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Using Your HVAC System to Protect Your Air Quality During Fire Season

Azusa wildfire

Understanding the Impact of Fire Season on Air Quality

Fire season significantly threatens air quality, both locally and regionally. The recently contained Corral Fire near Tracy is a stark reminder of how fire season can compromise the air we breathe in our homes.

A fire releases vast amounts of smoke and particulate matter into the atmosphere. These pollutants can travel hundreds of miles and infiltrate homes, even if windows and doors are kept closed. Having effective HVAC and air filtration systems can help mitigate and even eliminate these contaminants in your home.

It's Not Just Fires Close to Home That Pose a Risk

Wildfires that are miles away, such as those occurring in Napa and Sonoma counties, also have the potential to impact the air quality in San Jose and Silicon Valley. Smoke from these distant fires can travel long distances driven by wind patterns, bringing hazardous air particles that degrade the air quality far from the original fire source. This phenomenon is exacerbated during summer months when the atmospheric conditions enable the easy spread of pollutants.

So, what can you do? Keep reading for some helpful tips from Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Solar on protecting and improving your San Jose home's air quality.

Preparing Your HVAC System for Fire Season

Step One: Schedule Your Annual HVAC Maintenance with Valley, Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Solar ]

The first and most crucial step in preparing your HVAC system for fire season is to schedule your annual maintenance with Valley. Our licensed, insured technicians will thoroughly inspect and tune up your HVAC system to ensure it operates at peak efficiency.

A well-maintained HVAC system effectively filters out harmful particles, including smoke and ash, ensuring that the air circulating inside your home remains clean and safe to breathe. Using high-quality air filters and ensuring the system is sealed correctly, your HVAC system can significantly reduce indoor air pollution, even during severe fire seasons.

In addition to professional maintenance, there are several tasks you can perform yourself to protect your home's air quality:

  • Change air filters regularly
  • Ensure your windows and doors are adequately sealed
  • Always use exhaust fans when cooking
  • Keep windows and doors closed when outside air quality is poor

Step Two: Install Advanced Home Filtration Systems

To further safeguard your home's air quality during fire season, consider installing an advanced home filtration system within your HVAC system. Modern filtration technologies, such as air scrubbers and high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, can significantly enhance your HVAC system's ability to clean the air in your home, even if there's a wildfire impacting your area.

Whole-House Filtration Systems

For comprehensive protection, consider installing a whole-house air filtration system. These systems integrate seamlessly with your HVAC unit and are designed to filter all the air that passes through the system. Whole-house systems can include activated carbon filters to remove gaseous pollutants and charcoal filters to further purify the air. Utilizing multiple layers of filtration ensures that your home's air remains clean and safe year-round.

High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filters

HEPA filters are renowned for their ability to capture the smallest particles. A typical HVAC system filter will help catch larger particles but might not efficiently catch fine particulate matter like smoke and ash. An HEPA filter can trap up to 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. Upgrading your HVAC system with HEPA filters means that even the tiniest smoke particles and allergens are removed from the air, providing a significant line of defense against fire-season pollutants.

Air Scrubbers

Air scrubbers are a powerful addition to your HVAC system, designed to actively cleanse the air circulating throughout your home. These devices use advanced filtration technologies, like UV light and catalytic processes, to remove contaminants such as mold, bacteria and viruses. By installing an air scrubber, you can reduce harmful pollutants, and substantially improve indoor air quality.

Investing in these advanced filtration systems helps protect your family’s health during fire season and contributes to better air quality overall, making your home a safer and more comfortable place to live.

Have questions about improving your home's indoor air quality this summer? Give Valley a call or send us a message online to discuss your options with our air quality specialists.

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