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How to Prepare Your Home for Disasters

By June 22, 2021No Comments

How natural disasters can affect our water and air and how to prepare.

From the wildfires that devastated Australia in early 2020 to the deep freeze in Texas in February of 2021, these devastating disasters and how they impacted the people who live in those areas, showed us all that we should always be prepared.

Natural disasters have both obvious and less obvious impacts on our water and air- two vital elements to our everyday lives.

This blog post will talk about some common natural disasters, how they can affect your water and air, and we’ll recommend some products that can help you feel more prepared.

Droughts

The year 2020 was the driest or second driest year on record for most Southwestern states and 2021 is projected to be even drier. Droughts shrink the water supply and heatwaves can cause the air to become stagnant, and trap emitted pollutants which can result in increases in surface ozone.

Water

One of the more obvious water-related issues that many people face during a drought is restrictions on water use. But did you know that droughts can affect water quality too?

Droughts reduce stream and river flows which can increase the concentration of pollutants in water and cause stagnation. Higher water temperatures in lakes and reservoirs can also lead to reduced oxygen levels. These levels directly affect fish and aquatic life and water quality. Viruses, protozoa, and bacteria can pollute both groundwater and surface water when rainfall decreases. If you get your drinking water from a private well, you may be at high risk for drought-related infectious diseases. Acute respiratory and gastrointestinal illness can also spread more easily when hand washing is compromised by a perceived or real lack of water.

It’s clear that during a drought, it’s extremely important to make sure that any water that you do use is purified and good for you. One of the easiest ways to make sure your water safe during a drought is to test it.

When it comes to how to prepare your home for a drought, we’ve compiled a list of a few things you’ll want to have on hand if a drought strikes your area.

Water Test Kit

Watersafe Well Water Test Kit
The Watersafe Well Water Test Kit is good ideal for testing your water for contaminants like coliform bacteria, pesticides, nitrates, nitrites, lead, iron, and more. Plus, it’s easy to use and doesn’t have to be sent into a lab— you get the results in a matter of minutes. This water test kit can also be used to test city water.

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Watersafe Water Test Kit

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Water Filtration Kit

Austin Springs Whole House UV Well Water Kit
If you’re concerned about bacteria and viruses making their way into your well water during a drought, the Austin Springs Whole House UV Well Water Kit is an ideal investment. This whole-home filter system comes with a high-performance ultraviolet filter that will remove bacteria and viruses and a 10” sediment post-filter that will remove any additional sediment or organic particles present in the water.

 

austin springs whole house uv well water kit

 

 

 

 

Austin Springs Whole House UV Well Water Kit

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Air

Dusty, dry conditions and wildfires (more on that later) that often accompany droughts can harm your health. Fires and dry soil and vegetation increase the presence of particulates suspended in the air, like pollen and fluorocarbons. This irritates your bronchial passages and lungs and can make respiratory illnesses like asthma worse. There is also an increased risk of acute respiratory infections like bronchitis and bacterial pneumonia.

Droughts can also increase the presence of airborne toxins originating from freshwater blooms of cyanobacteria. These toxins can become airborne and have been associated with lung irritation which can lead to adverse health effects.

Furnace Filters
Protect your home from outdoor pollution caused during droughts by changing your home’s HVAC filter. Check your filters frequently and change every 1-3 months. Make sure to take the proper precautions when changing your air filters during droughts too. We recommend wearing gloves and a mask and protective eyewear to prevent exposure to toxins that are trapped in the filter.

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Air Purifiers
In addition to changing your furnace filter regularly, adding an air purifier to rooms that you spend a lot of time in can be a gamechanger.

We carry a variety of air purifiers at FiltersFast.com, but here are a few of our favorites.

True HEPA Desktop Small Room Air Purifier

This innovative air purifier contains a preliminary, True HEPA, and activated carbon filter that together removes 99.9% of pet dander, mold spores, odor, smoke, allergens, pollen, and dust, and captures contaminants down to 0.3 microns. This air purifier will ensure that your home’s environment is safe during the duration of droughts.

desktop true hepa air purifier

 

 

 

 

 

True HEPA Desktop Small Room Air Purifier

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True HEPA Portable Air Purifier 

Want to stay protected while you’re on the go? Grab the Portable Mini HEPA Home & Car Air Purifier. This compact and convenient air purifier will fit in your car’s cup holder and will capture odors, pollutants, allergens, formaldehyde, smoke, and other airborne contaminants in your car.

portable True HEPA car air purifier

 

 

 

 

Tue HEPA Air Purifier Portable

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Airfree Filterless Air Purifiers
Airfree air purifiers are virtually maintenance-free and will destroy viruses, bacteria, fungi, and pollen in the air. This air purifier doesn’t contain a filter and is proven to destroy COVID-19 too! If you want to sterilize 99.9% of your home’s air, Airfree will make it easy. We carry a wide selection of Airfree air purifiers, so you are sure to find one that fits your room size and budget.

