Air quality across Iowa and Illinois is terrible but it's also hot outside. Is it safe to run your air conditioner right now?

An air quality alert was issued for parts of Illinois, according to NBC Chicago, as smoke from the Canadian wildfires continues to drift into Iowa, Illinois, and other parts of the Midwest. It's the reason the skies have been hazy lately.

The potential issue with this is that it's also summer and temps are definitely hot enough to turn on the A/C.


The air that keeps your living room cool enough for you to merely exist from May-August has to come from somewhere. And with the wildfires still going on north of us, is that air even safe to breathe now?

The EPA says the polluted air can still get into your home through air conditioning systems (HVAC) that have a fresh air intake. Really any system that has a vent to the outdoors can let the nasty smoky air into your house.

The Best Thing To Do About It

You can still use your air conditioner when the air is gross.


Make sure you put a clean filter in the HVAC and you should know how to filter smoke out of it. If it's been a minute since you've replaced your air conditioner filter, now would probably be a good time to get that done. The EPA also says to know how to adjust your air conditioner or HVAC filter to keep the smoke out of it. You can find out more about how to do that here.

Or you can use a portable air purifier. Those big Dyson ones are pretty pricey, though.

If someone in your house is super sensitive to air quality, the EPA says it may not be a bad idea to get the N95 masks back out. But after the last 3 or so years, I really wouldn't want to even see another one of those.

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