Healthy Humidity | Wellness |

Does the Cold Make You Sick? Here Are 5 Conditions Escalated by Winter Air

3 minute read

While the cold weather itself may have something to do with your family’s health, there’s actually a larger, sneakier culprit that accompanies Old Man Winter each year: dry air.

As winter temperatures drop, humidity dwindles as well. While it’s true that too much moisture can lead to health complications in the summertime, too little moisture in the wintertime can be equally troubling for you and your family.

“The mucus that normally should be gooey and thick and can trap infection gets drier. So you’re more likely to get a cold because your mucus is not as able to catch things that you breathe in,” says Daniel Allen, M.D.

To maintain Healthy Humidity, the humidity in your home should ideally be set between 30-50%. Achieving this degree of humidity in the winter will go along way toward preventing influenza, bronchitis, sinusitis, aggravated asthma symptoms, itchy eyes and skin, and even nosebleeds.

Influenza

We’re all familiar with the flu. In fact, chances are pretty high that you’ve had the flu in recent years, as it typically makes the rounds each winter, wreaking havoc on your lungs, nose, and throat.

The good news is that the influenza virus is preventable. According to a study provided by the Public Library of Science, “higher humidity levels indoors can significantly reduce the infectivity of influenza virus particles released by coughing.”

This study found that in an environment with 23% humidity or less, 70-77% of viral particles remained infectious. However, only 14% of virus particles were able to infect cells in an environment set to roughly 43% humidity.

Don’t simply rely on flu shots. Get a humidifier.

Bronchitis

Bronchitis is another familiar foe during frigid winter dry spells, causing inflammation to bronchial tube linings deep in the lungs.

Fortunately, bronchitis can also be prevented and managed with proper humidity. As Dr. Michael J. Simoff, MD points out for EverydayHealth.com, “Humidity is good for lung health.”

Those who suffer from acute or chronic bronchitis should consider a whole-home humidifier to quell the effects dry winter air has on their lungs.

Sinusitis

Living with sinusitis can seem like all pain and no gain, which begs the question…what do we even need sinuses for?

Your sinuses help you produce mucus that moisturizes the inside of your nose and captures harmful particles before they make their way deep into your body. Sinusitis is the result of inflamed sinuses that can lead to nasal congestion.

“Humidifiers can help nasal congestion in that they provide more moisture and humidity within the nose,” says Mark A Zacharek, MD for EverydayHealth.com.

“Humidified air is good for sinusitis, especially in the winter,” agrees Amber Luong, MD, PhD, assistant professor of otolaryngology and head and neck surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.

Don’t cry. Humidify.

Asthma

Everyone knows somebody who’s affected by asthma. It’s an incredibly common condition. In fact, it’s quite possible that there’s even an asthmatic individual in your home right this moment.

Dry winter air can certainly trigger asthma attacks, tightening airways, and making it harder to breathe.

What’s the best way to combat these triggers? You guessed it: humidity.

According to Healthline.com, “Your airways are lined with a thin layer of fluid. When you breathe in dry air, that fluid evaporates faster than it can be replaced. Dry airways become irritated and swollen, which worsens asthma symptoms. Cold air also causes your airways to produce a substance called histamine, which is the same chemical your body makes during an allergy attack. Histamine triggers wheezing and other asthma symptoms.

Breathe easy knowing you’re making the right choice for your family.

Itchy Eyes, Dry Skin, and Nosebleeds

Winter ailments aside, perhaps the most irritating affects of dry winter air that everyone can relate to are dry, itchy eyes and skin as well as nosebleeds.

Because the air is so dry during the wintertime, the water in your body evaporates much quicker, leaving your eyes, skin, and nasal passages dry and susceptible to itchiness.

Perhaps the best way to prevent these conditions from happening, obviously, is to drink plenty of fluids, which will also help prevent dehydration.

However, another way to help alleviate these irritating manifestations and achieve a higher level of winter wellness is through maintaining proper humidity.

* * *

Again, you should aim for 30-50% humidity in your home year-round. In the wintertime, a trusted humidifier can help you prevent these winter conditions and help you hydrate your home.

Healthy Humidity | Healthy Air |

The Cost of NOT Having a Humidifier in Your Home

2 minute read

Photo of a boy with his hair sticking up from static shock

Is the comfort and health of your home’s air under control? Dry air can be a problem in almost any home, but it is most problematic during the colder months. When cool, outdoor air is brought inside and heated, moisture levels fall, making your house suddenly filled with dry, irritating air. What are you putting at risk by not having a humidifier in your home?

Health

Low Relative Humidity (RH) makes you and your family more susceptible to catching a cold or the flu. A speedier progression and transmission of flu viruses has been linked to dry air. Respiratory infections caused by cold and flu viruses are also a leading trigger of asthma in children. 

Comfort

When Relative Humidity in your home is low, it impacts your family’s comfort. This leads to aggravating dry eyes and skin, and may even lead to a morning sore throat. Dry air is also the cause of increased static electricity in the home.

