As wildfires continue to spread throughout the U.S., one of the most common worries is how it will affect your AC unit. There are some easy steps you can take to protect your unit from smoke. Check out how you can protect your AC unit from wildfire smoke.
1. Keep it Clean
The number one way to protect your AC unit during a wildfire is to keep it clean. If you have been paying attention to the news lately, you know that these fires are highly toxic and can cause your HVAC unit to malfunction. These fires are filled with ash, soot, and chemicals that can wreak havoc on your system. The easiest way to keep your AC unit safe is to clean it regularly. This is a great help for you in the long run. If your system is maintained correctly, you won’t have to worry about failing after these wildfires spread across the country.
2. Smoke Detectors
Spend some money and install smoke detectors inside your unit if your home doesn’t already have them installed. Having smoke detectors in your AC unit will help detect any sudden changes in weather patterns that could cause dangerous changes in airflow through your unit. Just installing them can help reduce the amount of time it takes to fix them when you notice something is wrong. In this case, prevention is better than a cure.
3. Close the Unit
If you are not using your AC during a wildfire, you should shut it off and close the vents outside to prevent ash and smoke from entering your system. If you leave it running, then smoke can come in and cause damage. The longer you leave it running, the worse damage you could do. Shutting the AC unit off for a few hours will avoid any significant damage to your system.
4. Use a Carbon Filter
If you have an AC unit with a carbon filter, you should get one installed immediately. A carbon filter absorbs smoke and ash into your unit to help prevent the venting from causing problems with your system. If your unit only has one filter, then install another to help reduce the amount of time it takes to clean your system after a wildfire.
5. Vent the Unit
Another way to reduce smoke damage to your system is to ventilate it. When you vent units, leave vents open so that air can come in and out. This helps push the toxins outside your AC unit so that they do not get inside. You don’t want any toxins to enter through the vents so that they can cause damage. You should vent your unit every day to ensure that all air is removed. When you add more vents on the outside, you can leave them open for more extended periods.
6. Use a Fume Exhaust System
A fume exhaust system is a way to vent toxic fumes out of your unit. If you have an AC unit that does not already have a fume exhaust system, you should get one installed immediately. A fume exhaust system is similar to the carbon filter, but it will start circulating air inside your unit. This will help push the toxins outside so that they do not harm your AC unit in any way. A fume exhaust system can be connected to your unit to activate or plugged in when you start your AC.
7. Avoid Carbon Monoxide From the Outside
When you are cleaning your AC unit, you should avoid using any chemicals or cleaning products. If you do not have carbon filters installed, it is best to avoid the use of any chemicals as well. Chemicals can cause carbon monoxide to enter through ventilation systems or vents and encourage a fire inside your home. This is not a good idea, so you should avoid scrubbing your unit using any cleaning products. Instead of using your chemicals, use plain water to clean your unit.
8. Use a UV Light
A UV light is a great way to help you find any possible cracks or holes in your home’s air vents. All you need to do is turn the light on and point it toward your outdoor vents. If there are any holes in the vent, then smoke and ash can leak inside your home. The UV light will tell you holes you need to fix before it is too late.
Understanding how you can protect your AC unit from wildfires is critical. The sooner you learn where your AC unit vents are, the easier we will shut them off for you when the wildfires start to spread. We provide exceptional plumbing, central heat, and air services, including repair, installation, and maintenance, to residents in Clackamas and the surrounding cities. For more information, contact Central Air Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today.
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