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!

Energy Savings Cheat Sheet

There are many things every homeowner can do to improve energy savings. Improved energy efficiency has many benefits including lower utility bills, extending the life of some home appliances and a positive impact on the environment.

Photo of a hand putting a coin in a white piggy bank

 

 

 

 

 

 

Try some of these energy savings tips to lower the burden on your checkbook this year.

Turn Off Lights and Appliances 

A simple, and often overlooked, way to control energy costs is to be more mindful of when and where you are drawing power. Unless you’re sitting in a room, there is no reason to have the light on. If family members have a hard time remembering to shut off lights — try a motion sensing switch. Devices like TVs and computers should also be turned off when not in use. Not only does this save energy, but may expand the life of the device.

Dress for the Weather — Even Indoors!

You and your family should be comfortable in your home. However, don’t rely just on the thermostat to warm up. You can keep your home at a more energy efficient temperature by wearing socks, long pants and a long-sleeve shirt indoors when it’s cold out. If it’s not shorts and t-shirt weather outside, then it shouldn’t be inside either.

Using a whole-home humidifier ensures that your home is properly humidified and even allows you to feel warmer at lower temperatures.

Use a Programmable or Smart Thermostat 

A heating and air conditioning schedule ensures you aren’t paying to improve comfort in an unoccupied space. Our Wi-Fi thermostats are the best option for many homeowners as they provide control from anywhere on a mobile device. Wi-Fi programmable thermostats provide $180/year in savings compared to their non-programmable counterparts. They also allow peace-of-mind, because you can monitor humidity and temperature conditions in your home even when you’re not there.

Replace Furnace Filters with High-Efficiency Solutions

Air conditioners and heaters need to work harder to pull air through filters that have passed their prime. Conversely, too little filtration can also freeze coils and clog blower motors, damaging equipment and using more energy. Whole-home air purifiers with high-efficiency media can help save money on heating and cooling all year.

Use Energy Savings Settings

Dishwashers and laundry equipment often have energy-efficient settings. Don’t overlook these features. Swapping hot water for cold in the washing machine or skipping the ‘heated dry’ option on the dishwasher can add up overtime.

Visit Aprilaire for more energy savings tips and to learn more about whole-home solutions for health, comfort and preservation of the home.

5 Ways to Protect Your Home This Winter

Cold winter air can deliver a one-two punch with damaging effects to your home and your loved ones inside. Keeping your family safe starts by protecting your home. Fortunately, many tips for keeping your house safe also benefit your family.

1. HVAC System Check

Ensuring that your heating system is ready for winter is essential. An annual inspection can determine any dangers and prevent a system breakdown in the dead of winter. Only a certified HVAC contractor can properly ensure the safety and reliability of your system. Find an Aprilaire dealer today.

2. Chimney Flue and Fireplace Cleaning

Sitting in front of the hearth is one of the best parts of winter and the holidays, but a chimney fire can be a devastating event. No matter how infrequently you use your chimney, you should have it checked annually and cleaned, if necessary. Chimney fires can burn at over 2,000 degrees, causing extensive damage to your home and putting your family at risk.

3. Prevent Ice Dams

Ice dams are formed when the warmth of your home causes snow to melt in the center of the roof, and then refreezes as it reaches the edge. While the result, arguably, looks pretty cool from the ground — it’s dangerous for your home and your family. Ice dams are a sign that your house is losing too much heat through the roof, so you should consider insulating the attic floor. This buildup of ice and water can cause roof damage and the resulting icicles can fall to the ground with deadly consequences.

Protect you home from ice dams

Is danger lurking on your roof?

4. Protect Your Home From Dry Air

When you have the HVAC contractor out to check the furnace, make sure he also inspects or installs a whole-home humidifier. Indoor air can become very dry in the winter when the home is heated — with relative humidity levels falling well under 30 percent. When this happens, hardwood floors, trim and musical instruments can incur expensive damage. Dry air can also cause dry eyes, dry skin and increase your chances of catching a cold or the flu.

5. Prepare for Blizzards

Even in the modern era, a polar vortex could leave your family snow bound. While a day or two off work and school might be fun, blizzards can be very dangerous. If a heavy snow storm is predicted, ensure your family has clean drinking water, candles, blankets and non-spoilable food. Also remember never to use portable generators or propane heaters indoors as the exhaust is lethal.

