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Ask Aprilaire: What Can Your Alexa Skill Do for You?

3 minute read

You’ve set up your Aprilaire Alexa skills, and you’re ready to bask in the glorious atmosphere of your home with your new pal Alexa. There’s just one problem: What do you two talk about?

Awkward…

That’s why we’ve put together some icebreakers to help you and your Aprilaire Alexa skills get acquainted. Check back often for more conversation starters as they’re added!

But before we begin, if you have an Aprilaire thermostat in your home, you’ll need to specify which thermostat you’re referencing by mentioning the name you chose for them – for example, “Upstairs” or “Downstairs.”

You can learn more about naming your thermostats here.

 Set Your Preferred Temperature

Alexa, set/turn/change <Thermostat Name> to XX degrees.

You know your home better than anyone else. Similarly, you know the temperature your family prefers in order to function properly throughout the year. All you need to do now is let Alexa know.

Alexa is able to maintain your Aprilaire thermostat for you year-round while you tend to more important matters around your home like getting the kids ready for school or paying the bills.

Set it and forget it with Alexa for a happier home environment.

INCREASE THE TEMPERATURE

Alexa, raise/increase <Thermostat Name> temperature by X degrees. 

No matter what climate you live in, winter months mean cooler weather. Because of this, there’s a good chance you’ll want to raise the temperature to offset the apparent tundra surrounding your home.

For that, there’s Alexa.

Just tell Alexa to raise or increase the temperature by however many degrees you’d prefer. She’ll be happy to help.

LOWER THE TEMPERATURE

Alexa, lower/decrease <Thermostat Name> temperature by X degrees.

Again, no matter the climate you live in, summer months mean warmer weather. Be sure to keep your home cool and drink plenty of water during summertime scorchers to prevent heat-induced injuries, and maintain a healthy home.

Thankfully, with Alexa, lowering your temperature requires very little physical action, allowing you to revel in the cool, refreshing breeze gently circulating throughout your home.

Just tell Alexa to lower or decrease the thermostat temperature by however many degrees you’d prefer. She’s here to help you keep your cool.

FIND OUT THE INDOOR TEMPERATURE

Alexa, what is <Thermostat Name> temperature? 

Curious what the temperature is in your home? Just ask! Sometimes outside weather conditions can shift dramatically, causing your indoor temperature to rise or drop.

Either way, Alexa is well aware of the temperate climate in your humble abode and can provide you with those details post haste. If you’re not happy with the temperature, see any of the above commands so that Alexa can help you reset your temperature.

AT WHAT TEMPERATURE IS THE THERMOSTAT CURRENTLY SET

Alexa, what is <Thermostat Name> temperature set to?

Did someone forget to adjust the thermostat when they came home? Or maybe the kids are playing around with the thermostat, again.  The setpoint of the thermostat dictates where the temperature is heading towards; thus incorrect settings can cause unnecessary energy usage and more expensive energy bills.
Alexa will let you know what the current set point is with this simple command and you can rest easy knowing you may have saved yourself a few bucks.

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Enable the Aprilaire Alexa skills on your Amazon Echo device today, and remember to keep checking back here for updated Alexa commands as we add them.

St. Vincent de Paul

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2021: Aprilaire’s Good Neighbor Values

2 minute read

Click the play button to listen to the post

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