Wildfire smoke in your home: what you need to know about using portable air purifiers

(NC) Wildfires have become too common for many of us. Even if you’re far from the flames, or in a different province, you might be wondering what to do about the smoke that can get inside your home through windows, doors, vents and other openings. It can be a risk to your health. Seniors, pregnant people, infants, young children and people with an existing illness or chronic health conditions are especially at risk.

One way you can minimize these risks is by using a portable air purifier, but many people are not sure how best to choose or use one. Portable air purifiers are self-contained air filtration appliances that are designed to clean a single room. They remove fine particles by pulling the indoor air through a filter that traps the particles.

Be aware that not all portable air purifiers have the same effectiveness. If you are concerned about the health risks of particles from wildfire smoke, you should consider purchasing a High Efficiency Particulate Air, also known as HEPA, portable air filtration unit.

To get the most out of your portable air purifier:

Choose your device wisely

  • Avoid devices that produce ozone, as ozone can negatively impact your health.
  • Choose an air purifier that’s sized appropriately for the largest room you will be using it in.

Set up for success

  • Keep your doors and windows closed.
  • Operate your air purifier in a room where you spend a lot of time.
  • Place it in a location where airflow will not be obstructed (e.g. furniture).
  • Position the air purifier to avoid blowing directly at or between people in the room.
  • Operate at the highest setting. A lower setting may reduce the noise of the unit, but it will also reduce its effectiveness.
  • Maintain your air purifier by cleaning or replacing the filter as needed.

Reduce sources of indoor air pollution, such as smoking, vacuuming, burning incense or candles, using wood stoves and using cleaning products that can emit high levels of volatile organic compounds.

Find more information on keeping your home safe at canada.ca/healthy-home.