Healthy Clean Air | Environment |

Top 5 Summer Allergens Invading The Home

2 minute read

Top 5 Summer Allergens

Summer Allergen #1: Pollen

  • Six out of ten people are exposed to pollen trapped indoors

Summer Allergen #2: Dust Mites

  • An estimated 10% of the general population, and 90% of people with allergic asthma, are sensitive to dust mites

Summer Allergen #3: Pet Dander

  • An estimated 10% of the entire population may be allergic to pet dander

Summer Allergen #4: Mold

  • Roughly 15% of Americans are allergic to mold. Moisture control is the most important strategy for reducing indoor allergens from mold growth

Summer Allergen #5: Mildew

  • Scientists have identified over 1,000 types of mold and mildew inside houses in the United States

Prevent Irritants from Entering Your Home

Take measures to reduce allergens by making sure dust, dirt, and other pollutants are prevented from entering the house. Remove shoes before entering the household. Be sure to close and windows and doors during high pollen days. Do not allow smoking indoors.

Install a Whole-Home Air Purifier System

Whole-home air purifier systems remove up to 99% of airborne allergens and contaminants (even those one micron in size) and are 40 times more efficient than a standard furnace filter. This system removes allergens such as dust, dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, pollen, viruses, fungi, mold, and other dangerous substances from the air throughout the entire home.

Maintain Humidity Levels at Home

Whole-home humidifiers and dehumidifiers can help control allergens with the perfect level of moisture—one in which dust mites, mold, and mildew are not likely to survive.

Healthy Clean Air | Environment |

Spring Cleaning for Your Indoor Air

2 minute read

One of the best parts of annual spring cleaning is the chance to open up and air out the house. It feels good to clean up the dust, flush out stale odors, and take a breath of fresh air. However, soon enough, rising temperatures will mean it’s time to turn on the A/C and close up the house again. Start thinking about what you can do to improve your home’s Indoor Air Quality. Check out these tips and suggestions for keeping your indoor air pure and fresh.

Ditch the Chemicals and Scents

Many household cleaners, air fresheners, and even scented candles can fill your home with harmful Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). These VOCs irritate asthma symptoms and other respiratory conditions. One solution is to opt for more traditional cleaners, like vinegar, and use dried potpourri instead of aerosol fragrances. When you begin spring cleaning, properly dispose of or use up what’s left of harsh chemicals and replace your stock with alternatives.

Whole-Home Air Purification

High-efficiency air purifiers, installed as part of your home’s HVAC system, can drastically cut down on dust, allergens, bacteria, and viruses. Unlike room air purifiers, whole-home systems improve the air throughout the entire house on-demand and anytime the air conditioner is running. Noticeably cut down on dust for a cleaner, more comfortable home and a healthier environment for family members with asthma, allergies, or breathing problems.

Whole-Home Ventilation

All homes—especially newer construction—can build up high concentrations of VOCs along with bad odors, smoke, and excess humidity. All of these conditions can greatly impact health and comfort as well as damage your home. Whole-home ventilation solutions expel dirty air and replace it with fresh, outdoor air without negatively impacting your energy bill. Just because your A/C is running doesn’t mean your home should be filled with stale, unhealthy air.

 

Healthy Clean Air | Healthy Air |

Dirty Air Compare: The Air in Your Home is Equivalent to…

2 minute read

It’s your home. It’s not just a place, it’s a feeling. But when that feeling is wheezing, sneezing, and uncomfortable all the time, there’s something wrong. Indoor Air Quality can be five times more polluted than outdoor air, and since the EPA estimates that people spend 90% of their time indoors, a bad air day every day is not something to take lightly.

While it’s easy to see when you need to dust or sweep, it’s harder to know when the air in your home needs cleaning. Why breathe dirty air? Poor air quality can threaten your family’s health, so it’s important to keep things out of your home that cause polluted indoor air and ensure your home is a healthy one.

Finding the Culprit of Dirty Air

Indoor Air Quality is impacted by many things in your home, some of which you’d likely never guess. Mold, pollen, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs)from cleaning chemicals and paints—are widely known culprits that contribute to poor air quality. But, according to the Global Healing Center, there are some unknown drivers. Here’s your checklist for finding the culprit.

