Tips to Improve Indoor Air Quality During Wildfires
ACE Hardware Stores and Filtrete Brand team up to support Rocky Mountains residents
Summer in the Rocky Mountains means camping, hiking and river rafting, and all too often, forest fires that threaten the same mountains that provide our year-round playground.
Smoke from wildfires is made up of fine particles produced when wood and other organic matter burn. Polluted air from wildfires can have a negative impact on air quality even in urban areas and several counties away from the site of the fire. Poor air quality is particularly dangerous for older adults, children and people suffering from heart or lung disease¹.
When smoke matter enters a home, the particles tend to settle out of the air and on horizontal surfaces; penetrate upholstery, drapes and insulation; and adhere to electronic components, which means these pollutants can be circulated throughout the home even after the fire is extinguished.
Here are a few simple tips from Ace Hardware for improving indoor air quality during the Rocky Mountain region's summer wildfire season:
- Keep windows and doors closed.
- Run the air conditioner if you have one. Be sure to keep the fresh-air intake closed to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside.
- Clean air filters are very important to healthy indoor air quality. Upgrade to a Filtrete Filter from 3M with a microparticle rating (MPR) of 1,000 or higher to help capture microscopic airborne particles such as smoke and smog from the air passing through the filter. Also, be sure to change your filter immediately and plan to replace it every 30 days for a few months to prevent ash and smoke particles from circulating through your home. By running your fan continuously you can increase the circulation of the air in your home, therefore capturing more ash and smoke particles.
- Although humidifiers are not air cleaners and will not reduce the amount of particles in the air, running a humidifier can help keep the mucous membranes moist and reduce eye and airway irritation in our dry and arid environment.
- A Filtrete Room Air Purifier can also be an additional effective way of removing particles in your home.
- Clean electronic components, refrigerator condenser coils and fan, and other charged surfaces and appliances that might attract particulates.
- Reduce other sources of indoor air pollution. Do not burn cigarettes, candles or incense, and decrease your use of gas and propane appliances.
- Do not vacuum, dry dust or sweep. These cleaning methods increase particle levels and stir up particles in a home and should be avoided during smoky air conditions.
To help people monitor real-time air quality conditions in local communities, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other national, state and local agencies developed the AIRNow web site. Visit AIRNow.com to check current air quality conditions by state or zip code, and stay safe this summer.
Filtrete Brand from 3M has donated air filters to the Ace Hardware Stores throughout the Mountain region to support residents affected by recent wildfires in Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico. In the coming weeks, consumers in the affected areas will be able to receive a FREE Filtrete Filter. To find an exact location and for more information, log on to www.myhelpfulace.com
¹U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: http://www.epa.gov/pm/health.html