In the wake of a horrible fire season, most of us are left wondering if next year holds the same unfortunate fate that we experienced this year. Just this past year alone there have been 50,283 wildfires, in comparison to the year before which had about 46,618, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. That is a pretty significant increase, with almost double the acreage burned from 2016 to 2017 (4.8 million acres in 2016, and 8.5 million acres in 2017). Fire season has grown not only longer but more destructive in the recent years, mainly contributed to the increased dryness and elevated temperatures. One of the biggest concerns we are faced with when wildfires overtake our environment is the potential impact they can have on our health. We must ask ourselves, what is the best way to mitigate these toxic chemicals from our environment and how to ultimately protect our air quality in the tumultuous environment.
What is Fire Smoke Made Of?
Did you know that wildfire smoke is chemically active in the body 40 times longer than tobacco smoke? Scary, isn’t it? Wildfire smoke is a complex mixture of over 100 pollutants that can jeopardize your indoor air quality and cause health problems even at low levels. Fire smoke is made up of little particles, gases, and water vapor (water vapor making up the majority of the smoke). The excess portion of the smoke consists of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, irritant volatile organic compounds, air toxins and very fine particles. The greatest health threat from smoke is these very fine particles, that are almost microscopic in size and can penetrate deep into your lungs creating a range of health problems.
How Does A Wildfire Impact Health?
In general, fire smoke is quite toxic for those who suffer from heart or lung disease, such as congestive heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema or asthma. Children and the elderly are also greatly at risk of smoke dangers and should be extremely cautious in these conditions. The poor air quality in the environment from a wildfire’s smoke can affect people greatly and impact their health in a variety of ways. You may experience symptoms including:
- Shortness of Breath
- Runny Nose
These symptoms are mainly a result of the fine particulate matter found in the smoke. The main areas that this particulate matter will irritate is the mucous membrane and the respiratory tract.
Will an Air Purifier Help With Smoke?
You may think the safe shelter of your enclosed home is the safest area to escape to when wildfires are occurring near you. But what if I told you this wasn’t the case? For homes in smoke-prone areas, any kind of air particle pollution can still affect your health because those very fine particles can find their way into your home. The air inside our home is even more concentrated than the air outside, meaning it can have more of an effect on our health than the toxic outdoor air.
Air pollution has been associated with an increased risk of diabetes, kidney disease, and spikes in blood pressure, so do you really want to put yourself in an environment that can lead you to these debilitating ailments? It is vital to protect our inside air as much as we possibly can, and one of the best options in this effort is by having an efficient air purifier in your home combating these air pollutants caused by a wildfire. Air purifiers capture small particles in the air that are most likely not visible to the human eye, the air purifier traps the fine particulate matter in a dense mat of fine fibers. So the question is, will an air purifier help with wildfire smoke? The short answer, yes it will. If you recall, the biggest health problem we are faced with when dealing with a wildfire is the very fine particulate matter that is in the air, which is exactly what an air purifier works on to help mitigate from your air.
Choosing the Best Air Purifier for Wildfire Smoke
When looking for the best air purifier to remove toxins and chemicals out of your home’s air during a wildfire it can be difficult to know what exactly to look for in an air purifier. The key thing to look for is a certified HEPA model air purifier that utilizes an efficient HEPA filter. These filters have the ability to remove 99.97 percent of particles that are exactly 0.3 microns in size, a size that is especially difficult to filter. EnviroKlenz not only utilizes a HEPA filtration but also provides an added level of protection through our patented EnviroKlenz Air Cartridge, which helps to remove the larger particle matter in the air such as dust, dander, and allergens. The EnviroKlenz Mobile Air System covers 850 square feet of space to take through our two-stage filtration process. It has a four-speed control, where you can set your preferred speed easily to increase air exchanges. Tim Heffernan, a science writer and editor at Wirecutter, a New York Times company, suggests running your air purifier on high for an hour, then turning it down to medium or low speed to help keep the amount of smoke in your home to a minimum.
The EnviroKlenz Mobile Air System is your solution to remove VOCs from your home or office both safely and effectively. The unit is portable and once the EnviroKlenz-Air® Cartridge (size 14”x14” included with purchase) is installed it will begin to remove and neutralize chemical odors, allergy triggers, and malodors in the air.
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Another more cost-effective option to help mitigate toxins and chemicals caused by a wildfire in your home is to upgrade your HVAC filter to a high-quality MERV rated filter. Many of us use a middle of the road HVAC filters in our air systems, but are they really providing our air the protection it needs? Especially when you think about the harsh conditions your air is put through when a wildfire is near your home, that average HVAC will probably not be very efficient in removing all the toxins and chemicals in your home. The EnviroKlenz HVAC filter eliminates pollutants, odors, and corrosive gasses without releasing chemicals, fragrances, or masking agents back into the air. This filter provides you a high level of protection against harsh wildfire toxins with its durability in these extreme conditions with its MERV 8 rating. With this filter, you don’t have to change your filter out once a month, these filters can last you anywhere from 3 to 5 months depending on the environmental conditions.
Wildfire smoke can be very debilitating when it enters your home environment. Having an added level of protection in the form of an air purifier in your home can be very beneficial for not only your air quality but your overall health. The benefits of having an air purifier in your home during fire season can not only aid in your health but the health of your whole household. Take the proper precautions to better prepare yourself when a wildfire takes over in your area.