PORTLAND, Ore. -- Health experts say if you are sensitive to the smoke in the air from the wildfires or need to be outdoors for a long time, you should wear the proper mask to filter out the smoke.
But you may still be getting exposed to the smoke indoors, including inside your home and your car.
As a result, area HVAC service technicians are getting lots of calls to check on or change out smoke and ash clogged furnace air filters.
Robert Reuter with Jacobs Cooling & Heating says in the past few days he’s been finding a lot of unusually dirty filters.
He says if you want to make sure your air conditioning system filters out the harmful smoke particles, you will need a filter with what's called a merv rating of 11 or higher.
He says a merv rating between 11 and 15 is optimal for homes.
Anything lower, he said, "Is not going to catch the particles that are unhealthy for you."
And while you're at it, you may want to check some other filters too, like the ones in your car.
Stephanie Johnson, owner of Steve's Automotive in Northwest Portland says once all the smoke and ash settles, car owners should do three things.
Check their cabin air filters. Check their engine air filters. And clear the debris from their car’s cowling, that's the area in front of the windshield wipers.
But, she says, make sure you either blow or wash the ash off. Wiping it can actually scratch your paint.
"The same thing with wiper blades," said Johnson. "You don't want to turn your wiper blades on because that will have a tendency to scratch the windshield as well."
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