Wildfires And Box Fans

As shocking as the evening television news videos have been of the wildfires across the western United States and Canada, yesterday’s story in the Seattle Times, by Christine Clarridge, used a Mordor comparison in her title: “Like Mordor: A Central Washington town had the worst air quality in the U.S.

This topic really “hits home.”

Smoke billows from the Varden fire near Highway 20, looking southeast in the direction of Winthrop, Washington on July 11. The Delancy fire is at bottom right. (U.S. Forest Service)

We know about bad air quality in our Pittsburgh region, and even though the closure of multiple coal- fired power plants have improved our air quality in many categories, we still have a Particulate Matter Problem.” And smoke is known for its high levels of particulate matter which adversely affect a person’s health.

For those who have been fortunate enough not to have their home destroyed by wildfire, but still have to breathe in smoky air pollution, there is one simple homemade device that can greatly improve home air quality. I learned about it at a health conference at the University of Pittsburgh, during a presentation by the group ROCIS.

For under $75, you can put together a basic room air filtration system, using a 20- inch box fan and MERV 13 air filter, as seen in this photo:
Here’s a YouTube video by Mike Kincaid with his tips and assembly instructions: