Environment | Healthy Air |

Make This Your Last Worst Allergy Season Ever

2 minute read

Are your allergies worse every year? While pollen levels and symptoms can vary from season to season, you may suffer from a short memory versus an actual increase in the severity of your allergies.

Because symptoms may not be present for much of the year, it’s easy to forget how miserable you feel in the springtime! As July approaches, many people with seasonal allergies may find their comfort level is quickly improving. Make no mistake, though, the pollen will be back next year and so will the sniffles, sneezes, and host of other symptoms.

So, how can you make next year more bearable? Just like in sports, the best offense is a good defense; it’s easier to prevent a fire than put one out. Of course, knowledge is power. In case all these old adages aren’t doing the trick, here’s some more-to-the-point ideas for feeling better next year.

Tips for Avoiding Allergies

Tip #1: See an Allergist

Before the pollen starts flying next spring, visit an allergist to learn exactly what you’re allergic to. You can then follow detailed pollen reports and better prepare on days when you know your top allergens are high! If your allergies are somewhat limited, you may even be a candidate for allergy shots (immunotherapy), which greatly reduces symptoms in some people. Unless of course you’re afraid needles, in which case allergy shots may not sound like a great treatment option!

Tip #2: Take Medication Before the Season Starts

If you rely on allergy medicines to get through the spring, don’t wait until the season starts to begin taking them. Oral antihistamines are more powerful if you’ve been taking them for a few weeks. Plus, most nasal steroids require that you begin up to six weeks before symptoms start. It’s best to discuss these medications with an allergist. If your doctor writes you a script, you can often get these great solutions at much less than the OTC price. Less symptoms and more cash in your pocket – that’s nothing to sneeze at! Seriously, you’ll sneeze less…

Tip #3: Don’t Let Allergens Take Up Residence in Your Home

Most seasonal allergens are airborne (pollen, pet dander, mold spores), so protecting the air you breathe is a great line of defense against fighting allergy symptoms while you’re inside. A whole-home air purifier is an extremely effective way to remove allergy triggers from your home. Installed as part of your HVAC system, these solutions scrub your air of pollen by circulating the air through a high-efficiency pleated filter. You won’t see or hear the purifier, but you’ll know it’s working when your nose stops running!

Healthy Home | Healthy Air |

Top 5 Man Cave Cleaning Tips

3 minute read

The hallowed Man Cave—where men of all ages go to forget about the responsibilities of adulthood and act like carefree boys once again. But all that fun and “guy stuff” can create a smelly, cluttered mess that needs to be cleaned up, and mommy’s not around anymore to do it. Below we have our top 5 Man Cave cleaning tips.

Things don’t need to be “white glove” clean, but keeping the smells in check and the clutter to a minimum can make sure your Man Cave privileges remain in good standing.

 

And while real caves are damp and stinky, YOUR cave doesn’t have to be. Controlling the climate in your Man Cave helps protect the structural integrity of your home and your big-boy toys, like pool tables and home theaters.

Here are some basic maintenance ideas that will keep your territory habitable and protected.

Top 5 Man Cave Cleaning Tips

  1. Trash Removal: This is the easy one. Take out all those empty boxes, cans, and food containers that have been piling up since forever. This makes a world of difference for stopping odors, keeping your space organized, and preventing pests.
  1. Prioritize: Do you really need those box scores from your high school baseball games? Or the set of collectible plastic cups (that you’ve used) from the ‘80s? Yes, you do need those things? OK, then you need to get rid of something else, like that third TV that doesn’t actually work but you’re planning on fixing up someday. Clear the clutter!
  1. Vacuum: Having cobwebs in the corners of your Man Cave might make you think a certain superhero has been hanging out with you and your buds. But, come on. You know those are from regular spiders and they’re not your friends. Use the hose attachment on your vacuum to clean out the corners of the room, spruce up any furniture you’ve got, and manage dust that’s accumulated.
  1. Air Freshener: All that sweat you and your jamming buddies produce might smell like rock ‘n’ roll during your set, but afterwards it can seriously harsh your relaxing time. Keep a couple oil diffusers (candles aren’t great for a confined space) in your Man Cave. Make sure to pick out some scents that won’t have your manliest of friends thinking less of you. A nice pine or warm clove scent will do the trick.
  1. Control Humidity: Most Man Caves are relegated to the forgotten spaces of the home, like the basement or the garage. While that’s good for privacy, these spaces often have issues with humidity control, which can lead to a number of annoying headaches. High humidity can worsen odors, damage electronics and wooden furniture, and make it difficult to cool down your Man Cave. Just like in the rest of your house, it’s important to control humidity consistently and efficiently, both for your comfort and for the longevity of your living spaces.

Make sure you have a humidity system that can keep up with the demands of man cave climate control. Keep in mind that a small, portable dehumidifier might not cut it, plus it can be noisy and a pain to take care of. You may need something more manly, like a whole-home dehumidifier, that works within the existing ventilation system. It’ll keep your Man Cave clean and comfortable.

While this is a great place to start, you’re always welcome to do more. And our last of many Man Cave cleaning tips, it’s always easier to keep something clean when you stay on top of it. Now, that’s enough chit-chat. Let’s get back to the game.

dehumidifier

Healthy Humidity | Healthy Air |

The Right Dehumidifier For Your Home

3 minute read

Many homeowners rely solely on air conditioning to keep their homes comfortable during the hot months of the year. This causes the A/C unit to overcool the home, making the living environment uncomfortable. It also places a big burden on the air conditioner and electric bill.

