Air Conditioners and Wildfires: What You Need to Know

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Air Conditioners and Wildfires: What You Need to Know

Air Conditioners and Wildfires: What You Need to Know

21 September 2020
, Blog

If your state is prone to wildfires, then you know that fire season can be a challenging time even if the fire front is not directly threatening your home. Smoke from fires can drastically reduce air quality, making it miserable to spend time outdoors and even affect your home's interior air. Your HVAC system can potentially help you to breathe more comfortably.

While your air conditioner will improve interior air quality, these three tips will help your system operate more effectively and efficiently.

1. Reduce Filter Load

Your HVAC filter will do the bulk of the work when it comes to improving your air quality, but it's easy to overload it. Although filters are cheap, replacing them every day can quickly become an expensive burden. A filter should typically last between three and six months, but extreme conditions will mean more frequent replacements.

To avoid continually replacing your filter, you should reduce the load on it as much as possible. Sealing your windows and doors to keep smoke out is a good start. You should also avoid activities that may reduce indoor air quality. Frequent vacuuming or cooking anything that generates much smoke can potentially impact your system's filtering capacity.

2. Keep Your Fan "On"

Under normal circumstances, it's a good idea to keep your thermostat fan set to "auto." When you use this thermostat mode, your HVAC blower will shut off when your air conditioner is not running. Auto mode helps to prevent your system from pushing humid air through your home, but you also will not filter your air if the fan is off.

By switching your thermostat fan setting to "on," your blower will operate continuously to filter your home's air. If you have problems with humidity, consider turning your air conditioner off entirely and letting your HVAC blower run on its own. Most thermostats should have a "fan-only" mode that you can use to accomplish this.

 3. Check Your Filter Regularly

Even if you've taken steps to minimize the load on your filter, you should still check it every day or every other day during wildfire conditions. If the filter appears soiled or smells smoky, consider replacing it. You may find that you need to replace your filters frequently when conditions are particularly bad, but this maintenance task can help to ensure that your indoor air quality remains fresh.

A central air conditioning system can do wonders to keep your family safe and comfortable when outside conditions are smoky, but they can do even more when you know the best way to use them. Following these tips can allow you to maintain a high level of indoor air quality through even highly challenging times. For more information, contact companies like R & B Inc Heating & Air Conditioning.

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What can your HVAC technician do for you? Some HVAC contractors perform tasks beyond the heating and cooling system work that they do for you. In fact, my HVAC technician does plumbing and even some electrical work in my home. I had no idea that the company offered this type of service until he made a few suggestions about improving the plumbing system in my home as he inspected my HVAC system to get it ready for winter. Find out what your HVAC contractor can do for your home here on my blog. When you've reached the end, you will know very well what you can ask of your technician and avoid contacting a second contractor.