Wildfires Impact On IAQ
September 16, 2021
Wildfires destroy millions of acres of land each year, and it’s easy to see the devastation wildfires cause to properties, however, it’s harder to see its effect on air quality. You know smoke and ash affect the air you breathe outside, but wildfires also impact indoor air quality.
As wildfires continue to be a hazard, there are steps you can take to improve your indoor air quality (IAQ).
Wildfires Impact on Indoor Air Quality
Since the 1990s, the acreage burned by wildfires has tripled and is now affecting air quality as far as the east coast. Hazy skies are becoming more common. The air is filled with smoke and microscopic particles that are hazardous to your health. Even states as far east as Massachusetts are issuing unhealthy air warnings to residents, with a July day that saw indoor air quality rates spike to over 1,000 percent. Breathing in the air exposes you to particles that will build up causing health problems.
These health problems include a runny nose, burning or watery eyes, and long-term exposure that can result in chronic lung and heart conditions. Individuals with existing conditions such as COPD and asthma are particularly at risk for health complications.
Improving ventilation effectiveness and indoor air quality has become an important aspect of all public spaces. Understanding particle matter and dose reduction is one of the first step in improving your IAQ. We suggest reading Improving Ventilation Effectiveness and Dose Reduction of PM 2.5 for an in-depth look.
Covid-19, Wildfires, and IAQ
The wildfires impact on IAQ is only one part of the problem. Covid-19 is also affecting indoor air quality. Steps are being taken to help prevent the virus’s spread through airborne particles, but these measures may be allowing pollution from wildfires to enter the indoor air.
Guidelines from the CDC and ASHRAE address Covid-19 and IAQ. The solutions seem effective in theory, but they may also be part of the problem.
The guidelines recommend,
- Increasing the amount of outside air brought into a building by 100 percent.
- Increasing how often the air is replenished.
- Upgrading HVAC filters to MERV 13 or higher.
These recommendations are effective at minimizing the spread of viruses through airborne particles, but it doesn’t address pollutants from things like wildfires.
You can minimize wildfires impact on IAQ and prevent the transmission of virus particles by implementing a few strategies.
Reducing Indoor Air Pollution
Having the right air filtration is the first step in improving indoor air quality. It is effective against wildfire pollution and microscopic virus particles.
The right air filtration system will,
- Remove particles minimizing the virus’ spread.
- Boost the number of air changes.
- Increase the dilution of indoor air particles.
- Reduce pollution from wildfires in outdoor air brought inside.
Using a Halo air purification system at their lab in Massachusetts, Erlab is able to measure how pollution from wildfires affects air quality outside.
Outdoor Air Quality Results
During a two-day period from July 19th to July 20th ,2021 particles increased by 1,847 percent. In facilities without adequate air filtration and ventilation, particles in the indoor air also increased.
Indoor Air Quality Results
During the same two-day period in July 2021, Erlab also measured indoor air quality using the facility’s Halo air filtration system.
Running an HVAC system to counteract the summer heat shows 50 percent of the outdoor air (OA) is coming into the facility. It shows how wildfires and IAQ are closely linked.
Using an effective air purifying system running 24/7 will reduce the number of airborne particles with the proper airflow patterns. An air purifier will also lessen the load on the HVAC system while reducing pollution from wildfires and virus particles.
To learn exactly how effective the Halo Air Purification System is at filtering out unwanted particles and viruses, check out the Efficacy Report on the Halo. You can find a summarized review here, as well as the full third-party report.
Improving Indoor Air Quality with Action Services Group
There are a few steps you can take to improve indoor air quality. It starts by evaluating the effectiveness of your HVAC system. Are the filters capable of preventing pollution and particles from entering the air? Do you know how much outdoor air is sneaking inside?
After evaluating your system, start thinking about improving your air filtration technology, and we can help.
We’ll cover airflow patterns and discuss how you can increase the number of air changes per hour. Using HEPA or carbon filters is a sustainable and permanent solution to minimizing wildfires impact on IAQ. Contact Action Services Group today to learn more about the Halo air purification system and indoor air quality. Call 610-558-9773 or email [email protected], you can also schedule a call by clicking the button below.
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“We are thrilled with our new air purification system and our whole organization can rest easier knowing our buildings indoor air quality is 99.995% filtered of all pollutants. The installation crew was quick, professional, and they cleaned up after themselves. Thank you, Action Services group!”
Director of Human Resources – Transitional Care and Rehabilitation Center