Air conditioning unit impacted by recent wildfire

How Your HVAC System Has Been Impacted by the Recent Fires

California residents are no stranger to wildfires. Even if your home hasn't suffered direct damage as a result of the blaze, there is still a strong chance that the lingering smoke, ash, soot, and dust blanketing the area is placing an additional burden on your heating and cooling equipment.

Should You Clean Your HVAC System After a Fire?

Your HVAC system is capable of filtering out dust and debris from the air, however high concentrations of large particles (conditions which a wildfire can cause) can result in inefficient operation, bad indoor air quality, and even a permanent impact on various components you otherwise depend on.

Wildfires can cause the following issues with your HVAC system:
  • Clogged air filter - a clogged air filter is probably the least sever of the effects that a wildfire can have on your air conditioning system. Even if you keep your doors and windows shut while the ash, soot, smoke, dust, and other airborne debris swirls outside, it’s possible for small amounts to find their way inside when you open your door to enter or exit, on your shoes, in your hair, or even riding on your clothing. Air leaks can also allow this air to find its way in. Your HVAC air filter can strain this debris out, but it will contribute to your air filter filling up faster and needing changed more frequently. An air filter that’s too dirty is both ineffective at removing the debris and inefficient, preventing your blower motors from pulling the necessary air through to properly heat or cool your home.
  • Dirty ducts - Your ductwork can feel the impact of a fire as well. Debris which is pulled through your air filter can become stuck in your air ducts, resulting in reduced air quality. To make matters worse, if it becomes stuck in an area where moisture is present, the organic nature of this material makes it a feasting ground for the spread of mold. Believe it or not, mold is a common sight after a major fire, especially when the carbon-loaded debris mixes with moisture from rain.
  • Clogged compressor - Your outdoor unit of your air conditioner or heat pump also feels the impact from the debris as well. Being left outside means it’s likely going to be exposed to a deluge of ash and soot falling from the sky, which can then get caught in your compressor unit and cause some issues. Notably, the debris can get stuck in your outdoor unit’s cooling fins, preventing air from passing through, which prevents the fan from being able to cool your refrigerant. It can also interfere with heat collection, which could prevent you from staying warm when the weather cools off.

Count on RR Electric, Heating & Air for Help

At RR Electric, Heating and Air, we understand how the community has been impacted, and we’re doing our part to help life get back to normal for everyone. We strongly encourage you to give us a call after a fire and have us clean out your ducts and your HVAC equipment in order to ensure that it’s running smoothly and efficiently again. It doesn’t take much for a catastrophe like these wildfires to have a lasting impact on your HVAC system, and the last thing you want to do is shorten its lifespan or cause a major problem to develop because of the high amount of ash that has found its way inside.


Schedule your appointment for HVAC cleaning by calling RR Electric, Heating & Air at (805) 900-0123. Our team will help get your HVAC system running efficiently after a wildfire!


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