On October 13th, a wildfire broke out in Bastrop County and burned over 4,600 acres and destroyed many peoples’ homes and property. This devastating fire also brought heavy smoke to much of the surrounding area. Smoke could be smelled, breathed, and seen by people in Austin and the Central Texas region. While the fire is out now, the effects will be felt for a long time to come.
We urge residents of the Central Texas area to keep the fire victims of Bastrop County in mind during the holiday season as they start to rebuild. For many, this process will take years. 1st AC and Heating also would like to thank all the brave men and women who helped to fight the fire and assisted those in need during the wildfire.
Once a fire is out, most people breath a sigh of relief. It is important to remember that even if you do not live right in the fire area your indoor air quality may be compromised. Wildfires cause hazardous smoke and ash to fill the air and this same debris may enter your home. Smoke is a complex mixture of carbon dioxide (CO2), water vapor, carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides (NOX), trace minerals, and particulate matter. The smaller particulate matter particles are the ones that cause the greatest health concerns because they can be inhaled deep into the lungs and cause respiratory and heart health concerns down the road. In the short term, these fine particles will cause symptoms such as a runny nose and burning eyes. Some people may be more susceptible to the smoke such as older adults, babies and children, and those with heart or lung disease.
In general, indoor air quality is not as good as we may think. Cleaning chemicals, dust, and other allergens pollute the indoor environment every day.
Here a several things that will help improve the overall indoor air quality in your home and ensure that there are no lasting effects after the Bastrop County fire or any other wildfire.
If you are near the fire, it is recommended to keep doors and windows tightly closed in order to minimize the effects of smoke and ash inside your home.
You may want to use an air purifier in your home. These can be used in each room in your house to maximize the results. The purifier will remove odors from smoke and polluted air.
It is important to clean your home completely if you live near the fire. Wipe down all surfaces and vacuum to remove ash that may have entered the home.
The single most important step you can take is making sure your air filter is clean and changed regularly. 1st AC and Heating recommends checking your filter every month and changing it at least every three months. After the recent fire and smoke in the area we recommend changing your filter now. If you live close to the effected area, you may need to change your filter more often over the next several weeks until everything settles in order to ensure the best possible indoor air quality.
A fire is a life-changing event and can have far reaching effects. We hope that these tips help to keep your family healthy. If you have any questions or concerns about the air quality in your home, please give us a call. We will be happy to schedule a maintenance check and give you tips and pointers on how to improve the air quality in your home. Remember, we also offer air filters for purchase through our website, making it easy to have them delivered right to your door.