One of the best things you can do for your air conditioner is give it a high-powered sidekick that can lighten its load: a trusty dehumidifier. These systems lower the amount of moisture in the air so that the air conditioner doesn’t have to work overtime to achieve a comfortable Relative Humidity in the home.

It’s important to find the right size and model of dehumidifier for your home. The decision largely comes down to the size of your home and the climate of its location.

Here’s a quick chart to show the amount of water each Aprilaire model can remove from the air. Then a rundown of different locations and what they require for dehumidification. Of course, it’s always a good idea to consult your local Aprilaire professional to make sure you find the ideal solution.

Aprilaire Model Water Removal House Size
1830 70 (pints per day) Up to 3800 sq. ft
1850 95 ppd up to 5200 sq. ft
1870 130 ppd up to 7200 sq. ft

Wisconsin Cape Cod Home

A finished basement is a point of pride in the Midwest, so it’s only right to protect it and make sure it’s better than your neighbor’s.

Excess moisture seeps in from the surrounding earth and can make basements damp and musty, and even encourage mold growth. A dehumidifier works to control moisture levels and keep your prized basement a healthy and comfortable environment. In an average Midwest climate, the Model 1850 is likely your best bet.

Florida Bungalow

The southern United States is home to high humidity and snowbirds. The smart ones among us who move from the north to warmer climates during the winter months. Both of these factors can negatively impact the longevity and health of homes in this area.

Humidity can build up while residents are away during the hottest summer months, potentially leading to structural damage and mold growth. When the homes are occupied, the air conditioner is usually running nonstop and that can lead to overcooling. A Model 1830 is perfect for climates with constant high humidity because it helps make the air conditioner more efficient. It also keeps the entire home comfortable and free of wood rot and other moisture damage so you can focus on enjoying your winter getaway.

Kentucky Homestead

Homes in this part of the country are often built with crawl spaces. When water gets into these areas, it can mean structural damage to the home and a shrinking condition for your wallet. What’s more is that excess moisture and temperature changes in the crawl space can travel up into the rest of the home, creating potential issues with mold, mildew, and insect infestations.

 The best way to solve this problem is to seal up the crawl space and manage the dew point, which can be done using a freestanding dehumidifier like the Model 1850F.

Arizona Abode

The fabled “dry heat” of the southwest United States can present a different set of problems for home comfort. If you’re running an air conditioner to stay cool, it can zap the already low amounts of moisture from the air. Dry air leads to dry skin, a scratchy throat, and annoying electric shocks.

That’s when a humidifier can come in handy. It adds the perfect amount of moisture back into the air so your entire home can stay comfortable during the hottest, most arid times of the year.

Dehumidifier Control Where You Want It

Worried about monitoring humidity levels? Our thermostat and control lineup gives you intuitive command of the Relative Humidity in your home. It also includes smart settings that control humidity levels automatically. They make it easy to enjoy a comfortable living space without needing to sweat the details!

sleep hygiene

Healthy Air | Wellness |

The Best Temperature For Good Sleep

2 minute read

Have you heard of sleep hygiene? It’s not about washing your bed sheets on a regular basis (though, you should). It’s all about finding the best ways to get consistent, quality sleep by forming a healthy routine and optimizing your sleeping environment.

Sleep hygiene deals with everything from caffeine intake to light exposure to exercise. One of the most important factors on the list is the temperature of your sleeping environment.

 If your bedroom is too hot, you’re tossing and turning all night, waking up in a puddle of sweat. Too cold and shivering prevents you from achieving deep, restful sleep.

The body expends lots of energy trying to reach an ideal temperature. By helping it get there, you can prevent those restless, exhausting nights.

 Ideal Sleeping Temperatures

Everyone has a preference when it comes to temperature, so you should stick with whatever heat level gives you the most restful sleep. But the general rule of thumb for sleep hygiene is to opt for cooler temperatures over warmer, typically somewhere between 60-67°F.

The body goes through normal temperature fluctuations throughout the day, naturally cooling off around nighttime. By creating a cooler environment, you can encourage natural feelings of tiredness and get to sleep fast. You also get more restful sleep throughout the night when your body doesn’t have to waste energy regulating temperatures. This lets you wake up feeling fully restored and refreshed.

How To Control Temperatures

It can be difficult to find and maintain the perfect temperature for your best sleep. It’s a lot easier with a programmable thermostat that can deliver precise temperatures to any room in your house. Our Wi-Fi Thermostat lets you control heating and cooling using your smart phone or the wall-mounted digital control panel. You can program it to automatically lower temperatures around bedtime and raise them when you wake up. That means you don’t even have to think about creating an ideal sleep environment. You can just enjoy it.

 Clean Air

Air quality is another aspect to consider when creating your ideal sleeping environment. An air purifier can help you fall asleep fast and wake up feeling refreshed by removing allergens and irritants from the air. Stop dealing with a stuffy nose as part of your morning routine. Program an “Air Cleaning” cycle for about an hour before you go to bed and you’ll breathe in fresh air throughout the night.

Prefer some white noise as you doze off? Schedule the Event-Based™ Air Cleaning schedule for whenever you typically go to bed and the pleasant hum of the air purifier will help dampen noises that might otherwise disturb your sleep.

Source: National Sleep Foundation

high humidity

Archive |

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.