Lake Sammamish is surrounded by forest and far from any Puget Sound industries, so the air is fresh, clean and clear year-round. You can see it in the intense blue of the sky and the clarity of the mountains beyond the far shore. That said, in September 2020 when the smoke plumes from massive wildfires burning out of control in California and Oregon extended along the entire West Coast (before heading east across the entire nation), we had our share of smoke at the lake.
Like everywhere else on the West Coast, what should have been bright, sunlit days instead turned into days with murky, grayish-yellow skies with smoke hanging low, blanketing the landscape. We hadn’t experienced several days of smoky skies like this for a couple of years and were hoping we’d dodged the issue for 2020. But there it was. Fortunately, we were in a perfect position to offer pristine indoor air to our guests.
We started our deliberations about how to provide the purist air possible when coronavirus came into existence in early 2020. We wanted to make our home a healthful oasis in the midst of the virus. After a lot of research into scientific studies and reading up on what hospitals do to maintain pure air in operating rooms, we recognized that best-practices solutions had to be multi-layered, with a number of different methods all used at the same time.
“Every room on the lake level, including three bedrooms and the family room, has French doors that you can open to create maximum air flow.”
One thing became apparent right away. We would need the latest high-tech solutions for helping eliminate airborne bacteria. We came across two well-researched options that were being used by airlines and various other companies.
When it became clear that aerosols that linger in the air are one of the most-important factors in the spread of the coronavirus, we turned our attention to air flow. According to the CDC’s website, air cleaners or purifiers can help reduce airborne contaminants, including viruses: “When used along with other best practices recommended by CDC and others, filtration can be part of a plan to protect people indoors.”
Looking into the top-rated air purifiers, we learned that Oransi air purifiers not only are rated #1 in a number of reviews, they are considered the gold standard of air purifiers. These units use HEPA filters rated at MERV18, which remove 99.99% of all particulates at 0.3 microns. This is the highest level of air-filtration in the market. They’re safe, since there is no ozone output, they’re easy to use and they’re quiet.
We purchased the Erik 650A Air Purifier, which cleans 1,560 square feet twice an hour. We parked this beautiful piece of equipment in our kitchen area, where we leave it running day and night, maintaining pristine air.
“We purchased two of the leading UV-C units and are running them to disinfect entire rooms prior to our guests’ arrival.”
So during the days when wildfire smoke filled the sky outside, our guests report that they happily enjoyed all the indoor pleasures of Blue Heron Lakehouse, cooking, reading books, playing games, watching movies in our new media lounge and having dance parties in the great room with the use of our Sonos surround-sound music system.
LETTING THE BREEZE IN
And once the smoke cleared, our guests did what we always do these days, and they opened up the entire house to fresh breezes. This is easy to do at Blue Heron Lakehouse. Every room on the lake level, including three bedrooms and the family room, has French doors that you can open to create maximum air flow. And on the main level, if you open the French doors to the balcony, the front door and the kitchen door, as well as windows, the entire house is filled with fresh air.
Beyond the circulation of fresh air, we learned how UV-C lights disinfect the air, eliminating up to 99.9% of allergens, viruses, bacteria and mold. After researching which units were the most-effective and easy to use, we purchased two of the leading UV-C units—the Apollo UV-C Lamp—and are running them to disinfect entire rooms prior to our guests’ arrival.
With our mild climate, we actually keep the house opened up to the fresh air spring through fall. It feels good to know that the air we’re breathing and that we offer our guests is the freshest and most-healthful anywhere—as fresh and sweet as a summer breeze.