NV State License #: 0079936 CA State License #: 114301
11944 Valerio Street, North Hollywood CA 91605 818-255-1600

How hazardous is smoke to my health?

Smoke is a collection of tiny solid, liquid and gas particles. Although smoke can contain hundreds of different chemicals and fumes, visible smoke is mostly carbon (soot), tar, oils and ash. Smoke is a collection of these tiny unburned particles. Each particle is too small to see with your eyes, but when they come together, you see them as smoke.

Smoke from a forest fire is made up of: water, volatile organic compounds – a compound is volatile if it evaporates (becomes a gas) when it is heated, carbon, minerals in the tree’s cells, like calcium, potassium and magnesium (which are non-burnable and become ash).

When you put wood on a hot fire, the smoke you see is the volatile organic compounds (hydrocarbons) evaporating from the wood. They start to evaporate at about 149°C. If the fire is hot enough, the hydrocarbons will burst into flames. Once they burn, there is no smoke because the hydrocarbons are turned into water and carbon dioxide.

If your air filter looks like the one above, replace it immediately! Most professional will place the filter in a plastic bag to remove it from your home so the particulates and such that are on the filter don’t further contaminate your home.
Filters are rated with MERV Rating – Minimum Efficency Rating Value from 1 to 20. While MERV ratings go all the way to 20, in residential & light commercial equipment, MERV 16 will be the most efficient filter available.
Marking the MERV value on air filters is optional but since more and more consumers & governmental agencies want to know what the rating is, it won’t be long before all filters are so marked. The filter shown is a typical inexpensive air filter – basically designed to stop very large particles from getting into your home – MERV rating is between 1 & 2.

Check the “More About MERV in our IAQ page”
The filters on the left are “pleated” filters – they are much more efficient in trapping air borne particles and are typically rated at MERV 8 to MERV 11. Most standard furnaces were designed for a maximum of MERV 8 since the filters require more power to draw through them.

Most homes use 1” thick filters – thicker filters which add up to 400% more filter area are available 2’,”4,5” are available with MERV ratings from 8 to 16. These care typicall not a simple swap for the old filter as their thickness requires a well constructed housing to hold them. If you aren’t sure if you can use a higher rated filter, give us a call.

Specialty Whole House Air Filters

In order to achieve MERV ratings over 13, specialty filters and housings must be installed. Filters such as the Healthy Climate 16 also include activate charcoal in them so they will remove all odors in your home in addition filtering the air. Read more about air filters in our Indoor Air Quality page.

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CA State License #: 114301 NV State License #: 0079936

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11944 Valerio Street
North Hollywood, CA 91605
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