Wellness |

Increase Your Family’s Vitamin D This Winter

2 minute read

Getting enough of the “sunshine vitamin”, or vitamin D, can prove to be a challenge as the days get shorter and we see less sunlight.

Vitamin D is an important nutrient for our overall health. It helps regulate our calcium and phosphorus levels, two minerals that are essential to our bone health. While you might think bone health is the only benefit, there are actually many more.

Other Functions of Vitamin D:

  • Stronger immune and nervous systems
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Better cognitive function
  • Insulin level regulation
  • Decreased risk of asthma, dermatitis and eczema
  • Healthy pregnancy
  • Reduced risk of flu by 50%

Unfortunately, nearly three-quarters of Americans are deficient in vitamin D. According to WebMD, there are several symptoms and health risks that accompany vitamin D deficiency including bone pain and muscle weakness.

Although some symptoms can be subtle, it is recommended that you get tested by your doctor if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Chronic fatigue/trouble sleeping
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Weakened immune system
  • Inflammation and swelling

To prevent those symptoms and ensure that you and your family get enough of this vital nutrient as the seasons change, follow these simple tips for absorbing vitamin D:

Get Some Rays

Don’t let the colder temperatures be your excuse for not getting any sun. Talk a walk on your lunch or play outside with your kids. If you’re able, plan a family vacation in a warmer climate to really get some sun this winter.

Eat the Right Foods

Eat plenty of foods that are high in vitamin D: Oily fish (salmon, sardines), orange juice, breakfast cereals, red meats, egg yolk, cheese, tofu, mushrooms, and fortified products.

Use a Vitamin D Sun Lamp

Artificial light is another option when natural light is hard to come by. Most light therapy boxes don’t increase vitamin D levels, but they can be effective at preventing seasonal affective disorder. The only vitamin D lamp currently approved by the FDA to actually increase your vitamin D levels is called the Sperti. It is priced at over $400 but can be used everyday and can save your family the cross country airfare to find sunshine.

Take Supplements

If all else fails, you can complement your vitamin D routine with some supplements. Excessive intake should be avoided so it’s important to talk to your doctor before beginning any on your own so they can recommend a correct dose based on your current levels.

Feeling Stuffy This Winter?

Lack of sunlight isn’t the only concern when the temperatures drop. It can be much harder to get fresh air in your home during the winter, but it’s important that you do.

*Note: The contents of this page are not meant to be medical advice. Please consult your physician if you have concerns about the health of you and your family.

Environment | Family |

Fall Activities for Kids and Families

2 minute read

The days of summer might be over, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to pack in the outdoor fun just yet. As the temperatures and leaves begin to drop, now is the perfect time to take part in all the outdoor fall activities available for your family.

Backyard Bustle

  • Raking Leaves: It’s a necessary chore and even a great workout. You can make it fun by having a contest to see who can fill up their bag the fastest. And here are some great ideas for what to do with some of those leaves once they’re all picked up.
  • Make a Maze: This is a lively activity that can help develop spatial awareness. It can be made to fit any age depending on how difficult and complex you make it.
  • Birdseed Cookies: Hanging these homemade cookies for the birds can also lend to some creative bird watching. Try drawing some of the birds you see or keep a count of how many you see in a day.

Neighborhood Liveliness

  • Scavenger Hunt: With all the online resources out there, this activity is a no-brainer for a fun fall activity. You can use this simple hunt for youngsters or this more detailed hunt for your older kids.
  • Family Exercise: Walk, ride bikes, roller blade, whatever you prefer. The point is enjoying the beautiful crisp nights together and getting your heart rates up.
  • Fall Festival: Lots of communities put on festivals that you can attend with your kids. There are usually plenty of food, games, trunk or treating (trick or treating out of the back of cars), and more.

Autumn Adventures

  • Apple Orchard: What’s not to love about gathering bags full of fresh seasonal fruit and maybe enjoying some apple cider donuts while you’re at it? Try some of these delicious recipes with all your freshly picked apples.
  • Pumpkin Patch: Another great tradition to start with your family. You can each pick your own and paint or carve them once you get home, which allows for individualism within a group activity!
  • Geocaching: If you’ve never tried this before, it’s best described as a modern day treasure hunt. You use your phone or GPS instead of a map to find the hidden treasure! It can take you to places you’ve never been and give the whole family an adventure to remember. Check out these tips for beginners to get started.

Healthy and Happy for Fall

We hope you and your family enjoy these fall activities, but we want to share one important reminder to help keep everyone healthy and happy.

Mold thrives all year long and is present almost everywhere. Grass, falling leaves, rotting logs, and compost piles are all perfect places for mold to grow and live. In order to avoid being stuck inside all season, try to remember a few simple steps when it comes to avoiding mold:

  • Have all the fun you want in your freshly raked leaf piles, but remove them from your yard after the fun is done. Leaf piles that sit on your lawn will quickly collect mold.
  • Make sure all your collected leaves are in air-tight bags or garbage containers. Air inside the bag will allow mold to grow even faster.
  • Avoid contact altogether with rotting logs or large damp piles of leaves to prevent negative reactions.
  • For activities like geocaching or scavenger hunts, make sure to stay out of untended forest areas or swamps.

