Experts discuss ways to keep bad air out of homes as haze from wildfires hangs over Utah

Posted at 7:25 PM, Aug 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-20 21:25:58-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Smoke from massive forest fires in the northwest is bringing heavy haze all across Utah, and while avoiding that dirty outdoor air is one thing--keeping it out of your home is another.

When the air is thick with haze outside, Russ Cowan from Millcreek stays inside.

“They advocate you to stay home, so that's what I do,” Cowan said.

Cowan works hard to keep his home a haven from the pollution by simply keeping his air filter clean.

“I check the filters at least every 30 to 60 days, and when they start clogging I replace them,” Cowan said.

It's a move doctors said is both easy and good for your lungs.

“I think we should optimize indoor air quality as much as possible, so this is a good time to see if you can remember how recently you changed your filter on your air conditioner and think about doing that now,” said Dr. Robert Paine, Chief of the Pulmonary Division at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

Those at Manwill's heating, cooling and plumbing see a lot of people neglect their air filters.

“One of the most popular service calls we get is actually a plugged filter," said Brian Jackson, Manager at Manwill’s. "People don't realize that they have filters in their systems and ultimately don't realize they need to maintain them."

Manwill's says a good way to check if you need a new air filter is to hold it up, and if light does not filter through it then it's time for a new one.

“I've seen a filter inside a home where the homeowner claimed they hadn’t changed it in three years, so it created a lot of problems for the system,” Jackson said.

Doctors said problems for your air cooling system means problems for your health.

“This isn't good for anyone, but it's particularly problematic for people who are vulnerable, and these vulnerable populations are kids, the elderly, and people with heart disease or lung disease” Paine said.

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