Wild Fire Smoke

This week CBC news reported that the city of Edmonton, Alberta had the worst air quality in the world due to smoke from British Columbia wildfires. The air is bad here in BC, too –another reason we’re grateful that we installed a Heat Recovery Ventilator in the house before we moved back in.

Our HRV was installed by Meadow Ridge Plumbing & Gas in September, 2016

The low air quality is due to the wild fires raging across the province as we experience the third worst fire season ever. The government has, once again, declared a state of emergency to mobilize resources. Fire fighters, armed forces personnel and other professionals are working hard and risking their lives to fight the fires. People are losing their homes and stepping up to help others in the same boat.

Doctors warn about the health impacts of climate change. People who are not under evacuation orders or alerts are curtailing outdoor activities and being advised to stay indoors. An oft-overlooked question is, how well-sealed is your home and how well-filtered is the air inside it?

Looking inside the HRV when it was brand new.

Sometimes it’s difficult to put your finger on the effects of climate change–I try to remember this and be forgiving when I pass people idling in gas-powered cars to keep their A/C running.

One easy way is to look at the filter in your furnace, air conditioner, or, in our case, HRV. It’s a lot like those cross-sections of smokers’ lungs. Unfortunately, in the same way those disgusting images of blackened lungs on cigarette packages don’t stop people from buying them, feeling the effects of climate change doesn’t seem to be speeding up our climate action.

In June of this year, 2018, I took some video of how a Heat Recovery Ventilator works and what a filter looks like after a bad season of wild fires (2017). The filter comes out at about the 5-minute mark.

As you can see in the video, an HRV is an important component in a well-insulated and sealed building. It removes stale air and exchanges the heat in it with fresh air drawn in from outside. It also filters the air so you can breathe easy.

This is a case where reducing greenhouse gas emissions by insulating and sealing your house also protects you against one of the indirect effects of climate change: severe wild fires.

Next week I’ll post a video showing you how I cleaned the filters and core of the HRV. In the meantime, check your filters!

Published by

James Rowley

James lives in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada with his amazing partner, Leanne Koehn, and their two amazing kids in their beautiful house. He studied Science and English Literature at the University of British Columbia where he met Leanne. He also studied acting for a while at Studio 58 in Vancouver. He works as a teacher of English and curriculum writer for new Canadians.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *