prevent-mold-in-your-home

Healthy Home | Healthy Air |

Prevent Mold in Your Home with A Whole-Home Humidifier

4 minute read

October is the time of the year when most of us start thinking about sealing the hatches in our homes for the season. But before you do that, it’s healthy to check if your home is mold-free. You might be trapping it inside to keep you company all winter long. Use our guide below to prevent mold from growing in your home.

Prevent Mold in Your Home Guide

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mold growth can exist practically anywhere. Whether you are inside or outside, mold spores are there. They can enter your home through openings as large as doors or windows, or as small as the tiniest gap you ever chased with a caulk gun. Once in your home, the spores can grow on clothes, shoes, toys, or even pets. Worse yet, mold is almost certain to release clouds of potentially harmful spores that, once airborne, can take the shortest path to your lungs.

Some molds are harmful, others are benign. And, how mold affects you can depend on your own personal sensitivity. Mold expert Jeff May learned this first hand. The Johns Hopkins University Press author of three books (‘My House is Killing Me,’ ‘My Office is Killing Me’ and the ‘Mold Survival Guide’), wasn’t always such an accomplished expert on how mold can make you really sick.

“For years, I had an office air conditioner that was probably too big for the space. As a result, my office was always damp and I’d cough whenever the AC came on. Then one day I opened it up and found that everything inside had turned black — with Cladosporium mold. That was the defining moment when I put two and two together,” he said.

According to May, the first step in preventing mold in your home is to understand what makes it tick. Mold needs three things to grow: moisture, air and food, and this combination can be found just about anywhere in your home. “Mold grows where it can find food: the dust on a bathroom ceiling, the starch paste on the back of wallpaper, or the plant fibers that make up the jute pad under a carpet. Add moisture, and mold growth begins,” said May.

Mind the Moisture

Keep relative humidity between 40-60 percent. Improve outside grading and drainage by keeping gutters clean and soil always sloping away from your home. Cover dirt crawlspace floors with plastic to reduce moisture.

Store Safely

Keep all storage at least several inches up off concrete floors and away from foundations where dampness can easily seep in. This is especially important with organic material like cardboard boxes. Avoid using wooden shelves; metal or plastic shelves are preferable.

Heat Finished Basements

Below-grade spaces like finished basements are more likely to become infested and should always be heated to at least 60 degrees, even when not being used. The warmer the space, the less the chance that condensation will form and feed a mold problem.

Build Mold Resistant

When choosing building materials, use materials that don’t feed the mold. Tom Combs took this option when remodeling the bathroom in his family’s 1990 lake house outside of Atlanta, Georgia. “The ceiling was covered with mold and I wanted to take immediate action before the situation worsened.” Combs’ solution was Dens Armor Plus, a wallboard made by Georgia Pacific that is specifically designed to create a mold-free space. Unlike regular drywall that has a paper face, Dens Armor Plus has a fiberglass face that cannot feed a mold problem. For roofing specifically, make sure to consider algae, mold, and bacteria-resistant shingles when installing a new roof. Metal infused in these shingles will prevent mold in your home by killing off the bacteria that causes algae and mold growth naturally without the need for chemicals.

Ventilate Vigorously

Poor or missing ventilation fans in damp spaces like baths and kitchens can leave enough moisture behind to sustain a mold problem. Make sure all baths and kitchens are vented by properly sized fans that take moisture outside and NOT into attics. Keep the bathroom door open after bathing to speed up the drying of surfaces.

Avoid Basement Carpets

More than almost any other material in a house, carpets can be incredibly effective havens for mold. Even non-organic carpets can collect dirt, dust, and moisture that combine to provide mold a fertile ground in which to grow, especially in below-grade spaces where relative humidity tends to be higher. Hard surface products like laminate flooring or engineered hardwoods are always a better choice to prevent mold in your home.

Filter the Air

If your home has a forced-air heating and cooling system, using a top-quality air filter is a must. May recommends pleated filters with a Another option is a whole-house electronic air cleaner. Mounted permanently to the home’s HVAC system, a whole-house air cleaner uses ionization technology to charge particles making them stick to filters like a magnet. According to Consumer Reports, the most effective unit is the AprilAire Model 5000, which can trap virus-sized particles as small as one micron (one millionth of a meter) and just needs annual filter replacement.

Insulate Ducts

Duct systems that carry heated or cooled air throughout your house must be insulated whenever they pass through unheated or uncooled spaces like attics or basements. If not, condensation can form inside the ducts and, when combined with dust in the air, can allow mold to grow in the ducts, and then spores can easily circulate throughout your entire house.

Clean Carefully

Use mold-inhibiting cleaners in bathrooms and kitchens. Portable air conditioning units should be taken apart and cleaned at the start of every season. When painting damp spaces like kitchens and bathrooms, use paint with a mold inhibitor EPA-approved for indoor us to prevent mold in your home.

Fix Floods Fast

If you do have a major leak or flood, quick action can stop mold before it starts. Thoroughly dry soaked carpets and padding, and remove any wet upholstery. Then wash and disinfect all surfaces before the carpet and pad are replaced.

Mold may be a part of Mother Nature’s plans, but following these tips will make sure recovering from the sickness it can cause doesn’t ever have to become part of your plans. For more information, visit the Web site for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or review the Mold Resource Guide on the Web site for the national radio show, ‘The Money Pit.’

air-pollution-increases-risk-of-cognitive-decline

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Home |

Air Pollution Increases Risk of Cognitive Decline and Dementia

2 minute read

Recent studies have found that long-term exposure to air pollution increases risk of cognitive decline and dementia. 

Exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollutants can cause a multitude of chronic and acute health complications. While most research has focused on lung and heart health, scientists have recently focused on the impact air pollutants, especially ultrafine PM2.5 particulates, can have on your brain. These particulates are especially consequential to your brain since they can bypass your body’s natural defenses like the blood-brain barrier and damage neurons. They can also wreak havoc on the rest of your body by disrupting natural processes like cell replication, breathing, and immune system responses that also impact the brain’s functionality.

PM2.5 Particulate Pollution Increases Risk of Cognitive Decline

PM2.5 particulates can be found inside and outside your home. Common sources are gas stoves, automobile exhaust, wood burning, and tobacco. These toxic particulates are extremely dangerous when they are inhaled. The World Health Organization estimates that 7 million people die annually from indoor air pollution.

Fortunately, there are ways to limit exposure to these pollutants inside your home with whole-house Healthy Air solutions from AprilAire. 

To manage all aspects of your home’s Indoor Air Quality, invest in an AprilAire Healthy Air System installed by your local professional. This whole-house system will keep your home’s air healthy and clean by capturing harmful particulates like airborne viruses, managing humidity control, and by bringing in fresh air. 

PM2.5 particulates that flow through your home’s filtration system are trapped by the air filter which reduces the number of harmful airborne pollutants. Our Healthy Air MERV 16 air filter captures 99% of airborne particulates that trigger asthma and allergy flare-ups. Additionally, the filter captures 98% of airborne viruses, tobacco smoke, and smog particulates passing through the filtering system. The Healthy Air MERV 13 + Carbon air filter brings in all the same benefits of our Healthy Air MERV 13 air filter with the added benefit of a carbon filter to reduce pet and cooking odors, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds).

Prevent outdoor air pollutants from coming inside by keeping your windows closed and by sealing up any cracks around your home. If they do get in, an AprilAire whole-house air purifier can help capture those toxic particulates.

Get Healthy Air 

Replacement air filters can be purchased at the preceding link. They will be delivered to your home and can be simply and easily installed by the homeowner. Or for complete Indoor Air Quality management, ask your local Healthy Air Pro about the AprilAire Healthy Air System

how-to-clean-and-prep-your-air-conditioner-for-summer

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Home |

How to Clean and Prep Your Air Conditioner for Summer

2 minute read

Click play to listen to the How to Clean and Prep Your Air Conditioner for the Summer article.

Don’t wait until the first hot day of the year to check on your air conditioner! A few simple steps can make sure your home’s cooling system is clean and in good working order so it’s ready to go for anything summer has in store.

1. Clean the Exterior

Your central air conditioning unit uses an outdoor condenser and compressor, which remove hot air and return cooled air. Because it’s located outside, leaves, dirt, and other debris can impact the unit whether it was covered or not during the off months.

Take care to remove any accumulated debris, and inspect the exterior coils to ensure they’re clean and not bent.

2. Check the Filter

Replacing air filters on your central air conditioning unit at least once a year is essential in protecting both the air you’re breathing and the performance of your AC unit.

Filters are often located in the indoor air handler unit, and may also be in the vents throughout your home. Inspect them to check for dust and debris, and replace them when necessary. A clogged filter can introduce allergens into the home and make your air conditioner work harder to blow air.

3. Test Functionality

Do a short test run with your air conditioner in the spring before you’ll need it to work throughout the summer. Power on the unit and check to see that it’s cooling the necessary parts of your home.

If something seems to be faulty, contact a local HVAC technician to inspect and diagnose the issue. When that first heat wave rolls around, you’ll be glad you did!

4. Add a Dehumidifier

Part of getting the most performance and life out of your air conditioning system is not overtaxing it. High humidity conditions in certain regions of the country make your air conditioner work harder to cool the air. Using an AprilAire whole-house dehumidifier helps your air conditioner achieve the set temperature faster, while saving energy in the short term and avoiding the cost of replacements in the long term.

Interview with the American Lung Association

AprilAire Partners Logged In Homepages |

Breathing Healthy Air: Interview with the American Lung Association

4 minute read

At AprilAire, we encourage breathing Healthy Air because we know it benefits your overall health. The American Lung Association knows it too. That’s why AprilAire air filters are the National Proud Partner of the American Lung Association*, playing a key role in the fight to improve lung health and prevent lung disease.

We got to interview National Senior Vice President of Development Sally Draper about the importance of Healthy Air and how both AprilAire and the American Lung Association are working together to help you Breathe the Fullness of Life.

Could you introduce yourself for the readers and tell us about why you chose a career with the American Lung Association?

“I joined the Lung Association in 2014 because I was attracted to its comprehensive mission—to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Every day we help Americans breathe easier through our efforts to fund innovative research, advocate for policies that protect our lungs, and educate patients, caregivers, providers, and the public with science-backed information. We were founded more than 115 years ago, and the needs are greater today than ever before, including the youth vaping epidemic, climate change, and COVID-19!”

Can you tell us about the American Lung Association’s mission?

“The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Our work is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; champion clean air for all; improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and create a tobacco-free future. Whether it’s searching for cures to lung diseases, keeping kids off tobacco, or advocating for laws that protect the air we breathe, the work of the American Lung Association helps to save lives every day.”

How did AprilAire and the American Lung Association come to work together in the first place? What does that relationship look like presently?

“AprilAire and the American Lung Association forged a new relationship in 2018. We quickly realized how much we had in common. Our partnership was developed as we saw an opportunity to educate and help more consumers improve the air in their homes to create a healthier environment.

Since 2020, AprilAire has been a Proud Partner of the Lung Association with its 4” residential air filters. Additionally, AprilAire joined the Lung Association as our FY20 National Fight For Air Climb Partner For Healthy Air. The company has also supported the Lung Association’s “Stand Up For Clean Air” campaign. As part of this initiative, we are driving conversations around air quality, climate, and health. The Lung Association invited people to share their #MyCleanAirStory—knowing that when people realize climate and air quality are impacting the health of their neighbors, friends, and loved ones—they are more willing to act. AprilAire provided prizes for the #MyCleanAirStory contest, including one grand prize of a whole-home Indoor Air Quality upgrade (the AprilAire Healthy Air System™) and nine AprilAire Room Air Purifiers. This year, the company stepped up once again to sponsor the Wisconsin Fight For Air Climb in Milwaukee. Also in 2021, the Lung Association welcomed Dale Philippi, President and CEO of Research Products Corporation, AprilAire’s parent company, to the Lung Association’s Wisconsin Leadership Board of Directors.”

Tell us about the Fight For Air Climb.

“The American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb is the nation’s premier stair climbing challenge. At 38 events nationwide, children and adults of all ages participate in this celebratory stair-climbing adventure. Pre-pandemic, the Fight For Air Climb was held in several of our country’s most iconic skyscrapers. This year, the Lung Association invited participants outdoors for a one-of-a-kind adventure to support healthy lungs and clean air. In fact, Dale was among the company’s team of more than 50 employees that climbed the stairs at Milwaukee’s American Family Field on May 22nd, proving he puts his feet, time, and talent behind causes he supports.

AprilAire has been a stalwart partner in the Fight For Air Climb, promoting the event to employees, customers, trade partners, family, and friends. Through this unique vehicle, the company is engaging individuals of all ages to understand and celebrate the importance of Healthy Air.”

AprilAire’s air filters are a National Proud Partner of the American Lung Association. How do you feel our mission aligns with yours?

“Our CEO, Harold Wimmer, has said, ‘Breathing should not be an uphill battle, but for many it is… no one should have to fight for air on a daily basis.’ Similarly, Dale has declared, ‘We believe everyone deserves to breathe Healthy Air.’ As a National Proud Partner, AprilAire’s mission to enhance everyone’s health by improving the air in their homes aligns very closely with that of the American Lung Association, champion of clean air for all.”

What are the benefits of breathing Healthy Air and what are everyday things that people can do to Breathe the Fullness of Life?

“Clean air is essential for healthy lungs. The American Lung Association works to ensure that the air we breathe is clean and safe from harmful pollution. In fact, every year we publish our State of the Air Report, which looks at two of the most widespread and dangerous air pollutants, ozone and fine particulate matter. Our 2021 State of the Air Report found that more than 4 in 10 Americans—over 135 million people—are living in places with unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution.

One of the most important things you can do to Breathe the Fullness of Life is to keep sources of pollution out of your home. Check out these commonsense tips on Lung.org. Additionally, ventilation helps reduce indoor air pollution, but it works best if paired with keeping known sources of air pollution out of the building. For tips on how to use ventilation to protect your lung health, check out our section on Ventilation: How Buildings Breathe.”

