5 Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

We all want to breathe clean air anytime we can. However, the quality of the air outside is not always in our control. Automobile traffic, industry, pollen and humidity are just some of the issues impacting outdoor air. Thank goodness the air inside is always clean … right?

More polluted than the air outdoors

Unfortunately, the air inside our homes is often more polluted than the air outside. Because of a lack of fresh air indoors, concentrations of outdoor pollution and pollution created inside can build up to toxic levels. Here are just a few of the sources of indoor pollution

1. Combustion Sources: You might not have a city bus in your home — but that doesn’t mean the air is free from similar pollutants including carbon monoxide, radon and super fine particulates. These pollutants come from gas stoves, wood stoves, fireplaces and space heaters

2. Building Materials: Especially in new homes, the materials used to construct the home vaporize or “off-gas,” and enter the air. Formaldehyde from cabinets, furniture tops and sub floors are just a few examples

3. Our Pets: We may love our pets, but their presence does impact the air we breathe. Animals shed hair and their dander is a significant source of irritation for those suffering from asthma. Indoor/outdoor pets also bring in significant amounts of additional allergy triggers including pollen.

Kids and Dog 4. Other Biological Agents: Mold and mildew in the home from excess humidity can also create unpleasant smells and aggravate respiratory conditions. Viruses and bacteria can also be in the air indoors

5. Dust: While many indoor air pollutants are invisible, we’ve all seen dust floating in the air in front of a window or light. That “dust” is made up of dander, dust mite materials, skin cells and more. Even if it doesn’t aggravate any health conditions — it’s just plain gross!

You can have a healthy home

While we can’t control the air outside, we can manage it indoors. Whole-home Indoor Air Quality solutions provide you and your family the ability to remove dust, dander, pollen and other particulates. Additionally, bringing in fresh air can help lower concentrations of VOC (volatile organic compounds) and reduce humidity.

To find out the quality of the air in your home and how you can improve it, contact an expert in your area who can help you select the correct solutions.

5 Signs You Need a Basement Dehumidifier

As warmer weather approaches, most of us turn to our air conditioners to bring relief from the heat. However, humidity can play as big a role in comfort, health and home preservation as the temperature. It’s important for homeowners to know the signs that they may need a dehumidifier.

1. Bugs:

Creepy crawlers often prefer damp, dark conditions. In many homes, the crawlspace or even the basement are the perfect locations. If pests are a problem in your home, a dehumidifier in the basement or crawlspace can make your home less inviting.

2. Smells:

Perhaps the most obvious sign that moisture is a problem in your home is a damp, musty odor. The smell can be confined to the basement, or creep up into the living space from underneath the house.

3. Rust:

If you finally decided to pull the old ten speed out of the basement only to find it’s covered in rust, then moisture might be a problem.

4. Damage to Home and Possessions:

High humidity in the air can also damage wood floors, crown molding and instruments like guitars.

5. A Cold, Clammy Feeling:

While air conditions remove some moisture from the house, they don’t do as much as a dehumidifier. Because humidity makes us feel warmer, many homes have the air set lower than is comfortable in the winter — creating a home that is cool, but also damp.

Aprilaire DehumidifierMany smaller dehumidifiers sold at retail outlets do not have the capacity to handle the damp conditions in the average size home. To determine the best size and installation location for your dehumidifier, find a local Aprilaire Dealer.

Get Relief From Allergies Now

Man sneezing from pollutants in air

The early warm weather seen by much of the country means that allergy season is just around the corner — and maybe even at your doorstep if you live further south. Pollen could hit the air early this year and stay there for months — meaning an increased allergy season across the country.

While pollen counts may mean little to some people, they mean everything to allergy sufferers. An earlier or stronger allergy season could mean months of symptoms, including:

  • Itchy, puffy, red eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy skin
  • Hives
  • Trouble breathing
  • Asthma attacks
  • Fatigue

Seasonal allergies impact millions of Americans every year and there are a number of ways those individuals seek relief.

Most common relief from allergies:

Antihistamines: For most people, antihistamine pills are the primary treatment for seasonal allergies. They help block the overactive immune response (histamine release) of the body to pollen or other allergens. While some versions of the medications caused drowsiness and other side effects, second-generation medicines are generally more tolerable.

Nasal Irrigation: By using a pre-packed saline solution or a Neti pot, some people fight allergies by removing the source — the pollen. Washing pollen out of the nose can be effective before bed or if you will be inside.