Winter can be hard on your house, but with our help and the right preparation you can protect your home and family from anything winter throws your way. Find an Aprilaire expert near you.

How-to Stay Healthy This Winter — Inside and Out

There is plenty to love about winter; snow days, the holidays, ice skating, sledding. However, there is also plenty to prepare for. Make sure you and your family can enjoy all that winter has to offer while staying comfortable and healthy by keeping these cold weather tips top-of-mind.

Stay healthy this winter

Keep the family healthy this winter with these health tips.

Avoid Illness and Discomfort by Being Prepared

Everyone knows winter is prime time for viral infections. From cold to influenza, we’re more likely to get sick when temperatures outside (and humidity inside) fall. Here’s how to avoid colds and flu this winter:

  • Keep Clean: Parents Magazine recommends being sure to practice proper hand-washing (lathering up for at least 30 seconds) to prevent illness. Families can also protect against spreading the flu by tossing toothbrushes and washing bed linen after someone in the house has been sick.
  • Stay Hydrated: While we feel less thirsty in the winter, it’s still important to drink plenty of fluids because dehydration can make you more prone to getting sick. Your home’s air can also get thirsty and flu viruses are more infectious in dry air. A whole-home humidifier is a must-have to stay healthy indoors by keeping indoor humidity above 40 percent.
  • Get a Flu Shot: For most people, the flu shot is entirely safe and effective. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that most people — especially children and the elderly — get vaccinated as the best first line defense against seasonal influenza.

Keep Your Home Safe from Winter Weather

Your family’s health isn’t the only thing that can use a boost during the winter months. Your home itself can also succumb to the ill effects of dry air, cold temperatures and blizzard conditions. Beware of these ways your home can become “sick” in the winter.

  • Damaged Wood Floors and Furnishings: The wood floors, trim and instruments in your house can all be damaged by air that is too dry. Floors can crack, cup and ultimately need replacing. Expensive instruments are damaged and easily fall out of tune. A whole-home humidifier can help keep indoor relative humidity levels in the proper range for home preservation.
  • A Bloated Energy Bill: Without the right control, energy bills can skyrocket in the winter. A programmable or Wi-Fi thermostat can help ensure your family stays comfortable without breaking the bank. Our Wi-Fi thermostats with IAQ control can save $180 a year in energy costs.

Don’t let winter woes keep you and yours from enjoying the lighter side of the colder season. Find an Aprilaire expert near you.

Whole-home vs. Portable Humidifiers — What You Should Know

There is rarely just one way to solve a problem, but often there is a best way. When it comes to the health and comfort of your family, finding the most complete and effective solution is always important to you. Dry air is one problem faced by homeowners throughout the country that has more than one solution.

Individuals can relieve some symptoms of dry air with creams, lotions, eye drops and other over-the-counter products aimed at keeping our bodies properly moisturized. However, these solutions treat only the symptoms and not the cause. If improper humidity is behind your family’s health and comfort issues, the best thing to do is raise humidity levels!

Raising the level of humidity in the home is done by adding moisture to the air as vapor or steam. While this is accomplished in similar ways with both room and whole-home humidifiers, the results are not equal.

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While they may cost more to operate, portable humidifiers can only deliver humidity to a limited space — usually a single room. Whole-home units, however, use the central HVAC system to deliver humidity throughout the house.

How the Contenders Measure Up

Capacity

Room humidifiers add moisture by blowing a fan over a wick of cold water, or using a heating element to create steam. Both can change the humidity in a small space — as long as is there water in the tank. Water usually needs to be replaced daily to keep the humidity levels correct in just one room.

Whole-home humidifiers blow hot air from the furnace over a water panel to deliver moisture to the air evenly throughout the house as the home is being heated. Whole-home units are connected to the home’s water supply so there is no tank to limit capacity. Steam units plumbed directly to the water supply with fan packs provide whole home capacity in homes without central heat.

Maintenance

Portable humidifiers need nearly daily maintenance to remain safe and operational. The humidifier only works when there is water in the tank, however the tank can also be a breeding ground for mold or bacteria. This means the unit must also be cleaned at regular intervals

Whole-house humidifiers require only a change of the water panel once or twice a heating season.

Operation Costs and Noise

Portable humidifiers are often placed near the bed or in the living space and the bubbling of heated water or the fan noise can be intrusive.

Attached to the home’s HVAC system in a basement or closet, whole-house humidifiers are quiet and out of sight. Utilizing the operation of the furnace, whole-house units can humidify an entire house for less energy than portable humidifiers require to treat one room.

