Cleaner indoor air and lower energy costs: Tips for wildfire season

Wildfires– and the resulting smoke– have actually ended up being increasingly typical and more extreme across Oregon recently. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “The most significant health danger from smoke is from fine particles. These microscopic particles can enter your eyes and breathing system– whether you are outdoors or inside your home– where they can cause health problems.” Wildfire smoke can also make your heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system work harder, contributing to increased energy usage and greater energy expenses.
Taking precautionary measures now can help enhance your indoor air quality and reduce your energy use later this summertime. Here are some methods you can keep your household healthy, preserve the convenience of your house and minimize energy costs throughout wildfire season.
Replace your air filter frequentlyRegularly altering your air filter is always a good idea, however it is particularly crucial when there are active wildfires in or near your location. Changing your filter more often will help you maintain healthy indoor air quality and avoid additional energy use.
Know your filters– and HVAC systemFilters with a high minimum effectiveness reporting value (MERV) have a much finer weave that captures much more particles compared to basic filters. High-MERV filters can likewise make some HVAC systems work harder, which can increase energy use. Consult the makers handbook or website for the very best guidance on the filters you must be using.
If you change a standard filter with a high-MERV filter throughout wildfire season, you can reduce the quantity of smoke that enters your home– however you might likewise increase your energy expenses. Make sure to switch back to a basic filter after wildfire season. If your HVAC system is developed to work with a high-MERV filter, this isnt an issue, however you ought to still replace the filter routinely.
Switch to “fan only” mode temporarilyIt is an excellent idea to utilize your HVAC system in “fan just” mode during wildfire season. This ensures your system is running continually to run your indoor air through the filter. Simply keep in mind to return to “auto” mode prior to winter returns and heating season starts so that the system kicks on only when required. That method, you will avoid increasing your energy usage and raising your costs.
Tighten up seals around windows, windows and doors air conditioners If your windows or doors are drafty, set up weatherstripping to assist prevent smoke from drifting into your home. If you have a window a/c unit, run it just if you can close the outdoor air damper. Furthermore, make sure the seal between the window and the system is as tight as possible.
For more details on indoor air quality, check out these resources from the EPA.
You can also find low- and no-cost ways to save energy and cash from Energy Trust of Oregon.

Wildfire smoke can likewise make your heating, aerating and air conditioning (HVAC) system work harder, contributing to increased energy use and higher energy expenses.
High-MERV filters can also make some HVAC systems work harder, which can increase energy use. If you change a standard filter with a high-MERV filter throughout wildfire season, you can lower the quantity of smoke that gets into your home– however you might also increase your energy expenses. If you have a window air conditioner, run it only if you can close the outdoor air damper.

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