Does Air Conditioning Help Filter Smoke?

Learn how window air conditioners are more effective at purifying smoke than small-sized ACs with a single hose. Get tips on how to prepare your AC for wildfire season.

Does Air Conditioning Help Filter Smoke?

According to experts, window air conditioners are more effective at purifying air from smoke than small-sized air conditioners with a single hose. Air conditioners use air filters to remove contaminants from the air circulating in the home. The operation of the air conditioner circulates indoor air, removes heat, and also filters some particles from the air. To make sure your air filtration works at peak efficiency, get the highest level of filters you can.

HEPA filters trap very small particles and should be changed frequently to keep them working at peak performance. Wildfire season is inevitable and can lead to unhealthy air conditions across the country. Local officials can advise people to stay indoors, but even if you do, some of the smoke from outside can get in and make your space unhealthy. The question arises: “Do air conditioners filter wildfire smoke?” The answer is yes.

If you live in an area prone to wildfires, you can prepare properly before the season starts by purchasing a high-quality portable air filter or air conditioning filter. Make sure the HVAC filter has a high Minimum Efficiency Report Value (MERV) rating, generally greater than ten. The higher the number, the better the filter for removing contaminants. Filters also range in thickness from one to five inches and should be changed more often during wildfire season.

Talk to your local HVAC technician for advice on how to prepare your air conditioner to filter wildfire smoke. Air conditioners have air filters to treat dust and other particles, but the particles in cigarettes are so heavy that they can cover the entire filter with debris in a few days. To prevent this, turn off any settings that allow outside air to enter the indoor air space and turn off any window air conditioning units that introduce contaminated outdoor air into the home. Recirculated air introduced into an indoor environment from the air conditioner presents a level of danger to the air in a home, as it can filter particles and other contaminants from wildfire smoke that can cause hazardous effects to human health.

Many people install different air purifiers or use unique air fresheners to remove odor and smoke from the air. With its filters (the main HEPA filter, a pre-filter and an optional activated carbon layer), the air is expelled and returned to the room as fresh, clean air. When this wildfire smoke enters your home, you can do so by opening windows and doors, poor insulation, and even through air conditioning units that bring outside air into the indoor air space.

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