The air you breathe inside could be just as bad as it is outdoors

Aug 31, 2021, 2:10 PM | Updated: 4:54 pm
tips to keep smoke out of your house...
Smoke covers the foothills of the Wasatch Mountain range, as seen from near the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. Photo: Simone Seikaly, KSL NewsRadio

SALT LAKE CITY —  A new study is underway across Salt Lake valley in which researchers from University of Utah Health and Salt Lake Regional Development are monitoring the air inside ten homes. The study began early this summer and will run through the winter of 2022.

The data they have collected so far shows that smoke from California’s wildfires has infiltrated homes. On August 6th when the huge smoke storm moved into the Wasatch Front, research monitors showed the air quality inside one home had spiked above a dangerous level and that it stayed that way for several hours.

Then, the air quality remained in the orange range (or moderate air quality) for nearly two days (shown in the graph below).

Graph provided by Salt Lake County Regional Development for August 2021.

Jordan Carroll, Communications Director for Salt Lake Regional Development, said smoke particles are so small they can seep into houses and create bad air quality.  But, smoke isn’t the only thing affecting the air in a home.

“Using harsh cleaning supplies and dampness from things like swamp coolers can also impact air quality in a negative way,” said Carroll.  

“There is a common misconception that indoor air quality is vastly different from outdoor air quality and always better,” said Dr. Daniel Mendoza the CEO of AQEHS Corp which is helping to collect data for the study.

“Unfortunately, activities, such as cooking and vacuuming, can make indoor air quality worse than outdoors. Very small particles, such as from the wildfires we are currently experiencing, are able to work their way in a home through any small cracks and openings.”

Tips to help keep homes healthier

But there are some things we can do to make the air in our homes healthier to breathe.

“Washing bed linens and least once a week.  And dusting and vacuuming to keep smoke and other unhealthy particles down,” Carrol said.

Although Carroll did recommend only dusting and vacuuming when the outside air quality was moderate or better.  She said on really bad air quality days you could make things worse as the particles in your home move around, especially if you have underlying health issues.

“You can also buy Hepa filters, but those can be expensive,” Carroll added.  

A statement from UofU Health and SLCO Regional Development said residents can do a lot without having to purchase expensive items to clean their inside air.  Along with dusting and vacuuming mentioned above, they recommend fixing water leaks to keep down damp conditions and mold and to test your home for radon.

Other reading:


Today’s Top Stories


FILE - In a May 19, 2015 file photo, R. Scott Turner, Professor of Neurology and Director of the Me...
Curt Gresseth

Who are SuperAgers and are you one?

The public policy director with the Utah Alzheimer's Association describes the characteristics of so-called SuperAgers and what everyone can do now to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
1 day ago
Gov. Cox mental health...
Mark Jackson

Utah’s Coordinated Action Plan for Water released this week

Utah’s Coordinated Action Plan for Water was released Wednesday by Gov. Spencer Cox and state agencies.
1 day ago
The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food announced Wednesday two new cases of avian influenza....
Mark Jones

Two new cases of avian influenza announced Wednesday

Two new cases of avian influenza have been confirmed by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. The new cases are in Iron and Utah counties.
2 days ago
Utah Naloxone...
Devin Oldroyd

Utah Naloxone and law enforcement reach milestone in preventing overdose deaths

Utah Naloxone reports over 600 lives in Utah have been saved thanks to law enforcement's use of naloxone (Narcan®).
4 days ago
Primary Children's Medical Center has canceled some scheduled surgeries and other procedures this w...
Simone Seikaly

Citing rising RSV cases, Primary Children’s delaying some surgeries

Primary Children's is delaying pre-scheduled and non-emergency procedures that would require an inpatient stay.
4 days ago
Shortages of antivirals and antibiotics compound the stress of this year's early and severe respira...
Brenda Goodman and Raenu Charles, CNN

Shortages of antivirals, antibiotics compound stress of a rough season for viral illnesses in kids

Shortages of key medications used to treat common childhood illnesses like flu, ear infections, and sore throats are adding to the misery of this year's early and severe respiratory virus season.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
The air you breathe inside could be just as bad as it is outdoors