Archive |

Build Your Own Honeybee Habitat

3 minute read

Build Your Own Honeybee Habitat

It’s no secret the honeybee is vital to the health and wellness of food crops – but they’re also vital to pollinating many plants, including many trees.

In honor of Honeybee Awareness Day, we put together this easy DIY guide to creating your own bee habitat. Your plants and the planet will thank you!

To get started:

  1. Find or build a small to medium-sized wooden frame or box with one open side and one flat side. In this case, we used a wooden Mason jar holder with separators.
  2. Get some sheets of recycled, untreated brown paper to make the bee tubes.
  3. Wrap the paper around a pencil to create a paper tube at consistent sizes, use Scotch tape to keep the rolls together.
  4. Use the depth of the box as a guide to see how much of each roll to cut off.
  5. Using scissors cut each tube to the appropriate length for the box. Then, insert the tubes into the box high enough to fill the space completely so that they don’t fall out.
  6. Next, fill two of the sections with recycled Aprilaire Water Panels. Start by measuring the width and height of the remaining openings of the box.
  7. Use those measurements to mark out the correct sizing on thewater panel. We found it easier to go about 1/8” larger to make it a tighter fit.
  8. Use a utility knife to cut the water panel to the appropriate size, which is easier than it looks.
  9. Finally, place the cut out water panels into the box. It should be a snug fit and, if needed, you can use something flat like a ruler to press or wedge the water panel into the box.
  10. That’s all! Your Mason Bee House is ready to go. Place it somewhere in your backyard near flowers and preferably sheltered from rain.

Healthy Home |

Getting to Know Your Smart Home

2 minute read

Technology in the home has evolved rapidly in recent years, making many housekeeping tasks easier and more efficient than ever. But sometimes all the setup, troubleshooting, and maintenance of a Smart Home can seem overwhelming and unnecessary. Are these new ways of completing familiar tasks worth the hassle?

Lighting

The right lighting can really transform different rooms in your home. The ability to dim lights or add lighting to previously dark areas will give you more control over the appearance and atmosphere of your home. This can be accomplished using smart bulbs, smart switches, or smart outlets. We recommend starting with smart bulbs to get a feel for what this technology can do. Using your phone or voice commands with a smart personal assistant device, you can turn on, off, and dim smart bulbs from anywhere. And perhaps best of all, it won’t be a constant battle to remind your kids to turn the lights off. They’ll just have their personal assistant do it.

Locks

Smart home locks make it easier to enter and exit your home, and harder for unwanted people to enter. Smart locks can sense you and your family’s presence by pairing with your phones. They unlock automatically without having to fumble for keys. Many of them offer temporary keys that allow one-time access for service providers, pet sitters, and others who may need to get in. You can manage it all on an easy-to-use app that gives you full control over your home’s accessibility and security.

Thermostat

It’s nice when your home feels effortlessly comfortable—that’s where smart thermostats can help. They feature easy scheduling so you can automatically drop the temperature at night for comfortable rest or turn off the system while you’re away on vacation to help conserve electricity. Some even integrate with your whole-home humidifier, air purifier, and entire HVAC system to control all aspects of the air and the temperature in your home. Now that’s cool. (But if it’s too cool, just grab your phone and turn down the air!)

Landscaping

Using sprinklers to keep your lawn greener than the neighbor’s? You’re already one step above manual watering! “Smart Sprinklers” are the next logical move. They go beyond a regular watering schedule to monitor different zones of your lawn that may require more water because they see lots of sunlight. They even use weather data to turn off sprinklers if a rainstorm is on the way. This all happens automatically, so you don’t have to worry about a thing.

Security

It’s important to feel safe in your smart home, and having a video monitoring system is an easy way to accomplish that. They’re most often motion-activated, which helps save electricity and makes it easier to distinguish when there might actually be a problem or intruder. Whether you’re at home or away, most systems let you watch live footage on your cell phone and save clips to share with family or law enforcement. After installing the cameras, all setup and control happens right on your phone. So if you’re comfortable with that, managing your security system won’t be an issue.

Healthy Home | Healthy Air |

4 Alexa Skills You Can Use to Increase Indoor Wellness

2 minute read

Maximizing Indoor Air Quality and energy savings is easy with Alexa-enabled Aprilaire thermostats. Especially if you’ve already enabled the Aprilaire Alexa skill. (And if you haven’t, what are you really waiting for?We want to help all of our customers feel their best and save money. So, we came across a few other Alexa skills to help you out.

My Allergy Assistant

“Alexa, ask My Allergy Assistant what the pollen levels are.”

My Allergy Assistant is a handy Amazon Alexa skill that can help you identify and report current pollen levels in your area. Pollen and other allergens have a direct impact on Indoor Air Quality. They can be detrimental to the overall quality of life for those of us with environmental allergies. Nobody loves itchy eyes, runny noses or sneezing every thirty seconds. That’s where My Allergy Assistant comes in. While this skill may not prevent you from feeling the effects of your allergies, My Allergy Assistant can indirectly recommend what days you’ll likely need to prepare for them, meaning when to turn up that air purifier!

