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:
- Relying on your HVAC air filter
- 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.