How to Protect Yourself from Wildfire Smoke

Man sneezing in his home. Apex Air, serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA offers ways to protect yourself from wildfire smoke.

The Portland and Vancouver area offers immaculate views, rolling rivers, and breathtaking hikes–it’s a really great place to connect with nature. However, if you live here, you’re also faced with the risk of wildfires, especially in the summer.

With temperatures rising and the risk of wildfires increasing, we at Apex Air want to offer ways you can protect yourself from the adverse effects of wildfire smoke.

What are the Negative Side Effects of Smoke Exposure?

Wildfire smoke contains carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, soot, and various other particulate matter that can pose serious and immediate health risks to your family and pets. You may experience:

  • Congestion
  • Irritated eyes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Respiratory problems

Children and elderly people are especially vulnerable.

How smoke can enter the home.
How smoke can enter the home.

What Helps with Wildfire Smoke?

If you live in a region where the risk of wildfires is high, take note of these tips to prepare for wildfire season.

  • Keep windows and doors shut
  • Have a supply of N95 respirators handy
  • Stay indoors
  • Don’t add to the indoor air pollution by using fireplaces, burning candles, smoking, etc.
  • Use an air purifier to reduce indoor air pollution
  • Have a UV light air cleaner installed into your ductwork to improve indoor air quality
  • Adjust your air conditioning system to keep smoke out.
    • For window air conditioning units, close the outdoor damper
    • For central HVAC systems with fresh air intake, close the intake or change it to recirculate mode.
    • For portable air conditioning units with two hoses, make sure the seal between the window and vent kit is tight. If you have a unit with a single hose, consider not using it until the wildfire smoke is gone.
    • If you have an evaporative cooler in your home, consider using an alternative method to stay cool during smoky conditions because it can bring more smoke indoors.

Experts in Indoor Air Quality

If your home is experiencing air quality issues, turn to Apex Air in Portland OR and Vancouver WA. We offer a wide variety of HVAC services, including installing air purifiers and air cleaners. We even offer 24/7 emergency services for urgent HVAC issues. Schedule an appointment today with one of our HVAC experts to learn more about how we can improve your indoor air quality. And to learn more about wildfires and their impact on your health, take a look at this article from the Environmental Protection Agency.

How Much Does an HVAC System Cost?

Heat pump outside of home. Apex Air in Vancouver WA explains the factors that go into HVAC costs.

A well-functioning HVAC system is necessary in keeping your home comfortable. If you’re in the market for a new HVAC system, cost is likely at the top of your mind. Keep reading to learn the top four factors that impact the cost of a new HVAC system.

Type of HVAC System

One of the biggest factors in the cost of an HVAC system is the unit itself. This can vary tremendously depending on the size of system you purchase (measured in BTU), the features it has, and even the brand.

Efficiency also comes into play. When you purchase an HVAC system, you’re not just paying for the unit, you’re also paying for your future utility bills. So although energy efficient HVAC systems typically cost more upfront, they’re substantially more efficient than other traditional models and pay themselves off through energy savings.

HVAC Installation

Installing a brand HVAC system and ductwork isn’t a DIY job for the average person. While there are plenty of instructions online explaining how to perform repairs on your own, installing your own HVAC system spells disaster. It may actually end up costing you more in the long run when you need to replace crucial elements that weren’t installed correctly.

This is why hiring an HVAC contractor to perform the job is recommended. Installation costs will vary depending on the company you choose and your location. Just remember, if the price they’re charging you is too good to be true, it probably is.

Additional HVAC Work

If you’re having your old HVAC system replaced with a new one, you may have ductwork with wear and tear or wiring issues. If the HVAC contractor you’re working with uncovers these potential health hazards they can fix them while performing your installation. However, this will add to your final costs.

Professional HVAC Services

If you’re in the market for a new HVAC system, turn to the experts at Apex Air in Vancouver WA. We are a Bryant factory authorized dealer that carries a wide range of HVAC products, including energy efficient ones to lower your monthly costs. Call us at 360-342-8109 or visit our website for your free estimate!

How to Keep Your House Cool

Person staying cool in the home with their AC. Apex Air, serving Portland OR & Vancouver explains how to stay in the summer.

Although it doesn’t get extremely hot here in the Portland/Vancouver area, we do get our fair share of hot days. Because we want you to feel your best in hot weather, but also not break the bank by running your AC on full blast, we’re sharing some other ways to help keep your house cool.

Insulate Your Home

Insulation is designed to block air movement. It keeps your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer when installed correctly. You can add insulation behind your drywall and your flooring to help reduce stress on your HVAC system, thus reducing your energy bills.

Close Blinds & Curtains

Did you know sunlight can heat your home? While sunny days are great to admire, you may want to keep your blinds and curtains closed to keep your home cool and take some of the added pressure off your air conditioner.

Use Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans can help make you feel about 4 degrees cooler and keep your AC from working too hard. During the warmer summer months, you’ll want to ensure your ceiling fan rotates in a counterclockwise direction to force air down and make you feel cooler. Then in the winter, flip the switch that’s located at the base to have the air blow in a clockwise direction.

Replace or Clean the Air Filter

Your air filter is designed to trap dust, dirt, pollen, and other contaminants so over time, it can become clogged. When this happens, your HVAC system has to work harder to cool your home as effectively. Check your HVAC system’s owner’s manual for guidelines on how often to clean and replace your air filter.

Inspect Your Ductwork

If you have a traditional HVAC system that relies on ductwork to circulate air throughout your home, you may want to have the ductwork inspected. Improper seals, holes, and loose ductwork can cause your HVAC system to not circulate properly.

Add a Dehumidifier

If you live in a humid climate where you sweat and it doesn’t evaporate, you may want to add a humidifier in your home to help remove excess moisture from the air.

Air Conditioning Specialists in Portland and Vancouver

We hope these tips help you stay cool all summer long. If you have any questions or are need to upgrade your HVAC system, contact Apex Air in Vancouver WA and Portland OR. Our air conditioning specialists will ensure you have a system that is ready to keep you comfortable during the warm summer months.