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Outside, You're Covered. But What Should You Do About Indoor Air Quality?

Susan Leigh Taylor
November 16, 2018 - 2:09 pm
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As smoke from the historic Butte County wildfire continues to smother the Bay Area in toxic air, canceling events and causing havoc for public health, staying indoors doesn't guarantee that you're out of harm's way. 

There are, however, a number of ways to improve indoor air quality. 

Dr. Brett Singer, leader of the Indoor Environment Group at the Lawrence-Berkeley National Lab, pointed out that free-standing air purifiers can be a solution, but only if they’re used correctly.

 “It’s very important to make sure that you get that one is sized for the space that you’re in,” said Dr. Singer. “If it’s too small, it might not do much good.”

Purifiers work best in a closed room, and would not be very effective, for example, in the middle of the living room in a house with an open floor plan.

Those with central heating and cooling systems can acquire whole house filters, which include electrostatic filters and HEPA filters.

Dr. Singer noted that, in those with older HVAC systems, many only have a filter that’s adequate for keeping the furnace or air conditioner clean. Consumers should upgrade their air filter to those with a MERV rating of 12, 13 or better.

Go to indoor.lbl.gov/air-quality-tips for additional tips on how to keep your indoor air safe and clean.