How to Run Your HVAC and Protect Your Indoor Air from Wildfire Smoke in Louisville

In the midst of the hot summer months in Louisville, we need to ensure that our air conditioning systems are running smoothly and that our indoor air is free of pollutants. One of the major concerns this year is the wildfire smoke that can permeate our homes, affecting the air quality and causing health issues. Here are some tips on how to run your Louisville HVAC system and protect your indoor air from wildfire smoke by Jarboe's Heating, Cooling & Plumbing.

Wildfires are a natural disaster that can wreak havoc on the environment and pose a severe threat to public safety, causing significant damage to homes, commercial buildings, and infrastructure. Wildfire smoke is one of the central issues resulting from these fires. The polluted air can trigger a range of health problems such as lung diseases, especially to those who have pre-existing medical conditions. It also affects the indoor air quality, causing unwanted particles to linger within living spaces.

Inhaling the tiny suspended particles from wildfire smoke can damage the lungs, leading to asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory diseases. Breathing in these harmful particles can also exacerbate allergies and even lead to symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, and even heart attacks.

Here are some helpful tips and advice to help keep your indoor air free of wildfire smoke particles and protect your family indoors.

Check Your Furnace Filter Regularly

A clean air filter ensures that the air flowing through your HVAC system is free of pollutants and contaminants. It also ensures that the system runs efficiently, reducing energy consumption and costs. During wildfire season when there is more smoke, it is advisable to check your filters more frequently and make sure the air filter fits securely in the filter slot, as the smoky conditions can clog the filters faster than usual. Consider upgrading to a high-efficiency HVAC filter, which can capture fine particles, including smoke. Look for air filters with a high MERV rating (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) of 8 to 12.

Use an Air Purifier or Portable Air Cleaner

Air purifiers work by removing contaminants from the air, including smoke particles. Portable air cleaners are helpful and can be moved around the house as needed. For the best protection from indoor air pollution, installing a whole-house air purifier to work with your air conditioner is your best bet.

Air purifiers are especially effective for those who have respiratory conditions, such as asthma. Choose an air purifier that has a high-efficiency HVAC filter and an activated carbon filter, which can remove smoke particles and odors, as well as dust, volatile organic compounds, smoke from burning candles and smoking cigarettes, and other debris that can impact your family's health and lead to heart or lung diseases when exposure is long-term.

Stay Indoors

During wildfire season, the best way to protect yourself from smoke exposure is to stay indoors as much as possible. Close windows and doors to reduce the amount of smoke and outside air that gets inside. If you must go outside, wear a mask that is certified to filter out fine particulate matter, such as an N95 mask until the smoke clears.

Maintain Your HVAC System

Regular maintenance of your central air conditioning system ensures that it is running efficiently and effectively. Schedule annual maintenance with a certified HVAC technician who will check for leaks, malfunctions, and other issues. This will help prevent breakdowns and ensure that your air conditioner is running at peak performance, reducing energy consumption and costs.

Keep Your Air Conditioner Running Continuously

During the wildfire season, it's best to keep your air conditioner or system fan running continuously. This helps maintain positive pressure in your home and ensures that any smoke particles are filtered out. If you have a programmable thermostat, set the system's fan to run continuously during the fire season. You can also use a ceiling fan or box fan to keep air circulating in occupied rooms of homes or commercial buildings.

Seal Air Leaks

Sealing air leaks in your home is an effective way to keep wildfire smoke out and protect your health. Not only will it prevent smoke from entering your home, but it will also improve the overall energy efficiency of your home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, sealing air leaks can reduce your energy consumption by as much as 20%. By doing your part to seal air leaks and keep wildfire smoke out of your home, you can protect your health and do your part to conserve energy.

Monitor Air Quality Levels

Finally, it's essential to monitor the outdoor air quality levels in your home during wildfires. EPA has an air quality index (AQI) that indicates the AQI for your area. You can check the Louisville AQI update and track the levels to determine when it's safe to open your windows and doors.

Combat Outdoor Air Pollution with HVAC Systems

Protecting your indoor air from wildfire smoke is essential for your health and well-being, especially during the hot summer months in Louisville. By checking your HVAC filters regularly, increasing ventilation, using air purifiers, staying indoors, and maintaining your HVAC system, you can reduce the amount of smoke that gets inside and improve indoor air quality. At Jarboe's, we are committed to helping you achieve optimal indoor air quality.

Contact us today to schedule AC system maintenance in Louisville and learn more about our HVAC services. We can help equip your home with additional protection from wildfire smoke.

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