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Bend man creates two ways to maintain cleaner air quality at home amid wildfire smoke

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.

Author Profile Photo

Max Goldwasser

Max Goldwasser is a reporter and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Max here.



  1. This guy clearly just moved to Bend….LOL. Enjoy the house bought site unseen. Wait until winter pal. You can put a fan on the back of your car to hover plane over the snow.

    1. He won’t leave the house in the winter time either! lol! He seems to be part of the “Have it all delivered to my door” revolution. To each his own I guess.

      1. No problem. You can feel free to delete my messages that point out spelling or grammatical errors. I’m not trying to show how smart or obsessive I am. How about you delete these kind, and leave some of my other posts that you are on the fence about up?

      2. Jesus Christ. Proofread, Barney! That should be 1/2 your job! No other profession allows for such bad quality! If you worked at Les Schwab and simply forgot to put air in 1/2 the tires, you would be fired after 1 day of work! It’s embarrassing you make so many mistakes!

        1. Not embarrassed in the least. For the number of words that go past these 65-year-old eyes every day, the percentage of errors is very, very small. Feel free to go to that perfect, error-free news source whenever you wish.

  2. Sorry, but no cigar.

    The Wounded Warrior Project purchased a large number of floor fans and filters during last year’s fire season and sent one fan, two filters, to each Wounded Warrior in their system who requested one.

    You simply duct-tape the filter over the front of the fan, which has a square frame making it quite easy to do.

    Am using mine once again given this year’s smokefest.

    Kudos to the WWP for taking care of us in this innovative way!

  3. Uh… “Creates”?
    Dude, there’s entire YouTube channels designed around this.
    Forgive me if I don’t swoon.
    We been doing this for a very, very long time.

    Better headline:
    Bend Mam Does Thing People Do All of the Time.
    There fixed it

    1. Yep, this is correct. Did this over 20 years ago. Never thought it was worth a news story as it is a pretty obvious thing. BTW most modern homes included ours have filters built into the heating and cooling system that does this already. If we close our windows and doors you don’t smell any smoke at all.

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