high humidity

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3 Ways High Humidity Makes Life Difficult

2 minute read

Ways Humidity Makes Life Difficult

High Humidity can be annoying.

If your house is well insulated and lacks proper ventilation, excess moisture can build up from cooking, laundry, and bathing. In fact, these normal activities can add up to 25 pounds of moisture to the air in your home every day.

High humidity is impossible to ignore, so it needs to be dealt with head-on. If you’re experiencing any of the problems below, it may be time to consider a dehumidification system in your home.

 Out of Control Hair

If you’ve ever tried to straighten your hair in high humidity, you know how frustrating it can be.

Here’s why: When there’s lots of hydrogen in the air, excess water molecules can easily bind together multiple keratin proteins in your hair. This causes the hair to fold back in on itself, leading to crazy frizz that can quickly get out of control.

Even if your hair is naturally straight, high humidity can make it look dull and limp no matter what you try. It’s safe to say that humidity is not a great hair stylist.

Makeup Issues

Makeup shouldn’t melt. I mean, eyeliner should only run when you’re brought to tears by the inherent majesty of life and love.

But persistent high humidity has other ideas in mind. If your house is saturated with excess moisture, it’s pretty impossible to get makeup to cooperate. Your skin is shiny no matter what you do, and don’t even mention the eyeshadow creases. Seriously, don’t.

While skipping makeup is always an option, there are some days where you just want to rock it. Don’t let humidity make that decision for you.

Allergy Triggers

Excess moisture can aggravate allergy symptoms by creating the perfect breeding ground for mold, dust mites, and even insects. In fact, dust mites thrive when relative humidity exceeds 50%, making them difficult to manage even when you clean your house regularly.

Dust mites and mold are also two of the leading asthma triggers. This increases the likelihood of an asthma attack, making high humidity more than just an inconvenience – it’s a health risk.

Home is a place where you should feel at ease, but humidity can make it uncomfortable and potentially unsafe. So take back control of excess humidity and create a welcoming environment year-round.

Healthy Humidity | Healthy Home |

Dehumidification for the DIYer

2 minute read

How to Protect Your DIY Projects from Humidity

You’re a DIYer. When the house needs fixing, you pick up a hammer, not the phone. You have the tools, the skills, and the motivation.  Don’t let humidity take that way! Learn how to protect your DIY projects from humidity with these tips.

Humidity: The Damaging Variable of Home Repair

Any craftsman, be they weekend warrior or full-time contractor, must deal with an invisible but damaging variable of home repair: excess or insufficient humidity. Indoor Relative Humidity impacts your house in many ways, but most noticeably by damaging woodwork, wood floors, cabinets, and trim.

A lack of humidity leads to cracks, gaps, and creaking in wood floors. You may also notice crown molding that is pulling away from the wall or ceiling. This is never a pretty sight, but it can be particularly distressing if you did the job yourself. Work you proudly pointed out at your last Super Bowl party is now an eye sore you hope your friends don’t notice.

So how do you protect your projects from humidity?

No matter how well you did the job, humidity control is a separate issue. As we all know, trees need water to survive. In fact, a living tree can be up to 50% water! Even after that tree is turned into flooring or lumber, moisture will always be a part of its makeup. In the winter, dry air in your home will pull some of that moisture out of the wood causing it to shrink. In the summer, the wood will pull excess moisture out of the air causing it to swell. Neither scenario is good for wood, so you need to control indoor Relative Humidity.

Protect Your Projects from Humidity

Acclimate: Before installing flooring, trim, baseboard, or even hanging a door, allow the material to sit in your home on a flat surface for 48 hours. During this acclimation period, you will want the Relative Humidity in your house to be in a healthy and comfortable range: between 35-50%.

Follow Care Instructions: Wood flooring products should come with instructions for care. Pay close attention to how they should be cleaned. Wet mopping a hardwood floor can add a lot of damaging moisture to the surface.

Control Humidity: Whole-home solutions for humidity and dehumidification can help protect the job. Installed as part of the HVAC system, these solutions make controlling humidity throughout the entire house incredibly simple. You will be able to maintain that healthy range of Relative Humidity throughout the year. A HVAC professional can help you select the right humidification product for your home and make sure its installed correctly.

