Get ready for wildfire smoke - deveop a clean air room in your home!
Protect Your Health from Wildfire Smoke & Blowing Dust
Wildfires have become more prevalent and consistent across California in the last decade and Impacts are more sustained and not just isolated to the regions in which they occur. The best protection when wildfire smoke or blowing dust is present is to stay indoors as much as possible. We want to ensure that you and your home are ready for wildfire smoke and know how to create a Clean Air Room in your home to protect you from the harmful effects of particulate matter pollution.
Smoke, ash, and blowing dust all contain very small particles known as particulate matter. These particles can be harmful to everyone, but in particular can be especially harmful for young children, elderly, pregnant women and those with pre-existing conditions like heart and lung disease. The fine particles found in smoke and dust can harm the lungs and hearth, and can cause short-term impacts like coughing, itchy or burning eyes, wheezing, difficulty breathing, chest pain, nausea and in severe instances, premature mortality.
Creating a Clean Air Room in Your Home
How to choose an air purifier
Local hardware stores sell air purifiers that can reduce particulate matter by 90% - ask to see their line of HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) purifiers.
Make sure the device you selected doesn't reduce particulate but increase ozone! To find a list of options approved by the California Air Resources Board, click here.
Make sure you understand how frequently the filter on your device needs to be replaced by reading your owner's manual. Particularly during a wildfire, or blowing dust season, filters may need to be replaced more regularly.
How to make your own air purifier
Assembling a DIY version of an air purifier can be a more affordable option, with materials costing approximately $40. This DIY version has been shown to reduce harmful particulate matter indoors similarly to a HEPA purifier, but be sure to take precaution when making a device like this. It should never be left unattended and should be turned off while sleeping. When the fan is modified this way, it should be used for your clean air room, not as a fan to cool your home.
Here’s how to make your own:
Use tape to attach a 20×20 MERV-rated air filter — like what you would use for your HVAC system — to the back of a 20×20 box fan. Attaching to the back of the fan creates a better seal.
Use a filter with a MERV rating of 13.
Check the filter for the direction of the air flow, marked on the side of the filter.
Check your windows and doors and make sure the room is sealed tightly so smoke from the outdoors does not get pulled inside.
Replace the filter more frequently if used during a wildfire.
As needed, disassemble the box fan to wipe away any accumulated dirt.