Archive |

Want a healthier home? Just ask Alexa!

2 minute read

Alexa can do some pretty cool things – order a pizza, check airport security wait times, help you tune your guitar and even tell you what’s up on Mars. Alexa’s skill set grows daily and users are always finding exciting new products and services to work with.

Some of Alexa’s most useful features help you quickly adjust the environment of your home by dimming the lights, turning on a movie and even maximizing comfort.

A cozy night in…

From your fingertips, to the tip of your lips: whole-home Indoor Air Quality is in your control with Aprilaire. With our Wi-Fi thermostats and Alexa you can maximize the comfort in your home by simply speaking up. Perhaps cuddling up under a blanket on the couch during movie time has made it a little warm – just say:

“Alexa decrease the Family Room temperature by 3 degrees.”

If your spouse gets chilly, she can raise it back up.

“Alexa, raise the temperature by 5 degrees.”

Unfortunately, comfort is fairly subjective so if you get an argument over the ideal temperature, Alexa can’t help. If that’s the case, maybe it would better if your next romantic night was a night out.

A care free night out…

Aprilaire Wi-Fi Thermostats also allow you to activate “Away” mode – saving money by reducing heating or cooling costs during a much needed surprise date night! It works by setting the thermostat to a preset temperature until you turn the mode off. This way, you can bypass your usual schedule with just one touch on your smart phone device. When you arrive back home from that fine French restaurant – or the new burger joint – just turn off “Away” mode and your usual schedule will resume.

If you really need to get away, “Vacation” mode allows you to place a hold until a date of your choosing. You’ll save money while you’re away – but can still come home to a cozy house!

Environment | Healthy Home |

4 Easy Strategies for Summer Energy Savings

2 minute read

Energy bills can skyrocket during the summer. The constant heat and humidity makes your cooling system run constantly, using large amounts of electricity and costing you money. These simple, no-hassle tips for energy savings can save electricity and money that you can now spend on more pool toys.

Turn Off Lights

This one seems obvious. But not only will it save electricity that would’ve been spent powering bulbs, it also eases the burden on your air conditioner. Most light bulbs give off a not-insignificant amount of heat, working in opposition to efforts to cool your home. Another option is to replace standard bulbs with LEDs. They last forever and don’t give off as much heat.

Water Heater Temperature

The default setting on most water heaters is 140°F. You likely don’t need water that’s quite that hot, so turn it down a notch to the “warm setting” of 120°F. That will save energy and prevent accidental scalding while washing your hands.

Smart Thermostat

Connected devices are built for efficiency and energy savings. A smart thermostat can make sure your cooling systems and dehumidifiers are running only when they can be most effective, and only when they’re really needed. You simply set the temperature you want and the device will find the most energy saving way to get there. Most of these products have an “Energy Saver” mode as well, so use that whenever possible. Make sure to notify the device if your house is empty while you’re away on vacation.

When it comes to setting the thermostat, choose the highest temperature that’s comfortable for you and your family. This will save power and prevent you from getting a massive temperature jolt when you go out into the summer heat. Try starting at 78°F for maximum energy savings.

Nighttime Chores

Appliances like dryers and dishwashers can give off a lot of heat, so it’s best to run them during the cooler night hours when your air conditioner doesn’t have to work so hard. Simply have them loaded and ready to turn on right before you head to sleep. Your oven, of course, also gives off heat during use, but we don’t expect you to move dinnertime to 11 p.m.

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.