Does Wildfire Smoke Get Inside Your House?

Wildfire smoke from Canada has been plaguing the region all summer, and air quality has become a big concern for a lot of people who never thought much about it before. On some of our worst days, people are even reporting the smell of smoke inside their houses. That tells us something: outdoor pollution doesn’t stay outside.

The good news? There are effective mitigations that you can employ in your house to cut exposure to wildfire pollution as well as other outdoor and indoor contaminants. Whether you’re using portable air cleaners, DIY air filters, or whole house filtration, filtering indoor air can dramatically reduce exposure to these pollutants. The chart below demonstrates the impact of whole house filtration on indoor air quality during a wildfire event. 

Join a ROCIS Low Cost Monitoring ProjectVirtual Cohort to learn more about the impact of outdoor pollution in your home:


Want to take control of your indoor air quality? Take our introductory webinar to learn the basics of the LCMP program. Webinar attendees will be invited to confirm their interest in joining the cohort and commit to meeting the LCMP expectations. The webinar—as well as participation in the LCMP—is free. 


The “Introduction to the Low Cost Monitoring Project” webinar for Cohort 56 will be held at 7:00 PM Monday, August 14, and will be repeated at 10:30 AM Tuesday, August 15.  


Cohort 56 Program/Monitoring Dates: Thursday, August 24 – Friday, September 22 

Cohort 56 Webinar Registration

What to Expect From a LCMP Cohort


Monitoring kits, delivered to your door or sent via the mail, include monitors for particles, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and radon for testing indoor and outdoor air. During the monitoring period, ROCIS participants can also test the ROCIS-loaned equipment such as an induction stovetop and/or DIY fan-filters. 


Virtual Format: 

  • No travel requirements! 
  • Flexible meeting times! 
  • Kids are welcome to join with their parents! 


Topics Include: 

  • Air quality monitors 
  • Behavioral and technical interventions 
  • Tracking ambient air quality 
  • Health impacts of poor air quality 


Questions? Contact Emily Dale, ROCIS LCMP Coordinator, 724-833-8223, [email protected]


We look forward to hearing from you. 


Please forward this email to friends and colleagues who may want to learn about monitoring and improving their home’s air quality.

“Thank you and your team again for all the info and strategies [for] keeping our air quality inside as safe as possible. We feel especially fortunate during the recent air quality alerts resulting from the Canadian wildfires. I can tell a difference in my breathing inside and being outside.” 

-Mark, Cohort 54

What Can Indoor CO2 Tell Us?

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) monitoring can say a lot about a building's air quality. CO2 levels respond to factors such as building tightness, interior CO2 sources, mixing of air, and building ventilation. This is why CO2 monitoring is included in our Low Cost Monitoring Project. As part of each three-week LCMP cohort, participants receive CO2 monitors and learn how to interpret the readings from continuous use. Read this post to learn more about what CO2 measurements from over 400 Pittsburgh homes have told us so far.

"Through ROCIS, we learned not only about ways we can improve our air quality in the home, but also about areas where we no longer need to be concerned! It feels great to be choosing habits based on real-time data on our own home rather than hunches or studies that might not apply to us - our health and our daughter's health will be better for it. Thank you all so much!"

– Emily & Jonas, Cohort 54

ROCIS & Pitt's School of Public Health

This summer, ROCIS had the opportunity to collaborate with University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health through their John Lewis Public Health Undergraduate Scholars Program. Two scholars, Shaina Laicap and Preti Chowdhury, completed internships with ROCIS. 

Preti applied an Environmental Justice (EJ) lens to the ROCIS particle data set in order to explore the differences between LCMP participants in various locations and the opportunities to reduce particle exposure to improve maternal and infant health outcomes. Meanwhile, Shaina’s research analyzed the LCMP radon data and addressed implications for EJ communities.  

The collaboration culminated in a poster presentation by our interns at the CDC in July. Stay tuned for their insights! 

We hope you’ll consider joining our next LCMP cohort or telling someone else about the program.

Linda, for the ROCIS Team


Linda Wigington

Team Leader | Reducing Outdoor Contaminants in Indoor Spaces (ROCIS) 

[email protected]

724-986-0793 (mobile)

Thanks to The Heinz Endowments for support of the ROCIS initiative. 
(Reducing Outdoor Contaminants in Indoor Spaces)