Clear the Air During Wildfire Season: Air Scrubbers for Smoke Removal

Clear the Air During Wildfire Season: Air Scrubbers for Smoke Removal

A single wildfire can emit as much pollution as millions of cars driving for a year. So, the immense impact wildland fires can have on air quality is no shocker.

 

Wildfires are on the rise due to climate change and expanding human settlements near forests. This raises concerns about the harmful effects of wildfire smoke, a mix of gases and particles that can damage the lungs, worsen existing health conditions, and even increase the risk of cancer. While children, older adults, and those with chronic illnesses are especially vulnerable, everyone's health is at risk during wildfire season.

 

Thankfully, there are solutions to combat the dangers of wildfire smoke indoors. Air scrubbers, also known as air purifiers, are a powerful tool for removing harmful smoke particles and significantly improving indoor air quality. These devices utilize advanced filtration technology to capture even the tiniest smoke particles, creating a safer and healthier environment for you and your loved ones, especially during wildfire season.

 

wildfire

Understanding Wildfire Smoke

Wildfire smoke may appear like a uniform haze, but it is composed of a complex mixture of aerosolized particulate matter (PM) and gaseous pollutants. Understanding their composition and potential health impacts is paramount for mitigating risk during wildfire season.

Aerosolized Particles

Wildland fire smoke is a mixture of microscopic PM and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), each posing distinct threats. Here are the key players:

 

PM2.5: These ultrafine particles (< 2.5 μm) are the most concerning due to their ability to bypass the respiratory system's natural defenses and enter the bloodstream. This translocation can trigger respiratory tract inflammation, exacerbate cardiovascular disease, and even increase the risk of lung cancer.

 

PM10: These larger particles (2.5-10 μm) irritate the upper respiratory tract, causing coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. While less concerning than PM2.5, they can still aggravate existing chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD).

 

VOCs: These organic gaseous compounds released during combustion can irritate the mucous membranes, contribute to headaches, and nausea, and potentially be carcinogenic in some cases.

The Invisible Impact

Inhaling wildfire smoke poses significant health risks for everyone, but certain populations are particularly vulnerable. Here's a breakdown of the potential consequences:

 

Respiratory Issues: Smoke particles can irritate the airways, triggering bronchoconstriction and dyspnea. This can exacerbate existing asthma, leading to increased healthcare utilization.

 

Cardiovascular Problems: Smoke exposure can increase systemic inflammation and blood pressure, potentially leading to myocardial infarction and stroke, especially in individuals with pre-existing cardiovascular disease.

 

Other potential risks caused by long-term exposure to smoke may increase the risk of developing cataracts, and cognitive decline.

The Air Quality Index (AQI)

The AQI is a tool for monitoring ambient particulate matter concentrations. It provides a numerical rating (0-500) indicating the level of air pollution, with higher values signifying potentially hazardous conditions. During wildland fire season, staying informed about the AQI allows you to:

 

Implement Protective Measures: When the AQI reaches unhealthy levels, taking precautions like sheltering in place, limiting outdoor activity, and utilizing air filtration devices becomes important.

 

Track Trends: Monitoring the AQI over time helps you understand the evolving air quality dynamics and make informed decisions about your activities and potential exposure mitigation strategies.

 

Smoke

Air Scrubber Technology for Smoke Removal

Air scrubbers defend against the health threats posed by wildfire smoke. Let's delve into their core principles, highlighting their effectiveness in capturing harmful particles.

The Capture and Filtration Process

Air scrubbers utilize a multi-stage filtration process to remove smoke particles from indoor air. The basic principle involves

 

Air Intake: Contaminated air is drawn into the unit using a fan.

 

Pre-filtration: A pre-filter captures larger particles like dust and pollen, extending the lifespan of the primary filter.

 

HEPA Filtration: The heart of the air scrubber, the High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter, plays a critical role. These filters are constructed with a densely woven mesh that captures particulate matter as small as 0.3 microns with an efficiency of 99.97%. This effectively removes PM2.5, the most concerning component of wildfire smoke, safeguarding against its harmful effects.

