Experts recommend people check AC filters frequently due to smoky conditions

FRESNO COUNTY (KFSN) -- If you haven't looked at your air filter recently, now might be a good time to check it. Experts at Fresno Ag Hardware say poor air conditions, mixed with smoke from the Ferguson Fire, are making your AC filter get dirty a lot faster.

"The best way to know when it is time to change is to look at it if you see that it is clogged up than it is time to change," said Ian Williams, store manager.

When buying a filter Williams said to pay attention to the MERV rating, which stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The higher the number the more particles it can filter out, but it comes at a price, a denser filter means your AC unit will have to work harder.

"Right now, I would recommend for a few extra bucks at least get the eight. That way you and your family are breathing air that has been filtered out a little bit," said Williams.

Staying safe also means staying informed. Cassandra Melching with the San Joaquin Valley Air Control District said people can expect smoky conditions to stick around.

"We get these kinds of pockets that come down and ash will suddenly fall, and then you can smell it and you are right there at the scene so it smells like a campfire when that happens, you are being impacted and treat it as a RAAN level four," said Melching.

The Control District's Real-Time Air Advisory Network can't measure ash in the air so it's up to people to stay vigilant. Melching said if you smell smoke or see ash, stay indoors.

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"Those situations are not going to show up on our RAAN monitors, because our RAAN monitors are set up to pick up microscopic particles that you can't even see with the human eye."
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