Dry Solutions from Aprilaire

Aprilaire has a full line of whole-house humidifiers specifically designed for the needs of your family. Best of all, our network of HVAC dealers can select and install the correct product for your home and HVAC system today!

Are you ready for a whole-home solution to dry air that improves health and comfort at an affordable cost with minimal maintenance? Find an Aprilaire expert near you.

The Cost of NOT Having a Humidifier in Your Home

Photo of a boy with his hair sticking up from static shock

Is the comfort and health of your home’s air under control? Dry air can be a problem in almost any home, but it is most problematic during the colder months. When cool, outdoor air is brought inside and heated, moisture levels fall and your house is suddenly filled with dry, irritating air. 

What are you putting at risk by not having a humidifier in your home?

Health

Low relative humidity makes you and your family more susceptible to catching a cold or the flu. speedier progression and transmission of flu viruses has been linked to dry air. Respiratory infections caused by cold and flu viruses are also a leading trigger of asthma in children. 

Comfort

When relative humidity in the home is low, it also impacts your family’s comfort by aggravating dry eyes, dry skin and may even lead to a sore throat in the morning. Dry air is also the cause of increased static electricity in the home, which makes opening doors shocking and ruins your nice hairdo. 

Energy Costs

Dry air actually makes you feel colder at normal temperatures which, in turn, causes you to overheat your home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, for every degree you heat your house, you add four percent to your energy bill.

Home Preservation

Your home is always protecting you and your family from the outside elements, but are you protecting your home? Dry air can cause structural damage to your house and possessions. It can cause walls, woodwork and hardwood floors to crack and can even lead to irreparable damage to your electronics.

Our whole-home humidifiers help improve the comfort and health of the air in your home. Installed as part of your home’s heating and cooling system, our humidifiers automatically deliver the perfect amount of humidified air throughout every room.

Maintaining the right humidity level throughout your home may reduce incidence of cold and flu infections, protects your home and its possessions and helps you stay warmer at cooler temperatures, which improves energy efficiency.

Engineered and manufactured in the USA, Aprilaire humidifiers require minimal maintenance and attention and will continue to provide your family protection from dry air conditions.

Are you ready to take control of humidity in your home? Find an Aprilaire expert near you.

What Makes a Home Comfortable? It’s Not Just the Temperature …

Comfort and health inside our homes are dependent on many factors. Rubbing down kitchen counter tops after cooking and scrubbing the bathroom are some of the obvious ways we keep our home healthy. A favorite sweater, cozy slippers and our fireside chair all help keep us warm in the winter. However, health and comfort indoors is about more than temperature and hygiene.

The amount of moisture in the air plays a significant role in how you and your family feels inside. When the air in your house is thirsty, it pulls moisture out of your skin, eyes, nose and mouth — causing many irritating symptoms. Nose bleeds, dry eyes, sore throat and even increased colds or flu may be some of the ways your home is letting you know it’s suffering from dry air.

Photo of woman putting eye drops in her eye

Dry eyes are just one of many symptoms that your house might have a dry air problem.

Is dry air a problem for your family?

If you heat your home in the winter and you don’t have a humidifier, then dry air is almost certainly a problem. People with underlying conditions aggravated by dry air may notice the symptoms more than others — but humidification levels impact everyone. For example, if your house does not have a humidifier then expensive damage to wood floors, molding and trim, and investments like musical instruments is likely. Humidity levels throughout the house that are between 30–60 percent are ideal for health, comfort and home preservation.

Choosing the right humidifier solution.

Some homeowners may sleep with a portable humidifier in their bedroom or place one in a common area during winter. However, these smaller units often require a lot of maintenance to ensure they’re working safely and efficiently. Furthermore, most portable units do not have the capacity to humidify the entire house during the driest times of the year. To battle dry air in every room, homeowners should consider a whole-home humidifier.

Installed into the HVAC system duct work (or used with a fan pack) whole-home humidifiers are plumbed to the homes water supply, so there is no filling containers every day. Whole-home humidifiers also feature automatic control, so homeowners can manage their comfort and health with ease. The only maintenance is the periodic changing of a water panel or steam canister.

Find an expert near you to determine the best whole-home solution to preserver your family’s health this winter.

Switching From Cooling to Heating … the Right Way

Temperatures have started to drop and you may have already started to debate whether or not it’s cold enough outside to turn on your heat. You probably already know to change your furnace filter, check your return and supply vents and to test your thermostat.

