In the 1970s (when Oregon first started monitoring its air quality), Portland sometimes exceeded national smog standards by up to 50%. And in 1981, one out of three days exceeded carbon monoxide violations.
Yikes. Although Portland’s air quality has come a long way since the 1980s, there is still a way to go. So, when will Portland air quality improve? Unfortunately, a lot goes into improving air quality, so there’s no set date.
In this article, we’ll answer common questions you might have:
- What’s being done to fix the air quality?
- How can residents (and visitors) help?
- How can you improve your home’s air quality in the meantime?
Want to learn how you can improve your home’s air quality now? Contact the experts at Four Seasons Heating & Air Conditioning to go over your options!
What’s being done to fix the air quality?
Let’s go over the culprits behind air pollution before diving into what’s being done to fix the air quality.
Wildfires, dust storms, car emissions, wood-burning stoves, and toxic household products are just some of the reasons Portland is struggling with its air quality. Not to mention, the area’s climate (high winds, heat waves, and low humidity), dry forests and city living makes it extra susceptible to air pollution.
To combat air quality issues, the city of Portland:
- Implements temporary burn bans: If there is a potential for wildfires, such as during lightning or extreme temperatures, Portland issues a burn ban to prevent residents from burning yard debris.
- Conducted the Swan Island Air Quality Project: Swan Island Air Quality Project aimed to study chemical emissions from nearby industrial facilities. The two-year program resulted in the elimination of certain paints and the improvement of industrial practices.
- Increased public education: A big reason for Portland’s poor air quality is everyday activities, like mowing the lawn or painting. In efforts to reduce the pollution coming from its residents, Portland works to educate the public on ways to help improve air quality (which we’ll get into in the next section).
- Proposed the Healthy Climate Fee: With the Healthy Climate Fee, Portland aims to cut carbon, transition to a clean and renewable energy economy, reduce car trips through expanded public transit and biking options, and increase the tree canopy.
Proposed the Clean Air Protection Fee: Portland hopes to improve air quality, reduce air pollution, and ensure air toxicity levels meet the state’s benchmarks through the Clean Air Protection Fee.
The state of Oregon is also working on several long-term initiatives, such as:
How can residents (and visitors) help?
Whether Portland’s air quality improves depends on the willingness of its residents (and visitors) to take action. And when it comes to reducing air pollution, there are quite a few steps you can take—before the city and state step in.
To reduce pollution and work towards better air quality in Portland, you can:
- Turn off your engine when you’re parked or in line
- Reduce wood stove usage
- Wait until the evening to refuel vehicles and use gas-powered mowers and equipment
- Avoid spilling gasoline
- Reduce spray pesticide, hair spray, air freshener, and oil-based paint usage
- Use alternative transportation, like carpooling, public transportation, biking or walking
- Conserve electricity
- Purchase fuel-efficient or zero-emission vehicles
- Recycle old equipment
- Buy energy-efficient appliances
How can you improve your home’s air quality in the meantime?
It could take years (or even decades) before Portland’s air quality improves to a level that delights residents.
Suppose you’re struggling with poor air quality in your home. In that case, you might consider installing an air filter (e.g., HEPA or activated carbon), air purifier (e.g., UV or UV/catalyst ionizing hybrid), or both.
Last but not least, be sure to change your air filter every 1-3 months to improve your HVAC system’s efficiency and your home’s air quality.
Ready for better air quality in your Portland home?
Here at Four Seasons, we can’t fix Portland’s air quality, but we can install the filters and purifiers to improve your home’s!
With 1-hour installations and a price our competitors just can’t beat (plus easy financing options!), you can relax while our NATE-certified technicians work to get your home’s new air quality system up and running.