Healthy Home | Healthy Air |

Homeowner Know-How: DIY Air Quality Tests

2 minute read

Air quality is important. That’s easy to say, but it can sometimes be tough to put into practice. First off, it’s not always obvious when there’s a problem with your air quality. Maybe something smells a little bit off or the air feels different in certain rooms compared to others. If you want to know for sure, it’s helpful to run some DIY air quality tests in your home.

Let’s take a look at the different DIY air quality tests available, see how much they generally cost, and decide when it’s time to enlist professional help.

Types of DIY Air Quality Tests + Costs

Mold

Sometimes the best test for mold is your nose. You or a relative likely have smelled mold before, and you shouldn’t be afraid to trust your instincts. But if you have a recurring problem area in which you want to confirm the source and type of mold, DIY kits can be useful.

Remember that mold is often the result of trapped moisture, so proper ventilation is important in preventing its growth.

Typical Cost: $8-85

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

VOCs are the result of cooking, cleaning, and the presence of chemicals. They’re why it’s important to ventilate the kitchen and any area in which you’re cleaning, painting, or storing chemicals. There are a range of options available, so make sure you’re getting one that tests for the specific concerns you have in your home.

Typical Cost: $90-400

Carbon Monoxide

Constant monitoring is more important than testing for carbon monoxide. There should be a CO detector on every level your home. And if you have an attached garage or share walls or entryways with a neighbor in a condo or apartment, there should be a detector installed in that area.

Typical Cost: $15-30

Lead Paint

The dangers of lead paint have been known for decades, but some old construction might be at risk. So if you’re moving into or renovating a home built before 1978, you need to test for lead paint.

Typical Cost: $12-50

When to Call a Professional

It can seem cost-prohibitive or intimidating to hire a professional to test and analyze the air quality in your home. But it’s important to keep in mind that the sooner you can identify and remedy a problem, the less exposure you’ll have and the less you’ll have to pay to clean it up down the road.

The DIY air quality tests mentioned above are a great place to start, and it’s helpful to think of them as preliminary screening tools. If they reveal anything out of the ordinary, then you’ll want to call in a professional who can fully diagnose the problem.

Find a pro in your area. Among other offerings, they can test and repair your air filters and ventilation systems, two crucial aspects of creating a quality air environment in your home.

Airborne issues can form any time, but always remember that you can take control of the air quality in your home.

Healthy Air |

How to Promote Indoor Air Quality in Your Community

2 minute read

Millenials are not the only ones taking advantage of communal living these days. One in three people between the ages of 23-65 are living in a shared space. Considering that most people spend 90% of their days indoors, Indoor Air Quality is more important than ever. The EPA ranked indoor air pollution among the top five environmental risks to public health. It’s important that we all do our part to help promote Healthy Air wherever possible.

Global Level

Joining movements like BreatheLife can help to protect our health and planet from air pollution. The World Health Organization and United Nations Environment are leading this Climate and Clean Air initiative and their website is full of ways to get involved in this global campaign for clean air.

Local Level

Big changes start at the local level. You can also utilize social media platforms to discuss, start up, and promote Healthy Home initiatives like IAQ. The Indoor Air Quality Association has a website, as well as a Facebook page, to check out for involvement.

Personal Level

IAQ at Work:

  • Don’t block air vents
  • Follow office and building smoking policies, ensure your co-workers do the same
  • Store and dispose of food properly
  • Dispose of garbage promptly
  • Report water leaks or any other suspected IAQ problems immediately

IAQ at School:

  • Clean Air Make More is a great online resource for parents and kids to learn and understand the importance of Indoor Air Quality
  • The EPA also has an online action kit for improving IAQ in schools

IAQ at Home:

  • Maintain your HVAC system
  • Declutter by getting rid of dirt and dust collectors
  • Vacuum and steam-clean rugs and upholstery often to avoid dust mites
  • Detoxify your air with indoor plants
  • Don’t smoke indoors
  • Invest in an air purifier

 

Archive |

Lemonade Stand Ideas for Kids

2 minute read

Crafts for Kids: Lemonade Stand

When the sun is shining and you’ve grown tired of visiting the local pool yet again, it’s essential to find creative activities for the kids to stay occupied and have fun. One fresh way to get outside and soak in the sunshine? Have your kids host their very own lemonade stands! Not only does this quintessential summertime experience allow kids to make some money of their own, but by drinking the lemonade, they’ll stay hydrated and beat the heat! These lemonade stand ideas will help them get started.

During the height of the summer, kids likely aren’t thinking about going back to school just yet. But with the start of classes right around the corner, it’s important to get them back into a learning mindset. A lemonade stand is the perfect hands-on opportunity for kids to learn basic entrepreneurial and math skills that will prep them for the new school year.

Why a Lemonade Stand?

As small business owners, they’ll have to take responsibility and learn that their decisions impact the success of their stands. By counting money, making change, comparing prices of ingredients, and manning the stand for the day, kids will understand the value of money and hard work.

Kids will also need to learn marketing skills to gain customers’ attention. By getting creative with stand décor and flyers for advertising, their business will stand out and flourish. These cute printables are a fun way to attract customers – and make more money!