Fight for Healthy Air

At AprilAire, we believe everyone deserves to Breathe the Fullness of Life, and we’re not the only ones that feel this way. Through our Proud Partnership with the American Lung Association, we aim to fill every home with Healthy Air. Both AprilAire and the Lung Association believe that breathing Healthy Air should be available to everyone, and maintaining healthy Indoor Air Quality is an important step for your lung health. Read more about our partnership and the efforts of the American Lung Association on their website.

*Disclaimer: The American Lung Association does not endorse any product, device, or service.

St. Vincent de Paul

AA Homepage Articles |

2021: AprilAire’s Good Neighbor Values

2 minute read

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We take the importance of caring for others to heart at AprilAire. We believe we have a purpose beyond the individual work we do and that being a successful company also means “Being a Good Neighbor.” It’s one of our core values, and something we put into action each year.

We remain committed to helping our local communities in a number of ways, including financial contributions and volunteering. In the past, we’ve raised funds to provide pack-n-plays to mothers in need, volunteered at local blood drives, and held various donation drives throughout the year.

While our partnership opportunities may look different in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re excited to continue our work with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, whose mission statement reads:

“A membership organization, the Society began working in Madison in 1925 with two parish-based groups of members serving their neighbors in need. Today, programs the Society operates in Dane County include a large customer-choice food pantry, a charitable pharmacy, storage for the goods of persons who are homeless, seven thrift stores offering direct charity, housing at Port St. Vincent de Paul and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton House, and several other forms of assistance for people struggling with poverty.”

We’ve been working with St. Vincent de Paul – Madison since 2014, giving us a number of incredible opportunities to give back and live out our mission of being Good Neighbors.

We believe the work they’re doing to provide assistance for our community is more important than ever right now, which is why it’s our honor to be a 2021 Platinum Sponsor for St. Vincent de Paul’s 6th Annual Care Café fundraising breakfast on May, 5th 2021. The theme is “Love Made Visible.”

They’re going virtual this year, which means they have unlimited capacity to reach their goal of $140,000. If you live in Dane County, we encourage you to attend the virtual event and support our neighbors in need through your contributions to the food pantry, free pharmacy, and housing programs.

 Click here for more information on St. Vincent de Paul – Madison to see how you can get involved.

Or find a charity in your area that you may be able to connect with to make an impact.

Healthy-Exercise-Space-at-Home

AA Homepage Articles | Wellness |

How to Create a Healthy Exercise Space at Home

2 minute read

Click play to listen to How to Create Healthy Exercise Space at Home article. 

Summertime offers endless opportunities to get active in the great outdoors. But sometimes things like extreme heat and high allergen levels will keep you indoors. On those days, you may not be able to run through a park or jump in the water, but you can still get the benefits of exercise with an indoor workout. Let’s make sure your home environment is optimized for safe and healthy indoor exercise.

Healthy Home Gym

Whether you’ve converted your entire garage into a gym or have just enough space for a stationary bike in the corner of your home office, a few key measures will ensure you’re getting the most out of your workout space.

Regular Cleaning

Don’t forget about your workout space when dusting, mopping, and vacuuming around the home. Keeping dust and grime at bay will help with odors and make it easier for you to breathe fresh air for all your workouts.

Start a habit of wiping down your equipment with a wet cloth and disinfectant spray after each exercise session. If you sweat onto a yoga mat or exercise pad, wipe them down and let them air out before rolling them up.

Air Purification

While regular cleaning is an essential step, it can also add chemicals to your space and kick dust up into the air. Air purification systems can remove those pollutants and work around the clock to make sure you and your family are breathing clean air.

An AprilAire whole-house air purifier works all through the home to remove pollutants and return fresh air.

If you want a boost to air quality in your exercise space, try out an AprilAire room air purifier, which uses a 4-stage filtration system to remove pollutants, allergens, and odors.

Balanced Humidity

Breathing and sweating add moisture to the air, which can exacerbate the high humidity levels of the summer months and increase the chances of mold and mildew growth.

An AprilAire whole-house dehumidifier delivers humidity control to your workout area and throughout your home, keeping moisture levels at a safe and comfortable level. Humidity between 40–60% is ideal for overall health and wellness.

Plus, a dehumidifier can reduce the burden on your air conditioning system, saving you money on energy and maintenance costs.

Deodorizing

Some gyms are easy to locate by smell—don’t let yours be one of them.

The battle against odors starts with fresh air ventilation, and because opening a window isn’t a great option in the summer, mechanical ventilation is a must-have in your space.

AprilAire whole-house fresh air ventilators remove stagnant air and bring in fresh, purified air. They reduce the concentration of indoor pollutants, and help kick out lingering smells. You can also use products that naturally absorb odors without disrupting your air quality, like baking soda or activated charcoal.