After the Fire: Preventing Further HVAC Damage

“This is truly one of the greatest, if not the greatest tragedy that California has ever faced,” said Gov. Jerry Brown. “The devastation is just unbelievable, [it] is a horror that no one could have imagined.”

The California fires have caused havoc up and down the state and, as of October 16, have left $3 billion in damages.

The fire has left many homeowners with significant damage and has completely wrecked thousands of properties. According to PR Newswire, local HVAC professionals are urging homeowners who managed to escape with minimal burn damage to have their heating and cooling systems inspected to prevent further problems.

HVAC systems should be professionally inspected at least once or twice a year and the filters should be changed once every three months.

“Ash and other particles are so small that HVAC filters do not catch them and when units are turned on, these particulates are blown into the homes polluting the air and building-up in the ductwork,” said Ken Goodrich, of Goettl Air Conditioning. “For small children, the elderly and others with existing respiratory problems, this situation is particularly concerning. HVAC systems are like the lungs of the house — when clogged or not working correctly, that’s when bad things happen.”

Water Deeply reports that October is often the worst month during California’s fire season and is also the last because it marks the end of the dry season.

“We don’t know what triggered the ignition, but once a fire ignited the real story is that there was receptive vegetation everywhere that could carry that fire,” added Yana Valachovic, county director and forest advisor for the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

HVAC maintenance, cleaning, and conducting air quality checks and system inspections are a homeowner’s best way to prevent future damage.

“[During] post-fire events, homeowners often don’t know what to do to make sure their homes are free of contaminants and have air that doesn’t make them sick,” Goodrich added.

The two largest area fires are about 60% contained and oncoming rain could help quell the flames.

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