Giving Back

To make this experience even more meaningful, urge kids to consider donating some of their profits to a charity of their choice. By doing so, they’ll learn the importance of giving back and helping others. Knowing that their hard work has made a difference, kids are likely to appreciate what running a business can help them accomplish.

After setting up your lemonade stand with our cute DIY printables, be sure to take pictures for Instagram and tag @AprilaireCo and #KeepYourCool so we can see your young entrepreneur in action!

PRINTABLES INCLUDE:

Marquee sign – to draw attention to your business!

Menu template – to entice more customers, get creative and include different lemonade recipes and treats on your menu!

Neighborhood flyers – to capture customers’ attention, post these along jogging routes and on telephone poles!

DOWNLOAD YOUR LEMONADE STAND PRINTABLES HERE

Healthy Humidity | Healthy Air |

How to Check for Mold in Problem Areas

2 minute read

Sometimes you can’t see it, but you can definitely tell it’s there. Itchy eyes, sneezing, sore throat, congestion—these are all signs of a mold allergy. And if you or your family suffer those symptoms while in your home and you’re not sure why, mold may be the issue.

We’ve got a rundown of the most common places for mold to grow, and some simple steps you can take to manage it.

Bathroom: Mold thrives in these warm, wet environments

  • Shower/tub
  • Sink and toilet
  • In the walls and on the floor

Kitchen: Extra humidity from cooking on the stove and running hot water allow for mold to grow quickly

  • In, on, and under the sink
  • Pantry and refrigerator
  • Stove (top and behind) and microwave
  • Trash can

Bedroom: Your sleep environment should be healthy, but leaky pipes in the wall and ceiling or poor ventilation can cause mold to grow in and around your bedroom

  • Windows and window sills
  • Walls
  • On the mattress
  • AC and heating vents

Living Room: This heavy-traffic room might seem safe, but certain conditions can make it susceptible to mold growth

  • Indoor plants
  • Couch and curtains
  • Fireplace and chimney

Other places to check in your home:

  • Washing machines and dryers
  • Air conditioning and heating ducts
  • Walls and ceiling
  • Carpeting, fabric, upholstery
  • Basement

Mold Prevention Tip: Moisture Control

Mold can’t grow without moisture, so it’s important to keep all rooms and surfaces of your home clean and at a comfortable humidity level.

You want to keep the humidity in your home between 30-50%. Many dehumidifiers can display the humidity level on their control screen or panel, or you can measure levels with a hygrometer.

To control the humidity, invest in a dehumidifier or two. Dehumidifiers are the best way to reduce moisture levels in your home, especially basements or rooms without proper ventilation or windows. You can buy portable dehumidifiers to control moisture in certain rooms, or install a whole-home dehumidifier that handles the air quality throughout your home.

Healthy Air | Wellness |

Fun Indoor Exercises for Your Family

2 minute read

It’s all fun in the sun until the temperatures reach an unbearable high or the air quality index value is at an unhealthy level. But you don’t have to let the heat or air quality keep you from getting in your daily exercise. Being active indoors can sometimes feel like a chore, especially for kids, (the same kids who could run around for hours outside without getting tired.) The key to making sure they burn off that same amount of energy when they’re stuck inside is finding fun indoor exercises.

Here are some lists of exercise games and indoor activities to keep your family active and off the couch.

Indoor exercises with little to no equipment:

  • Jumping Rope: Jumping rope for ten minutes straight is equivalent to thirty minutes of running.
  • Planking: Start off by holding a plank for as long as you can. Try to add a few more seconds each day until you reach your goal.
  • Cleaning: Two birds, one stone. Make “power cleaning” a family activity and you’ll end up with some calories burned and a cleaner house.
  • Lunges: Lunge from one room to the next or up and down a hallway in your house for a great lower body burn. Adding weights or water bottles can add some difficulty once you’ve become a seasoned lunger.
  • YouTube It: You can find a workout for any ability level, any duration, any target area you can dream of online. Once you find one you like, add it to a playlist so you can revisit it the next time you’re stuck inside.

Pieces of equipment to start with:

  • Adjustable dumbbells
  • Yoga mat
  • Resistance bands
  • Weighted jump rope
  • Soft medicine ball
  • Adjustable kettle bell
  • Foam roller

Air Flow

Working out inside is a great alternative when the weather outside is inhospitable. But when you can’t crack the window, all that sweating and breathing can affect the quality of air in your home.

A dehumidifier is a must for any room designated for working out. With the humidity added from your breathing and sweating, the risk for mold growth increases and the room can get hotter and hotter. A single room or whole-home dehumidifier can relieve some of the workload from your air conditioner.

And because you want your family breathing quality air, it can be helpful to install an air purifier in your workout area. It can help with odors, too.

For more information on keeping the air in your home healthy and free of odors, visit our Healthy Home page. From ventilation to allergy reduction, we’ve got tips and strategies to solve the air issues in your home.

