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How to Keep Wildfire Smoke Out of Your Home USA

How to Keep Wildfire Smoke Out of Your Home

As American wildfires become larger and more frequent, we all need to prepare and learn how to keep wildfire smoke out of our homes. Just like a home fire emergency plan, it’s also important to know what steps to take in the event of an air quality emergency.

Wildfire smoke is responsible for over 33,000 premature deaths each year, spreading PM2·5 airborne particles far and wide, deep into city apartments across the world. It’s important to protect your families health from the harmful wildfire airborne particles. 

Table of Contents

What Can I do During a Wildfire To Protect My Family From Smoke

The sooner you take steps to protect your family from wildfire smoke the better. Smoke contaminated air travels surprisingly fast, and it doesn’t take long to find a way into your home. 

Once inside, harmful PM2.5 particles start accumulating and levels will quickly rise to dangerous levels. Follow the below steps to protect your family and pets health this wildfire season.

Protecting Your Home From Wildfire Smoke

Do Bathroom And Kitchen Fans Help Remove Wildfire Smoke From Inside

It is important not to use your bathroom or any other exhaust fan when the outside air quality is poor. Exhaust fans work by sucking the air within your home, and blowing it outside, the problem is, this also causes outside air to re enter your home through cracks, door seals and window frames. 

You may need to change your cooking habits to avoid using the stove exhaust, consider using the microwave. If able, seal off exhausts from the inside, this will prevent outside air entering your home through the ducting. (Do not operate while covered)

Should I use My Air Conditioner During A Wildfire

Before you run your furnace or air conditioner during a wildfire smoke event, it’s important to ensure it is safe to do so. 

If you have a furnace or air conditioner the delivers air through ducts in your ceiling or floors, you will need to ensure the ductwork and any fresh air intakes have been appropriately sealed to ensure you do not suck smoke into the home. 

This task will often need to be carried out be an expert and most installations are not adequately sealed. 

If your ducting is sealed and safe to operate, we recommend purchasing a MERV 14 furnace filter to use during wildfire smoke events.

Once the outside air quality is back to normal, we recommend replacing your air filter with another MERV 14 for a couple weeks before reducing down to a MERV rating between 7 & 12 for everyday families. Consider storing the partially used air filter for the next fire seasons.

MERV 14 Plus Activated Carbon air filters will not only remove harmful smoke particles, the activated carbon will also help reduce the smell of smoke and other odors within the home.

If your air conditioner is a hi-wall unit, which is an air conditioner that is mounted on your inside wall with a remote outside unit. We recommend only operating this when needed.

The filtration offered by regular air conditioners is not sufficient enough to remove harmful smoke particles, they will also disrupt the air and move dust while in operation.

If you own a window AC unit, which is an air conditioner that either sticks outside of a window or exterior wall, we recommend that you do not operate it. Window AC units often have many air leaks and fresh air intakes to the outside air.

How To Make A DIY Box Fan Air Purifier For Wildfire Events

Making a makeshift box fan air purifier can be a great project to involve the kids in, it will also help maintain your indoor air quality.

You will need to measure the dimensions of the box fan, then order 4 suitably sized MERV 14 air filters through us here at Filters2Go, free US shipping is also included.

By arranging the air filters like the video, you will force air to be sucked through the air filters and out through the fan into the room. 

Masking tape can be used to seal any air gaps and for overall stability. A piece of cardboard will be needed for the base which will also need to be taped and sealed to the other air filters.

View the below video for clear instructions. Please note the video recommends MERV 13 air filters but due to wildfire smoke particle size, we recommend you purchase MERV 14 air filters.

How Do You Keep Wildfire Smoke From Getting Inside

To help maintain your indoor air quality, you will need to seal all gaps and cracks that can let outside air into your home. Feeling under windowsills and doorways for drafts is a good way to find small areas for improvement.  

Door snakes, duct tape, towels and many other everyday items can be used to help seal your home.

If you have an open fireplace, use a plastic bag or cardboard with tape to seal it until the outside air returns to normal.

What Is Inside Wildfire Smoke

Wildfire smoke consists of a mixture of gaseous pollutants and fine particles that present serious harm to human health

The majority of the smoke comes from burning forests, grass, shrubs and other natural sources.

Particle pollution is the highest health concern when it comes to wildfire smoke, consisting of small solid and liquid droplets suspended in the air that range in size.

Particle pollution is all around us and it’s unavoidable, that being said, it is important to limit your exposure, especially in areas with poor air quality.

Take the necessary steps to limiting your exposure by following some of the advice in this article. There is also a information guide below with links to multiple sources of information.


How To Remove The Smell of Wildfire Smoke From Inside Your Home

Activated carbon works well at removing odors from the home, including wildfire smoke. 
Our activated carbon furnace air filters, are made from a durable non-woven polyester material infused with naturally derived charcoal and coconut shells, producing a highly effective odor control method.

Search our large range of activated carbon furnace and air conditioner air filters for a suitable odor control method. 


What To Do After A Wildfire Smoke Event

We recommend you replace your furnace and air conditioner filters after a smoke event. Consider upgrading your air filters to ones that include activated carbon.

As mentioned in the section above, our activated carbon air filters are highly effective in removing odors within the home, while still providing excellent general filtration. 

We suggest you also consider using a higher MERV rated filter between 13 & 14 for at least two weeks afterwards, this will aid in removing any lingering elevated levels of PM2.5 pollutants from the home.

What Are The Best Air Filters For Wildfire Smoke

We recommend purchasing a MERV 13-14 furnace air filter to use during wildfire smoke events. This filtration level will provide adequate protection against any small invisible amounts of smoke that may enter the home through cracks etc.

Once again you should also consider an air filter with activated carbon for additional odor control.

How To Reduce Your Pets Exposure To Wildfire Smoke

Keep pets inside while there is a risk of smoke exposure, making use of litter trays will also reduce the amount of outside air entering your home when opening the door.

Livestock at risk of being exposed should be relocated if able. If relocation is not an option, consider moving livestock into areas where the wind is blowing smoke away from the animal.


Sources of Information

ENJOY – How to Keep Wildfire Smoke Out of Your Home?

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