Gyant

“Alexa, ask Gyant to check my symptoms.”

While My Allergy Assistant is great to try and prevent potential allergy symptoms from flaring up, the Gyant Amazon Alexa skill can help you discern what the underlying cause of any symptoms you may already have. If you’re feeling under the weather or have any allergy symptoms you want to look into, Gyant can help you figure out the best next steps toward feeling better. Using Gyant in conjunction with My Allergy Assistant can go a long way toward recognizing symptoms and taking the necessary steps to feel better. That said, Gyant is a robot, not a doctor. If you believe you may be having a medical emergency, dial 911 or consult your physician as soon as possible. 

iRobot Home (Roomba)

“Alexa, ask Roomba to start cleaning.”

One of the best ways to reduce allergy symptoms and increase Indoor Air Quality at home is to make sure your home is clean in the first place. What better way to accomplish a cleaner, allergen-free home than to delegate that task to a bot whose only job in this world is literally to clean, like a Roomba? If you have a Wi-Fi-connected Roomba® at home, you can use the iRobot Home Amazon Alexa skill to reduce the number of allergens in your home without lifting a finger. The iRobot Home skill allows you to tell Roomba when to start or stop cleaning; when to go “home” to its docking station; or ask where it is in your home.

Aprilaire

“Alexa, what is the temperature in the bedroom?”

Temperature settings can have a drastic effect on indoor health and wellness as well as energy savings. For temperature, you certainly want to maintain a temperature that the whole family can enjoy. Temperatures too cool or too hot can lead to the chills or possibly even dehydration, respectively. As far as energy is concerned, programmable thermostats can help you save up to 30% on heating and cooling costs. Alexa-enabled Aprilaire Wi-Fi thermostats paired with the Alexa skill allow you to command control of every zone in your home with ease.

Environment |

Aprilaire and Zyrtec® Alexa Skills Go Hand-in-Hand

2 minute read

Aprilaire and Zyrtec® Alexa help allergy sufferers

Nobody wants allergies. In fact, we’re certain that 98% of the world would do away with them in a heartbeat if they could. The sneezing, the itchy eyes, the throbbing headaches and constant sinus pressure – gross. Fortunately, Aprilaire and Zyrtec® Alexa skills can help with both, giving you a 360° plan of attack against allergies.

What if we all just moved on?

Since that’s obviously not possible right now, there are two options: prevention and treatment.

P®®revention

The Aprilaire and Zyrtec® Alexa skills can both help in the prevention of allergy symptoms.

For instance, Alexa-enabled Aprilaire Wi-Fi thermostats can help you purify the air in your home, removing airborne allergens in the process. In addition, you’ll be able to maintain ideal humidity levels, which go a long way toward reducing mold, dust mites and allergens. The Aprilaire Alexa skill will allow you to command control of these aspects without lifting a finger.

Zyrtec®’s Alexa skill provides you with a daily AllergyCast® report, which Zyrtec® describes as a “real-feel forecast” containing weather, pollen count and predominant allergens in your area. However, probably the most exciting part of this skill is the Allergy Impact Score, helping you track how you feel over time to determine what it is that’s setting off your allergies.

Treatment

Through long-term and short-term treatments, many allergy sufferers should be able to keep allergies at bay with the Aprilaire and Zyrtec® Alexa skills.

While it may not exactly be considered “treatment,” playing the long game

with Alexa-enabled Aprilaire Wi-Fi Thermostats can set you up for greater success in the fight against allergies. Over time, you’ll be able to remove lingering allergens and contaminants, using only your voice with the Aprilaire Alexa Skill.

Of course, Zyrtec® allergy medication is one of many obvious choices for fast allergy relief. Pairing their treatment with greater indoor air quality thanks to the Aprilaire Alexa skill as well as Zyrtec®’s AllergyCast® skill can attack allergies from all angles.

* * *

For improved allergy systems, first be sure to consult your physician. Secondly, try improving your indoor air quality for increased long-term effects with Alexa-enabled Aprilaire Wi-Fi thermostats. Find a dealer today!

Archive |

Aprilaire Committed to Being a Good Neighbor

< 1 minute read

Behind any strong company is a set of strong values. Research Products, the parent company of Aprilaire, is proud of its values and our commitment toward upholding them.  Our values set standards for not only our internal employees and company initiatives, but also our presence in the community.

Aprilaire believes that being a successful company also means “Being a Good Neighbor” – one of our core values. We partner with local organizations, charities and other non-profit groups.

How are we a good neighbor in Madison

Additionally, we are proud members of Sustain Dane, an organization committed to sustainability in the Madison, Wisconsin-area as well as across the nation. Aprilaire was recently named an M-Power business champion by Sustain Dane, which signifies our role as a leader for sustainability in our area.

