The Pacific Northwest became infamous for the devastating wildfires that plagued the region in 2020, when an unprecedented number of wildfires destroyed over 10 million acres. The warm, temperate forests of our area make for an ideal environment for a wildfire to occur at any point throughout the year. However, wildfire season poses a significantly greater risk of wildfires to Pacific Northwesterners. Due to the dry vegetation and rain scarcity that is typical from July through September, it is crucial for you to know how to keep wildfire smoke out of the house.
Prepare Your Pacific Northwest Home for Wildfire Season
Don’t underestimate the unpredictable and catastrophic nature of wildfires – take measures to protect your life and property before the onset of wildfire season. After all, your home is your sanctuary. Let us help you keep it that way! Here are some helpful tips to protect your home and indoor air quality through smoke season.
- Stay Indoors.
While you should keep in mind that wildfires can quickly spiral out of control and force you to evacuate, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends staying indoors when an active, nearby fire is producing smoke but isn’t threatening your property.
- Ensure Your Home Is Sealed.
It may be worthwhile to have a professional test your home to ensure that it is completely sealed. A professional will have equipment to perform tests that detect even those gaps and cracks that aren’t visible to the naked eye. Leaks are often discovered around windows, doorways, and attics and must be weatherproofed to prevent outside air from entering the home.
- Create a Clean-Air Room With a Ductless Mini-Split
In a situation where smoke is present, access to fresh oxygen is vital to your overall health. The EPA recommends the designation of at least one “Clean-Air Room” within your home. This room should contain a cooling system that doesn’t require fresh air intake. A ductless heat pump utilizes air already within the home (whereas traditional HVAC systems pull air from outside). With ductless, you can rest assured that outdoor contaminants aren’t going to impact indoor air quality.
- Keep Your Filter Clean.
If you have a central HVAC unit, regularly check your filter and be prepared to clean or replace it frequently. This is particularly crucial during wildfire season, when air filters may require extra maintenance to remove clogged ash. If you have a ductless mini-split, clean your filter once a month. Keep in mind that with a ductless system, it does not pull air from outside.
- Give Your Outdoor Cooling and Heating System Some Space.
To maintain adequate airflow, your outdoor unit should have a three-foot perimeter cleared around it. You should clean any accumulated ash from the unit after danger has passed. Or, a professional can clean any built-up soot off of the unit at the end of wildfire season.
If you don’t have an air conditioner and an active fire is in close proximity to you, evacuate and find shelter elsewhere. If you don’t have an AC unit installed but want to prepare for the potential for exposure to wildfire smoke, consider a ductless mini-split installation.
Preparation is critical to the safety of those residing in the Pacific Northwest during wildfire season. Frequently monitor your state’s smoke tracking platform. Assess what actions you should take and when it is safe to do so — access Washington’s tracker here! Don’t forget to also check the air quality in your area before heading out!
Get a Free Estimate for a Clean Room Ductless Air Conditioner to Keep Wildfire Smoke Out
Located in the Northwest Washington area, Alpine Ductless provides service to the Thurston, Pierce, Mason, Lewis, and South King county areas. We can help you with a mini-split installation in PNW for your clean-air room. Give us a call or contact us to get a free estimate. Our ductless heating and cooling installers will help determine the best system and location in your home or business.