Improving your indoor air quality in Central Oregon during fire season seems more important now than ever before. Bend Heating has received an influx of inquiries revolving around indoor air quality and how your heating and cooling system can be a part of the solution. Below you’ll find steps to take as a homeowner to better optimize your heating and cooling systems to improve your home’s air quality.
Indoor Air Quality Tips For Homes With AC
Homes that have air conditioners should take the following steps to improve air flow and air quality:
- Run your air conditioner as needed throughout the day. Your air is circulating and getting filtered.
- Keep your windows and doors closed
- Seal any gaps where outside air can enter
- Whether you run your ac or not, you have the option of running your fan continuous by setting your thermostat fan setting to “on”. This will help ‘scrub’ your indoor air even more.
Indoor Air Quality Tips For Homes With No AC
Homeowner’s with no ac should take the following steps to improve air quality not only during fire season, but year round.
- Best to close your windows and doors unless conditions are clear and you want some fresh air.
- Seal any gaps where outside air can enter your home
- If you don’t have a furnace, have fans or portable fans run throughout the day, preferably with filters or an ionizer.
- If you do have a furnace, but no AC, you can run your furnace fan continuous but make sure to have clean filters.
Air Filters and Maintenance
Regardless of what type of heating and cooling system you have, Bend Heating recommends a yearly service on your HVAC equipment and to change your air filters appropriately. The most common reason HVAC systems malfunction are due to homeowners neglecting yearly maintenance and not changing air filters. We recommend the following to improve your home’s indoor air quality:
- 1 inch fiber glass filter – change every 30 days
- 1 inch pleated filter – change every 90 days
- 4 inch MERV 10, 11 or 13 – change every 6-12 months
What Is The Difference Between Air Conditioners and Furnaces When Filtering Out Smoke?
Without a PHI filtration system a furnace isn’t going to do too much. The best you can hope for is to run your blower and keep your filter clean. Having an air conditioner in affect will help remove smoke.
What Is The Best Technology To Remove Smoke?
The best technology to remove indoor smoke is known as PHI (photohydroionization). PHI is an advanced oxidation technology that minimizes and neutralizes indoor air pollutants such as bacteria, viruses, mold, gases (VOCs) and odors. A PHI product can simply be installed with a heating and cooling system.
How to best optimize your homes AC settings when dealing with smoke?
We recommend setting your ac system to “on” and not “auto.” To keep the ac “on” and actually running, you’ll need to set your thermostat at 1-2 degrees cooler than the current indoor temperature. By having the fan run continuously and for the AC to be on throughout the day, this should help clear out the smoke on a smoky day and improve your indoor air quality.
Should homeowners use higher MERV rating filters during fire season?
The higher the MERV rating the less particulate you’ll have in your home. However, there needs to be a balance between MERV and your HVAC equipment. For instance, if you have a forced air system you can’t go so far that you’re decreasing air flow so much that you’re diminishing your equipment and not optimizing performance. We recommend that you use MERV with caution and to ask a HVAC expert if uncertain.
What is the ideal indoor air quality filtration setup?
The ideal system for indoor air filtration would be a MERV 11 along with a 4 inch media filter in the air flow of your duct system coupled with an Air Scrubber or Reme Halo PHI based filtration system.