Archive |

RESNET Talks Proper Ventilation

< 1 minute read

Aprilaire had the honor to be one of the first guests on the new RESET podcast, RESTalk this September. The eighth episode of the newly launched podcast by the Residential Energy Services Network was all about proper ventilation in today’s tightly-built home.

Take the time to listen to Scott Grefsheim, Senior Product Engineer at Aprilaire speak with RESTalk host Bill Spohn about the mix of products, applications, understanding and innovation that go into delivering proper ventilation in the varied climates across the U.S.

Listen Today!

Episode 8 – Build it tight, ventilate right – Satisfying building codes & consumer expectations for health and comfort with Aprilaire. 

Healthy Air | Family |

Crafts for Kids: DIY Air Quality Experiment

2 minute read

Air pollution and allergies are concerning in certain areas and at different times of the year. No matter where you live, it’s important to help children understand the concepts of air quality and how it impacts their health and wellness.

Air Quality Experiment for Kids

The reality of air pollution is best understood when it can be physically seen.

Try this simple activity with kids to show them there really are things in the air that we cannot see.

Materials

  • 3-4 clear plastic plates
  • Permanent marker
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Masking tape/poster putty
  • 3-4 blank pieces of paper
  • Magnifying glass

Procedure

  1. Use a permanent marker to label each of your plates with a different location around the house (bedroom, kitchen, living room, etc.). The experiment is about Indoor Air Quality, but you could place at least one plate outside too.
  2. After your plates are labeled, spread a thin layer of petroleum jelly on each. To make the experiment fair, be sure to use the same amount of jelly on each plate.
  3. Use your masking tape or putty to hang the plates in their respective rooms.
  4. Wait 2-3 days and then collect your plates.
  5. Place each plate on a piece of white paper and use the magnifying glass to observe the different particles that were collected.

Teach Kids Air Quality Awareness

Whether you use the above experiment or just want to talk with your kids, awareness in children is a great first step in getting them to care about air quality and their daily health.

Children who suffer from asthma and allergies especially have reason to be aware of the air around them because of the direct consequences air pollution can have on their breathing.

Teach kids to always get the help of an adult when they are experiencing shortness of breath, and show them ways to help themselves if they’re on their own when they can’t breathe.

Here are Some Helpful Reminders:

  • Find the Source: Now that kids are aware of air pollution, it can help them identify if the air around them is causing their shortness of breath. Cigarette smoke or mold spores are two examples of possible causes. In the fall, mold from leaf piles is a concern. In these cases, remind kids that getting some fresh air can help.
  • Deep Breaths: Try some of these deep breathing exercises with your kids. These can come in handy when kids leave a polluted or allergen-filled area and can breathe in fresh air to relax.

*Note: This is not intended to be medical advice for those with serious breathing or health issues such as asthma. Please consult your healthcare professional for in-depth instructions and strategies in these scenarios.

Archive |

Celebrate Good Neighbor Day

2 minute read

National Good Neighbor Day is September 28th this year. And here at Aprilaire, we’re using it as a chance to appreciate the communities we live and work in.

Local Volunteer Efforts

We’re proud of our long-standing tradition of providing volunteer and financial support to non-profit charitable organizations. Additionally, our employees donate their time and resources each year to efforts they care about, all in support of making our world a better place. We continue to believe in being good neighbors throughout our local communities.

One organization that Aprilaire is involved with is Sustain Dane, who is committed to sustainability in the Madison, Wisconsin area. We believe local efforts like theirs are a great way to initiate positive change on a worldwide scale.

Inspiring Neighbors

Most recently, we’re impressed by the dedicated efforts of The Ocean Cleanup Group to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Located halfway between Hawaii and California, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch(GPGP) is the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world. Not only does all that plastic cause harm to marine life, but it also poses health and economic concerns for humans as well. The passive cleanup system they created will corral the plastic that floats on the top layers of the seas.

As a show of support, we encourage Aprilaire employees to use reusable water bottles, coffee cups, and food containers to help stop the problem at the source.

Breath of Fresh Air

Another area that’s deeply connected to our mission at Aprilaire is the cleanup and recovery efforts for wildfires, particularly in the western United States.

This year alone in California, over 1.4 million acres have burned and thousands of homes have been destroyed. The estimated cost of damages is over $2.5 billion.

The first step is relief and recovery for the people displaced or otherwise affected by the wildfires. And that’s the goal of the California Community Foundation.

Long-term, the prevalence of wildfires needs to be managed. There  were over 6,ooo wildfires in California this year.

All those fires create smoky conditions that are dangerous for the health of anyone living within range. Aprilaire believes that a good living environment starts with having clean, fresh air to breathe. And that’s true for inside your home and in the great outdoors.

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.