVAC)
The EPA recommends getting familiar with your HVAC system so you will know how to adjust it to prevent harmful smoke from entering your home. Since your heating and cooling system circulates the air that your family breathes, it is important to protect your HVAC system from wildfire smoke so the harmful soot, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide doesn’t linger in your home causing damage long after the fires are extinguished.
5 Ways To Protect Your HVAC System From Wildfire Smoke
Wildfire smoke contains microscopic bits of dust, ash, and a number of harmful chemicals that can cause significant respiratory issues when inhaled. You can protect your heating and cooling system from this dangerous mix if you take these measures.
Upgrade Your Air Filter
It is important to have a high quality air filter installed to keep your indoor air as pollutant free as possible. It is advised to use air filters with a MERV rating (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values) of 11 or more.
Older units may not be compatible with higher rated filters so be sure to contact one of our HVAC experts to help you choose the right air filter for your home. According to our experts, we believe CAL 16 or CAL 20 are some of the best HVAC filters for wildfire smoke.
Seal Windows and Doors
Broken doors and windows can allow polluted air from the outside into your home. Your air conditioning unit will continuously circulate this debris filled air throughout your home making it unlivable. Avoid this by sealing your doors and windows with foam tape, weatherstrip, or window film. It is advised to replace, rather than repair, the doors and windows if they are in bad condition.
Close The Fresh Air Intake Vent
The fresh intake vent allows outside air to come into your home. This is the last thing you want when the air is thick with smoke. Be sure to close your fresh intake vents during a wildfire. If you cannot find or properly close the vents, give one of our HVAC professionals a call and we will assist you.
Clear The Debris Around Your HVAC Unit
Once the wildfire advisory has been lifted, you need to make sure there is no debris inside or around the HVAC unit. It is important to schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained HVAC experts to have your heating and cooling system thoroughly cleaned to ensure there aren’t any lingering chemicals to be recirculated through your home.
Invest In a Indoor Air Purification System
By investing in an indoor air purification system, you are giving your HVAC system the best fighting chance during wildfire season. Indoor air purifying products, such as an i-Wave, work to create positive and negative ions, these ions in turn cling to any large particles in the air in your home. These will then get trapped in your filter, and you can breathe easy knowing your homes air is clean.
Should You Run An Air Conditioner During Smoke-Heavy Conditions?
Contrary to what you might think, you should continue to run your air conditioner when wildfire smoke is present. Not only will this protect the air inside your home from smoke particles, but it will give you a safe space to breathe easier.
Quality HVAC Services In Sisters, Oregon
Ponderosa Heating & Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical offers a variety of HVAC services to help you prevent and repair the damages wildfires can cause to your HVAC system. Our dedicated team of heating and cooling specialists have been helping the homeowners of Sisters and the surrounding Central Oregon areas deal with the aftereffects of destructive wildfires for over 30 years. Call today to schedule an appointment with one of our trustworthy HVAC experts today!