Friday, June 30, 2023

Canadian Smoke Lingers in Your Filters; Change Them Now, Experts Advise

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

Received a timely tip today from Mike Basic of Chicago Glass Blocks, one of the Chicago area's best and most reliable small businesses. Family-owned and operated since its founding in 1987, CGB is headquartered at 6036 S. Central and can be reached at (773) 581-5081.

The tip is this: As the smoky haze from the more than 400 Canadian wildfires finally blows away from the Chicago area, remember to check and change the air filters in your home, business or any indoor facility you maintain.

This is solid advice and is consistent with what the Red Cross recently said.

"More than half of Canada’s fires are burning out of control and have already consumed as many as 7.9 million acres," Red Cross officials said this week. "People in the Midwest are being warned to take precautions before going outside.

"Follow the advice of local officials regarding the air quality where you live and work. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wildfire smoke is a mix of gases and fine particles that can make anyone sick. People with asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), heart disease, who are pregnant, children and responders are especially at risk.

"Breathing in the smoke can cause almost immediate effects such as coughing, trouble breathing, wheezing, asthma attacks, stinging eyes, scratchy throat, runny nose and irritated sinuses, headaches, being tired, chest pain and a fast heartbeat.

"Most importantly, try to keep the smoke outside.

• If you have a central air conditioning system, use high efficiency filters to capture fine particles from the smoke. If your system has a fresh-air intake, set the system to recirculate mode or close the outdoor intake damper."

(Editor's note: If you need to buy air filters and install them yourself, please visit a local, independent retailer such as Southwest Ace Hardware, 6908 W. Archer, 773-586-1209. If you don't know how to check/change your filters, please call Geno Randazzo of All Exterior Interior Contractors at 708-705-7900. Geno will hook you up with an experienced HVAC pro and get the job done quickly and efficiently.)
More from the Red Cross:

"• If you're using a window air conditioner, make sure the seal between it and the window is as tight as possible and figure out how to close the outdoor air damper. For window air conditioning units, try running them on the fan mode. This will not bring in outside air, but circulate the air inside your home.
• If you’re in your car, set the air to recirculate.
• Keep windows and doors closed. Choose a room you can close off from outside air.

• Use fans and air conditioning to stay cool.
• Set up a portable air cleaner or a filter to keep the air in this room clean even if it’s smoky in the rest of the building and outdoors. 
• Avoid using candles, gas, propane, wood-burning stoves, fireplaces, or aerosol sprays and don’t fry or broil meat, smoke tobacco products or vacuum."

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