If you’re a master with the skill saw, skilled with a paint brush, and a sure shot with the nail gun, it’s time to conquer humidity control in your home.

Healthy Clean Air | Wellness |

Removing VOCs From Your Home

2 minute read

A Healthy Home environment is something everyone strives for. But despite your best efforts, unseen dangers can compromise the safety of your home.

removing VOCs

VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are gases released from certain chemicals, many of which are found in cleaning agents and other common household items. When large amounts of VOCs build up in your home, the air can become unsafe to breathe.

While no general standards exist for safe VOC concentrations (here’s more info from the EPA), it’s best to limit exposure for both your everyday comfort and potentially your long-term health. Here are some resources for removing VOCs in your home and improving the quality of the air your family breathes.

Don’t Store Unnecessary Chemicals

The following are sources of VOCs; you should avoid keeping them around your house and garage: paints, adhesives, cleaning agents, aerosol sprays, stored fuels, and other automotive products.

Look For Symptoms

Be aware of illnesses or symptoms in yourself and your kids. These can include: headaches, eye and nose irritation, sore throat, nausea, and unexplainably worse asthma symptoms. All are possible signs that you need to address VOC levels in your home.

Increase Ventilation

Bringing in fresh air is key to limiting VOC concentrations in your home, especially after cooking, using a wood fireplace, or doing arts and crafts. See how we’re solving fresh air problems.

Homemade Cleaners

Because so many commercially available cleaning products contain VOCs, it’s wise (and less expensive) to create your own cleaning agents at home.

Try this simple recipe for an all-purpose cleaner:

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 gallon water

Plus, try this recipe for a Natural bleach alternative for laundry and other cleaning:

  • 6 cups water
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide

Here are some natural air fresheners that remove odors throughout the home without harsh chemicals or aerosol cans:

  • Kitchen: Simmer vinegar and water on the stove during cooking.
  • Bathroom: Choose your favorite dried plants and herbs and keep them in a bowl in the bathroom. Pine, citrus, and cloves are some of our seasonal favorites.
  • Living Room: Plants are excellent at removing VOCs, like formaldehyde, and they work on odors, too.
  • Whole Home: Fresh air from the outdoors is a great way to flush out unwanted smells and VOCs. A ventilation system makes the process easy.

Archive |

Connected Home For A Healthy Environment

2 minute read

They say home is where the Wi-Fi connects automatically. And what a great feeling that is.

Wireless internet and connected devices simplify everyday tasks in the kitchen, entertainment room, and now throughout the entire home.

connected home thermostat

You feel a connection to your home. But is your home connected?

The Aprilaire® Wi-Fi Thermostat with IAQ Control gives you the power to monitor all aspects of indoor air quality so you can be confident your family is living in a healthy, comfortable environment.

We think that a connected home is a happy home. See how our Aprilaire® Wi-Fi Thermostat can take your home environment into the digital age and secure your family’s wellness.

Control All Aspects of Air Quality

Temperature

Most programmable thermostats are anything but intuitive. Clunky designs with mysterious controls can make you too scared to even touch the thing. Aprilaire® made this one different.

The large touchscreen control makes it easy to set and change temperatures in all areas of your home. You can even sync heating and cooling with your family’s schedule so there’s no wasted energy when everyone is away.

Air Purity

Event-Based™ Air Cleaning was designed for families with seasonal allergies and asthma. The system controls your Aprilaire® Air Purifier, letting you set when and how long it cleans the air in your home.

Fresh Air

Working with your Aprilaire® Ventilation System, the Wi-Fi Thermostat gives you control over the fresh air intake of your home. Whether you do it manually or set up an automatic schedule, the system will let you know when fresh air is pumped into your home, giving you peace of mind that your family is breathing clean, healthy air.

 Humidity

Whole-home humidification keeps your home comfortable throughout the year. It’s simple to set up and monitor your Aprilaire® Humidification and Dehumidification systems with the Wi-Fi Thermostat.

Still living without whole-home humidity control? See how easy it is to find the right humidifier for your home.

 Energy and Cost Savings

Power down while you’re away.

If you’re at work and the kids are at school, there’s just no reason to have your furnace or air conditioner running full blast. That way is a thing of the past.

The connected thermostat even lets you turn down the heat at night to create more comfortable sleeping conditions.

