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Covenant Heating and Cooling Blog

Do I Need Duct Cleaning After a Wildfire?

2023 brought awareness to an issue that was more common in only a handful of US states: wildfire smoke and its negative effects. Smoke from the 2023 Canadian wildfires enveloped many Northern and Mid-West states, areas that aren’t used to seeing much wildfire smoke. 

Although Tennessee is no stranger to wildfires, many homeowners aren’t aware of how wildfire smoke can decrease a home’s indoor air quality. Trying to make do with portable air filters isn’t very effective when smoke, ash, and particulate matter have infiltrated your home’s air ducts. Let’s go over whether getting professional duct cleaning is necessary after wildfire smoke has lowered the Air Quality Index in your neighborhood.

Wildfires and the Air Quality Index (AQI)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed the Air Quality Index (AQI) to make information available about the health effects of common air pollutants including wildfire smoke. In recent years, smoke from wildfires in the US and Canada has caused the AQI ratings to skyrocket to unhealthy levels.

People are advised to stay indoors and not go outside when the AQI is unfavorable. However, smoke and particulate matter can still penetrate your home even when it’s tightly closed up. Anyone who has been exposed to wildfire smoke knows that you can usually smell and see its effects in your home. 

A structure doesn’t have to catch on fire for its HVAC system to experience impairment from a wildfire. The particulate matter from wildfire smoke is small enough to infiltrate HVAC systems. In fact, these particulates are so small, they can easily pass into the lungs and bloodstream. This is why particulate matter is so dangerous.

What’s in Wildfire Smoke?

According to AirNow, wildfire smoke is made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine particles produced when wood and other organic materials burn. These microscopic particles are smaller than 2.5 micrometers, small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs and can cause health problems from mild issues such as burning eyes or a runny nose to major illnesses such as bronchitis. Fine particles also can aggravate conditions such as chronic heart and lung diseases.

Should I Have My Ducts Cleaned After a Nearby Wildfire?

According to the EPA, ductwork should be cleaned as needed. For example, you should consider having the ducts cleaned if your ducts contain excessive amounts of dust and debris and if particles are actually released into your home from the supply registers. In other words, if your ductwork is already problematic and then is affected by soot and smoke from a wildfire, duct cleaning is recommended. 

So how do you know your air ducts are clean and in good condition? Well, if you’ve never had your ductwork cleaned before, you’re already overdue for this service already. Air ducts should be cleaned every 3-4 years under normal conditions. This timeframe needs to be shortened if your home has suffered from smoke infiltration. 

Are you unsure if your home would benefit from professional duct cleaning services? If you’d like a more solid answer about this service, we’ll be happy to discuss the details with you when you give us a call.

Covenant Heating and Cooling is your trusted resource for professional duct cleaning services in Brentwood, TN. We are “Dedicated to the Promise of Serving You!” Contact us today.

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