If there is one thing that we know about in California, its wildfires. One of the things that people want to know when the air quality is bad is if it’s safe to run their air conditioner.

We’re going to look at the answer to this important question, both for central air units and window air conditioner.

Is it safe to run your air conditioner when outside air quality is bad?

It’s possible that you are thinking that if you’re running the AC during fire season, the ash particulate and smoke is going to enter your home. But that’s not the case.  It’s a lot better for you to run your air conditioner rather than opening your windows. Keep the system off of fresh air intake setting, making it recirculate the air inside the home. this is going to help with keeping some smoke out of the house.

With central air, it’s just recirculating the air in the house.

The other thing about a central air is that it’s a heat exchanger. That heat inside the house gets absorbed and then it’s transported through your refrigerant line. Its then deposited outside.

Air conditioners also use filters for removing the pollutants from the circulated air in your home. When you run your AC, it circulates your indoor air and removes heat. It also filters some of the particulates from your air.

Here are some final tips for keeping safe during poor air quality.

  • Change Your Air Filters – Make sure you’re changing all the air filters on your HVAC system. Even though you might have closed your doors and windows, tiny particulates might get into the home through small gaps or roof vents. Having a new, clean filter will handle the problems.
  • Turn the AC On but Close the Intake – Running the AC is going to circulate the air in the home through the filters. This will effectively purify the air. But a lot of units also come equipped with the fresh air intake. Usually these will help with improving air quality. However, this isn’t the case when the outside air quality is poor. Close that intake with the damper.
  • Keep Window Units and Bathroom Fans Off – Window AC and bathroom fans will often pull the air from the outside into the house. Therefore, when the air quality is poor outside, you want to keep them turned off.

As you can see, it’s fine to keep your central air conditioning unit running even when the air quality is poor outside, however, if you have a window air conditioner, it’s better not to do because that will bring in the poor air from the outdoors.

If you are interested in having your HVAC system serviced or replaced, give us a call. We are also happy to answer any questions that you have. Our team can help you out with any type of air conditioning repair in Livermore and beyond.