Chris Doscher
202.872.5955 x332
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Advice for Using Air Cleaners in Areas Affected by Wildfire Smoke

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 7, 2023) – With wildfire smoke affecting tens of millions of people in the northeastern United States, many are using air cleaners to mitigate the effects of smoke and ash on indoor air quality. This significant smoke event is expected to continue for at least the next few days. However, the threat of wildfires and the smoke they produce will continue for the next several months. It is important for people who live in areas that could be affected to have a plan in place to improve their indoor air quality during wildfire season.

A room air cleaner is one of the best tools available to mitigate the effects of wildfire smoke on indoor air. Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Government of Canada recommend using an air cleaner as part of a fire preparation plan.
People who use an air cleaner to improve their indoor air quality during wildfire season should take the following steps to ensure the air cleaner operates at a high level:

Position the air cleaner properly: Move the air cleaner toward the center of the room and operate it on the highest setting in an area free of obstructions. The more air that goes through the air cleaner, the more pollutants it will remove.

Change the filter regularly: Your air cleaner’s use and care manual will recommend how often to change your air cleaner’s filter. Extended operation in an area affected by heavy smoke may require more frequent filter changes. If the filter is changing color or if the level of air coming out of the air cleaner drops, it could mean the filter should be changed. Keep extra filters on hand, especially during wildfire season. Purchase replacements from reputable sources to ensure they are authentic and not counterfeits.

Clean the outside: Some manufacturers recommend using a vacuum to remove dust from the outside of the air cleaner. Vacuum or gently clean the dust from the outside of the air cleaner when you notice a buildup. An air cleaner that is dirty on the outside is likely dirty on the inside, so make this part of the process when you are replacing or cleaning the filter.

Vacuum regularly: Air cleaners are only part of the equation for cleaner indoor air. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to remove particles so they are not kicked back into the air you breathe.

Change your furnace filter: If you change your furnace filter regularly, you might not have to change the filter in your air cleaner as often. However, a furnace filter is not a substitute for an air cleaner because it is designed to trap large particles. In addition, it is common for particles to miss the furnace filter and end up inside the home.

How Consumers Can Compare Air Cleaner Models

Consumers who are shopping for an air cleaner will come across models that use different types of technologies to clear the air. More important than the method the air cleaner uses is whether the air cleaner is appropriate for the size of the room in which it will be used. The AHAM Verifide® Mark and the air cleaner’s Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) will offer a recommended room size. The mark means the air cleaner has been independently tested for its ability to reduce tobacco smoke (the smallest particles included in CADR), pollen and dust and that the air cleaner meets CARB ozone limits. The suggested room size for the air cleaner will be noted prominently on the label. People in areas heavily affected by wildfire smoke should select an air cleaner with a smoke CADR that matches the room size. For example, an air cleaner with a smoke CADR of 200 would be appropriate for a 200 square-foot room in an area affected by smoke.


The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) is the trade association representing manufacturers of major, portable and floor care home appliances and suppliers to the industry. AHAM is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and maintains an office in Ottawa. AHAM is the single voice providing the home appliance industry and its customers leadership, advocacy and a forum for action — developing and implementing credible solutions for public policy, standards and business decisions. You can visit AHAM’s web site at or follow us on Twitter @AHAM_Voice and @AHAM_Policy.