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5 DIY Jobs Better Left to Professional Contractors

3 minute read

5 DIY jobs better left to 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.

St. Vincent de Paul

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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.

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Experiencing the Fight For Air Climb

2 minute read

Before the Fight For Air Climb

Entering the US Bank Center for the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb was a rush of energy.

This seemed less like an arduous trek up 1,000 stairs and more of an indoor festival. There were volunteers ready to greet you and pump you up for the ensuing climb and people from different companies sitting at tables ready to hand out souvenirs.

They were probably also there to distract you after you just got done instinctively looking up toward the top of the 47-story US Bank Center in downtown Milwaukee becoming a little uneasy at the prospect of your journey upward.

Before you made your climb, you gathered as a team and took several escalators down to the basement level before getting warmed up with a quick aerobic routine. Then you took a long and winding tunnel where you greeted by more volunteers who were cheering you on. It was hard not to feel inspired and excited.

During the Fight For Air Climb

One-by-one people took off up toward the top of the US Bank Center to begin their Fight For Air Climb. I, like most, started off confidently and quickly. I took the first six flights easily, but then by flight eight, I began to fight for air. I now understand why they title this climb just that. My mind and my body were at odds. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to continue at the same pace to get it over with as quickly as possible or to slow down and feel better. I went with the former.

Everyone in the stairwell was trudging onward with the same dilemma. We all were gasping for air as we kept pushing up each step and each flight toward the top of the Fight For Air Climb. At several points, I wondered if I was actually making any progress.

Every 10 flights there was a group of volunteers handing out cups of water and words of encouragement. Both were sorely needed to help push me along.

With each passing flight, I kept a tally of how many flights I had left. Twenty flights down, 27 more flights to go; 30 flights down, 17 flights to go; Ok, 40 flights down, 7 to go. By the time I got to the 40th floor, I knew I could make the last push to make it to the top of my Fight For Air Climb journey.

After the Fight For Air Climb

Eventually, I reached the top after 9 minutes and 31 seconds. At the top of the stairwell, I was met by volunteers who were cheering me on and by other climbers who were also catching their breath and taking in the picturesque views of Milwaukee and Lake Michigan afforded to us by the tallest building in Wisconsin.

As I grabbed a water and walked around soaking in both the views of the city and my accomplishment, it was really cool to watch teams taking pictures together or greeting other climbers with high-fives and smiles. There was a certain camaraderie found in a common struggle.

Despite the lingering soreness, I cannot wait for next year’s climb. No matter if I beat my time from this year or not, it’s about fighting for air together and helping those impacted with lung disease.

To join an upcoming climb in a city near you, visit www.lung.org/aprilaire.

flights

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Experts Say Flights Can Resume, But Bring Increased Risks

2 minute read

Air quality experts say that it is safe to resume flying, but travelers must take advanced precautions before traveling like taking shorter flights when possible, wearing masks, and social distancing. 

In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Joseph Allen, an assistant professor of exposure assessment science at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, makes the case that airplanes do not make you sick. In fact, airplanes have comparable levels of air filtration and fresh air ventilation to a health care facility

Flights May Be Less Comfortable With Recommendations

He argues that airlines should continue disinfecting high-touch areas such as armrests and tray tables, stop in-flight food service, mandate mask-wearing, and ask patrons to keep their above ventilation fan on throughout the flight. While these adjustments make flying less enjoyable, they can help reduce in-flight virus transmission. Masks are currently required on public transportation. 

Allen is not the only one saying it is safe to resume flying. 

‘Safer Than Eating At A Restaurant’

Linsey Marr, an engineering professor at Virginia Tech, in a CNN article writes, “When HEPA ventilation systems are running on a plane and everyone is masked, the risk of Covid-19 is greatly reduced and makes air travel on a big jet safer than eating at a restaurant.”

Activities Create Biggest Risks

She and Allen argue that the biggest risks in airline travel stem from activities like the pre-flight boarding process or when a flight is delayed and people are stuck on the plane. Marr, who has been wearing an air quality monitor when she travels, said CO2 levels are elevated during these aforementioned activities and are indicative of a lack of fresh air ventilation. 

Marr told CNN that “A CO2 (carbon dioxide) level of 3,000 ppm means that for every breath I take in, about 7% of the air is other people’s exhaled breath…like drinking someone else’s backwash!”

The airport also presents other problems for travelers.

Allen suggests airports create more touchless experiences, upgrade their HVAC system, and require masks. Some updates have already been implemented in some airports or will be implemented in the future. 

Other experts suggest carrying your own personal hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and sticking to shorter flights

Even though there are risks to flying, Marr and Allen say you are clear for takeoff this summer