Healthy Home |

Winterizing Your Home for the Holidays

2 minute read

Before the weather outside is frightful, take a look at these ways to winterize your home for a delightful holiday season. Winterizing is a win-win. It’s generally inexpensive to do, and it has the potential to save you money on energy bills. Not to mention, make your home more comfortable for the winter months.

Winterizing Tips from Aprilaire

Gutters and Downspouts

  • Clean out your gutters and downspouts in fall and check them again before winter hits
  • Install leaf guards in your cleared gutters to prevent any future debris

Roofing, Chimneys, and Decks

  • Get out your binoculars and check for any loose or damaged shingles
  • Hire a chimney sweep to inspect and clean your chimney before roasting any chestnuts
  • Invest in a chimney balloon if your chimney will not be in use to prevent heat loss
  • Give your deck a fresh coat of sealant to protect it from the harsh winter conditions

Doors and Windows

  • Check doors and windows for any leaks that will let hot air escape
  • Apply weatherstripping or caulk around any problem areas
  • Draft guards or a rolled towel will help prevent drafts on exterior doors
  • Window insulation film can seal it heat to reduce energy consumption

A/C, Water Lines, and Piping

  • Drain any pipes or hoses coming from your A/C unit and vacuum out any pools of water in your unit’s drain pan
  • Cover your central air unit with a plastic cover to prevent rust cause by snow and water
  • Disconnect hoses from outside faucets and turn off water
  • Wrap your pipes with insulation to reduce heat loss and increase the temperature of the water delivered through your pipes

Water Heater

  • Flush the water through the drain valve to clear out any material that may have collected
  • Lower your water heater temperature to reduce heating costs by 6-10%

Heating System

  • Replace your furnace filter as recommended
  • Call a professional to inspect your furnace and give it a tune up, if necessary
  • Do a test run with your heating system after the inspection so you know it will work when you need it

Although most weatherproofing jobs are something that homeowners can tackle themselves in a weekend, there’s no substitute for a professional inspection to ensure your home’s efficiency throughout the harsh winter. Find a trustworthy expert in your area who can do a thorough test and make recommendations for improvement.


Healthy Home | Healthy Air |

Aprilaire Commands for Amazon’s Alexa

< 1 minute read

Aprilaire makes it simple to manage your home’s air quality, from controlling temperature and humidity to refreshing any room with clean air from the outside. But we couldn’t stop there. That’s why we’ve made our thermostats compatible with Amazon Alexa voice commands!

Alexa makes it easier to manage your day, from setting reminders to learning about the weather. It only made sense for us to pair our air quality systems with this awesome technology.

Aprilaire Commands for Alexa

Energy Savings

Ask Alexa to activate ‘Away’ mode, which optimizes your heating and cooling systems while you’re away from home.


Check on the humidity level in your home any time. Alexa will tell you the Relative Humidity, which makes it easy to find the setting you prefer and experience what different levels of humidity feel like in your home.

Allergy Season

Is pollen giving you fits? Ask Alexa to ‘Start Air Cleaning’, which uses your home’s air purifier to refresh the air you’re breathing so you can stay healthy throughout allergy season.

Fresh Air

Cleaning and cooking can make the air in your home stale. Alexa will start up your home’s ventilation system to flush out polluted air and bring in fresh air.

System Status

You can ask Alexa for the current status of your home’s system. This gives you peace of mind knowing what is operating and when.

Find out more about all of Aprilaire’s Alexa commands, and see just how easy it can be to keep your home environment fresh, clean, and happy.


Archive |

Black Friday Shopping Tips–Find What You Need In Record Time!

2 minute read

8 Black Friday Shopping Tips

Black Friday shopping is really a love-it-or-leave-it kind of tradition. And for those of you who love it, planning and strategizing are a must.

We’ve assembled some tips that you can start on in the weeks leading up to Black Friday. Find a couple that will work with your shopping style, and enjoy a little less stress and a little more savings this holiday season.

Here’s a bonus tip: Use promo code FRESH at checkout for 20% off room air purifiers and air filters at Act fast, this deal won’t be around for long!

Make a list/set a budget:

When everything is on sale, it’s hard to resist an extra something here and there. But setting a budget and sticking to it is vital to a successful day. This is easiest to do when you make a specific list of everyone you want to buy a gift for and what that gift is, so you can avoid the things you shouldn’t buy on Black Friday.

Do your research:

There are a few important things to know in order to have the most efficient shopping day.

  • Know when stores are opening/closing
  • Types/amounts of doorbusters offered
  • Online or offline restrictions/return policies

Draft a plan of attack:

Best Black Friday dot com has created a Game Plan for mapping out your day so you can stay focused and organized. If efficiency is important to you, going in with a plan and map of the stores you want to get to will save you so much time.

