After a dry summer and changing climates California is experiencing longer and longer fire seasons. Most of California is experiencing a severe to exceptional drought, with lower moisture levels is the higher chance of a wildfire starting. In 2022 alone California has seen over 6,590 wildfires, 365,748 acres burned, and 880 structures damaged. Living in California it’s important to know how to be prepared for a wildfire, we hope it never happens to us, but in case it does here’s how you can stay prepared to take care of your home during fire season.
One of the things most affected by wildfires is air quality. Smoke from wildfires have been known to travel thousands of miles, taking smog and other particles with it. This is due to the fact that heat rises and with it smoke can get stuck up in higher layers of the atmosphere. So, if you’re in closer proximity to a wildfire you may notice smokier skies and lower outdoor air quality. This is why ensuring your home is properly insulated and has good ventilation is essential to staying healthy during a fire.
There are many ways you can improve your home’s indoor air quality to help keep smoke out:
- Keeping all doors and windows closed and ensuring they are properly sealed. A great way to properly protect your home is to get all of your windows, doors, and other openings in your home weatherstrip for an extra layer of protection.
- Changing the air filter. When dealing with smoke it’s important to get a higher MERV* rated filter, like MERV 13, but only if your home’s HVAC can handle it. So, it’s also important to familiarize yourself with your home’s HVAC unit to know it’s running to the best of its ability.
- Invest in and use portable air purifiers. These can come in handy to help trap even more smoke particles in your home. An individual air purifier can also be beneficial for someone who is at high risk during poor air quality days.
*MERV stands for “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value.” A MERV rating helps determine the effectiveness of air filters. The best MERV ratings are between 8 and 10. These filters will help trap particles in your air, keep your indoor air quality up, and not increase or spike your energy bill.
If you don’t have full home air conditioning and instead a single window unit it’s important to turn this off during active fires or when smoke is hanging in the outdoor air. These types of units can draw in more smoke to your home. It’s useful to buy a personal or room fan to help keep you cool instead. Central AC units should be fun to run during smokier days,a s they are more capable of cleaning the air and trapping smoke particles.
Fire Season Tips
Another priority during fire seasons is to keep you and your loved ones safe. The following are some things to consider when planning for fire season:
- Know where you can find alerts about air quality and nearby fires. This will help you prepare to keep your home and family safe.
- Have a stock of medicine and food incase of an emergency you may not be able to leave your home to acquire these vital things.
- Make and go over your evacuation plan.
How We Can Help
The thought of being caught in or near a wildfire is terrifying, but an unfortunate reality of living in California. It’s always better to be prepared than to be caught off guard. Our team of HVAC specialists can help advise you on ways to keep your home smokefree and ensure your HVAC unit is prepared for nearby wildfires. Our team can help find ways to improve your home’s indoor air quality and ventilation. We can also offer inspections to ensure everything in your home is running smoothly and efficiently. Don’t hesitate to give us a call!
For all of your HVAC needs and questions contact Monarch Home Services at (661) 452-8707! Keep your home comfortable 24/7.