Homeowners Guide to House Air Filters and Purifiers for Wildfire Season: Furnace vs. Standalone

Homeowners Guide to House Air Filters and Purifiers for Wildfire Season: Furnace vs. Standalone

Indoor air pollution is a big consideration as a homeowner. The last thing any of us want is for our home’s air to be unhealthy for our family. This is even more of a factor during forest fire season, when keeping the air safe and reducing the amount of smoke in your home becomes crucial. Folks often ask us how they can keep their home’s air clean during the fire season, and which house air filters are best. If you have a heating and cooling system, your air conditioner or furnace will have an air filter in it. But are those built-in air filters good enough to keep your home’s indoor air quality as high as you want it to be?

In terms of house air filters, you have a couple of options:

  1. Relying on your HVAC air filter
  2. Investing in a standalone air purifier or air cleaner 

HVAC Air Filters: Should I run my AC during fire season?

If you have a furnace or an air conditioner, you should have an air filter. Air filtering is not the primary function of these units, though most will have a filter installed in them. The quality of furnace air filters or air conditioning filters will depend on things like the model of the unit, its maintenance history, and the settings it has. All of these will have a bearing on how much risk there is of wildfire smoke and other pollutants circulating through your home. 

When fire season starts, one of the first things you’ll want to do is to turn off any settings that allow the intake of outdoor air into the indoor air space. Then, you’ll want to turn off any window air conditioning units that can pull in contaminated outdoor air into your home. To get the most air cleaning value out of your AC unit, you’ll also need to regularly maintain it and replace the filter. That will help to minimize the risks of pollutants— like wildfire smoke— entering your home’s environment. 

Standalone House Air Filters

Air filters that are included in your furnace and air conditioner are not as thorough as air purifiers and cleaners that are designed purely to clean your home’s air. To gain the best air filtration for your home, it’s worth considering an air purification system as well. A couple of air purifier options that we carry are: 

  • Trane CleanEffects™ Air Cleaner: This model uses cutting-edge technology that creates cleaner, healthier air for your home. It removes up to 99.98% of airborne particles. Many room filters and HVAC unit air filters aren’t as good at filtering out tiny particles like dust, smoke, and bacteria, which are small enough to get deep into your lungs because they aren’t filtered well by your nose and throat. This Trane air cleaner is great at catching those tiny particles, and so can reduce the presence of smoke, dust, pollen, and even bacteria in your home.
  • GPS Series Plasma Purifiers: These units are simple to maintain, cost effective to install, and are easy to move around. They use an ionizing technology that drops the smoke out of the air, and as a bonus they’re also great for eliminating odors in the home!

Air Filter vs. Air Purifier: Do I Really Need Both?

Most HVAC system air filters will do a decent job of filtering out larger dust and dirt particles from the air, though they will need to be regularly maintained and they simply aren’t designed to trap smaller particles like smoke. They are designed to keep the HVAC running optimally and to reduce wear and tear—not to make your indoor air perfectly clean. We recommend investing in an air purifier to take your indoor air quality to the next level, especially during fire season. This will be the best option for getting the cleanest air and the best house air filters available.


Wildfire season is the time when we are often the most conscious about how clean and safe our home’s air is. When fires start, it can feel daunting to try to find the right solution for your family and home. We can help you find the best air filter for wildfire smoke! At Mountain Heating & Cooling we have years of experience in finding the perfect solution. We know air cleaners inside and out, and we will take the time to get to know your needs to make sure we fit the right system and model to your home. Give us a call to arrange an appointment today.  


Homeowners Guide to Air Purifiers and Prepping Your House for Allergy Season

Homeowners Guide to Air Purifiers and Prepping Your House for Allergy Season

Spring is here! The trees, flowers, and grasses will be blooming before we know it. Springtime in Montana is unique and wonderful, but no one loves being held back by allergy season so that they can’t enjoy all of its benefits. 

Now is the perfect time to prep your home and make sure your system’s air purifier is ready for you to enjoy the spring while being sneeze and headache free from pollen and cutting season. A home air purification system will  clean your air as it cycles and cools your home.


What can you do to filter your home’s air?

Guarantee your home’s air is clean, fresh, and filtered. Let’s dig in to some things you can do right away to get ahead of allergy season!

Install air purifiers in your home

Installing air purifiers can help with allergens from dust, dander, and pets, and they can also help control viruses, bacteria, and mold. As an added bonus, installing air purifiers ahead of forest fire season can protect your family from harmful particles from smoke and remove the smell of smoke, too. Now is the perfect time to install an air purifier to get the maximum benefit from your investment this year. 

How do I choose the right system for my home?

