Enrique Quesada, Manager of Vernon Modern Purair franchise, shows off the difference between a new filter and a one-month-old filter that had been exposed to Okanagan smoky skies. (Brieanna Charlebois/Morning Star)

HVAC system filters choked by smoke

Local experts said health risks associated haven’t disappeared now that the smoke has.

With a thick layer of smoke covering the Okanagan for a large part of the summer, local experts are warning residents to clean the furnace and ducts in their homes and change the filters in their homes and cars more often.

Related: Okanagan air quality at a high health risk

Related: Air quality improves slightly

“With the forest fire smoke in the area it is more important than ever to replace filters,” said Neil Grant, Modern Purair expert. “It should be changed out every three months under normal circumstances with more frequent replacement necessary under current conditions. Now that the smoke seems to have cleared, there are things homeowners can do to ensure they are breathing clean air in their homes.”

Enrique Quesada is the manager of Vernon Modern Purair franchise. He considers HVAC systems — including furnaces, air conditioners, duct work — the lungs of the building.

“The furnace constantly ‘breathing in’ and ‘breathing out’ while the system is operating, which you are then ‘breathing in’ and ‘breathing out’,” he said. “The furnace is the lungs of the entire system and the idea is that the “fresh” air outside be recycled and repurposed inside. The issue with the filters right now is that with all this smoke, the filters are getting entirely dirty. If the filter is plugged in, the smoke gets in that way and actually contaminates the inside.”

He said that he, as a professional working in the industry, is seeing these problems continue, and even increase now that it’s getting colder. He said that with smoke from the summer months now lodged in the furnace, it forces the motor to work harder, ultimately making it more vulnerable to break in the future.

Throughout much of the summer — up until mid-August — air quality around the Okanagan, like much of the province, was considered a high health risk, ranking up to a nine on the Air Quality Health Index, a scale that shows the health risk associated with the air pollution we breathe.

 

This is a furnace filter from a home in the Okanagan which was brand new — white and clean — just three weeks prior. (Photo contributed)

Just Posted

Quality Greens purchase points keep food on the table

New partnership between Quality Greens, Upper Room Mission is helping those in need

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: mix of sun and cloud, chance of showers

Environment Canada is calling for a sunny weekend across the Okanagan

North Okanagan seeks provincial approval of bag ban

RDNO timeline to have ban in effect by 2020 may no longer be possible

Rain wipes out Vernon’s Civic Sounds

The Dirt Road Kings were to have played Thursday night; series resumes next Thursday

Vernon ringette player wins national scholarship

Bryn Taylor-Hawes received one of the 21st annual Agnes Jacks awards

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

Community of Oliver active in policing work

Citizens on Patrol, Speed Watch more active than elsewhere in the South Okanagan Similkameen

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

Justin Trudeau’s carbon footprint revealed in ranking of world leaders

Travel company ranks 15 world leaders’ foreign flight CO2 emissions

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

Major medal haul for Vernon track athletes

Track and/or field, didn’t matter as Vernon athletes won multiple medals at Jack Brow Meet in Kelowna

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

Arrest made in vandalism of the former home of man charged with South Okanagan murders

RCMP confirmed one person has been arrested in relation to the alleged vandalism

Most Read