Our biggest contribution to many of these organizations is directly through our valued employees. In 2017 alone, 121 Aprilaire employees have volunteered more than 285 hours to help the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry and the St. Vincent de Paul Seton House.  In addition to volunteer hours, employees frequently participate in raffles and Good Neighbor Events hosted by the company to raise funds for St. Vincent de Paul.

Funds provide pack-and-plays to mothers in need.  Employees also provide food to help stock the pantry and other monetary and in-kind donations throughout the year.

Aprilaire is extremely proud of its commitment to these organizations and our employees who are always eager to lend a helping hand.

Archive |

3 Aprilaire products designed for use during World War II

2 minute read

Aprilaire helped the war effort with these World War II products

One of the great things about the “war effort” during World War II was that almost everyone gave something. Consumers made sacrifices on many goods better used to serve the troops. Production across the U.S. also ramped up. Research products produced several World War II products that helped protect consumers at home and soldiers throughout the world.

After Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt told Congress “powerful enemies must be out-fought and out-produced.” America set staggering new benchmarks for production during the war, doubling output in just 4 years. Since much of the male workforce was enlisted, women were vital to the war effort. The growth and innovation that occurred during the war helped solidify the manufacturing boom that helped grow the middle class through the 1950s.

The War at Home for RP: World War II products developed by Aprilaire

Like many American companies during the second world war, Research Products Corporation – the parent company of Aprilaire – designed and manufactured World War II products specifically to support America’s effort. Some of these products made their way to the battlefield.

  1. “Curtain is Raid Protection” – This was the headline in a 1943 newspaper clipping about some of the company’s war-related products. One photo shows office worker Ann Bock demonstrating the use of the company’s blackout curtain and flying glass protector. Blackouts were a means of defense against air raids during World War II. Military aircraft still relied largely on human site when identifying targets on a bomb run. Blackouts were more common on the east coast. The caption of the article points out that Ms. Bock “doesn’t really fear Madison is going to be bombed”. She was happy to do her part for the war effort, though.
  1. RP Silica Gel – This was an absorbent material that helped prevent moisture damage, corrosion, and damage to vital war goods. These included machine guns, airplanes, and antibiotics. You still see silica gel packs today in new products like shoes. (Aprilaire’s parent company sold off the product line shortly after the end of the war).
  2. Expanded Fiber Material – Similar to the material used to make the blackout curtains, this heavy kraft paper was also used to make camouflage, air filters and other products for the battlefield. Newspaper articles discussing the products had headlines including, “Madison Sends ‘Silent Convey’ to Guard Vital War Machines,” and “Allies Depend on Research Products Corp.”

Aprilaire is proud of its history to support the war effort.

Archive |

The History of Aprilaire: Innovations in Indoor Air Quality

2 minute read

Aprilaire: Our History

People have always wanted to be comfortable and healthy indoors. From living in cooled caves,to building cabins shaded by trees, to installing air conditioners in homes. The pursuit of a better living environment has consistently been a part of human life. The only thing that changes is the technology. Let’s take a look at the history of Aprilaire, our technology, and how we’ve continued to improve the health and comfort of people’s homes.

Aprilaire: The Beginning 

Our story began in 1938 with the formation of Research Products Corporation, the parent company of Aprilaire. We started up in Madison, Wisconsin after former employees of the Burgess Battery Company purchased patents and buildings from their old employer. Their goal: Specializing in building materials and products that condition water.

These products increased in demand during wartime in the early 1940s and allowed the company to expand. A new direction was needed after the end of the war.

Aprilaire: From Water to Air

Starting in 1954, the company switched some of its focus to indoor air quality by introducing the first truly effective whole-home humidifier. This was a game-changer for Research Products and for homes across the country.

Seasons are harsh in Wisconsin. Research Products employees experienced and sympathized with the effects of dry winter air. That led to the creation of humidification solutions, which became the first indoor air quality products branded with the Aprilaire name.

Aprilaire Expansion

The humidifier became popular quickly and shortly after its introduction, the company expanded into more buildings in Madison and purchased land about 25 miles north in the village of Poynette, Wisconsin.

It was also around this time that Research Products began looking for other areas of investment. In 1963, they were awarded a patent for an air-to-air solar heating system. This forward-thinking approach has stayed with the Aprilaire brand ever since.

Aprilaire: New Technology and Rebranding

In 1989, Aprilaire introduced the first automatic humidifier control, setting the stage for modern humidistats.

In 2000, all installed air quality products would bear the Aprilaire name.

Aprilaire continued to perfect and innovate with products like air purifiers, ventilation systems, temperature control units, and dehumidifiers. Plus, a full line of humidifiers for a range of different applications.

Aprilaire: Today and Tomorrow

Aprilaire is still based in Madison, Wisconsin and remains committed to providing innovative indoor air quality solutions through research, engineering, product refinement, and practical experience.