Air Purifiers: Another way to prevent allergies at the source is to keep the indoor air clean. With whole-home air purifiers, people can use their home’s HVAC system to trap pollen and prevent it from circulating throughout the house.

Natural Remedies: There are also many other methods, considered more natural, that some people use to fight allergies. Acupuncture, eating local honey or even special diets are not generally medically supported as an allergy solution, although some sufferers report success.

If your allergies are starting to flare up, call an HVAC expert or visit Aprilaire.com to find out how indoor air quality solutions can help you.

3 Tips for Better Humidification this Winter

Aprilaire Whole-home Humidifier

When dry air negatively impacts your home, you know that it’s time to turn on the humidifier. However, how do you get the most out of a whole-home humidifier?

Fortunately, whole-home solutions for humidification are very easy to use. It’s easy to have optimal humidity levels with minimal effort. However, there are few things you can do to make sure dry skin, scratchy throats and other symptoms don’t show up this winter.

Get the Most Out of Your Humidifier

  1. Change the water panel: One of the best things about whole-home humidifiers is that they require almost no maintenance. Portable units need daily water changes and cleaning. A simple water panel change once each heating season keeps your whole-home humidifier working correctly. We recommend using Genuine Aprilaire Parts in all of our humidifiers.
  2. Use automatic control: With automatic control you set the level of humidity you want and then forget about it! Automatic control reads outdoor temperature and ensures your home is comfortable while preventing window condensation during extra cold days.
  3. Have an HVAC contractor install and service: Your HVAC contractor knows the best humidifier for your home and how to keep it in tip-top shape. After it’s properly installed, the contractor can change the water panel and provide other service when working on the furnace.

Find Whole-home Solutions Today!

If you don’t have a whole-home humidifier installed yet, visit our dealer locator and find an expert near you. Aprilaire humidifiers provide improved comfort, health and protect your home with simple, efficient control.

Why a Humidifier is a Must-have For Babies

Diapers, bottles, wipes and everything else your baby needs is ready. But there’s one item that is often overlooked — a humidifier.

Aprilaire Baby Infographic

Your Baby’s Best Sleep

Hoping your baby will sleep through the night? Babies are much more susceptible to congestion than you are. They are also too young to take medicine to help relieve their symptoms so that they can sleep. One of the major benefits of a humidifier is protection from dry air, especially in the chilly winter months when babies often become ill. A humidifier will let your baby breathe easy and help get rid of pesky mucus build-up.

Bye Bye Bugs

Everyone knows that come winter, the dreaded cold and flu season arrives. The reason for this lies invisible in the air we breathe. Dry air is a host for bacteria and viruses, which multiply and linger for days. In humid air, these particles remain dense and sink to the floor. By maintaining a relative humidity level of between 45 and 50 percent, you can keep baby healthier by preventing the spread of those pesky bugs.

Dry Skin Be Gone

Comfort is the key to your baby’s happiness. One great benefit of a humidifier is relief from dry, irritating skin. Your baby’s skin is sensitive to dry air and can become red and chapped without proper humidification. Even the best lotion is no match for a humidifier, which keeps baby’s skin clear and soft, just as it should be.  

A Gift For Everyone

When considering a humidifier for your baby, a whole-home humidifier is your best option. Room or portable humidifiers only treat the air in a small portion of your home and chances are if your baby’s room is dry, the rest of your home is too. If your home has central HVAC, you can take advantage of these benefits of a whole-home humidifier:

  • Less maintenance
  • No noise
  • Energy efficient
  • Out of sight
  • Out of reach

Aprilaire helps keep your family healthy and comfortable with whole-home humidifiers that automatically maintain proper moisture levels throughout your house. And that’s the truth, baby.

How-to Change Your Water Panel

Proper maintenance of your humidifier is essential to avoiding winter dry air in your home. The majority of our humidifiers require a water panel change once a year, right before the heating season. Changing the water panel is relatively easy and similar to replacing the air filter in your car.

The Basics

The basic procedure is to turn off the water, remove the cover of the humidifier, pull out the old water panel and drop in a new one. Regardless of the age of your humidifier, it will take one of four Aprilaire Water Panels: 10, 12, 35, or 45. See the chart below to determine which water panel is correct for you humidifier. You can also view the owner’s manual on our website.

