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How to Safely Run Your HVAC During Wildfire Season


Stephens Plumbing

June 23, 2023


It seems like wildfire season is always just around the corner, and understanding how to safely run your HVAC during wildfire season is a crucial piece of knowledge for every homeowner and business owner in the region. The impact a wildfire can have extends far beyond simply burning the forest, as the smoke can have particularly disastrous results for your HVAC systems. Let’s take a look at how to protect your HVAC from HVAC fire and fire in AC units while providing cleaner air inside the building.

Get An HVAC Smoke Filter

One of the biggest factors in helping protect your HVAC system is the HVAC smoke filter. A high-quality HVAC smoke filer is specifically designed to help trap particulate matter in smoke before it gets into your living or working spaces. When the air quality outside is reduced due to wildfire smoke, these filters become your first line of defense.

Regular HVAC filters may not be able to trap the tiny particles found in wildfire smoke. The ideal filters for this will have a high Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value or MERV. Generally, a high-MERV filter, such as MERV-13 or higher, will be more effective at trapping the smaller particles that wildfires produce.

Once you’ve installed high-MERV filtration, it’s important to remember to replace them regularly during wildfire season, even when they don’t look like they’re dirty. With higher levels of smoke in the air, the filters will become saturated more quickly, which means they lose their effectiveness sooner. If your HVAC system can’t use a high-MERV filter, consider transitioning to a portable HEPA air purification unit.

Install An HVAC Fresh Air Intake System

Another excellent way to safely run your HVAC during wildfire season is to install an HVAC fresh air intake system. These systems operate by pulling fresh air from outside to replace the stale interior air. However, during wildfire season, these systems have the potential to bring in smoky air from the outdoors. You can mitigate this by temporarily closing the fresh air intake and recirculating the indoor air.

While the HVAC system can help lower indoor smoke levels, it’s not a comprehensive solution for smoke elimination. With that in mind, you should be aware of these wildfire smoke tips:

  1. When air quality alerts are activated, keep windows and doors closed.
  2. Avoid activities that generate more indoor air particles, like smoking, vacuuming, or burning candles.
  3. Stay current on developments concerning local air quality or wildfire events, and follow any instructions issued by local authorities.

Partner With Stephens Plumbing For All Your HVAC Needs

Stephens is here to help, and our professional HVAC technicians can help you prepare your system for wildfire season, ensuring optimal performance and cleaner indoor air. Give us a call or schedule an appointment today to begin the process and receive a free estimate.


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