Solving Utah’s Particulate Problems

The air pollution in Salt Lake City is more than troubling. Particulates in the air are getting people sick and preventing children from playing outdoors. Solving this problem will require a massive effort from both the state and its residents. However, there are specific measures you can take to do your part.

Tune Your Car

Car dual exhaust pipe

If you drive an older model (one that was made before 2000), you probably need to bring it to the shop for regular tune-ups. Aside from your regular tune-up, get a dyno and maximize your car’s performance and fuel efficiency. You’ll also get to see your car’s exact shift points as an extra. Diesel cars produce a lot more emissions, so you probably need to fit them with particulate filters. On the road, let your car idle instead of shutting the engine. Idling can increase your fuel consumption, but it drastically reduces the particulates your car releases compared to when you start your engine; this is true for both old and new cars. Finally, drive your beloved classics only on special occasions and try to use a more eco-friendly vehicle — or even an electric.

Switch Stoves

Burning wood produces a lot of smoke and within the smoke are thousands of tiny particulates. These particulates can irritate your eyes, nose, and throat. They can also get into your lungs and cause more severe damage in the form of bronchitis or lung cancer. Switch to modern stoves that utilize clean-burning technology. The state is currently offering rebates of up to $3,800 to exchange old wood stoves for either gas/propane furnaces or an EPA certified wood stove. Modern wood stoves burn fuel at a much higher efficiency — often with a two-stage process — ensuring that minimal particulates get released in the form of smoke. However, if you want to reduce air pollution, switch to gas/propane furnaces and stoves. They produce close to zero emissions and are a much better option for the environment.

Cut Your Electrical Consumption

Solar panel on a roof

Utah uses a lot of coal to produce electricity. The state is making efforts to switch to clean and renewable energy like solar and wind, but it would take years for their efforts to come to fruition. For the meantime, you can reduce your electrical consumption by using energy-saving appliances or just using electricity diligently. Cut your consumption even further by getting a few solar panels for your house. A 3-6 kW system should be enough to provide enough electricity for your household — as well as put enough power back into the grid to make up for your nighttime use. Utah is very generous with its solar incentives and together with federal incentives; your savings on your electric bill should be enough to cover the cost of funding a suitable solar power system.

Utah’s air pollution and particulate problem aren’t easy problems to solve. However, every bit counts and all your efforts will ultimately make a difference in making Utah a cleaner and safer place for you and your loved ones.

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