Aprilaire Model No. Water Panel Stock No.
110 220 500 500A 500M 550 550A 558 No. 10
112 224 440 445 445A No. 12
350 360 560 568 600 600A 600M 700 700A 700M 760 768 No. 35
400 400A 400M No. 45

You can order the correct water panel at our e-store.

The Technicalities

Each humidifier does have some unique steps you many encounter when changing the water panel, or other additional maintenance.  The best way to make sure you’re installing it correctly is to use the instructions printed on the back of the water panel carton. These detailed instructions are just one more benefit to using genuine Aprilaire parts, manufactured by us in Wisconsin. The instructions are also in the manual, along with our maintenance recommendations.

The Solution

Remember, if you have trouble changing your water panel or simply don’t want to, Aprilaire has a network of partner dealers who can do it for you. Some dealers can even make your water panel change part of their annual clean and check of your heating system so you’ll never need to think about it again! Now, that’s easy!

Uncovering 5 Common Household Myths

You may not realize it, but you could be driving up the cost of living in your home. By practicing what these common myths suggest, you are using more energy, not less. The good news is that you can easily course-correct, and we have a few solutions for you.

Myth 1: Cranking Up the Heat

Myth 1: Cranking Up the Heat

Unfortunately, blasting your heat isn’t going to increase the temperature in your home any faster. Doing so wastes energy and cash. Try doing this instead:

  • Close your blinds and drapes at night in the winter to keep heat in and cold out.
  • Keep warm air registers clean and free of barriers, such as furniture and drapes.
  • Use reversible fans in the winter to circulate warm air.

Myth 2: Space Heaters Save Money

Myth 2: Space Heaters Save Money

Thinking of saving money on your heating bill by using a space heater? Think again. Space heaters use tons of energy to run and cost more than using a gas furnace. They can also be dangerous if used incorrectly. A better way to save money is by using a WiFi Thermostat to keep your rooms cozy and comfortable, anytime, anywhere.

Myth 3: Closing Vents and Registers Saves Energy

Myth 3: Closing Vents and Registers Save Energy

This age-old trick has actually been costing you money. By closing off vents, your HVAC system is actually using more energy than when vents and registers are properly positioned. To save energy and money, set your thermostat a few degrees higher in summer and lower in winter, but avoid drastic increases and decreases.

Myth 4: Appliances Don't Use Energy When Turned Off

Myth 4: Appliances Don’t Use Energy When Turned Off

It’s time to get into the habit of unplugging. Even if you turn your appliances off, they will still use energy if you leave them plugged into an outlet. The more appliances that are plugged in, the more electricity you’re using.

Myth 5: Ceiling Fans Cool Rooms

Myth 5: Ceiling Fans Cool Rooms

Fans circulate the air in our rooms, which makes us feel cooler. They don’t change the temperature of the room. Turn fans off when you leave the room and save on energy costs.

Looking to save money on heating and cooling costs, try our WiFi Thermostat

Find the Right Humidifier For Your Home

Aprilaire Humidifiers

 

 

 

 

 

This time of year, it’s often obvious that your home’s air is thirsty — but what’s the best way to give it a drink? We have designed and manufactured many different humidifiers to help you battle dry air in your home. We have solutions for numerous  applications based on the size of your home, how you heat your home and what type of control you want. The best part is, our network of skilled HVAC partners do most the work in selecting the best product for your needs.

What makes humidifiers different?

The HVAC contractor analyzes many factors when choosing the best solution for your home. Some humidifiers need a power source while others simply rely on the HVAC blower fan. The contractor understands when to use one versus the other. As a result, the solution ultimately installed is the one that works best with the home’s HVAC system.

Whole-home humidification is available to you no matter how your house is heated. In addition, with our steam humidification solutions, even homes with boilers, mini-splits or baseboard heat can enjoy humidified air in every room of the house.

How do I personalize my humidity control?

There are important recommendations for the amount of humidity your home needs. Whole-home humidifiers allow you to monitor your humidity and adjust it based on need. To ensure the best operation, our humidifiers are available with an automatic control options. Now you’ll never need to worry if your humidity is at the right level.

All of our humidifiers are compatible with our line of Wi-Fi Thermostats with IAQ Control. You can manage the humidity level in your home from anywhere with Wi-Fi control. It’s the easiest way to protect your home and your family’s health from dry air.

If your house is hanging you out to dry this winter, contact an Aprilaire dealer today.

