Chattanooga, TN (November 16, 2016) – As the smoke from wildfires in the Tennessee Valley continues to degrade air quality, EPB is recommending several ways customers can improve air quality inside their homes while ensuring that HVAC systems continue to perform efficiently.
First, EPB recommends that all customers check and seriously consider replacing their HVAC air filters because smoky conditions will likely degrade filter effectiveness more quickly than normal. In addition to air quality concerns, clogged air filters cause HVAC systems to perform at less than peak energy efficiency. Even if the wildfire smoke is no longer evident, residents should strongly consider changing air filters that may have become clogged during the previous smoky days.
“Keeping doors and windows closed as much as possible is your first defense against fine particulates in smoke,” said EPB manager of Energy Services John Watts. “Additionally, we recommend that people change their air filters more frequently and consider upgrading their HVAC system with more efficient HEPA filters, such as those that contain activated charcoal or other absorbents that can enhance filtration.”
Because higher efficiency air filters may reduce the amount of airflow through an HVAC system, Watts suggested that homeowners consult their HVAC contractor for recommendations on air filters that are compatible with their system.
To further reduce the impact of smoke on health and indoor air quality, people can add an indoor air cleaner that filters at least two or three times the room volume per hour. For more information about air cleaners and filters, please go to https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/residential-air-cleaners-second-edition-summary-available-information#removal-air-filters
“Until the weather pattern changes and the wildfires are extinguished, there’s nothing we can do about the smoke that is blanketing the Chattanooga area,” Watts said. “But we hope our customers will consider a few ways to improve indoor air quality while ensuring that their HVAC systems continue to work as efficiently as possible.”
Established as an independent board of the City of Chattanooga in 1935, EPB is a municipally-owned utility that provides electric power and fiber optic communications services as a means of promoting economic development and enhancing quality of life across the local area.
EPB serves nearly 180,000 homes and businesses in a 600 square-mile area that includes greater Chattanooga, as well as parts of surrounding counties and areas of North Georgia.
In 2010, EPB became the first provider in the United States to deliver up to 1 Gig (1,000 mbps) internet speeds utilizing a community-wide fiber optic network that provides access to every home and business in its service area. In 2015, EPB became the first (and to date) only American ISP to make up to 10 Gig (10,000 mbps) internet speeds accessible to all of its residential and commercial customers as a standard offer.
EPB has also utilized its community-wide fiber optic network to deploy the most advanced and highly automated smart grid power management system in the nation. In recognition of EPB’s groundbreaking infrastructure, the Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are utilizing EPB’s smart grid as a national model for researching and developing best practices. EPB is also the first major power distribution utility to earn the USGBC’s PEER certification for having a highly automated, modernized electric power grid.