  • Do you have furniture purchased prior to 2006? It may contain toxic PBDEs.
  • Do you use air fresheners? A study found the terpenes released by air fresheners interact with ozone to form compounds like formaldehyde and acetone at concentrations, which can cause respiratory sensitivity and airflow limitation.
  • Do you burn candles in your home? Most candles, especially the scented ones made with paraffin wax, contain benzene and toluene, two known carcinogens.
  • Do you print a lot from your computer? Printing inks, like those used in home printers, contain glymes. These industrial chemicals have been linked to developmental and reproductive damage.

Time for a Healthy Home

In general, there are three main approaches to improve Indoor Air Quality:

Remove the source of the air pollutant

Check areas where mold is most often found, keep your rooms free and clear of dust, and make sure you regularly check your air vents. In addition, take a proactive approach by using safe cleaning products and considering product ingredients before you purchase.

Increase ventilation in your home

Today’s homes are tightly sealed, built with energy efficiency in mind. While this is good for keeping heated and cooled air from seeping out, it also keeps uncomfortable odors and harmful pollutants trapped inside. A whole-home ventilation system allows for fresh, clean air.

Consider an air purifier and other whole-home solutions 

After all, if you could see the air you breathe, think about what you’d want it to look like.

Environment |

Summer’s Most Common Bugs

2 minute read

When it comes to a love of humidity, humans and pests are on opposite ends of the spectrum. While we tend to despise air that is thick with heat and water vapor, most bugs actually thrive in it and need it to live.

Unfortunately, this means that the impending summer humidity in certain parts of the country is about to bring these summer pests out in a big way.

Summer’s Most Common Pests

Cockroaches

The German cockroach is the most common roach species infesting our homes in North America. They are attracted to warm and humid places, making your kitchen and the water heater in the basement their most frequented hideaways.

Silverfish

These small, wingless insects are nocturnal and need to keep their bodies moist at all times in order to survive. You are likely to find them beneath boxes or furniture in your basement, the shower, or hiding in your kitchen.

Centipedes

Carnivorous and nocturnal, with their 100 feet, these pests can move quickly and spend most of the day hiding in humid, secluded places. They are highly attracted to the moist, humid parts of the home because they need to rehydrate constantly in order to live.

Earwigs

Known to burrow into topsoil outside, these nocturnal bugs can also infiltrate dark and humid areas of your home. You are most likely to find them around floor drains, bathrooms, or under rugs or furniture.

Roly-Poly Bugs

Also known as pill bugs, sow bugs, potato bugs, or armadillo bugs, these bugs often infest damp basements.

Tips to Prevent/Eliminate Summer Pests:

Healthy Home |

Professionals Needed: Here Are The Home Projects You Should Never DIY

2 minute read

So you bought your first house and can’t wait to rip up that crummy carpet. Go for it! But if you hit dirt, you might need to call in backup. As more millennials take the plunge into home ownership, it’s becoming more and more common to see DIY projects big and small. Things like carpet removal are doable. But no matter how many tips and tricks you’ve picked up from HGTV, Pinterest, or YouTube, there are some projects that simply aren’t worth the money, time, or risk to do yourself.

Setting Limits on DIY Home Projects

Skill Level for DIY Home Projects:

For some people, DIY is a way of life. For the rest of us, we need to be honest about our skills and level of experience. Sometimes a “simple” job can actually be a lot more complex than it appears. Hire a professional for these projects before you try it yourself and make a mistake that costs way more to fix.

  • Paving your driveway
  • Custom kitchen and bathroom jobs – backsplashes, flooring, countertops
  • Pest removal
  • Window Installation

Time Commitment for DIY Home Projects:

Some home improvement jobs can take weeks to complete when you try to do them yourself. For big projects, hiring a professional will mean a quicker and more efficient job done well so you can get back to enjoying your home without interruptions.

  • Large landscaping projects
  • Flooring
  • Demolition

Permission for DIY Home Projects:

Some home improvement projects require permits due to building codes. Save yourself the headache, and possible code violation, by hiring a professional who’s familiar with the process when it comes to these types of jobs.

  • Additions and remodels
  • Deck or patio addition
  • Major electrical/plumbing work
  • Pool installation and repairs

Safety Risk for DIY Home Projects:

If there’s any question of your ability to do something without injury or structural damage to your home, it’s most definitely a job for a professional.

