As Wildfire Smoke Begins To Clear, Concerns About Air Quality Remain

The smoke as seen from the Canada wildfires over Route 37 in Toms River. (Photo by Denise Maynard)

The oppressive smoke that has hung over New Jersey and the surrounding regions this week is beginning to dissipate. But additional plumes of smoke may be coming, and residents are also concerned about future wildfires as experts predict record temperatures this summer. When smoke from the Canadian wildfires drifted through the region, it posed a serious risk to overall air quality of the state. Many residents are wondering how to keep their indoor air quality as optimal as possible, as well as how to prepare for similar smoke incidents in the future.

“One of the first questions we get from homeowners in a situation like this is if it’s safe to turn on their air conditioning units,” says Chris Tulloch, General Manager of A.J. Perri, the state’s leading plumbing and HVAC company. “For a central air unit that recirculates indoor air, it is generally safe. But using a window unit may draw smoke particles into the home.”

Many residents are also taking a greater interest in indoor air purifying systems. Tulloch recommends that indoor air purifiers feature HEPA filters, which can filter out not only allergens but harmful particles. Even as the smoke begins to dissipate, Tulloch is reminding homeowners of the importance of keeping their home HVAC systems in proper working order. Certain equipment and filters may need to be inspected and cleaned due to the recent smoke, and regular maintenance tasks can also include checking and cleaning the evaporator and condenser coils to ensure proper flow of air through the system.

Above all, Tulloch reminds homeowners to follow the advice of local authorities when it comes to keeping safe in these types of situations. “Keep doors and windows closed, limit your exposure to outside air when air quality warnings are in effect, and keep a close eye on pets and family members, especially if they have breathing or health issues.”

Between now and the end of August, A.J. Perri is offering residential customers a $50 discount on indoor air quality products. Certain restrictions apply; residents can visit for details.

American Residential Services, LLC (AJ PERRI)