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Wildfires

Unfortunately, where there is a drought there will soon be wildfires. In a drought, the vegetation gets so dry that it makes for the perfect recipe for a wildfire to start. There is cause for concern about air quality during a wildfire, but did you know? Wildfires can pose a problem to water quality too.

Helicopter dumping water on wildfire

Water

New research has been done to explore the impacts of wildfires on the quality of drinking water and water-dependent natural resources.

How exactly can wildfires affect water quality? Approximately 80% of freshwater resources in the US originate on forested land. More than 3,400 communities rely on public drinking-water systems and these drinking water systems are located in watersheds on forest lands. Because of this, there are potential impacts from wildfires that can affect the quantity and quality of runoff used for source water and to support fisheries and aquatic habitats are considerable.

Wildfire affects many facets of the source-water delivery system, which can range from immediate effects during a fire to long-term alterations of watersheds. During wildfires, there can be interruptions of electrical power and access to water treatment plants, ambient water-quality monitoring equipment, and stream diversion and monitoring locations. When existing water quality cannot be adequately determined, source-water suppliers will often be forced to shift to stored water or other secondary water supplies. These water sources are usually lower quality and can necessitate increased pre-treatment actions and processes which can be costly. Water runoff from areas burned by wildfires contains ash, which may have significant effects on the chemistry of lakes, wetlands, reservoirs, and rivers. This runoff can also produce higher nitrate, organic carbon, and sediment levels, warmer temperatures, and flashier stream flows.

The purpose of drinking-water utilities is to provide safe drinking water for their communities. The unpredictable nature of wildfires can make it challenging to develop treatment-plant-specific strategies for treating source water that has been degraded by the effects of wildfire.

Wildfires may not have a direct impact on your home’s water, but they can affect where your water is supplied from. To ensure your home has access to clean water during a wildfire, here are a few products you’ll want in your home:

Whole-House Filtration

Aries Nitrate Reduction Water Filter
The Aries Nitrate Reduction Water Filter Cartridge is ideal for both industrial and residential applications that require specialty absorbents with standard #10 large whole house filter housings. This water filter is composed of premium ion-exchange Resintech media with oversized cartridge cavities that provide ultimate water filtration and purification to reduce water hardness, Tannins, Fluoride, Nitrate, Arsenic, Perchlorate, and heavy metals such as Lead, Aluminum, Mercury, and Copper.

 

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Aries Nitrate Reduction Water Filter

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Omnifilter Undersink Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System
Ensure the water in your home is as pure as can be with the Omnifilter Undersink RO Water Filter System. This reverse osmosis system filters water through four stages rids your tap water from common contaminants like pathogens, dissolved solids, and organics, pesticides, VOCs, and nitrates (90-95%). This system will also reduce rust, sediment, and the taste and odor of chlorine in your water. Plus, this RO system is tested and certified by NSF International against NSF/ANSI Standard 58 for the reduction of Barium, Cadmium, Copper, Cyst, Hexavalent, Chromium, Lead, Radium 226/228, Selenium, Total Dissolved Solids, and Trivalent Chromium.

 

omnifilter reverse osmosis system

 

 

 

Omnifilter Undersink Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

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Air

As forest fires blaze, smoke can make outdoor air unhealthy to breathe and can even impact areas hundreds and even thousands of miles away. When a smoke event occurs, it is highly encouraged that people stay indoors as much as possible. Smoke from the outdoors can enter your home and make the air unhealthy to breathe too. Especially for those who live close to where a wildfire is occurring, heavy smoke and ash in the air can pose a serious threat to your health.

Here are a few ways that smoke from wildfires can enter your home:

  • Through open windows or doors
  • Mechanical ventilation devices such as bathroom or kitchen fans that vent to the outdoors and ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) with fresh air intake.
  • Through small openings, joints, cracks, and around closed windows and doors. This process is called infiltration.

Wildfire smoke can impact your indoor air quality (IAQ) depending on your proximity to the fire and the density of smoke in the air. Inhaling smoke from wildfires can be extremely dangerous and can make you sick. It especially poses a more extreme threat to people with asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), or heart disease. Children, pregnant women, and responders are also at a higher risk of health issues related to smoke inhalation.

Here are a few ways you can protect yourself and your family from Wildfire smoke:

Invest in a portable air cleaner or upgrade to a high-efficiency HVAC filter.

Best Air Purifiers for Smoke
Before purchasing an air purifier to help improve your indoor air quality during a wildfire smoke event, make sure the one that you are purchasing is an adequate purifier for the size room you will put it in. Most air purifiers will have the square footage that they can cover listen in the product description. You’ll also want to make sure that the air purifier does not make ozone.

For wildfires, our True HEPA Desktop and Small Room Air Purifier are a great choice. Not only is it affordable, but it will also remove 99.97% of smoke and other airborne contaminants. It also has a built-in air quality monitor that automatically adjusts fan speeds to clean your home’s air effectively.

