On Wednesday, June 7, more than ten states issued an air warning as smoke from hundreds of wildfires in eastern Canada spread south towards New York. The situation is so critical that people compared the inhalation of air with smoking cigarettes. Experts advise staying indoors as long as possible and avoiding breathing polluted air if possible. How to protect your home and yourself from dangerous air WYRK.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams urged residents to stay off the streets, keep windows closed and turn off air conditioner circulation settings.
You can track the quality of outdoor air in the region on the portal airnow.gov, but what to do with the air inside the house?
Outdoor air, including fine particles of wildfire smoke, can enter a home in a number of ways:
- through open windows and doors, which is called natural ventilation;
- through mechanical ventilation devices, such as bathroom or kitchen fans that exit to the outside, or HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning) systems with fresh air intake;
- through small openings, joints, crevices, and around closed windows and doors through a process called infiltration.
Is it safe to use the air conditioner while the air conditions remain unfavorable
Answer: YES - if you have a central air conditioning system (air comes from the floor or ceiling); NO - if you have portable air conditioners.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), every resident, regardless of weather conditions, is advised to familiarize themselves with the air conditioning system, if any.
Forewarned is forearmed
If you have a central HVAC system, find out if it has a fresh air intake. If yes, then specify how to close it or put the system into recirculation mode.
If you have an evaporative cooler, do not use it in smoky conditions as this will allow more smoke to enter. Consider other cooling options such as fans or window air conditioners.
If you have a window air conditioner, learn how to close the outside air damper. If the damper fails to close, consider using other cooling options.
If you have a single-hose portable air conditioner, usually ventilated through a window, do not use it as this will introduce more polluted air into the room.
The EPA notes, among other things: if you have a portable air conditioner with two hoses, make sure that the seal between the window vent kit and the window is as tight as possible.
Filter indoor air using a portable air purifier. Choose one that does not produce ozone.