Energy Costs

Dry air actually makes you feel colder at normal temperatures which, in turn, causes you to overheat your home. According to the EPA, for every degree you heat your house, you add 4% to your energy bill.

Home Preservation

Your home protects you and your family from the outside elements, but are you doing what’s needed to protect your home? Dry air can cause structural damage to your house and possessions. It can cause walls, woodwork, and hardwood floors to crack and can even lead to irreparable damage to your electronics.

Our whole-home humidifiers help improve the air in your home. Installed as part of your home’s heating and cooling system, our humidifiers automatically deliver the perfect amount of humidified air throughout every room. Maintaining the right humidity level throughout your home may reduce incidence of cold and flu infections, protects your home and its possessions, and helps you stay warmer at cooler temperatures, which improves energy efficiency. Engineered and manufactured in the USA, our humidifiers require minimal maintenance and attention and will continue to provide your family protection from dry air conditions.

Healthy Humidity |

Find the Right Humidifier For Your Home

2 minute read

Best Humidifier for your home

This time of year, it’s often obvious that your home’s air is thirsty — but what’s the best way to give it a drink? We have designed and manufactured many different humidifiers to help you battle dry air in your home. We have solutions for numerous  applications based on the size of your home, how you heat your home and what type of control you want. The best part is, our network of skilled HVAC partners do most the work in selecting the best product for your needs.

What makes humidifiers different?

The HVAC contractor analyzes many factors when choosing the best solution for your home. Some humidifiers need a power source while others simply rely on the HVAC blower fan. The contractor understands when to use one versus the other. As a result, the solution ultimately installed is the one that works best with the home’s HVAC system.

Whole-home humidification is available to you no matter how your house is heated. In addition, with our steam humidification solutions, even homes with boilers, mini-splits or baseboard heat can enjoy humidified air in every room of the house.

How do I personalize my humidity control?

There are important recommendations for the amount of humidity your home needs. Whole-home humidifiers allow you to monitor your humidity and adjust it based on need. To ensure the best operation, our humidifiers are available with an automatic control options. Now you’ll never need to worry if your humidity is at the right level.

All of our humidifiers are compatible with our line of Wi-Fi Thermostats with IAQ Control. You can manage the humidity level in your home from anywhere with Wi-Fi control. It’s the easiest way to protect your home and your family’s health from dry air.

If your house is hanging you out to dry this winter, contact an Aprilaire dealer today.

Environment |

Summer’s Most Common Bugs

2 minute read

When it comes to a love of humidity, humans and pests are on opposite ends of the spectrum. While we tend to despise air that is thick with heat and water vapor, most bugs actually thrive in it and need it to live.

Unfortunately, this means that the impending summer humidity in certain parts of the country is about to bring these summer pests out in a big way.

Summer’s Most Common Pests

Cockroaches

The German cockroach is the most common roach species infesting our homes in North America. They are attracted to warm and humid places, making your kitchen and the water heater in the basement their most frequented hideaways.

Silverfish

These small, wingless insects are nocturnal and need to keep their bodies moist at all times in order to survive. You are likely to find them beneath boxes or furniture in your basement, the shower, or hiding in your kitchen.

Centipedes

Carnivorous and nocturnal, with their 100 feet, these pests can move quickly and spend most of the day hiding in humid, secluded places. They are highly attracted to the moist, humid parts of the home because they need to rehydrate constantly in order to live.

Earwigs

Known to burrow into topsoil outside, these nocturnal bugs can also infiltrate dark and humid areas of your home. You are most likely to find them around floor drains, bathrooms, or under rugs or furniture.

Roly-Poly Bugs

Also known as pill bugs, sow bugs, potato bugs, or armadillo bugs, these bugs often infest damp basements.

Tips to Prevent/Eliminate Summer Pests:

Healthy Home |

Professionals Needed: Here Are The Home Projects You Should Never DIY

2 minute read

So you bought your first house and can’t wait to rip up that crummy carpet. Go for it! But if you hit dirt, you might need to call in backup. As more millennials take the plunge into home ownership, it’s becoming more and more common to see DIY projects big and small. Things like carpet removal are doable. But no matter how many tips and tricks you’ve picked up from HGTV, Pinterest, or YouTube, there are some projects that simply aren’t worth the money, time, or risk to do yourself.

Setting Limits on DIY Home Projects

Skill Level for DIY Home Projects:

For some people, DIY is a way of life. For the rest of us, we need to be honest about our skills and level of experience. Sometimes a “simple” job can actually be a lot more complex than it appears. Hire a professional for these projects before you try it yourself and make a mistake that costs way more to fix.

  • Paving your driveway
  • Custom kitchen and bathroom jobs – backsplashes, flooring, countertops
  • Pest removal
  • Window Installation

Time Commitment for DIY Home Projects:

Some home improvement jobs can take weeks to complete when you try to do them yourself. For big projects, hiring a professional will mean a quicker and more efficient job done well so you can get back to enjoying your home without interruptions.