Wildfires can increase ambient PM levels in the air. PM stands for Fine particulate matter and fire-generated PMs can be as small as PM 2.5. This air purifier removes will particles as small as PM 2.5, so you can be confident that this air cleaner will do its job during a smoke event.

desktop true hepa air purifier

 

 

True HEPA Desktop Air Purifier 

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Best HVAC Filters for Wildfire Smoke

The EPA recommends that if you decide to purchase a high-efficiency furnace filter, that you choose one with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) 13 rating or as high a rating as your system fan filter slot can accommodate. If you’re not sure what MERV rating your HVAC system or furnace can accommodate, contact an HVAC technician for help.
At FiltersFast.com, we carry a wide selection of affordable, high-quality pleated filters and we’ll deliver them directly to your door.

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Respirator Masks
Another recommended essential you should have on hand if you live in an area that prone to forest fires is an N95 Respirator Mask. These masks can help protect your lungs from wildfire smoke and ash. We are proud to offer Mesh Respirator Masks from RZ. These high-quality masks are not only comfortable, but they also meet N95 and N99 NIOSH standards. When worn properly and paired with any of RZ’s mask filters, they are 99.9% effective at preventing allergens, dust, dirt, and other types of air particles from entering your lungs.

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Hurricanes & Flooding

Hurricanes are not going away any time soon and it seems like as each year passes, our hurricane seasons will only intensify. When hurricanes hit, there is also a high risk of flooding in areas directly hit by the storms or inland communities that are in the path of the storm.

Torrential rain floods a road

Water

When a hurricane hits a specific area, this can cause a water surge which can result in a drastic rise in contamination levels. Water surges can also affect sewage systems. When this happens there is a high potential for an overgrowth of bacteria and if you have a private well system, this can impact the quality of your water.

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Louisiana in 2005, the EPA conducted daily assessments of drinking water, wastewater, solid waste, and soil in New Orleans for days after the storm. Their assessments showed that there were high levels of petroleum hydrocarbon, or fuel oils, and E. coli bacteria found in the sediment samples of residue left over from the receding floodwaters.

In summary, when an area is hit by a hurricane or intense flooding, this poses a potential threat to drinking water. Our friends at the Water Quality Associate (WQA) have some great resources about what to do after a hurricane and/or flood. Here are five things that you should know about your drinking water after a hurricane or flood:

  1. Residents affected by a hurricane should use bottled water for drinking and cooking until they know that their tap water is safe.
  2. Well, owners affected by storms are encouraged to test their water before using it and seek appropriate remedies as soon as possible.
  3. Pay attention to local boil water orders.
  4. Existing water treatment equipment should be inspected for possible contamination.
  5. Residents should consider protecting their tap water by investing in a whole-house water filter system or a tap water treatment with a certified water treatment product depending on the results of a water test.

Water Test Kits
If you are concerned that your tap water could be contaminated with coliform bacteria after a flood, check out the WaterWorks EZ Coliform Bacteria Test Kit. This water bacteria test kit is EPA compliant and will turn blue-green when E. coli bacteria are present in the water sample.

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WaterWorks EZ Coliform Water Test 12-pack

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We also carry a wide variety of home water test kits, so we encourage you to browse our selection to find the tap water test kit that best fits your needs.

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Best Portable Water Filtration
Water is essential, so if you’re concerned about not having access to clean water for a long period, the Propur Water Filtration Straw is a good thing to have on hand. This powerful filter straw removes chlorine, lead, mercury, aluminum, hydrogen sulfide, arsenic, calcium, barium, fluoride, E.coli, algae, fungus, scale, and sediment.

 

 

 

Propur Water Filtration Straw

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Air

The primary threat that hurricanes and flooding pose to air quality is the promotion of mold growth. As homes and buildings are surrounded by high levels of water after a hurricane, this can allow mold and mildew to grow quickly. As hurricane and flood victims work to remove wet materials in their homes, it is recommended that sheetrock at least 12 inches above where the water reached should be removed and replaced.

Air Quality Test Kit
The best thing you can do during your post-hurricane or flood clean-up is testing your air quality.

Test your home’s air for different types of mold and fungal propagules. The ED Lab Household Mold Test Kit is the same air quality test kit used by professionals. The cost of the lab test is included in the price of the test kit.

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ED Lab Household Mold Test Kit

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Dehumidifiers
Excessive water damage and moisture in your home is a problem that will have to be dealt with over time. Draw out excessive moisture by investing in a dehumidifier. We carry a few different portable dehumidifiers and whole-home dehumidifiers to choose from.

For a quick fix, we recommend the Hunter 50 Pint Energy Star Dehumidifier.

hunter 70 pint dehumidifier

 

 

 

 

Hunter 50 Pint Energy Star Dehumidifier 

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For a long-term fix, we recommend investing in an Aprilaire Whole-Home Dehumidifier.

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Natural disasters are unpredictable and will affect us all in different ways. At FiltersFast.com, it’s our priority to make sure you feel prepared. If you have any questions about the information we shared in this blog or would like additional product recommendations, please let us know in the comments.

Stay safe!

 

 
EcoBlueLife.com is a replacement water and air filter company located in the United States. The views and opinions contained herein are solely those of the original author and do not represent Eco Blue Life or its affiliates. This article was originally published on FiltersFast.com  
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