Live in California? This box fan hack might help rid your home of wildfire smoke


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Thanks to the devastating wildfires (which are still being contained and have killed dozens of people) sweeping throughout California, the air quality in parts of the state has become even worse than that of China and India, according to the New York Times. While there isn’t a ton of research on the long-term health effects of wildfire smoke, many experts believe that inhaling lots of particles from wood fires can affect the immune system and potentially trigger asthma, allergies, and breathing problems. So…yeah, that smoke is a pretty BFD.

Even though there’s no quick way to undo the fire’s aftermath (air-related or otherwise), one simple hack that’s been circulating online can help Californians breathe a little bit easier within the walls of their own homes without having to shell out for a pricey air purifier.

The trick involves placing a filter in front of a box fan to catch any pollution and smoke particles circulating throughout the house, according to a video posted by YouTube user ThriftStore Hacker. He says that he first saw the hack circulating on Facebook, and wanted to make a video to show people how to do it.

To get started, all you need are a 20 inch box fan and a “20x20x1” furnace filter (MERV 13 or higher). Once you have your materials, place the filter in front of the fan with the airflow direction (the little white arrow in the video below) pointing away from the fan, and secure the two objects together with duct tape. Then, go ahead and turn on the fan, making sure to keep it on medium to keep the motor from overheating.

According to the YouTuber, the filter will catch some of the pollution before permitting cleaner air to pass through. But over time, it will get clogged, and you’ll have to toss it out and replace it. So consider buying a few at a time. Again, he emphasizes that this will only slightly improve the air quality you’re dealing with, but at least it’s a start.

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