Whether your facility is a commercial office, warehouse, manufacturing facility, or other type of commercial property, your HVAC is likely one of your most expensive systems to maintain. That’s especially true when your HVAC is up against difficult air conditions like smoke from wildfires.

Throughout the US wildfire season, millions of acres burn due to weather conditions like drought, heat, and high winds along with human-caused fires like uncontrolled campfires. While facilities in common wildfire-affected areas might be used to this problem, we’ve seen from the Canadian wildfires that the smoke can spread hundreds of miles, affecting air quality and HVAC systems widely.

What can you do to protect your HVAC system and your bottom line from the impacts of wildfire smoke? Let’s look at how wildfire smoke affects HVAC systems and how you can balance lower costs with better performance.

The Effects of Wildfire Smoke on HVAC Systems

If you’ve noticed increased repair costs and operating costs from your HVAC system during the summer, it may not just be caused by the heat. There are several ways wildfire smoke can affect your HVAC.

Rapid Filter Buildup

Your HVAC filter has the challenging job of blocking the microscopic harmful particles in smoke so they don’t damage your HVAC system or affect your facility tenants’ health. With so much smoke in the air, though, these particles can build up in your HVAC filters quickly. This leads to more frequent filter changes or, if you don’t change your filters often enough, reduced airflow due to the overloaded filters.

System Damage

Your HVAC system is designed for the flow of air with a certain amount of pollutants. When there’s a wildfire sending smoke into your area, there are more pollutant particles than your HVAC system has bargained for. The particles from the smoke can contaminate the ductwork and other parts of the system, potentially damaging components of the system, especially after those contaminants have been building up for months.

Ways to Save Money and Prepare Your HVAC System for Wildfire Season

Chances are that there is little you can do to minimize wildfires, but there are steps you can take to prepare your HVAC system and keep the costs and impacts of wildfire smoke as low as possible. Put these key strategies into action.

Plan Preventative Maintenance Accordingly

While planning your preventative maintenance tasks throughout the year, consider spring for certain maintenance work like inspections and updates. This allows you to make sure your HVAC is ready for not only keeping your facility cool throughout the summer but also for overcoming the smoky air during wildfire season.

Keep Up with Your Local Air Quality

The more you know about the air in your area during wildfire season, the better you can care for your HVAC system in a way that keeps it running smoothly. One way to keep up with the data you need is by using the AirNow site from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This site allows you to type in your zip code to see the specific air quality details in your area. It also has a dedicated fire and smoke map to give you a view of which areas are affected by wildfires and smoke.

Install a Specialized HVAC Monitoring System

Preventative maintenance and tracking air quality are helpful, but the most practical and impactful way to protect your HVAC system is with a monitoring tool. The Talos monitoring tool is an advanced, easy-to-install sensor that monitors your HVAC system for potential problems like an overloaded air filter. The tool directly sends you notifications when it detects a high particle level in your filters or other potential issues from wildfires.

This lets you stay on top of your HVAC system, monitor for issues 24/7, and resolve problems before they cause HVAC failures or other major disruptions. Changing your filter too often can double your filter costs while not changing your filters often enough, especially during wildfire season, can triple your HVAC operating costs. In fact, this monitoring system can help you optimize the costs and burden of your HVAC system not only during wildfire season but all year long.

How to Start Saving on Your HVAC Filters and Maintenance

Taking the first step toward a more efficient, cost-effective HVAC system is easier than you think. Simply contact Talos IoT to schedule a demo and learn more about our cutting-edge HVAC monitoring system and how it can lower your costs and boost reliability.