Don't Choke on Smoke: How Kiwis Can Stay Safe in Smoky Conditions

Don't Choke on Smoke: How Kiwis Can Stay Safe in Smoky Conditions - Snap Air

As New Zealanders, we're no strangers to the beauty of our natural landscapes. However, with the recent Port Hills fire near Christchurch in February 2024, we're reminded of the risks that come with living in our environment. While we were fortunate that the smoke largely stayed away from the city, it's a stark reminder that this isn't always the case. Smoke from fires, whether from local sources or even as far away as Australia, can travel large distances and impact our air quality. And it's not just wildfires; in cooler times, farm burn-offs and wood burners can also affect the air we breathe.

Can Air Purifiers Help with Smoke?

Absolutely. Air purifiers equipped with HEPA filters can capture a significant amount of smoke particles, including the harmful PM2.5 particles found in smoke. These particles are so small they can penetrate deep into our lungs, causing a range of health issues. A carbon filter can also help remove the odour of smoke and any potentially dangerous volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Key Points Summary

  • Wildfire smoke and pollution from wood burners can significantly impact air quality in New Zealand.
  • Even brief exposure to smoke can be harmful, especially due to PM2.5 particles.
  • Staying indoors, closing windows and doors, and turning off external air ventilation systems can help reduce exposure.
  • Air purifiers with HEPA and carbon filters are effective at cleaning indoor air from smoke particles and odours.

The Health Impacts of Smoke

Understanding PM2.5 Particles

Smoke is rich in PM2.5 particles, which are tiny enough to bypass our body's natural defenses and penetrate deep into the lungs and bloodstream. This can lead to respiratory issues, aggravated asthma, and even cardiovascular problems. The importance of reducing exposure to these particles cannot be overstated, especially during smoke events.

Reducing Smoke in Your Home

Seal Your Home

The first line of defense is to keep smoke out. This means staying indoors as much as possible during smoky conditions, closing windows and doors, and turning off ventilation systems that draw in outside air. However, since homes are not completely airtight, some smoke will inevitably get in.

Clean the Air

This is where air purifiers come into play. A good air purifier, appropriately sized for the room, can significantly reduce indoor smoke levels. The HEPA filter captures fine particles, while a carbon filter tackles smoke odours and VOCs.

Choosing the Right Air Purifier

When selecting an air purifier, consider the size of the area you need to purify and ensure the purifier is rated for that size. Look for models with true HEPA filters and activated carbon filters for the best protection against smoke. Also look to avoid ones which disperse negative ions or contain ionisers, as these may worsen respiratory symptoms. For more information check out our detailed guide on choosing an air purifier.

Wrapping up

The beauty of New Zealand's natural environment comes with its challenges, including the risk of smoke from wildfires and other sources. By understanding the risks and taking proactive steps to protect indoor air quality, we can safeguard our health against the harmful effects of smoke. Remember, the right air purifier can make all the difference in keeping your home's air clean and safe.

Our online store contains a selection of effective and affordable air purifiers and air quality monitors designed to keep you safe from smoke.

Stay safe, breathe easy, and protect your health by being prepared for smoky conditions.