And comfort isn’t the only benefit. The EPA estimates that a programmable thermostat can save you 30% on annual energy costs. (Better start planning that vacation!)

 

Healthy Clean Air | Healthy Home |

Best Plants For Air Purification

3 minute read

What’s not to love about the great indoors? It’s got food, Wi-Fi, and there’s less of a chance you’ll make eye contact with a stranger. Huge benefits. But there can be a downside to spending the majority of the day inside. Indoor air pollution is a major health concern in the modern age and can lead to something called “sick building syndrome”.

With restricted ventilation and improper filtering, the air indoors can become saturated with dust, allergens, and chemicals. Breathing in those irritants all day can cause headaches, sore throat, and eye irritation.

Luckily for you, there’s an easy way to fight back. By bringing a little bit of the outdoors inside, you can filter the air in your home and workplace, so you can breathe easy and enjoy your Wi-Fi in good health.

Peace Lily

The ubiquitous peace lily prefers low light settings, just like most teenagers. But it’s also easy to care for, needing only lightly moistened soil throughout the year. In return, it’ll give you those pretty white blooms and no attitude.

Unfortunately, during flowering, the peace lily can actually add allergens like pollen to the air in your home. So you might want to avoid this one if you’re prone to spring allergies.

This is a good air purifier for the basement. A small window near the peace lily will be fine, but if it’s an underground basement, you can occasionally move the peace lily upstairs for some sunlight before returning it for downstairs duty.

Note to pet owners: While good for the air, the peace lily is very toxic to cats. If you have pets in the home, consider one of the other plants on the list first.

 Effective Against: Formaldehyde, Ammonia, Benzene, Carbon Monoxide

Palm Trees

The sight of palm trees can transport you to a tropical paradise any day of year. They can also help make the air in your home as refreshing as a warm ocean breeze (if you believe hard enough).

Fantasies aside, palm trees can truly improve the air quality in your home by filtering large amounts of formaldehyde and other common pollutants.

Try out a pygmy date palm or bamboo palm. They’re the most effective palms for air purification. But keep in mind that they require some pruning as they grow in order to keep your home from turning from “tropical paradise” into “overgrown jungle”.

Effective Against: Formaldehyde, Xylene

Spider Plants

Maybe the best thing about spider plants is their ability to survive the subpar caretaking most of us are likely to provide. They need only moderate amounts of water and indirect sunlight. They thrive in temperatures that are common in most indoor settings.

The second best thing about spider plants? They’re great at removing formaldehyde from the air with their slender leaves and occasional flowers. The small size makes them a great fit for your desk at work.

Plus, they’re non-toxic—ideal for homes with small children or pets.

The worst thing about spider plants? Probably that creepy-crawly name.

Effective Against: Formaldehyde, Xylene 

Chrysanthemum

In the “Clean Air Study” commissioned by NASA, the chrysanthemum came out on top as the best plant for air purification.

Well done, mum.

You can find chrysanthemums at just about any garden center for a reasonable price. They’re excellent at removing various common irritants from the air. Plus, their flowers lend a pleasant pop of color.

One caveat: they do most of their filtering during their blooming period, which typically lasts just six weeks. An easy solution is to replant them outside once blooming is complete.

(You’ll want to make sure to keep your chrysanthemum away from pets, as the leaves are toxic when ingested.)

Effective Against: Xylene, Formaldehyde, Ammonia, Benzene

Boston Fern

Despite its name, this common household plant is native to tropical climates, which can make caring for it a bit tedious for most people.

The Boston fern needs a cool place with high humidity and indirect light, and requires constant damp soil with a few applications of fertilizer per year.

That can seem like a lot of attention. But if you’re willing to put in the work, the Boston fern is effective at filtering formaldehyde along with xylene and benzene, two byproducts of automobile exhaust.

Plant it in a hanging pot for air filtration in rooms with exposed beams or vaulted ceilings. Just keep it at arm’s reach to prevent making daily care a chore.

Effective Against: Formaldehyde, Benzene, Xylene

Healthy Air |

5 Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

2 minute read

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 that create pollution, 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 (about five times more, to be exact). 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

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.

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 subfloors are just a few examples.

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 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.

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 VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and reduce humidity.

Archive |

5 Signs You Need a Basement Dehumidifier

2 minute read

Signs You Need a 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.