With California experiencing more frequent and severe wildfires, residents are often advised to stay indoors. However, fine particles from wildfire smoke will probably make their way into your home and accumulate over time, affecting the air quality inside your home.
The good news is that certain IAQ (indoor air quality) equipment can help protect your family and home from the effects of wildfires.
In this blog, we’ll explain some of the benefits of using IAQ equipment throughout the fire season, including how they help:
- Remove airborne particles from wildfire smoke
- Remove odors from wildfire smoke
- Keep your home clean
First, though, let’s take a quick look at how wildfires impact your health and your home’s indoor air quality.
Want to chat with an expert to see if an air purification system would benefit you? Just contact Burgeson’s. We’ve helped homeowners throughout Southern California improve their indoor air quality throughout the wildfire season with powerful, effective solutions and we can do the same for you.
Impact of fire season on health and IAQ
Wildfire smoke is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and other plant material. The biggest threat to our health are the smallest particles in smoke, called Particulate Matter 2.5 or PM2.5.
These tiny particles are invisible to the human eye but can travel deep into the respiratory tract and cause many health issues. The following groups of people may be susceptible to PM2.5:
- People with breathing problems
- People with heart problems
- Elderly people
- Pregnant women
- Long-time smokers
Short-term exposure to particles in the PM2.5 size range can cause:
- Eye, nose, throat, and lung irritation
- Runny nose
- Shortness of breath
- Decreased lung function
Daily exposure to PM2.5 can also exacerbate existing respiratory issues such as asthma and heart disease.
How IAQ equipment can help protect your health and home during fire season
Below, we’ll outline the 3 main ways that IAQ equipment can benefit you, specifically regarding fire season.
Note: To be clear, when we reference “IAQ equipment,” we are referring to both whole-home air filtration and purification systems that combine air filtration and air purification together for a multi-stage approach to cleaning the air in your home as well as whole-home in-duct UV air purifiers.
Removes airborne particles from wildfire smoke
As stated above, wildfire consists primarily of very fine particles that can infiltrate your home via small cracks in doors, windows, etc. And as these particles accumulate in your home, the indoor air quality drops, and health issues will start to emerge.
The standard air filters in your HVAC system are ineffective at trapping particles this small (the particles simply pass right through the filter). However, a whole-home air purification system with a HEPA filter will trap these particles, effectively removing them from the air in your home.
Removes odors from wildfire smoke
When wildfire smoke reaches your home, it doesn’t just bring particulate matter into your home, it brings in smoke odors as well. It can also introduce other unpleasant odors associated with fine particles.
However, a whole-home air purification system with an effective purification device can help to eliminate gases or odors in your home.
How an air filtration and purification system eliminates odors will vary depending on the brand/model. Some systems trap particles that cause odors, while others generate free radicals that break down odors and VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
For example, Lennox’s PureAir Air Purification System uses a titanium-dioxide coated catalyst that, when combined with UV rays, breaks down odors and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) from wildfire smoke as well as odors from paints, cleaning supplies, fumes, etc.
This means that odor-causing particles aren’t just trapped and removed from the air. They are destroyed by a group of oxidants that change the particles' molecular structure, making them harmless.
Helps keep your home clean
Super fine particles and odors aren’t the only elements that a wildfire introduces. Larger particles can be a nuisance to deal with during a wildfire event.
Installing a whole-home air purification system that incorporates HEPA filtration helps your home stay clean from soot, dust, dirt, and other more significant wildfire-induced pollutants. In protecting it from those exterior pollutants, your home is not just a safe haven from the outdoor elements but also an enjoyable space to live in.
On top of that, air purification systems with UV light capabilities can also help rid your home of germs and viruses that could be especially dangerous during a wildfire.
According to the CDC, “Wildfire smoke can irritate your lungs, cause inflammation, affect your immune system, and make you more prone to lung infections, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.” Because of this, we suggest looking for an air purifier that incorporates UV air purification that can help to eliminate germs and pathogens in your home.
Need help choosing an air purifier?
Don’t wait until there’s a fire to act. Make sure that your home and family is prepared with an effective and powerful whole-home air purifying system.
If you are in the market for air filtration and/or purification but need advice on what brand and model to choose, contact Burgeson’s. Our team has years of experience helping homeowners choose the air purification system that fits their health needs and budget.