How Can I Prevent Wildfire Smoke in my Home?

Wildfires, forest fires, bushfires — all of them refer to essentially the same thing: unplanned fires that affect natural areas like forests and grasslands. 

They’re common in hotter regions where there are long, dry spells, and may be caused by both human activities (e.g., campfires, fireworks, cigarettes) or natural factors (e.g., lightning, extreme temperatures, atmospheric instability).

As the climate change situation worsens, wildfire season is becoming more intense. Aside from the obvious loss of natural resources and destroyed property, wildfires can also cause air pollution due to the smoke produced.

While this can impact the outdoor air quality, smoke from outside can also make its way into your home, causing poor indoor air quality. Whether you’re close to a wildfire or local authorities have warned of wildfire smoke drifting to your area, it’s important to know how to keep it out of your house.

Microscopic particles floating in the air can pose health risks for you and your family, especially for those with respiratory problems. And even if you are indeed healthy, it’s still wise to ensure that the air inside your home is easy to breathe.

In this blog, we’ll share with you the most effective ways to prevent wildfire smoke from entering your house.

How to Stop Wildfire Smoke From Entering Your Home

Replace Leaky Windows and Doors, and Seal Gaps or Cracks

Windows and doors provide natural ventilation, and smoke can obviously enter these openings. Aside from preventing smoke from coming into the house, ensuring that they are airtight can also improve the energy efficiency of your home. If you find gaps around closed windows, seal them through caulking or another sort of insulation/sealing, like tape or stripping.

On a related note, during a wildfire or for any reason it’s smoky outside, make sure to keep all windows and doors shut without blocking them in such a way that it becomes harder for you to get out.

Upgrade or Adjust Your Home’s HVAC System

Familiarize yourself with how to adjust your HVAC system to keep smoke out. If it has a fresh air intake, figure out how to close it or turn it to recirculate mode. Avoid using an evaporative cooler or a portable air conditioner with a single hose that vents out of a window in smoky conditions. Use other cooling options, such as a fan, in the meantime.

It’s also a smart idea to replace your current filter with a high-efficiency MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) 13 filter or the highest rating that your system fan and filter slot can accommodate. For this, you might want to consult with a professional HVAC technician to determine the high-efficiency filter that will work best for your system.

Regularly Check the Air Quality in Your Area

Keep yourself updated on local news and check the AirNow website regularly to find out your area’s air quality. If there’s an active wildfire or if the air quality index shows that smoke levels are too high, local authorities may suggest for you to remain indoors and create a clean room to reduce your exposure to unhealthy air particles. 

For those who are not familiar with the term “clean room,” it’s basically a room in your house that you can set up to keep smoke levels and other particles as low as possible during wildfires. It should also contain a portable air cleaner, and is particularly helpful for high-risk individuals such as those with asthma, lung problems, or heart disease.

That brings us to our next point.

Consider Buying an Air Purifier for Your Home

One of the best ways to improve indoor air quality during a wildfire is to run an air purifier. As the name suggests, it purifies the air by trapping dust, mold spores, airborne contaminants, smoke, and even bacteria and viruses. In order to serve as an effective preventative measure against wildfire smoke, you have to ensure that the air purifier you buy is equipped with the proper inner workings to get the job done.

While you’ll certainly find a lot of options on the market, it’s important to note that not all air purifiers are created equal. The least we can recommend is to choose one with a medical-grade HEPA 13 filter and avoid those that produce ozone.

However, if you’re looking for an exceptional one, Sans is one of the industry leaders in air purification with its cutting-edge technology. It has a three-stage filtration system plus UV-C light sterilization for maximum protection.

Here’s how it works. First, the air goes through a pre-filter where relatively larger particulate matter, such as dust, gets trapped. Next, it passes through the HEPA 13 filter, recommended by the U.S. Department of Health because it can catch particles as tiny as 0.1 microns with 99.95% efficiency. These include bacteria and viruses. 

Then, there’s the activated carbon filter, which neutralizes harmful gases in the air. To top it all off, pulses of UV-C light ensure that the microorganisms trapped in the filters are neutralized and won’t grow back.

With these multiple layers of protection, the Sans air purifier makes an excellent choice for keeping indoor air pleasant (and safe) to breathe with or without wildfire incidents.

Wildfires are unexpected but sometimes inevitable, so you have to always be prepared in case it happens. Even if you aren’t all that close to the affected site, smoke may drift to your home and can have serious effects on people’s health, especially children, elderly people, pregnant women, and those with heart or respiratory conditions.

Keep your entire family protected by following the preventative measures shared in this article. Shop with Sans today.