top of page

Indoor Air Quality

AQI Info.png
  • What affects indoor air quality?
    Indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air are the primary cause of indoor air quality problems. Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the area. High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some pollutants.
  • What is indoor air quality?
    Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. Understanding and controlling common pollutants indoors can help reduce your risk of indoor health concerns. Health effects from indoor air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly, years later.
  • What can I do to improve my indoor air quality during a wildfire?
    If you are advised to stay indoors, keep indoor air as clean as possible. Keep windows and doors closed. Run an air conditioner if you have one. Keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean. Use a high-efficiency filter with HEPA or MERV 13 or higher rating. Air purifiers and filters can be purchased at your local hardware store or online. If you do not have an air conditioner and it is too warm to stay inside with the windows closed, seek shelter in a designated evacuation center or away from the affected area. Learn more about reducing your smoke exposure indoors. If you are sensitive to smoke, create a “clean room” in your home. Choose a room with no fireplace and as few windows and doors as possible, such as a bedroom. Use a portable air cleaner in the room. Avoid activities that increase indoor pollution: Burning candles, fireplaces, or gas stoves can increase indoor pollution. Vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home, contributing to indoor pollution. Smoking also puts even more pollution into the air.
  • What can I do to improve indoor air quality?
    Source Control Usually, the most effective way to improve indoor air quality is to eliminate individual pollution sources or reduce their emissions. Improved Ventilation For most indoor air quality problems in the home, source control is the most effective solution. Another way to lower indoor air pollutants in your home is to increase the amount of outdoor air coming indoors. Air Cleaners There are many types and sizes of air cleaners on the market, ranging from relatively inexpensive table-top models to sophisticated and expensive whole-house systems. Some air cleaners are highly effective at particle removal, while others, including most table-top models, are much less so. Air cleaners are generally not designed to remove gaseous pollutants. Learn more about air cleaners The effectiveness of an air cleaner depends on how well it collects pollutants from indoor air (expressed as a percentage efficiency rate) and how much air it draws through the cleaning or filtering element (expressed in cubic feet per minute).
  • What are some examples of indoor pollutant sources?
    Fuel-burning combustion appliances like wood or pellet stoves Tobacco products Building materials and furnishings as diverse as: Deteriorated asbestos-containing insulation Newly installed flooring, upholstery or carpet Cabinetry or furniture made of certain pressed wood products Products for household cleaning and maintenance, personal care, or hobbies Central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices Excess moisture Outdoor sources such as: Radon Pesticides Outdoor air pollution
  • Purple
    201 to 300 - Very Unhealthy Health alert: The risk of health effects is increased for everyone.
  • Maroon
    301 and Higher - Hazardous Health warning of emergency conditions: everyone is more likely to be affected.
  • Red
    151 to 200 - Unhealthy Some members of the general public may experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.
  • Green
    0 to 50 - Good Air quality is satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk.
  • Orange
    101 to 150 - Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is less likely to be affected.
  • Yellow
    51 to 100 - Moderate Air quality is acceptable. However, there may be a risk for some people, particularly those who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.

Seasonal Indoor Air Quality Impacts

Summer Air Quality Impacts


During a wildfire, smoke can make the outdoor air unhealthy to breathe. Local officials may advise you to stay indoors during a smoke event. You should be aware that some of the smoke from the outdoors can enter your home and make it unhealthy to breathe indoor air, too.


If you are close to a wildfire, the fire itself, as well as heavy smoke and ash, can pose serious, immediate risks to your safety and health. You and your family should be prepared to evacuate immediately if told to do so. Farther from a wildfire, you may be exposed to smoke even if the fire itself is far away.

If you can’t get away, look into creating a “cleaner air room” and utilize an air purifier. If you don’t have one, a box fan with a MERV 13-rated filter attached can work to improve air quality in that space!

wood smoke and your health.jpeg

Winter Air Quality Impacts

Residential Wood Smoke

Wood smoke can affect everyone, but the populations known to be at greater risk include children, teenagers, older adults, people with lung disease -- including asthma and COPD, people with heart disease, outdoor workers, and people of low socioeconomic status, including those who are homeless and with limited access to medical care. Research indicates that obesity or diabetes may also increase risk. New or expectant mothers may also want to take precautions to protect the health of their babies because some studies indicate they may be at increased risk.


The best way to reduce wintertime wood smoke impacts is to use electrical heat especially during “red days”. If this isn’t an option for you, see below to learn more about wintertime wood home heating exempt list.

Tips to Reduce Residential Wood Smoke

opacities wood smoke.jpeg

1. Use only dry, seasoned firewood

2. Use plenty of kindling

3. Avoid big pieces of wood

4. Give the fire enough air

5. Don't dampen down overnight

Check your chimney to see how you did! Opacity should not exceed 20%.

Home Heating Exempt Options

People can qualify to be on the Wood Home Heating Exempt list for two reasons: 


1. Wood is your only heat source - Click Here to Apply


2. Your income level allows for wood burning as a low-cost heat source - Click Here to Apply


Being on the exempt list DOES NOT MEAN that your home can violate clean burning rules. Smoke coming out of a chimney at any time cannot be greater than 20% opacity. See below for tips to reduce residential wood smoke.

Fall & Spring Air Quality Impacts

Prescribed Fire

Prescribed fire is used to reduce the risk of a catastrophic, large wildfire. This means fire is strategically used on the landscape to burn up debris and reduce wildfire risk around Oakridge and Westfir.


While prescribed fire impacts are planned to be minimal in the Oakridge and Westfir communities, they can happen. Oakridge Air will communicate via email and Facebook when smoke impacts are expected.

bottom of page