Healthy Clean Air | Healthy Air |

City Air: How To Improve Air Quality In Your Apartment

3 minute read

When you live in a city, you get used to being surrounded by people at all times, even when you get home to your apartment. With populations increasing and cities becoming more dense, large numbers of people are forced to live in smaller spaces. And when you have neighbors on all sides in a building, and are likely surrounded by automobile traffic and construction, air quality can be an issue.

So if you’ve ever felt the air in your apartment was a little “stuffy”, you’re probably not imagining it. Below we have some of the common causes of poor Indoor Air Quality in city living spaces and some tips on how to resolve them.

Previous Tenants

You probably don’t want to imagine all the other people who have previously lived in your apartment, but sometimes, it’s hard to ignore them.

Smokers, pet owners, and slobs often leave behind a lingering scent. Mold, dust, and other irritants can easily be left behind in carpets, woodwork, and bathrooms.

Neighbors

Depending on the size of your city, you could have anywhere from dozens of neighbors in the same building to hundreds of people in the same high-rise.

Secondhand smoke can easily get into your apartment if any of your nearby neighbors are smokers, or if your apartment is next to a shared patio frequented by smokers.

Building and Construction

The types of chemicals present in your building’s construction largely depend on when it was built. But even in the newest constructions, there can be harmful chemicals in the fire retardants used throughout the building and even in the cleaning supplies that were used to clean your apartment after the previous tenant.

Chances are if you’re in a mid-size or larger city, there are construction cranes dotting the skyline. With any new construction, dust, and debris can get kicked up into the air around your apartment.

Cooking and Cleaning

Not all the blame for poor Indoor Air Quality lies elsewhere. Cooking odors and fumes can leak into hallways or pass between open windows, and in addition to being annoying, can irritate allergies and asthma symptoms. It’s important for you to properly ventilate your apartment when cooking and cleaning. Keep the exhaust fan on when cooking and open a window if you’re doing any cleaning with chemicals. These simple steps will help prevent the buildup of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which are harmful to respiratory and overall health.

How to Improve Air Quality in Your Apartment:

Ventilation

This is especially true in apartments, where the small rooms can more easily trap pollutants. You can offset this by opening windows when weather permits, or trying to use a fan to circulate the air. This will help clear out or at least dilute the levels of irritants in the air.

Use an Air Purifier

Concerned about secondhand smoke or residue from building materials? Get a purifier that filters particulates and chemicals from the air.

Our Allergy Room Purifier is perfect for anyone with allergies who’s concerned with the air in their apartment. It handles common things like dust and mold spores. It also filters out VOCs and other gaseous allergy triggers.

Air Quality Test Kit

These are simple, in-home kits that take a sample of the surrounding air. You then send them back to the company and their lab analyzes the results.

Once you know what pollutants are lingering in your environment, you’ll be able to take the necessary steps to remove them. And remember, sometimes that means alerting your landlord or property manager to make sure your building is up to code.

Sources:

United Nations, “The World’s Cities 2016”, http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/publications/pdf/urbanization/the_worlds_cities_in_2016_data_booklet.pdf

dander

Healthy Clean Air | Healthy Home |

Remove pet dander with an Aprilaire Air Purifier

2 minute read

Pet ownership increases dander in the home

Pet ownership has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. People are looking for companionship while they are home alone and a new furry friend provides that. Pets also provide dander and odor. According to the Mayo Clinic, even if the pet is hypoallergenic, it is still going to produce dander.

Luckily, there is a solution to counteract these allergens, but it is not dusting and using scented air sprays. No matter how much you spray and dust, odor, and dander will still linger in the air and can even attach to fabrics in the home. These aerosols need to be captured. An Aprilaire Air Purifier is the perfect solution for removing those airborne irritants. You can either install a whole-home unit or use a room air purifier depending on need.

Whole-home Air Purifier

A whole-home air purifier can be installed as part of your home’s HVAC system to help trap and capture those aerosols and with its Pure Fit Promise, you can be guaranteed that Aprilaire Air Filters and Air Purifiers will work together to effectively trap odors and allergens. A whole-home unit also helps protect your HVAC unit. By trapping dust, and debris, it can help keep your unit running effectively for longer. Otherwise, they can clog up your HVAC system, diminishing the system’s efficiency and lifespan.

Portable Air Purifier

A portable unit is an ideal solution if you do not have an HVAC system with ductwork, you are in a smaller space such as a studio apartment, or if the pet is limited to one room. Equipped with a HEPA Filter, the room air purifier traps up to 99.97% of odors and allergens that flow through.  The unit is lightweight and can be easily transported from room to room. It also comes equipped with four separate modes to choose from including manual, automatic, turbo, and smart. In smart mode, the system automatically detects airborne impurities and you can watch the air particle level indicator move from red to yellow to green as it purifies your air.

There are also several other benefits to using an air purifier for your home including reducing the transmission of airborne viruses and bacteria, and other toxins that linger in your indoor environment and sometimes from unsuspecting sources like your couch. No matter your need, an Aprilaire Air Purifier will help purify your home’s air so you can love your pet without holding your nose or a tissue.

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Clean Air |

MERV 16 Air Filters and Airborne Viruses: Keep Your Home Safe

2 minute read

The air we breathe is important to overall health. That’s more apparent now than ever before, and at Aprilaire we’re focused on getting you and your family the information you need to stay healthy during this time.

Healthy Air In The Home With MERV 16 Filters

The air inside your home can be 5x more polluted than the air outside. This is important to consider if you’re in a part of the United States using stay-at-home orders to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

There are a number of ways to improve your indoor air quality, including: better air circulation, regular dusting and cleaning, and properly storing sources of VOCs.