Tip for pure home air: shut the windows and switch on your AC or fan

Pollen— and many other allergens— are airborne, so keeping our homes sealed up can help a lot during allergy season. Consider shutting the windows and turning on the AC, but before you do, make sure that your air conditioning system is working smoothly and the filters have been cleaned. Running the AC rather than having the windows open can keep your home’s air clean, healthy, and cool.


Change your air filters

Montana’s spring comes with fluctuating temperatures, and it’s not uncommon to find yourself running the AC in the daytime and switching the heater on for a bit during a chilly evening. Folks will often turn on their furnace just to use the fan function, too. When you’re running your heating or cooling systems during allergy season, make sure that your air filters and furnace filter are freshly cleaned. Dander, dust, dog hair, and pollen all naturally build up in a home, and these are pulled right into your HVAC filter system and in the worst cases recirculated into the air. Getting your air filters changed and cleaned will make sure the system is sending clean filtered air to the rest of your home.


Get your air ducts cleaned

Over time, air ducts can collect a sticky residue from everyday use. Forest fires and smoke can also lead to air ducts collecting residue more quickly, too. To make sure your home’s air is as clean and allergen and irritant-free, it’s worth getting your air ducts cleaned and maintained regularly. We generally recommend getting them cleaned every 3-5 years, depending on things like system use and pets. It’s worth the peace of mind to get reset your duct work with a visit from our maintenance team.

While we’re cleaning your system we can also seal your home’s duct system with a high tech and effective internal sealing system called Aeroseal. Aerosealing your duct system will make it more efficient delivering better airflow and removing opportunity for dust, pollen, bugs and contaminants from entering your home’s air delivery system through unsealed seams. The typical system has a duct leakage measurement of over 20%. With Aeroseal we are able to reduce duct leakage below 6%.


We all love the Montana spring, and it’s great to be able to enjoy it without getting too bogged down by allergies in your home. There are things you can do to keep your home’s air clean throughout the allergy season, and we’d love to help! Let’s make sure you can enjoy those sunny spring days with your family skipping the headaches and sinus issues that come along with the season. 

Schedule a summer maintenance consultation or air purifier installation today.

Spring Maintenance: Get Your AC Repair and Air Checks Done Before Summertime Arrives

Spring Maintenance: Get Your AC Repair and Air Checks Done Before Summertime Arrives

The long Montana winter is almost over and we’re all looking forward to long, sunny days, and spending more time outside with family. As we get ready for the warmer months, let’s make sure your home is ready for the changing seasons and the unpredictable Montana weather we all know and love. AC repair when the summer months kick in is probably the last thing you want to worry about. To help prevent that we’ve rustled together some top tips for you all:

1. Schedule an AC repair or maintenance check

Dirt and neglect are the top causes of cooling system inefficiency and problems. To make sure your air conditioning unit is working smoothly, you’ll want to make sure routine maintenance and any necessary AC repairs are done before summer rolls around. The last thing you want to deal with on a hot summer’s day is unhealthy air in your home, an unexpectedly high utility bill, or—last but not least—the unit failing and turning off altogether.  

2. Consider replacing your air filter

Folks are often shocked to find out that the air in their homes can be much more polluted than the air outside—especially when we live in Montana and are surrounded by fresh mountain air. Getting your air filter changed helps make sure the air in your home stays as clean and healthy as outside. This is especially important this year since we’ve all spent so much more time at home, making it easier for dirt, dust, and dander to build up in your air system. Let’s keep your home’s air clean and fresh as we roll into summer!

3. Check your air ducts

Houses that use ducts to push conditioned air throughout the house are excellent, and especially in the heat of summer. That being said, about 20% of the air that moves through the duct system in your house is lost due to poorly connected ducts, leaks, and holes. This can ramp up your utility bill and decrease your system’s life expectancy. A couple of things to consider:

  • Getting the ducts properly sealed can be a game-changer for keeping your home’s air fresh (and keeping those utility bills down!).
  • It can also be worth getting your air ducts cleaned. Over time, a sticky residue can form in them from things like dirt and pollen. We generally recommend getting them cleaned every 3-5 years, depending on things like system use and pets, and we’re always happy to take a look at your system to see what needs doing.

4. Get your irrigation system running again

Summer can be dry around here, and we all want to make sure our yards are a great place to spend time outside. Part of that is having a reliable, well-functioning irrigation system to keep your landscape green and vibrant. Taking the time to carefully get your irrigation system going after the freezing cold months helps keep it performing well year after year. You’ll want to go carefully and make sure you take steps like checking the soil isn’t frozen, testing the water pressure, and gently refilling the system. If you’re not feeling confident about the start-up procedure, call in an expert to help. 

Having clean air in your home in the summer is so important, and so is knowing that your systems are running well and you aren’t overpaying for your bills. Let’s make sure your AC is blowing ice-cold, fresh air on those hot summer nights! 

Schedule a summer maintenance consultation or AC repair today.  


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