Following the worst summer on record for forest fires, homeowners are looking for solutions to protect themselves from declining air quality–a trend that looks like it is here to stay. Strong winds have allowed the smoke to travel hundreds of miles, affecting air quality in Calgary. Since May, there have been several weeks where the air quality index was rated high risk (rated 7-10). Many days, it was hard to see downtown office towers through the smoke.
Smoke particles have likely entered your ducts.
While you no doubt kept your windows and doors closed when the smoke was at its worst, it most likely entered your home, according to Ami Li in a CBC interview. LI is an air quality expert at Waterloo University.“(Smoke particles can) infiltrate your room through all the cracks and leakages in the building enclosure.”Li added that these particles can be carried through your ventilation systems, where they can accumulate.”It’s interesting because typically we need the fresh outdoor air to address indoor pollutants. But in this case, we do not want it if it’s not filtered.”
What should homeowners do?
1. Invest in Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Solutions
With experts predicting that smoky summers due to wildfires will be the new norm, it may be time to invest in an Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)solution. There are options worth considering(all but the germicidal lights are recommended for removing smoke particles). All can be added to your existing furnace.
UV Germicidal Lights:Made by Lennox, these high-intensity ultraviolet (UV) lights destroy the cell structure of mold, mildew and bacteria to keep indoor air healthier. Starting from $799 +GST.
Carbon Clean 16® Media Air Cleaner: New from Lennox, theCarbon Clean 16®combinesindustry-leading MERV 16 filtration with activated, carbon-coated fibers to cleanse allergy-aggravating particles from your home’s air. It’s designed to remove over 95% of allergy-triggering particles without restricting airflow. It even reduces odors. Starting fromjust $895*+GST.
PureAir™ Air Purification System: This is the ultimate all-in-one air purification solution. Why? PureAir™, by Lennox, is the only system designed to filter out all indoor air pollutants. It removes particles, germs AND odors for unparalleled performance. Starting from $1,895* +GST.
Healthy Climate®HEPA Bypass Filtration System: Lennox’s Healthy Climate® HEPA system is a hospital-grade filtration system that removes nearly all allergens and contaminants from the air in your home. This includes smoke and bacteria. A sealed bypass design prevents particles from bypassing the filter and re-entering the home environment. Starting from $1,995*+ GST.
2. Change your Furnace Filter
After a year of intense wildfire smoke, changing your furnace filter is a must. If you use a high-quality furnace filter, it has likely removed the majority of smoke particles that may have entered your home. However, particulates such as dust, allergens, pet hair/dander and cigarette/wildfire smoke can easily get trapped in the ducts and later circulate into your living areas through the vents.
3. Clean Your Ducts and Furnace
Getting your ducts cleaned is also highly recommended. Duct cleaning technicians use air-pressured wands to dislodge any materials or pollutants in your HVAC system and furnace(including smoke particles). A high-powered vacuum hose is attached to your furnace to break everything up. Companies such as Advanpro provide the option of a deeper clean. Also, once your duct cleaning is complete, Advanpro will change the filter as part of the service.
Those with allergies or breathing issues are most affected by smoke particles, dust and allergens. A duct and furnace cleaning will help improve the home’s quality and make breathing easier.
Speaking of fire…
Did you know that the lint from your dryer machine is extremely flammable? In rare cases, the heat from a dryer can cause built-up lint in the dryer or dryer vent to ignite. While you’re getting your ducts cleaned, it is suggested that you have the technician vacuum out your dryer vents. At Advanpro, dryer vent cleaning is available as an optional service ($59.95 ground floor,$129.95 second floor) or as part of our UltimateTotal Care Package.