Archive |

How to keep your pets cool in summer

3 minute read

A guide to keeping your pets cool and safe this summer

The hottest time of the year has arrived in our part of the world. Don’t mind us, we’ll just be in front of this air conditioner all day. Known as the “dog days of summer”, this stretch can bring scorching weather and high humidity that makes it difficult to step foot outside. And the same goes for your pets. Because if it’s hot for you, it’s likely even more uncomfortable for your dogs, cats, and other pets. Let’s see some ways you can keep your pets cool, safe, and healthy all summer long.

While we love the idea of giving your pet a fun haircut for the summer (more on that below), there are plenty of other important things you should keep in mind.

Sun Protection

Shade can be an animal’s best friend. Your pet will cool themselves by finding a shady spot. And if there isn’t shade available from a tree or building, try to create some with a tarp or sheet.

There’s also pet sunscreen! Who knew? Check out this article to find the best sunscreen for your pets.

Body Temperature

Everyone loves a cold treat to help beat the heat. Try making one of these frozen dog treats to keep your pets cool.

These cooling collars are also great for extra hot days. If you don’t want to spend the extra money, just wet and freeze any bandana to tie around their neck. This will help keep your pets cool during those longer walks.

Give your pets a nice place to cool off in the house or basement after they’ve been in the sun. These cooling mats for dogs and cats can be used indoors or outdoors for added comfort.

Awareness has spread for this in recent years, but it bears repeating: Don’t leave your pet in a car even with the window cracked. If you need to run errands, leave your pets at home.

If you fear your pet is overheated, take them inside right away. Heatstroke requires immediate treatment by a veterinarian and it’s important to know and recognize the symptoms:

  • Exaggerated panting and rapid breathing
  • Raised temperature (normal is 101.5°)
  • Fatigue or anxious expression
  • Staggered walking

Hydration

Pets need reliable access to fresh water. Putting ice in their outdoor bowls can help keep the water chilled. Playing “fetch” with ice cubes in place of their favorite ball and frequent drinks from the hose or kiddy pool are also fun ways to keep them hydrated, cool, and having a good time.

If you’re taking your dog out, try carrying one of these collapsible travel bowls so you can get them water whenever they need it.

Exercise

Take it easy! Make sure you’re working out your pets in the coolest parts of the day, either first thing in the morning or in the evening after the sun has gone down. Test the pavement before you start by putting your hand on it; if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pets’ feet. Try walking them on grass or get them some protective booties. You can even make them some homemade paw wax to protect their sensitive pads.

Grooming

Before you shave all your pet’s hair, make sure you do your research. A lack of insulation and decreased sun protection from UV rays are some of the drawbacks from cutting your pet’s hair too short.

However, removing loose hair with regular trimming and brushing are important for keeping them cool. Taking them to a groomer is the surest way to get a safe, stylish trim.

Archive |

Back To Reality: Easy Meal Prep for Healthy School Lunches

2 minute read

Meal Prep for Healthy School Lunches

With the start of the school year right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about your kid’s school lunches. You don’t want to send them off with a lunchbox full of pretzels or rely on whatever the school serves. No, you want to be the parent that packs a healthy, fun lunch that will keep your kid satisfied.

So here’s your playbook for successfully planning, prepping, and packing healthy school lunches.

Meal Planning

  • Make sure to check any food guidelines provided by your kid’s school. They’ll clue you in on any allergy concerns and foods you need to avoid.
  • Healthy School Lunches by Eating Well gives fun and healthy ideas from food and nutrition experts for keeping your kids’ lunches fresh, even classics like PB&J
  • com gives a whole Month’s Worth of School Lunch Ideas that are simple and guaranteed crowd pleasers
  • We shared some no-heat-need options that are relevant all year round, and easy to prep ahead of time
  • Non-sandwich options are great for switching things up a bit
  • And here are some diet-specific options:

Meal Prep

Once you’ve planned your menu for the week, (or even for the month, if you’re ambitious), it’s time for the prep work.

Prep work:

  • Wash, slice, and pack fruits and veggies in individual-sized containers on Sunday night so they’re ready to go throughout the week
  • Freeze, freeze, freeze. Check out this mom’s ideas for preparing school lunches in the freezer
  • Organize with sectioned lunch boxes or ziplock containers, cupcake liners, reusable baggies, whatever fits your style and budget
  • Invest in a thermos or something similar so your child doesn’t have to eat cold lunch everyday

What about picky eaters?

If you find your kid coming home with a barely-touched lunchbox, you may have a picky eater on your hands. One way to counteract this is to let your kids help with the prepping and packing of their lunches. They’re the ones who will be eating it after all, so it’s helpful to know ahead of time that what you’re taking the time to prepare and pack isn’t going to waste.

Avoid introducing something brand new to them in their lunch. Keep it familiar, yet fun with new shapes for fruits and veggies, sandwich picks in their favorite color, or a note or picture to get them excited for lunch.

If your child will only eat the same three things and you’re desperate for them to branch out, consider a reward system to get them to try something different. That way you can combine their favorites with one newer item for them to try and consider adding to the normal rotation. This is a great way to create balanced, healthy school lunches.