No matter where you call home in the good old U.S. of A. there tends to be a season in which you are more careful than others.
East Coasters have hurricane season. During this season it’s important for them to keep an eye on the weather in case they need to evacuate or protect their homes.
Midwesterners have tornado/storm season. It’s important for them to keep their storm cellars stocked with essential supplies and have boards ready to protect their windows.
West Coasters, especially Californians, have fire season. This is a season that can seem to last for months on end and leaves you wondering if fall will ever show up. Even if there is no fire within your direct area, smoke can still be in the air.
Which begs the question, how do you keep the air you breathe as clean as possible when it seems that all the surrounding air is ingulfed in smoke? To answer this question we’ve gathered some tips to keep your air quality the best it can be given the season we are in.
Air Quality Report
First and foremost, check the air quality for your surrounding area as this will help you determine if what the day is going to entail. The Environmental Protection Agency has an AirNow site that tracks the air quality that gives your area one of five AQIs (air quality intexts). The AQI levels go accordingly: Good, Moderate, Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups, Unhealthy, Very Unhealthy, and Hazardous. For a definition of what each AQI level means, visit their page and read more about it along with checking what AQI your town is.
Air Inside Your Rental
When the air quality isn’t great outside you want to keep the air you have inside your rental as clean as possible. Here are some ways to prevent the outside air and pollutants from coming inside:
- Keep Windows Closed – Important if you want to control the air you are breathing within your rental as this will do a great job of keeping outside air and pollutants out.
- Check Your A/C – Make sure that you have closed the fresh-air intake for your air conditioning and selected it to “recirculate” the air. Also check to make sure that your air filter isn’t in need of replacing. If it’s dirty and you fail to replace it then you could be causing more pollutants to room around.
- Keep Floors Clean – You want to pick up all those stray pollutants by either mopping or vacuuming. If you have carpet floors invest in a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) vacuum as it will pick up even the tiniest of dust and dirt.
- Have Indoor Mats – Place an indoor mat in front of all the doors that access the outside. This will allow you to trap any pollutants that come in by way of your shoes.
- Things to Avoid – While it’s more than likely you won’t be using your fireplace any time soon you should also avoid lighting candles, as it can enter new pollutants into the air.
- Use a Dehumidifier – If you own one keep the humidity under 50%, it will keep any mold growth at bay.
- Use an Air Purifier – This will help to circulate air throughout your rental while also trapping any air-borne pollutants and irritants.
Air Outside Your Rental
While you don’t have any control on the air quality outside your rental, there are somethings you can do to control how much of it you breathe. Here are some ways to protect yourself when outside:
- When Driving – Make sure all your car windows and vents are closed. If you have the A/C blowing make sure you have the “recirculate” button pushed so that it isn’t pulling air from outside.
- Wear a Respirator Mask – Double check that it isn’t a dust mask as they are made to trap large particles, not small. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (or NIOSH) are the ones who certify respirators and if they have given it their approval there will be a label or statement of certification on the mask or packaging stating what it is designed for and what/how much it will protect you from.
- Avoid Prolonged Activity – If the air quality isn’t great outside it is best to avoid any kind of physical activity outside that will have you breathing any more than normal.
Fire season is just something that we deal with every year, some years being worse than others. With the tips above you should be able to handle the season with a little extra breath of clean air.
It’s always important to invest in ways to protect your rental from all things you have no control over like fires, theft, earthquakes, etc. Download our Rental Insurance 101 eBook to find learn about the different types you can invest in and what they will cover.