Florida is undergoing a tough fire season already, with wildfires burning in both the north and the south of the state. The smoke from these fires is traveling across the state and choking metro areas, including Miami, which had to deal with daily brown haze from the fires. Jokes about normal metropolitan air quality aside, the smoke has really been a problem for most people in the state. For those who have air conditioners, the situation is slightly different, though not much better; while the air conditioners will help reduce the particles of smoke in a home, you have to take care of the air conditioner and help it out during this time.
Change the Filter Often
Instead of changing the filter every month or so, change it every week. Filters are cheap and easy to get, so buy a few bulk packs of them. The filter catches smoke particles as air is drawn into the air conditioning system, and those particles can clog the filters quickly, which then makes it harder for the system to draw in more air to filter. Changing the filters weekly (and more often if necessary) during the fires helps remove a lot more smoke from the air.
Keep Your Windows Closed if Possible
Don't open your windows and doors more than is necessary. That just lets more smoke in, and if you're in an area experiencing ash fall, it allows ash to fly in. Ash is much bigger than the smoke particles and will clog the filter much more quickly (you'd be changing the filter daily if ash were to get into your apartment).
Look at the weather-stripping and door sweep on any doors leading to the outside. If there are spaces, replace the weather-stripping. Ash and smoke can get in through those spaces.
Get those electrostatic cleaning cloths and wipe everything daily. Those cloths will pick up dust so that it doesn't get kicked up and sucked into the air conditioning filter. Also, vacuum at least a couple of times per week while the fires are happening.
Change Your Clothing Immediately After Returning Home
When you go outside in the smoke, your clothing can capture little smoke particles and ash. When you come home and drag all those particles inside, you just re-pollute your place. Change your clothes immediately when you get home.
After the fires are over, you may still have to take these precautions as lingering smoke and ash clear out. But your air conditioner will work a lot better if you continue to clean and watch out for errant openings that could let more smoke and ash in. If you think your air conditioner isn't doing too well with the smoke, or if you continue to smell smoke in your place after the main fires are over, call an air conditioning company like All American Air & Electric, Inc. to have the system checked out and the ducts cleaned.