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Seattle's Summer Smoke: 5 Ways to Protect Your Home and Family

July 15, 2019

With its beautiful vistas, perfect temperatures, mountains, rivers, lakes, and the Puget Sound, Seattle’s gorgeous summers are the envy of most other cities around the country. Unfortunately, for three out of the last four years, summers here have been marred by smoke and ash blown in from forest fires in British Columbia and Eastern Washington, causing unsafe and unpleasant conditions for Seattle’s residents. Last year during Seattle’s smoky August, we had the worst-rated air quality in the world.

Due to ongoing environmental changes, the underlying dry conditions that cause these fires are predicted to continue. It’s possible that smoke and ash-filled weeks in August will be the norm in Seattle for the foreseeable future.

During these episodes, parents are urged to keep their children inside. While recommending people stay inside is a good plan, many homes in Seattle are ill-equipped to provide real protection and comfort during these periods of terrible outdoor air quality. Lack of adequate ventilation and air cleaning/filtering, and lack of air conditioning plague many of Seattle’s homes. Seattle even has plans to create public clean air shelters where residents can go to escape smoky outdoor air. 

From beautiful to unhealthy, Seattle's air could turn ugly in future August weeks.

How Can You Protect Your Home and Family from Smoke?

  1. Close your windows and doors. Keeping windows and doors closed is the first step in keeping harmful, smoky air out of your home. Unfortunately, if your home doesn’t have adequate airflow and ventilation, this can make your home extremely uncomfortable during the hottest part of the summer, when fires and smoky air are most prevalent. Additionally, even during normal conditions without smoky outdoor air, the air in a typical home is not very healthy. According to the EPA, “Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, where the concentrations of some pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations.” If you’re looking to protect your family from poor outdoor air quality, keeping your home’s windows and doors closed is a good first step, but likely isn’t enough.
  2. Invest in high quality central air filtration. If your home has central ductwork, investing in a high-quality air filter or electronic air cleaner can drastically reduce the amount of smoke in your home. It will also help remove other particulates and impurities from the air, vastly improving your indoor air quality. We now offer carbon-coated filters, which remove odors while they filter the air, reducing smoky odors in your home. We also highly recommend Trane’s CleanEffects solution. Take a look at this video demonstrating the CleanEffects ability to remove smoke and particulates from the air in your home:
  3. Invest in an Air Scrubber by Aerus. The Air Scrubber cleans and purifies air and surfaces in your home. Unlike passive air filters - Air Scrubber Plus® actively treats the air by continually sending out ActivePure scrubbers throughout your home to greatly reduce chemicals, dangerous contaminants, mold, odors, and pollutants in the air, including smoke. The Air Scrubber can be installed in your home’s ductwork. It also comes in a portable model for homes without central ductwork, making it a great solution for almost any home. More info on the Air Scrubber.
  4. Run Your Home’s Fan More Often. Running your home’s fan can improve the comfort in your home. Moving air makes it feel cooler in your home, while also evening out temperatures. Running the fan also filters air more often in your home, removing smoke and other contaminants. If you’ve invested in a high-quality air filter, CleanEffects, or an Air Scrubber, running your fan will increase the effectiveness of these air quality solutions, allowing them to clean the air in your home more often. Click here for more information about the benefits of running your home’s fan.
  5. Invest in Air Conditioning. Smoky outdoor air conditions are most likely to occur in August during the hottest part of Seattle’s summer. If your home doesn’t have air conditioning, keeping windows and doors closed during this time of year can be extremely uncomfortable, especially in bedrooms at night. Because of this, more and more homeowners in Seattle are adding air conditioning. This allows you to keep windows closed and remain comfortable during times when outdoor air quality is extremely poor. Heat pumps or ductless heat pumps are also great options, adding air conditioning for the summer AND high efficiency heating for the fall and winter months.

If you would like more information about how we can help improve the air quality in your home, give us a call at 206-565-1455.


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