Should We Wear Masks Inside?

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By an edhat reader

This may seem like a silly question, but should we be wearing our respirator masks inside our homes? I've seen some ash particles floating around inside. 

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peawatt Dec 10, 2017 07:08 AM
Should We Wear Masks Inside?

After warming up the house in the morning, I swap out the furnace filter with one with a much higher MERV (or FPR) number, set the thermostat to 'fan only', and run it during the warmer part of the day.

John Wiley Dec 09, 2017 04:27 PM
Should We Wear Masks Inside?

+steam -fans +airlock +Claritin I forgot to add these other tricks we've been using, that are probably helping us avoid wearing our N95 masks indoors. We've found that the bathrooms get smoky just from air coming down the exhaust fan vents even though they have flappers to reduce that, but taking a shower puts enough steam into the air that it seems to precipitate out at least the smoke smell (probably many of the various particulates too). We leave those bathroom fans and the kitchen fan OFF to prevent drawing air through the many routes into our older home. We've found that Claritin (we use generic) helps a lot with the minor allergic symptoms we've been having. One more thing is the "airlock" idea like in the Martian movie. When we have to briefly go outside we go through the laundry room and through the garage, quickly closing the doors behind us (and of course keeping them closed otherwise). This greatly reduces the smoke particles coming into the house. What smoke does enter from the garage mostly stays in the laundry room.

SBCountyLocal Dec 09, 2017 04:00 PM
Should We Wear Masks Inside?

I was lucky enough to get an air purifier and my home has remained smoke free since the day after the smoke reached Santa Barbara. I would recommend that people try sharing their purifiers with neighbors if possible. - That's what I am doing. We are all in this together.

Jazzee Dec 09, 2017 02:27 PM
Should We Wear Masks Inside?

Thank you, John Wiley, for continuing to post on Edhat as well as SBitZ.NET. (Your knowledge as a pilot and calm recommendations have always been extremely helpful in our fire-prone region.)

John Wiley Dec 09, 2017 02:16 PM
Should We Wear Masks Inside?

ps-the AQI on smoke levels (rated unhealthy now) is updated hourly by Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District on this web page: https://www.ourair.org/todays-air-quality/

John Wiley Dec 09, 2017 02:13 PM
Should We Wear Masks Inside?

We're not, but have sealed the house up fairly tight. It's not built very tight and we won't eventually use up all the oxygen. There's no smoke smell but we're both noticing mild symptoms (allergic), so some small particles are clearly getting in. The paper type masks don't catch much of that anyway. To really be safe you need a full face mask with replaceable multi-stage filters. I think those run $100 and up, and there probably aren't any available in town. A friend scored an industrial air scrubber for $300 and their house very quickly got clean, but that depends on the power grid. From what I've been seeing (and posting on SBitZ.NET) this smoke could hang over us for days to come. :(

a-1542339638 Dec 09, 2017 12:02 PM
Should We Wear Masks Inside?

If you can SEE the ash, you can bet the air is full of smaller particles as well. It is probably a good idea to wear the mask indoors too, I definitely am!

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