5 DIY Jobs Better Left to Professional Contractors

Every now and then the King of the Castle may get the urge to repair a squeaky draw bridge himself. In the modern era of DIY superstores and internet how-to videos, many homeowners actually enjoy spending their Saturdays under the sink or putting on a coat of paint.

DIY dangers
It takes more than the right tool to do some jobs.

However, it’s important to know when DIY could spell disaster. Tradesmen spend years honing their crafts. When working on parts of your home that could place you on the wrong end of 240 volts, the city sewer system or a natural gas line — consider calling a pro. Here are five weekend warrior jobs best left to the people who do it Monday through Friday.

1. Remediation of Potentially Toxic Materials

Mold, asbestos, lead and radon are just some of the scary substances that homeowners may encounter. While removing these materials may seem straight forward enough, the tools and training are expensive and complicated. Special vacuums, safety suits and testing equipment are just some of the items required. In many cases, improper remediation by a homeowner is a greater threat to family health than doing nothing.

2. Cutting Down Trees

Falling trees is the most deadly of the dangerous jobs out there. Trees are often much taller than they look from the ground. You may think you have plenty of room — only to land General Sherman on your neighbor’s new car. Climbing in trees also requires caution and no matter how easy it seemed as a kid, just one fall can be life changing. Power lines and the inherent dangers of chainsaws also make this a task you should never tackle DIY-style.

3. Messing With the HVAC System

Your home’s HVAC system is not only important to your comfort and health, but also dangerous to work on. Furnaces and air conditioners draw large amounts of electricity and may connect to the gas line as well. Even comfort and health solutions, like Aprilaire air purifiers and humidifiers, require a trained HVAC technician. Equipment can operate incorrectly, damage other parts of the system and fall out of warranty if installed by anyone except a recognized expert.

4. Digging Up the Yard

It’s certainly okay to put a shovel in the ground in your own backyard, but you should be aware of proper protocols before you dig. All states have locating agencies that will come out and map cable, electric and gas lines on your property. This helps ensure you don’t send a pick-axe through a utility — potentially causing extensive damage and severe bodily harm.

5. Anything You’re Not Comfortable With

Everyone likes to save money by turning their own wrench now and then. However, it takes practice to do things safely and correctly and you might not want to experiment on your own house. Also, make sure doing the job yourself will actually save you money. Voiding warranties, the purchase of special tools and difficulty finding parts are main reasons that even having the knowledge might not be enough. For every job you can think of, there is likely a contractor who can help.

If you plan on working on your house this weekend, just remember to call an expert if the job warrants it. Also keep in mind that all Aprilaire products are sold by and installed by a network of HVAC dealers who understand exactly how your unique HVAC system works. Use our dealer locator to find an expert near you.

Portable Dehumidifier Recall: Is there a fire hazard in your basement?

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled 5.6 million dehumidifiers in two nationwide recalls due to a potential fire hazard. The dehumidifier recall includes over 60 different brands of retail dehumidifiers built over a 10-year period.

Recent media coverage shows just how real the concerns are. Hundreds of units have caught fire and resulted in $24 million in damages to homes, according to news reports. If you have a portable dehumidifier in your home, you need to make sure it’s safe.

dehumidifier recall
Recalled dehumidifiers have caught fire in hundreds of homes over the past few years.

What Should I Do?     

Unplug your dehumidifier and check the brand. Next, check the links below to see if your dehumidifier is impacted by either the 2013 or 2016 recall. After confirming your brand is in the recall, check the model number and serial number of your specific appliance. If your dehumidifier is in the recall, follow the instructions on the website for a refund or return.

Dehumidifier Recall Resources

There are two separate recalls, so please be sure and check both links. Regardless of when you purchased your dehumidifier, it could be on the list as some models date back to 2003.

 Importance of Dehumidification

Homeowners shouldn’t forget that dehumidification is still essential to a healthy, comfortable home. Excess humidity that builds up in the basement can cause mold, mildew, insect infestations and even damage the integrity of the home.  Aprilaire offers high-capacity dehumidifiers in freestanding and ducted models to help keep indoor RH in check.

If you currently own a product involved in the dehumidifier recall, be sure to replace it before humidity levels buildup in your home.

Find a Professional to Review Your Situation

An Aprilaire dealer can help install the high-capacity solution that is right for your home. Contact one today for a safe, effective solution to smelly, moldy basements!