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


The recent wildfires that have been devastating communities across Canada are creating hazardous outdoor air quality issues due to the resulting smoke. This presents a unique and urgent challenge for homeowners in Cincinnati: how to protect your indoor air quality (IAQ) from wildfire smoke? At Thomas & Galbraith Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we have some practical tips that will help you maintain a comfortable and healthy indoor air quality throughout this difficult time.

Outdoor Air Pollution from Wildfires

First, it is important to understand the dangers of wildfire smoke. This smoke is composed of fine particulate matter that can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause respiratory issues or heart and lung diseases, especially for children, the elderly, and those with underlying health conditions. Smoke particles can also aggravate existing allergies and asthma symptoms.

Wildfire Smoke HVAC Tips

Protecting indoor air quality is essential to minimize health risks associated with wildfire season and smoke exposure. Here are some tips to help you use your HVAC system wisely and control pollution inside your home.

Heating & Cooling System Maintenance

One of the most effective ways to protect your indoor air quality during smoky conditions is to maintain HVAC systems. Air conditioning tune-ups in Cincinnati are essential to ensure it functions at its best when you need it most. Professional HVAC technicians will check that your system is running correctly and address any components that are not functioning optimally.

Check and Replace Your Air Filters Regularly

One of the most important things you can do to protect your IAQ during wildfire smoke season is to replace your HVAC filters regularly. Your filter captures airborne particles like dust, pollen, and other indoor air pollution as air moves throughout your heating and central air conditioning system.

During wildfires, particle matter like smoke can become trapped in your air filter, affecting your indoor air quality. Replacing your air filters once a month or according to the manufacturer’s recommendations will help maintain proper air quality and help your air conditioner function more efficiently.

Use a High Efficiency HVAC Filter

During fire season, we recommend upgrading to a high efficiency HVAC filter with a MERV rating of 9 or higher. MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value. A high MERV rating indicates that the furnace filter can capture smaller particles, like the fine particulate matter in smoke.

**Check out this story from WLWT where our experts were interviewed talking about checking home air filters after Canadian wildfire smoke.

Install an Air Purifier or Air Cleaner

Supplementing your HVAC system with an air purifier or air cleaner system is an effective approach to improve air quality in your home, especially during wildfire smoke season. Air purifiers and air cleaners capture and destroy fine particles within the air, including smoke.

When it comes to reducing indoor pollution during fire season, a whole home air purifier is undeniably a better solution than portable air cleaners. While a portable air cleaner is certainly effective at filtering the air in a single room, they can only do so much in terms of protecting your entire home. On the other hand, a whole home air purifier or air cleaner is capable of filtering the air in every room of your house, providing comprehensive protection for you and your family.

Additionally, portable air cleaners and purifiers can be cumbersome and require frequent changes of filters, making them less practical during an emergency situation such as a wildfire. By investing in a whole home air purifier or air cleaner, you can rest assured that your entire home is protected from harmful airborne pollutants, ensuring that your inside air quality remains healthy and safe.

Keep Windows and Doors Closed

Closing all windows and doors is another effective strategy to reduce exposure during smoke events. This will ensure that your home remains pressurized, making it easier for your HVAC system and air purification system to manage your air quality. It also minimizes fresh air intake during times where the outdoor air quality is poor, so you can fend off pollutants from the outside air. Keeping windows and doors closed will help keep indoor air pollution under control.

Run Your HVAC System Fan

During a wildfire, the air quality in your home can quickly become compromised by smoke and other harmful particles. To combat this, it is essential to keep your HVAC system’s fan on to continuously circulate and filter the air within your home. By running your HVAC fan 24/7 during a wildfire, you can help reduce the amount of smoke and other pollutants that accumulate inside your home.

In addition, continuously circulating the air through your HVAC system can help remove any lingering odors and improve overall indoor air quality. Utilizing a high-quality air filter within your HVAC system can also help capture smaller particles and further reduce the risk of inhaling harmful pollutants.

Use Your Air Conditioning System to Fight Wildfire Pollution

Overall, it is essential to maintain good indoor air quality during wildfire smoke season. Following these steps will help safeguard your family’s health and comfort during these difficult times. At Thomas & Galbraith, we are dedicated to our customers’ comfort and safety. Schedule an HVAC appointment and learn more about indoor air quality products for your home.

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