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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Create a Clean Air Environment in Your Home or Office During Wildfire Season

5/25/2022 (Permalink)

A Pug dog sitting on a rug in a bedroom next to a HEPA Air Purifier Keeping our families and pets safe and healthy during wildfire season can be a challenge.

Protect Your Indoor Air Quality with HEPA Filtration

We receive many calls during wildfire season from people whose families and pets are suffering from the effects of the smoke and particulates that permeate nearly everything. High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration is the solution we recommend. HEPA filters remove microscopic airborne particles down to .3 microns. However, it must be a true HEPA filtration system. There are many air filters and vacuum cleaners on the market that claim to have HEPA filters, but they are not 'true' HEPA purifiers or scrubbers. The powerful, commercial-grade air scrubbers SERVPRO uses to remove soot, and smoke odors are true HEPA filters. They move a large volume of air, and the exhaust air is extremely clean.

Options for Your Clean Room

For Normal Sensitivity to Smoke

You can create a clean air environment in any indoor space by closing off a portion of it and employing true HEPA filtration. However, before you get started, make sure the enclosure you design is not closing off your ability to exit the area safely. Here is a simple solution when you are not extremely sensitive to smoke:

  1. Select a room in your house or office area where you and your pets can spend most of your time, such as a master bedroom with a bathroom or a portion of your office. Close all doors and windows, and limit the number of times you enter and exit the space as much as you can.
  2. Your HEPA purifier or scrubber must be large and powerful enough to effectively clean the room's air. According to the Institute for Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC), your device should achieve a minimum of 6 complete air changes each hour (ACH). To determine the amount of air in your space, multiply its length x width x height in feet. So a room 20' l x 14 'w x 8' h will contain 2,240 cubic feet of air. At 6 ACH, your device must be able to clean at least 13,440 cubic feet in an hour or (divide by 60) at least 224 cubic feet per minute (CFM).  
  3. Place your HEPA purifier or scrubber device within the enclosed area chamber and allow it to run continuously.

For Extreme Sensitivity to Smoke

Birds are highly susceptible to contaminated air. If you or your pets are highly sensitive to smoke, you may want to consider a fully enclosed chamber:

  1. To achieve an extremely clean indoor air environment, you must seal off areas where air can readily seep into the space. You can close-off the area using sheet plastic and blue painter's tape around entry ways, HVAC vents, and windows.
  2. Place your HEPA purifier or scrubber in an entry or window and seal around it. Direct the air intake to draw air from outside the enclosed area, then exhaust the highly filtered air into your sealed environment. This will create positive, clean air pressure within the environment, pushing out unpurified air that might enter from other sources. You can draw the air from other inside areas where it has been heated or cooled by your HVAC system.
  3. Again, remember to limit the number of times you enter and exit the space, and leave yourself a way to enter and exit the space safely.

Benefit From Our Experience

SERVPRO of Montrose/Telluride is experienced and skilled at installing containment shelters for much of the work we do. Please feel free to call us for advice or assistance in how to construct your clean air room or chamber. If you wish we can install the chamber for you and we can also rent you the equipment, including HEPA scrubbers in a variety of sizes and capacities.

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