The next area to consider is air filtration. While there are a variety of options for purifying your air, today we’ll look at the effectiveness of MERV 16 filters, which can capture both virus-sized particles and airborne allergy and asthma triggers.

What Exactly is MERV and how does the rating system work?

MERV, otherwise known as Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, is a measurement scale that rates the effectiveness of filters at trapping airborne particles. The scale ranges from 1-16, with 16 being the most effective.

Here’s an in-depth description of the process used to determine MERV, from the National Air Filtration Association:

“An air filter’s performance is determined by measuring the particle counts upstream and downstream of the air-cleaning device being tested.

A laboratory aerosol generator, which operates much like a paint sprayer, is used to create a challenge aerosol of known particle size in the air stream. This will generate particles covering the 12 required particle size ranges for the test. The challenge aerosol is injected into the test duct and particle counts are taken for each of the size data points.

The filter’s performance, on each of the twelve particle sizes, during the six test cycles (a total of 72 value or calculated value) is determined. For each value or calculated value, the filtration efficiency is stated as a ratio of the downstream-to-upstream particle count. The lowest values over the six test cycles are then used to determine the Composite Minimum Efficiency Curve. Using the lowest measured efficiency avoids the misinterpretation of averaging and provides a “worst case” experience over the entire test.”

Air Filters and Viruses

The size of contaminants and particles are usually described in microns, a metric unit of measure where one micron is one-millionth of a meter:

  • 1 micron = 10-6 m = 1 μm

The particular strain of coronavirus that’s causing COVID-19 (known as SARS-CoV-2) measures between .05 and .2 μm in diameter. (One study found it to be between .07 and .09 μm.)

The diagram below demonstrates that MERV 16 filters trap up to 96% of virus-sized particles*, to help prevent the proliferation of airborne viruses in the home.

1Solid lines represent MERV test data; dashed lines represent calculations for ultra-fine particles

To find out more about these filters and to see how they can be used in your home, check out Aprilaire’s Healthy Home Tips and reach out to speak with an Healthy Air Pro.

*Contaminants removed based on air passing through the filtering system.

experiments

AA Homepage Articles | Family |

Family Learning: Child Friendly Experiments For Staying Healthy

2 minute read

There has never been a more critical time to teach children the importance of keeping their germs to themselves. But more than simply telling children they need to wash their hands and wear a mask, you can have a real impact by showing them in enjoyable experiments what germs are and how they spread.

Staying Healthy Experiments For Kids

Glitter, Glitter, Everywhere

In this experiment, glitter is used to represent our germs and how they spread from one thing to another throughout our day if we don’t wash our hands.

Most parents already know that glitter is difficult to get off, which reinforces the importance of washing hands for at least 20 seconds to thoroughly remove harmful germs.

Make A Wish

Typically you want to blow out all the candles on your birthday cake or it means your wish won’t come true. But with this experiment, the more candles left burning, the better!

Everyone’s favorite science guy, Bill Nye, showed how this experiment works in a short video. By trying to blow out the candles through various types of materials, kids can see how some are more effective than others. And it serves as a reminder that masks are an important part of reducing the spread of germs when we cough, sneeze, spit or breathe too close to someone else.

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

It can be a hard concept for young children to understand: There are things in the air that we can’t see that can make us sneeze, cause food to go bad, or make us very sick.

With a few simple household items in this experiment, you can help shed some light on the mystery and reinforce the lessons you’re trying to teach kids about staying healthy. This particular experiment focuses on air quality, which is important to keep in mind at home, in school, and wherever kids venture off to.

Goals For Kids

All these experiments share common learning objectives.

The goals are for kids to:

  • Understand what germs are
  • Know that germs are everywhere (the air, our hands, surfaces we touch), but are too small to see with our eyes
  • Understand that everyone has germs and some germs make people sick
  • Understand that washing hands, wearing masks, and keeping our hands out of our mouths, eyes, and noses will help reduce the spread of germs

 

 

AA Homepage Articles | News |

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.

Healthy Air | News |

Aprilaire Partner Contractor Joins Fight For Air Climb

2 minute read

“What can you do or say when your family is suffering such losses? It’s devastating,” said Christopher Ciongoli, HVAC salesman/estimator with Aprilaire partner Whalen & Ives.

Chris is participating in the NYC American Lung Association Fight For Air Climb on April 4, 2020. When he heard that Aprilaire was the national Healthy Air sponsor of the event he signed on to the Aprilaire team.

“An opportunity to make difference just appeared to me on Jan 10th in an email from Aprilaire informing me about the Fight for Air Climb. This was it. This is how I would help make a difference and support my wife as well as so many others that are impacted by lung disease”.

Lung disease became an all too familiar fixture in Chris’s life last year when his brother-in-law, mother-in-law, and father-in-law all died from lung disease.

As of February 7, he’s raised 90 percent of his fundraising goal. Not only is Chris excited to help raise funds and awareness, he told us he’s already reaping the benefits of training for the 849-step climb.

“My blood pressure has dropped, my pants are getting loose, and my dog Crosby is getting back in shape too!”

Every morning he goes out with dog Crosby and strengthens his legs and increases his stamina to make sure he can make it to the 44th floor of the 1290 Avenue of Americas building in New York City.

Read more of Chris’s incredible journey by going to his page. Thank you for your efforts, Chris and we cannot wait to hear more.

For more information about the Fight For Air Climb and to find an event in your area, go to https://www.lung.org/aprilaire. To learn how to train for your own climb, head to our page where we share training tips to help you prepare for your own Fight For Air Climb.

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