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After The Wildfire Smoke, Check Your Air Filters

Andy Nelson
The Register-Guard

As fire crews continue to work on containing wildfires in the region, many residents are still dealing with the effects of the smoke. Here are some things to consider for your HVAC and car filtration systems.

Most filters used in cars or houses need to be replaced regularly - anywhere from every three months to a year. But since most Oregonians experienced such a high volume of smoke, the filters might need to be changed sooner.

Travis Knudsen with Lane Regional Air Protection Agency, or LRAPA, said there’s no special trick. If the filter looks dirty, it’s time to be replaced.

“So as we progress from summertime into winter and people switch from using the air conditioning and now using heat, the switch isn’t really going to make a difference,” said Knudsen. “It’s merely just the movement of the air through that filter is what will dirty the filter.”

Knudsen also says now is a good time to restock since wood stove season is around the corner.

The main concern with wood or wildfire smoke is the small particles put into the air that can get trapped in your lungs and create long term health effects. According to Knudsen, the best filters to use for these fine particles (PM 2.5) are rated Merv 13 or higher.

For current information on air quality, more information can be found at Lane Regional Air Protection Agency and Environmental Protection Agency.

Aubrey Bulkeley joined KLCC in January 2019. She co-created FLUX podcast, a three-part series to accompany award-winning UO School of Journalism and Communication publication, FLUX Magazine. Bulkeley finished her Master's degree in Journalism at the University of Oregon in June 2019.
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