Central Oregon has seen unhealthy, even hazardous air quality at times for several days
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Wildfire smoke has continued to cast a haze across the High Desert off and on for weeks. Now, the smoke is not only hurting the air quality outside any more, but many folks say smoke is entering their homes.
That has yet to stop some people from walking around, biking, or even floating the Deschutes River.
Daniel Frenkel, who lives in southwest Bend, is not one of those people.
“We love going on runs and walks every single morning, but we haven't even been leaving the house at all,” he told NewsChannel 21 Thursday.
That's been the reality for Frenkel and his pregnant wife over the last week.
”I'm going a little stir-crazy in here,” Frenkel jokingly admitted.
Aside from grabbing groceries, the doors have stayed closed, with the windows sealed tight, keeping the clean air in, and the smoke out.
However, that wasn't getting the job done.
“This is the contraption I came up with,” Frenkel said. “Just thought, ‘Why don't we just stick a fan right in front of the filter? This is the easiest way that we can start filtering the house.’"
After just three days, the results tell quite a story.
“You can just see how dramatic a clean filter is and how dirty that gets,” he said, pointing to a new and used filter. “You have to assume that these are your lungs right here -- and that's what's going to be happening, even if you have a really good house that sealed everything out."
Frenkel, who works from home, took it a step further. A few years ago, he invented a robotic door opener to conveniently allow his dogs to get in and out of the house. That small project has now evolved into a 3D-printed system, which can automatically open and close a window based on the air quality inside and outside his home.
“That's what it's doing,” Frenkel said. “It's reading this number right here, the 62. Then it's reading an outside sensor, which is at 170. It's just doing a quick comparison - Is the air better in here, or is it out there? Since it's much worse out there, it will not open the window. If that were to change, then it'll open the window to let the fresh air in."
So Frenkel has found a couple methods to keep the air clean inside his home, with one being a bit more complex than the other. Don’t worry, there are some other things you can do.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says you can run an air conditioner, but keep the fresh-air intake closed. You should also avoid activities that increase indoor air pollution, like burning candles, fireplaces or gas stoves.