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Why is Bushfire Smoke Dangerous to Health?

By: HAVEN IAQ

Wood smoke can linger in the body for 40 times longer than tobacco smoke, increasing the risk of developing cancer or a respiratory illness¹. As bushfires and forest fires get worse each year, the long-term effects on human health will escalate over time. This becomes a double-whammy of prolonged exposure over each individual event, and repeated exposure over each year, combining to jeopardise the health of you  and your families in the very place you should be safest. Those with asthma are particularly susceptible to the health risks of inhaling Particulate Matter (PM) such as fire smoke — and given that 10.7% of Australians suffer from asthma the chances are that some of you and your families fall into this vulnerable category. Australian Bureau of Statistics contains key statistics and information about asthma and its prevalence in Australia can be find in here. It’s clearer than ever that we need to take Indoor Air Quality seriously for the health of ourselves and our loved ones – whether or not there is an existing health concern at play.

Air pollution from bushfires have a 10x greater impact on health than similar pollution levels from other sources.

How can I avoid wildfire smoke getting into my home?

In addition to staying informed with the Air Quality Index and following official guidance during fire smoke events, we recommend taking steps to monitor the levels of indoor air pollution so that you and your family aren’t blindsided by invisible smoke particles in your home. Counter-top monitors have their place – but if the source of infiltration is from a particular room where a monitor isn’t present, the chances are this will go undetected. Many go in search of the best home air purifier for bushfire smoke, but the effectiveness of certain models under real-world conditions, and health concerns relating to side effects³ are added worries that no-one needs during wildfire season.

A professionally installed air quality monitor (located in the return duct of your home’s central HVAC system) has the ability to assess airborne pollutants across your whole home – giving you peace of mind that they’re not slipping under the radar, and giving your HVAC professional the insights they need to assess whether further filtration or ventilation is needed to keep you and your loved ones safe. An effective furnace filter for wildfire smoke (like MERV 13) is also a must, and keep in mind that your filter’s lifespan will be much shorter during smoky season.

HAVEN calculates filter lifetime based on your system runtime, and pollution levels detected. That’s how we know when to remind you to replace your filter, and stop the smoke from creating unsafe conditions in your home. With a HAVEN Controller installed, we can also activate airflow when high particulate levels are found. This increases the amount of particles that your filter is able to capture, before they reach your lungs instead.

How can HAVEN help with managing bushfire smoke?

  1. The duct-mounted Central Air Monitor tracks Particulate Matter levels across your entire home: whereas a counter-top monitor would only alert pollution spikes within its immediate environment, the HAVEN Monitor will pick up on the presence of bushfire smoke, regardless of which room it’s coming from.
  2. The Central Air Controller adds smart capability to existing equipment: airflow is activated when needed based on the data from the Monitor, so that your filter can effectively capture harmful smoke particles – without blowing your energy bills.
  3. The HAVEN IAQ app gives you a weekly Indoor Air Quality score, so you can see how your home’s air compares over time, and when the equipment automations are taking action to help you #breathebetter

 

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