 

Optional Additional Filtration: Depending on the specific model, additional stages of filtration might be present:

 

Carbon Filters: These filters effectively adsorb volatile organic compounds (VOCs), eliminating odors and gaseous pollutants associated with smoke.

UV-C Light Technology: Some air scrubbers incorporate UV-C light, which can inactivate airborne pathogens like bacteria and viruses, providing an additional layer of air sanitization.

Choosing the Right Air Scrubber

With the understanding that air scrubbers effectively combat the health threats posed by wildfire smoke, the next step is choosing the right unit for your specific needs. Here are key factors to consider:

1. Room Size and Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR):

Room Size: Measure the square footage of the room where the air scrubber will be placed. This will help determine the minimum CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) required. CADR defines the volume of clean air delivered by the unit per minute.

 

CADR Selection: A higher CADR signifies the ability to clean air in a larger space more quickly. Generally, choose an air scrubber with a CADR that is at least 2/3 the square footage of the space.

2. Noise Level

Consider the intended location of the air scrubber. Choose a unit with a noise level that is comfortable for the environment, ensuring minimal disruption to daily activities or sleep patterns.

3. Filter Replacement Costs

Air scrubbers require periodic filter replacements to maintain optimal performance. Opting for models with readily available and affordable replacement filters ensures long-term cost-effectiveness.

4. Additional Features

Depending on your needs, consider features like:

 

Carbon filters: For comprehensive odor and gaseous pollutant removal.

 

UV-C light technology: For additional air sanitization.

 

Smart functionality: For remote control and monitoring capabilities.

Purisystems Air Scrubber Solutions

Purisystems offers a diverse range of air scrubbers to cater to various needs and room sizes. 

 

HEPA 600 UVIG Air Scrubber: Ideal for small to medium-sized rooms, featuring quiet operation and a 600cfm suitable for efficient smoke removal.

 

PuriCare S2 Industrial Air Filtration System: Designed for larger spaces, boasting a high CADR(nearly 2000) and additional carbon filtration for comprehensive odor control.

 

Purisystems Puricare S2 UVIG: Equipped with advanced UV-C light and ion generator technology to thoroughly clean the air of fine particles, this air scrubber offers advanced features for a personalized clean air experience.

 

By carefully considering these factors and exploring the options offered by Puriystems, you can select the air scrubber that effectively protects your health and creates a cleaner, healthier indoor environment during wildfire season and beyond.

 

Optimizing the Power of Your Air Scrubber

Having chosen the right air scrubber, maximizing its effectiveness requires proper placement, consistent maintenance, and integration with other air quality improvement strategies.

1. Strategic Placement for Optimal Efficiency

Central Location: Position the air scrubber in a central location within the room, ensuring efficient air circulation and filtration throughout the space.

 

Away from Walls and Obstructions: Avoid placing the unit directly against walls or furniture, as this can impede air intake and exhaust. Maintain a minimum clearance of several inches around the air scrubber.

 

Elevated Position (Optional): If feasible, placing the air scrubber on a raised platform (e.g., table) can further improve air circulation, especially in rooms with lower ceilings.

 

2. Essential Maintenance for Long-Term Performance

Regular Filter Replacement: Adhere to the manufacturer's recommended schedule for filter replacement. Clogged filters hinder performance and can even trap harmful particles instead of capturing them.

 

Cleaning the Unit: Periodically clean the exterior of the unit with a damp cloth to remove dust and debris. Consult the user manual for any specific cleaning instructions for the air scrubber model.

Put out a fire

Conclusion

Wildfire smoke raises concerns about air quality and poses health risks. To effectively capture harmful smoke particles and safeguard your health, you need air scrubbers. By understanding the technology, choosing the right unit, and implementing proper placement and maintenance practices, you can empower yourself to create a cleaner, healthier indoor environment during wildland fire season.


Purisystems offers a diverse range of air scrubbers to cater to your specific needs. Contact our friendly customer service team to discuss your options and find the perfect air scrubber to create a safe environment for you and your loved ones during wildfire season and beyond.

 

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.