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Preparing your home for wildfire smoke

Wildfire season is right around the corner, and it’s best to prepare for wildfire smoke before it arrives. The most effective way to protect yourself is to stay indoors when it’s smoky. It’s also important to keep your indoor air clean.

Here are three ways to keep your indoor air clean and healthy during wildfire season:
  1. If your home has a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, check the rating of your system’s air filter. The rating, called a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV), ranges from 1 to 16. Look for a high-efficiency MERV rating of 13-16. This can remove 90% or more of the particles from your indoor air, including the tiny harmful particulates in wildfire smoke. Check with a professional HVAC technician to be sure a high efficiency filter is compatible with your system. When it’s smoky outside, set your HVAC system to recirculate indoor air if possible rather than pulling air from outside.

  2. Another method for keeping your indoor air clean is to purchase a portable HEPA air purifier. It’s important the purifier uses a HEPA filter or non-ozone producing electrostatic precipitator (ESP filter) and is the correct size for the room it will be used in.

  3. For a low-cost alternative, create your own air purifying filter with a 20-inch box fan by following these instructions. Or watch this short DIY clean air fan video from our friends at Washington Ecology to see how to make one.
Regardless of how you plan to keep your indoor air cleaner this fire season, it’s important to plan ahead and get necessary equipment before you (and all of your neighbors) might need it.