How to prevent smoke from entering your home

SALT LAKE CITY – The Salt Lake City Department of Health on Friday shared advice on how to prevent smoke from entering your home and affecting the quality of indoor air.

“With smoke from wildfires having recently become more of a concern as fires burn in several western states, air quality experts from the Salt Lake County Department of Health warn that even if you don’t are not in the immediate vicinity of a fire, smoke imported by weather systems can still be a problem. important health problem, especially for people with underlying health problems, ”the ministry said.

They say that obviously smoke can enter your home through open doors and windows, but also through “mechanical means such as an HVAC system, or by infiltrating cracks or small openings in the structure.” .

Keep the smoke out of your home

They recommend the following tips:

1. Keep windows and doors closed

Try to keep the most obvious entry points to your home closed as much as possible. If you don’t have air conditioning, when your area is affected by smoke from wildfires, the EPA recommends using fans instead of opening windows or seeking relief from the heat in a cold area. of Salt Lake County.

2. Limit the use of a swampy cooler

Evaporative coolers bring in air from outside to help cool the house; In a heat emergency, consider visiting a cold area instead of using a swampy cooler, or limit its use as much as possible.

3. Close the fresh air intake vent on window AC units.

If your air conditioning unit has a setting to recirculate air, use this option instead of the “fresh” outside air. This also applies to central air systems: if there is a fresh air circulation option, try to temporarily deactivate it.

4. Avoid adding to poor air quality by burning

Adding to smoke while burning or cooking outdoors is not recommended during forest fires. Things like recreational fires or smoker barbecues can make the air worse for you and your neighbors.

5. Consider buying an indoor air purifier

The EPA recommends using indoor air purifiers on the highest possible setting during fires. If you have a central air system with filtration, run the system fan at the highest setting possible; this moves the air particles that have settled and helps to remove them.

6. Postpone house cleaning

Vacuuming can temporarily worsen your indoor air quality by raising dust and small particles, unless your vacuum is equipped with HEPA filtration. So, consider postponing cleaning your home until the smoke from the wildfire passes (you’re welcome!).

7. Avoid being too active

If there’s an excuse for not training hard, especially outdoors, it’s during a smoke-related event. Cardiovascular exercise increases the amount of air you absorb into your lungs, so consider taking a day off during large forest fires.

8. Use N95 masks

If the air quality is visibly poor, use an N95 or KN95 mask outdoors; As cases increase, you will also help protect yourself from the public transmission of COVID.

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