Wildfire season in the Northwest is increasing in intensity and length. Even when fires are hundreds of miles away, it is increasingly common to see alerts of poor air quality from ash and smoke. Those alerts often advise that people stay indoors, but what steps can you take to ensure that the air quality inside your home is safe?
One practical way to protect the air quality inside your home is through weatherization, or the process of making upgrades that help reduce the amount of air and pollutants that enter your home.
Sealing areas around your home, such as around doors and windows, can also make your home less drafty, keeping your home comfortable year-round. A contractor can assess your home for air leaks, and seal hard-to-reach places such as your attic, crawlspace and around ductwork, and may recommend replacing older windows and doors. Professionals can also make sure your home is properly ventilated to allow the proper exchange of air in and out of your home.
“Air quality emergencies are a real and present occurrence in the Northwest,” said Rob Burr, a residential sector public utilities specialist for BPA. “They are increasing in frequency and severity, and are often due to smoke events from fires. In many cases, homeowners are unprepared for extended periods of poor or hazardous air quality, revealing a need for practical advice about creating and maintaining good indoor air quality.”
To help homeowners, BPA created a series of tips and a video on how to protect homes from wildfire smoke. These tips and the video include some DIY ideas homeowners can tackle, such as closing fireplace dampers, replacing furnace filters and running the HVAC fan continuously to filter the air inside the home.