  • Large landscaping projects
  • Flooring
  • Demolition

Permission for DIY Home Projects:

Some home improvement projects require permits due to building codes. Save yourself the headache, and possible code violation, by hiring a professional who’s familiar with the process when it comes to these types of jobs.

  • Additions and remodels
  • Deck or patio addition
  • Major electrical/plumbing work
  • Pool installation and repairs

Safety Risk for DIY Home Projects:

If there’s any question of your ability to do something without injury or structural damage to your home, it’s most definitely a job for a professional.

  • Mold, asbestos, lead removal
  • Tree removal
  • Roof and foundation repairs
  • HVAC system installation and repair

When you’ve decided you need a pro, try to keep the process simple to save you time and headaches. Start by reaching out to a few trusted contractors in your area to get estimates on the work, (recommendations from friends are a great place to start) and then consider price and professionalism before making your decision.

When it comes to HVAC work, we make it easy to find a pro. Along with plumbing and electrical work, HVAC is an area where it’s crucial to get the job done right the first time.

Sources:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/millennials-take-on-diy-projects-with-more-confidence-and-budgeting-discipline-than-previous-generations-300813538.html

https://www.familyhandyman.com/smart-homeowner/10-home-projects-you-should-always-hire-a-pro-for/

https://www.ahs.com/home-matters/quick-tips/8-household-projects-to-leave-to-professionals/

https://www.rd.com/home/improvement/diy-home-improvement-projects/

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/projects-you-should-not-diy_n_3923456

https://www.hallerent.com/blog/when-to-call-professional-for-home-improvement-repairs/

Raise a Happy, Healthy Home
Breathe easy with the blueprints to a Healthy Home.

Learn More
clean air

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

Stand Up for Clean Air

3 minute read

50 Years Later: The Clean Air Act of 1970

50 years ago, Congress signed a landmark bill – The Clean Air Act of 1970. This bill helped reduce air pollution, spurred energy-efficient machines, cars, and helped Americans breathe easier, but there’s still more work to be done. Now, the American Lung Association is asking everyone to join the Stand Up For Clean Air initiative to help make healthy air accessible to everyone.

Stand Up for Clean Air Initiative

The initiative focuses on creating clean air at home, at work, at school, and outdoors. It also focuses on reducing climate change and addressing air quality concerns after a natural disaster. Lastly, people can read about the state of the air in their community in the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report.

Its most recent State of the Air report states that nearly half of Americans live with unhealthy air. Most of that unhealthy air is a result of the byproducts of climate change.

“Climate change results in increased levels of wildfire smoke, worsened ozone pollution, more extreme storms and frequent flooding, which leave behind mold, polluted floodwater residue and other damage, exposing people to indoor air pollution as they clean up and repair homes. Many sources of climate pollution – power plants, oil and gas operations, and cars and trucks – also produce air pollution that is directly harmful to lung health.” – Harold Wimmer, American Lung Association CEO and President 

Air pollution contributes to premature deaths, heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and asthma attacks. Children, older adults, and those with underlying health conditions are most vulnerable.

Resources to Create Healthy Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality for Workplaces

With its Stand up for Clean Air initiative, the American Lung Association wants to create better indoor air quality. In doing so, the ALA provides several resources to help users advocate for these changes.

Fortunately, the ALA is not only the group advocating for healthy buildings and better indoor air quality.

The TH Chan School of Public Health at Harvard has been advocating for healthy buildings for 40 years. Through its advocacy, the school has completed and promoted studies that indicate production declines when employees are in an unhealthy workplace. Workers in these poor conditions type slower, take more sick days, and are generally less productive. Healthy insurance provider Kaiser Permanente estimates that the net result of this absenteeism and poor production costs businesses thousands of dollars per employee.

Indoor Air Quality for Schools

Students in poorly ventilated schools face similar problems. They lack focus, are more likely to get sick, and subsequently are more likely to be absent. This can result in lower performance. The American Lung Association and Environmental Protection Agency have collaborated to create a toolkit to help schools improve their indoor air quality with low-cost initiatives. Benefits include improved academic performance, higher rates of attendance, and healthier children.

Advocate for Clean Air

To join the fight against poor indoor air quality and air pollution, you can visit the American Lung Association and become an advocate.

“Everyone has a role to play in addressing climate change and ensuring clean air for all,” Wimmer said. “Our hope is that everyone – from individual citizens to industries, federal and state governments, and companies and brands – recognize that everyone is needed to ensure clean air for all and address an obstacle as unprecedented as climate change. I hope you’ll join us in realizing our vision of a world free of lung disease.” – Harold Wimmer

Please note: Aprilaire is a partner of the American Lung Association. We are a national sponsor of the American Lung Association’s fundraiser Fight for Air Climb FY20.