  • Mold, asbestos, lead removal
  • Tree removal
  • Roof and foundation repairs
  • HVAC system installation and repair

When you’ve decided you need a pro, try to keep the process simple to save you time and headaches. Start by reaching out to a few trusted contractors in your area to get estimates on the work, (recommendations from friends are a great place to start) and then consider price and professionalism before making your decision.

When it comes to HVAC work, we make it easy to find a pro. Along with plumbing and electrical work, HVAC is an area where it’s crucial to get the job done right the first time.

Sources:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/millennials-take-on-diy-projects-with-more-confidence-and-budgeting-discipline-than-previous-generations-300813538.html

https://www.familyhandyman.com/smart-homeowner/10-home-projects-you-should-always-hire-a-pro-for/

https://www.ahs.com/home-matters/quick-tips/8-household-projects-to-leave-to-professionals/

https://www.rd.com/home/improvement/diy-home-improvement-projects/

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/projects-you-should-not-diy_n_3923456

https://www.hallerent.com/blog/when-to-call-professional-for-home-improvement-repairs/

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AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

Stand Up for Clean Air

3 minute read

50 Years Later: The Clean Air Act of 1970

50 years ago, Congress signed a landmark bill – The Clean Air Act of 1970. This bill helped reduce air pollution, spurred energy-efficient machines, cars, and helped Americans breathe easier, but there’s still more work to be done. Now, the American Lung Association is asking everyone to join the Stand Up For Clean Air initiative to help make healthy air accessible to everyone.

Stand Up for Clean Air Initiative

The initiative focuses on creating clean air at home, at work, at school, and outdoors. It also focuses on reducing climate change and addressing air quality concerns after a natural disaster. Lastly, people can read about the state of the air in their community in the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report.

Its most recent State of the Air report states that nearly half of Americans live with unhealthy air. Most of that unhealthy air is a result of the byproducts of climate change.

“Climate change results in increased levels of wildfire smoke, worsened ozone pollution, more extreme storms and frequent flooding, which leave behind mold, polluted floodwater residue and other damage, exposing people to indoor air pollution as they clean up and repair homes. Many sources of climate pollution – power plants, oil and gas operations, and cars and trucks – also produce air pollution that is directly harmful to lung health.” – Harold Wimmer, American Lung Association CEO and President 

Air pollution contributes to premature deaths, heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and asthma attacks. Children, older adults, and those with underlying health conditions are most vulnerable.

Resources to Create Healthy Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality for Workplaces

With its Stand up for Clean Air initiative, the American Lung Association wants to create better indoor air quality. In doing so, the ALA provides several resources to help users advocate for these changes.

Fortunately, the ALA is not only the group advocating for healthy buildings and better indoor air quality.

The TH Chan School of Public Health at Harvard has been advocating for healthy buildings for 40 years. Through its advocacy, the school has completed and promoted studies that indicate production declines when employees are in an unhealthy workplace. Workers in these poor conditions type slower, take more sick days, and are generally less productive. Healthy insurance provider Kaiser Permanente estimates that the net result of this absenteeism and poor production costs businesses thousands of dollars per employee.

Indoor Air Quality for Schools

Students in poorly ventilated schools face similar problems. They lack focus, are more likely to get sick, and subsequently are more likely to be absent. This can result in lower performance. The American Lung Association and Environmental Protection Agency have collaborated to create a toolkit to help schools improve their indoor air quality with low-cost initiatives. Benefits include improved academic performance, higher rates of attendance, and healthier children.

Advocate for Clean Air

To join the fight against poor indoor air quality and air pollution, you can visit the American Lung Association and become an advocate.

“Everyone has a role to play in addressing climate change and ensuring clean air for all,” Wimmer said. “Our hope is that everyone – from individual citizens to industries, federal and state governments, and companies and brands – recognize that everyone is needed to ensure clean air for all and address an obstacle as unprecedented as climate change. I hope you’ll join us in realizing our vision of a world free of lung disease.” – Harold Wimmer

Please note: Aprilaire is a partner of the American Lung Association. We are a national sponsor of the American Lung Association’s fundraiser Fight for Air Climb FY20.