Forest Fire Smoke & Your Home HVAC System
Air quality warnings in the City of Calgary are not uncommon during forest fires. Over the past few summers smoke from forest fires in British Columbia and the vicinity of Banff National Park have reduced visibility and caused poor air quality in Calgary. Calgarians are sometimes advised to stay indoors and to keep indoor air as clean as possible by keeping windows and doors closed.
How can Calgary residents reduce the risks from forest fire smoke to their home air quality and home HVAC system?
How often should you change your air conditioner/furnace filter?
As the filter does its job, it gets loaded with more and more particles, eventually requiring cleaning or changing. This really depends on how dirty the environment is to begin with. We recommend cleaning or changing your whole home heating and cooling system filter every 30-90 days depending on the number of people and pets that live in the home. Upgrading your filter to a MERV rated filter will improve indoor air quality. For more information on when and how to change your air filter, read our post ‘Air Filter Know-How’.
Do you need to change your air conditioner/furnace filter more frequently if there is smoke or other pollutants in the air?
You should change your air conditioner and furnace filters more frequently if you have pets, smoke, use a high MERV rated filter, have a drafty home and during extreme temperatures.
If you are noticing the smell of smoke from the forest fire lingering in your home, you will want to complete filter maintenance. Keeping the filter clean will help to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside. Learn more about your HVAC Filter and how to know if it is time to change your filter.
What else can lower the risk of forest fire smoke on indoor air quality?
- Turn on any portable air cleaners with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. HEPA filters are designed to trap smoke, and extract micro particles from the air. An air purifier with an activated carbon component will help remove VOCs from the smoke.
- Avoid running fans and fresh air ventilation systems that bring more smoky outdoor air inside.
- If you have a wall‐unit air conditioner or window‐unit air conditioner set it to re‐circulate.
Arpi’s offers indoor air quality solutions. Our home heating and cooling solutions and air purification systems are aimed at providing clients with the highest possible standards of comfort in their living and working lives.