Get an early start:

Black Friday shopping has become a multiple day event in recent years and the earlier you can get out, the better deals you’ll find. Keep an eye out for “early release” ads to track the best and earliest deals available.

Use loyalty programs:

Store “members” are often offered sales and promotions first and are able to earn rewards on what they buy. You can sign up for alerts to get an early scoop on coupons, discounts, and promotions from the stores you like.

Be social:

Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter are all great outlets for finding out about deals and promotions. By following or liking your favorite retailers, you can score alerts to discounts and incentives.

Use a shopping app:

Price comparison is easier than ever with Google Shopping and services like PriceGrabber, Shopzilla, NexTag, and Pricewatch. Other apps for in-store comparisons, discounts, and store coupons such as Flipp, ShopKick, Shopsavvy, and Shopular let you scan barcodes and QR codes while you’re shopping.

Online vs. in-store shopping:

Before you swear off one or the other, check out this list of the pros and cons of both online and in-store shopping and consider a little of both to maximize your savings.

Most importantly, be safe, and cherish the memories made with family and friends during this time of year.

Oh! And don’t forget about that sweet deal on Aprilaire room air purifiers and air filters. Promo code: FRESH for 20% off.

Archive |

Seasonal Whole Food Recipes for a Healthy Autumn

2 minute read

Seasonal Whole Foods and Clean-Eating Recipes for a Healthy Fall

The fall season is a great time to eat right. There are so many seasonal fruits and vegetables available, and just as many ways to use them in fun, flavorful recipes. This year, we’re focused on using “whole foods” for creating healthy meals the whole family will love. We think you’ll like them, too!

What are Whole Foods?

Typically, when people refer to whole foods, they are talking about foods that:

  • Remain as close to their natural state as possible
  • Have no additives (sugars, starches, flavorings, other manufactured ingredients)
  • Are minimally processed/not primarily processed in a factory

Replacing the processed food in your diet with whole foods will provide a well-balanced and nutritious diet.

Some of the easiest and most common substitutions include:

  • Whole grains instead of refined grains (quinoa or brown rice instead of white rice)
  • Water or seltzer water instead of sugary beverages like soda and juice
  • Fruits instead of jellies, jams, or processed fruit bars
  • Veggies or potatoes instead of chips

Healthy eating starts with good decisions at the grocery store. Check out some of the tips from WebMD on how to make a healthy grocery list.

Whole Food Recipes for Fall

And once you’ve stocked your kitchen with healthy and delicious whole foods, you’re ready to try some of these delicious fall recipes:

Archive |

Halloween Safety Tips for the Kids

2 minute read

Halloween can be a real treat for the whole family. Parents get to relive their childhood memories of dressing up and bobbing for apples (how did that get started?). And kids bring their imaginations to life with their costumes and get to enjoy the magic of trick-or-treating with their siblings and friends. With all the spook-tacular fun to be had, parents should still take some precautions by following our Halloween safety tips.

Halloween Safety Tips

  • Map out a route for kids to follow and have them go before dark (most areas hold official trick-or-treating before dark)
  • Create a check-in schedule with specific times they will text/call you
  • Ask them to text you pictures of their favorite costumes or decorations to make the check-ins fun
  • Set a specific time for them to be home

If you’re looking for even more assurance, keeping an eye on your kids is easier than ever with a number of apps that can help you keep track your child’s location:

  • Google maps can turn your child’s phone into a GPS tracker
  • Life360 has a private map feature as well as emergency signaling
  • You can request a Glympse of your child’s location with real-time updates.
  • The Family Tracker app also uses GPS location to update you in real-time.

The Best Treats To Hand Out This Halloween

With peace of mind that your kids are safely filling their buckets, parentscan stay home and enjoy the excitement of handing out treats to everyone from the neighborhood.

Treats can be so much more than just candy, however. Thanks to the “Teal Pumpkins Project”, an initiative to make Halloween more inclusive and safe for everyone, non-food options are becoming great alternatives to the traditional sweet treats.

By handing out treats that aren’t food, kids with food allergies can safely enjoy the thrills of trick-or-treating. For free resources about this awesome project, visit the Food Allergy Research & Education website.

This doesn’t mean you can’t hand out any food, just make sure to keep the food and non-food items in separate bowls. Here are some great ideas for healthy and safe options for your trick-or-treaters:

Healthier Treats

  • Raisins
  • Pretzels
  • Mini water bottles
  • Granola bars
  • Sugar-free gum

Non-food Treats

  • Glow sticks
  • Themed pencils/erasers
  • Stickers/temporary tattoos
  • Bubbles
  • chalk/crayons


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.