Whenever you’re trying to take measures to combat poor air quality and protect your health, you need to know what you’re up against. When you take a breath, you want to ensure that you are getting crisp, clean oxygen.
Colorado is experiencing increasingly severe wildfire seasons. Wildfire smoke, a complex mixture of air pollutants, is hazardous to one’s health and is especially dangerous to the elderly, children, pregnant women, and people with respiratory and heart conditions. These vulnerable groups are advised to limit their outdoor activities, particularly when the Air Quality Index reaches ‘Unhealthy’ for Delicate Groups.’
Thankfully, there are several things that you can do to protect your family from poor air quality in Colorado.
Continue reading to learn more.
Best Tips for Dealing with Poor Air Quality in Colorado
This article explores five things you can do to deal with poor air quality in your home:
1. Staying informed about the air quality in your area
Air quality has an impact on how you live and breathe. It can change from hour to hour, or even day to day, just like the change in weather. While driving, you can check the air quality in Colorado on the electronic highway signs, which lately show “Ozone Action Day Alerts.”
Also, there are numerous websites that allow you to check the air quality in your area. But only use verified websites to obtain the right AQI in Colorado. You’ll then enter a postal or city code or enable the GPS on your phone to determine the AQI in your location.
Rankings are typically color-coded and divided by pollutants. The lower the numerical value, the better.
Like a traffic light, you want to see more green and fewer red lights. Green is a good color in terms of contrast, yellow is moderate, and when you see orange and red, people should start taking action, especially if they have a respiratory illness like asthma. These colors indicate harmful air.
2. Staying indoors when the Colorado AQI indicates harmful air
Staying indoors is the best option to consider when the air quality index in Colorado shows your area has poor air quality. Special consideration should be given to those with compromised respiratory or heart health, children, and the elderly, who are more vulnerable in general.
Consider the Colorado AQI to be a yardstick with a scale of 0 to 500. The greater the AQI value, the worse the air pollution, which indicates a greater health risk. For instance, an AQI value of 50 or less indicates good air quality, whereas an AQI value greater than 300 indicates hazardous air quality.
An AQI value of 51-100 generally indicates that the air quality is acceptable, whereas a value of 101-150 indicates that the air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups. A value of 151-200 indicates that the air quality is unhealthy for everyone, and a value of 201-300 indicates that the air quality is very unhealthy.
3. Avoiding tiresome outdoor exercises
As a rule of thumb, you should avoid exercising when there’s poor air quality in Colorado. You inhale and exhale faster when you work out, increasing the risk of exposing more of your lungs to air pollution. When you exercise, you also take deeper breaths, which can push harmful emissions deeper into your lungs.
Wearing a cloth face mask, for example, will not provide much protection. While it can aid in filtering larger particles in the air, it will not prevent fine particulate matter from entering. Even if you try to work out outside, which you should not do, you will suffer – you will not be able to perform adequately if the air quality is poor, and it’s simply not a good idea in general.
As such, when the air quality is poor, you should avoid exercising outside for a day or two. And if you must go outside, choose an easier, less strenuous activity such as walking. Try to limit your outdoor activities for your own sake.
Here are a few ideas for getting some indoor exercise:
- Watching exercise videos and exercising along
- Going to the gym
4. Ensuring there is clean air in the house
Knowing how to deal with poor Colorado air quality today can help you prepare for the worst and keep your HVAC system in proper working order. To begin, check your air conditioner’s fresh-air intake setting – some HVAC systems allow you to close this intake, allowing cleaner air to circulate all through your home.
This feature is particularly beneficial in wildfire-prone regions because it prevents smoky air from entering your home. Also, make sure the filters in any HVAC systems or ducts are changed. Filters should be changed regularly after collecting dust and other allergens.
Forgetting to replace a dirty filter could have the opposite effect, lowering air quality in your home. Check the make and model of your system to determine which filter you require, or even take a picture or jot down the measurements of your old, dirty filter.
If you are unfamiliar with your home’s HVAC system, contact our team today.
5. Using an N95 mask when going outside
If you feel like not staying indoors, using an N95 mask can help you in filtering some of the air particles from reaching your lungs. When wearing the recommended mask, it is critical that it fits and covers your face. If it does not fit properly or is not correctly fastened, the mask allows air particles that are unfiltered in and will not protect you.
If there are air leaks around your mask, remove the mask and try again. If air still leaks through the mask the second time you put it on, you should try a different mask. N95 masks come in a variety of sizes to accommodate a wide range of face shapes.
When buying a mask, you should ensure it is approved by NIOSH. These masks have gone through a variety of different tests, and research shows NIOSH-approved masks can filter 95% of air particles.
How HVAC Systems Help Improve Indoor Air Quality
Have you ever wondered how your HVAC system improves the air quality in your home? Here’s how:
Air conditioners clean the indoor air by filtering out odors, dust, pollen, and other pollutants. They also prevent the reproduction of microbes, viruses, and bacteria, ensuring a continuous distribution of clean air.
If the air conditioner is equipped with an ionizer, filtration efficiency will be greater, and the air quality in the house will improve.
Heating using a heat pump helps to filter potential pollutants from your home, as many units support the use of filters.
Heating helps in keeping your house warm and also removes humidity in your house. And non-combusting HVAC system helps in the distribution of oxygen in your home
Ventilators provide a continuous flow of clean air to your house, preventing moisture, numerous pollutants, or spores from racking up and posing a significant health and safety risk.
They also aid in the removal of numerous chemicals and allergens from the air. These can be abundant when performing certain activities such as cleaning, painting with dangerous chemicals, or using equipment that produces air residue.
If you need help with any aspect of your HVAC system, you can rely on our team at IMS Heating & Air to take on the task.