Letter: Air conditioners can help
Much appreciation goes to Dr. Carsten for informing our community about the health impacts of wildfire smoke on our pets. As an Air (Quality) Resource Advisor for wildfire incidents nationwide I am often asked the kind of questions Dr. Carsten addresses in his Aug. 25 column.
However, I would like to clear up one of his statements that advises not to run air conditioners when it is smoky outside. During wildfire smoke events it is important to realize that heat combined with poor air quality can adversely affect many sensitive individuals and that there are solutions to maintaining a cool and smoke free home.
Air conditioners fitted with a clean HEPA filter can actually keep the inside of a home more comfortable under hot and smoky conditions. Additionally, some air conditioners are designed with a switch to recirculate indoor air which can reduce smoke input into a home. Swamp coolers, however, are not designed to filter outside air and, if operated during heavy smoke events can actually pull that smoke into a home. More information on how people (and their pets) can avoid or reduce smoke exposure can be found on the Colorado State Air Quality webpage: https://www.colorado.gov/airquality/wildfire.aspx