Healthy Clean Air | Healthy Air |

Fall Allergies: Common Culprits and How To Manage Your Exposure

2 minute read

Fall brings changing leaves, cool breezes, chilly nights, pumpkin everything, football games, and…ragweed season! (sigh) Purifying the air in your home is the first step in reducing fall allergies for you and your family. Keep reading to see how fall allergies typically present themselves and to learn some of the best ways to optimize air purification and improve your Indoor Air Quality to achieve a Healthy Home.

Indoor Air Quality: Fixing Fall Allergies 

Ragweed is the biggest allergy trigger during the fall season, followed closely by mold. Mold spores and ragweed travel easily through the air and can cause the following symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Stuffy nose
  • Chest congestion
  • Dry, persistent cough

If you or a family member suffer from these symptoms during the fall months, it’s time to double check your Indoor Air Quality. Here are some steps you can take right away:

HVAC Check

Your HVAC and air purification systems do a lot to improve your Indoor Air Quality by filtering fresh air from the outside into your home. It’s important to hire a technician to do an inspection to ensure everything is running properly before you start running your heat in the cooler fall temperatures.

Run your HVAC

Once your HVAC is all checked out, it’s very important to continue using it even as the temperatures drop. As tempting as it is to shut off your A/C unit and open up the windows, it could mean serious problems for your Indoor Air Quality with the amount of pollen and other particles that can enter your home. The air conditioner helps to filter the air as it comes into your home, so even running those systems with their internal fans can be preferable to just opening the windows.

Replace Filters

It can be a pain, but be sure to change the filters in your air systems to get the highest quality air in your home. Most filters should be cleaned or changed every 30-60 days. With Aprilaire air purifiers, you need to change the filters only once per year.

Use a Humidifier

With cooler temperatures and the use of your heater, the air in your home can become dry and irritating. Remember to keep your home’s humidity level between 30-50%, with the help of a humidifier if necessary. A humidifier adds water vapor to the air to improve your Indoor Air Quality and prevent symptoms such as dry skin, nosebleeds, sinus problems, and dry eyes.

If you’re still looking for a way to rid your home of pollutants, contact one of our air quality professionals to perform a thorough test so you can enjoy your cozy fall days inside.

Healthy Air |

Air Quality Inspection IQ: Get the Most Out of Your In-Home Inspection

2 minute read

If you’ve ever worried about the quality of the air in your home, you know how frustrating it can be to not know what’s causing the issues. That’s when you know it’s time to call an expert. But what questions can you ask to get the best outcome from a professional in-home air quality inspection?

One place to start is with a DIY Air Quality Test. These are a simple, practical place to start, and they can give you an idea of where to explore further. If you find anything concerning, contact an Indoor Air Quality specialist to evaluate contaminant levels in your home.

Categories of Indoor Air Quality Specialists:

  • Consultants: This includes industrial hygienists, Indoor Air Quality specialists, asbestos and lead inspectors, and radon specialists. Their role is to diagnose and design remediation plans after doing an Indoor Air Quality inspection.
  • Professionals: This group carries out the actual remediation services to correct any Indoor Air Quality problems.

Often, companies will offer both services. But don’t feel pressured by a consultant to use their company’s remediation services. If you feel like your needs aren’t being met, you can always get a second opinion.

Questions to Ask IAQ Professionals:

Just like when you go to the doctor, you’ll want to ask as many questions as you can when a consultant or professional evaluates and treats the air in your home.

Here are a few to get you started:

  • What is causing indoor air pollution in my home?
  • How can I reduce the effect of my pet’s hair on my air quality?
  • What products should I use to reduce dust build up?
  • What products should I stop using?
  • Are my recurring headaches possibly related to the quality of air in my home?
  • Is it possible my air quality is making my allergies worse?
  • Why does my house feel muggy?
  • Why is my indoor air too dry?
  • Does my HVAC system improve air quality?
  • Is the age of my HVAC equipment affecting my air quality?
  • I can see and smell mold, but what other air quality issues should I be aware of?

Whether the solution is ventilation, filtration, humidity, or temperature control, it’s always possible to improve the air quality in your home. You just need to know where to start and what questions to ask.

We know the process can be stressful. That’s why our Certified Aprilaire Pros are trained to make quick, accurate diagnoses of air quality issues. And once the problems are identified, they can connect you with trusted, industry-leading products to improve your air quality for the long haul.

 

Healthy Clean Air | Healthy Air |

What’s In Your Air? Here’s How to Get Air Quality You Can Trust in Your Home

2 minute read

We’d all like to believe that the air quality inside our homes is clean and healthy for the whole family. According to the EPA, however, air pollutants can actually be up to five times worse indoors than outdoors. Respiratory issues and illness can easily result from the higher concentrations of pollutants.

To protect your family and purify the air inside your home, you need to identify the factors that affect Indoor Air Quality and learn ways to reduce indoor air pollutants.

Biggest Factors for Air Quality:

Chemicals: Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) are the name for the air pollutants floating around in almost every home. The key is to ensure levels don’t become too concentrated. Acetone, Formaldehyde, and Benzene are the most common forms of VOCs.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2): Considered to be safe in small amounts, CO2 is a colorless and odorless gas that you’ve most likely been exposed to.

Dust and Allergens: Over 20 million people are allergic to dust mites and dust is one of the most common allergens in the world. Other household air pollutants include mold, pollen, pet dander, and secondhand smoke.

Humidity and Temperature: High levels of humidity contribute to mold, and temperatures that are too high allow for chemicals from outside to enter the home at a more rapid pace.

How To Improve Air Quality

Source control is the easiest way to prevent indoor air pollution. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to not bring any air pollutants into your home. But you can make some changes to reduce your exposure to them.

  • Open windows as much as possible, even for just a few minutes
  • Regularly clean or change all filters in your home
  • Adjust your home’s humidity level to be between 30-50%
  • Get some green plants
  • Keep your house clean and uncluttered (vacuum and change bedding regularly)
  • Use eco-friendly, non toxic cleaning supplies
  • Avoid smoking indoors
  • Invest in an air purifier

There’s no “all in one” test for indoor air pollutants, and the multitude of tests can seem overwhelmingly expensive. If you are genuinely concerned about the air quality in your home, contact a professional.

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.