But before you start cranking the heat, you should keep the following in mind.

Be Wary of Dry Air

Photo of a woman itching her hand

Dry indoor air can cause itchy skin, dry eyes and even nosebleeds.

Dry air can be a problem in any home, but it is most common during the winter months. When cold, outdoor air is heated, its relative humidity (RH) plummets. RH is the amount of water in the air and when air gets thirsty,  it can wreak havoc on your home, comfort and health. Walls, woodwork and hardwoods floors can start to crack due to dry air in your home. Static shock is also caused from dry air, which is uncomfortable and can damage electronics.

Dry air doesn’t just negatively affect your home, it can also affect your family’s health. Did you know that dry air can make you feel colder at normal temperatures, causing you to overheat your home? Excessive heating will increase your utility bill and the drier air can make your family more susceptible to cold and flu viruses.

What’s the Solution?

Our whole-home humidifiers can help — they are installed as part of your home’s heating and cooling system and automatically deliver the perfect amount of humidified air to every room of your house.

The right answer for your home? We have the appropriate whole-home solution for nearly any house. Use our dealer locator to find a certified HVAC contractor who can install the right product for you and your family.

Maintaining the right humidity level throughout your home can help keep your family comfortable and healthy this winter while also preserving the structural integrity of your home.

Why Aprilaire?

We have been introducing and developing the most innovative whole-home humidification systems since 1954. Our humidifiers require minimal maintenance and will continue to provide whole-home comfort and protection from dry air in your home from season to season.

Are you ready to take total control of humidity in your home? Find an Aprilaire dealer near you.

7 Features That Make the 8920W the ‘Smartest’ Thermostat

Photo of the Aprilaire 8920W Wi-Fi Thermostat

The Aprilaire 8920W WiFi Thermostat provides your family with the peace of the mind they’ve wanted for years — the ability to know what’s going on at home even when you’re not there. With the Aprilaire WiFi Thermostat App you can monitor and control all the climate conditions in your home anywhere, anytime!

However, what you might not know is that the 8920W offers you much more than just a mobile thermostat. It’s been designed to provide the ultimate in energy savings, comfort and health with these seven home automation features you didn’t know about.

8920W Smart WiFi Thermostat Features:Screenshot of the temperature screen on the Aprilaire 8920W Wi-Fi Thermostat

  1. Total Control: On top of the basics like heating and cooling, the Aprilaire 8920W thermostat acts as the command center for your entire home. At the touch of a button, control your home’s humidity, fresh air ventilation and how clean your indoor air is.
  2. Heat Blast: Is it an extra chilly day out? No need to pile on the blankets when your thermostat offers a Heat Blast feature. Quickly raise the temperature of your home by three to five degrees over the current schedule temperature — so you can shake the icicles out of your hair!
  3. Event-Based Air Cleaning: The air in your house can change quickly based on activities like cooking and vacuuming or things you can’t control like weather and pollen counts. With Event-Based™ control, improving indoor air quality (IAQ) is simple — when something happens that might jeopardize air quality, quickly adjust indoor air cleaner setting rights from your phone.
  4. Away and Vacation Modes: Your busy daily routine can change at the drop of a dime. When you’re on the go, don’t worry about the heating and cooling schedule at home. Away and Vacation modes automatically override schedules with more energy efficient temperature settings.Photo of a screenshot of the 3-Day Forecast feature on the Aprilaire 8920W Wi-Fi Thermostat
  5. 3-Day Weather and Allergy Forecast: Pollen, dust and dirt mean pain and discomfort for allergy and asthma sufferers. With the 8920W, you’re always aware of what’s on the horizon so you can make informed decisions about IAQ and adjust your settings accordingly.
  6. Maintenance and Air Quality Alerts: For convenience and peace of mind, the 8920W will keep you up-to-date on needed service and also warn you when you approach predetermined temperature and humidity limits.
  7. Energy Savings: Not only does having a programmable WiFi thermostat give you the ability to set your home’s temperature, it can also help you save on energy costs — up to $180 per year!

The 8920W is a smart thermostat designed to help you quickly and easily obtain the Healthy Home you want. While other smart thermostats self-adjust by “learning” your habits — Aprilaire knows that daily routines change, as do the air quality standards for health and comfort. Now you can control your home quickly and easily with all these great features!