Environment |

Summer’s Most Common Bugs

2 minute read

When it comes to a love of humidity, humans and pests are on opposite ends of the spectrum. While we tend to despise air that is thick with heat and water vapor, most bugs actually thrive in it and need it to live.

Unfortunately, this means that the impending summer humidity in certain parts of the country is about to bring these summer pests out in a big way.

Summer’s Most Common Pests

Cockroaches

The German cockroach is the most common roach species infesting our homes in North America. They are attracted to warm and humid places, making your kitchen and the water heater in the basement their most frequented hideaways.

Silverfish

These small, wingless insects are nocturnal and need to keep their bodies moist at all times in order to survive. You are likely to find them beneath boxes or furniture in your basement, the shower, or hiding in your kitchen.

Centipedes

Carnivorous and nocturnal, with their 100 feet, these pests can move quickly and spend most of the day hiding in humid, secluded places. They are highly attracted to the moist, humid parts of the home because they need to rehydrate constantly in order to live.

Earwigs

Known to burrow into topsoil outside, these nocturnal bugs can also infiltrate dark and humid areas of your home. You are most likely to find them around floor drains, bathrooms, or under rugs or furniture.

Roly-Poly Bugs

Also known as pill bugs, sow bugs, potato bugs, or armadillo bugs, these bugs often infest damp basements.

Tips to Prevent/Eliminate Summer Pests:

energy efficiency

AA Homepage Articles | Environment |

Aprilaire’s Most Energy-Efficient Indoor Air Quality Solutions

2 minute read

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Saving energy is near the top of most homeowners’ to-do lists, and for good reason. Improved energy efficiency has several benefits including lower utility bills, extended life of some home appliances, and a positive impact on the environment.

Aprilaire is the first whole-home dehumidifier manufacturer to achieve the ENERGY STAR® Most Efficient 2021 certification, delivering 23% annual energy savings above conventional products. Read below to learn more about Aprilaire’s best Indoor Air Quality solutions for improving the energy efficiency of your home.

NEW Aprilaire e-series™ Dehumidifiers

Energy efficiency is always top of mind at Aprilaire. And after years of research and engineering, we’re excited to introduce our new e-series Dehumidifiers. These innovative units are designed to remove more moisture per day using less power. And as always, they’re easy to install right out of the box.

We have a few different models available, each offering a range of features including options with leveling feet, casters, or hardwired powering so it can be installed according to the unique needs of your home. And with capacities ranging from 70-130 pints per day, you can match the dehumidifier size to the square footage of your home and the humidity levels in your area.

Programmable or Smart Thermostat

Putting a heater and air conditioner on a schedule means you are only paying for comfort when you’re actually enjoying it. Aprilaire Wi-Fi thermostats provide control from anywhere by syncing with your mobile device. With the ability to monitor humidity and temperature conditions in your home even when you’re not there, programmable thermostats offer peace of mind as well as major savings, approximately $180 per year compared to non-programmable ones.

High-Efficiency Air Filters

HVAC systems are forced to work harder to pull air through filters that are not in prime condition. When you choose a high-efficiency Aprilaire air filter, you’re helping to protect your HVAC system from fewer service calls. Our filters are specifically engineered to work with your Aprilaire air purifier. They’re effective for 6-12 months compared to the traditional 1-3 month filter, saving you precious time and money.

Whole-Home Air Purifier

Aprilaire air purifiers can be installed as part of your home’s central heating and cooling unit, or we have more versatile units that can be installed in your home’s basement, attic, or closet. This is the best way to suit your energy efficiency needs and create a Healthy Air environment throughout your home.

Contact a Healthy Air Professional for Energy Efficiency

While we’re talking about energy efficiency, it’s never too early to gear up your home for that inevitable summer humidity. Contact an Aprilaire Healthy Air Professional to discuss all your dehumidification and energy-saving needs this summer.

Healthy Air Is on the Way

Find an Aprilaire professional near you.

healthy gardening tips

Environment |

Healthy Gardening Tips for Spring 2021

2 minute read

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Did you pick up a new gardening habit in 2020? You’re not alone. Better Homes & Gardens estimates that more than 20 million Americans started planting for the first time last year.

With a new spring underway, we want to keep you on the right gardening path so you can enjoy all the beautiful colors, sights, and smells of fresh produce and blooming flowers. But keep in mind that all those plants can bring unwanted pests and increased pollen.

Read below to discover some natural and preventative ways of repelling pests, and see how to enjoy a garden without a high pollen count.

Preventing Garden Pests

  • Start with healthy soil for healthy plants that are more resilient against pests
  • Choose resistant varieties that naturally repel pests
  • Attract insects and birds that will benefit your garden and prey on the pests by planting flowers that will meet their needs
  • Planting aromatic herbs like garlic, mint, coriander, yarrow, or lemongrass among or near plants can deter pests. Some of them also help attract the predators that control your pest population
  • Confuse pests by interplanting, or alternating specific crops, herbs, and flowers
  • Floating row covers can keep pests away from young plants until they’re established while still allowing water and light to reach them
  • Don’t scare away ALL the pests. Having a few pests can actually benefit your garden by keeping those beneficial insects and birds around
  • If your “few pests” turns into an outbreak, resist the urge to use pesticides, no matter how organic. Instead, remove the infested plant to stop any spreading

Managing Pollen Counts

  • Choose the right plants if you’re looking to add to your landscape:
    • Flowering plants are typically pollinated by insects instead of wind, so pick plants with bright, fragrant flowers whose pollen is too big to get in the air
    • Native plants are easier to grow compared to non-native plants that are more likely to struggle and therefore release more pollen under distress
    • Go for female trees—often labeled seedless or fruitless—because most pollen comes from male trees
    • Safe choices of trees include apple, dogwood, pear, plum, or magnolia. Safe shrubs include hydrangea, azalea, rhododendron, or boxwood. Safe flowers include daffodils, sunflowers, roses, daisies, or tulips
  • If your yard already contains high-pollen plants or trees, consider having them removed entirely or relocated away from any doors or windows to prevent the pollen from getting inside your home
  • Timing is everything when it comes to pollen counts. Early morning and evening hours are most suitable for gardening when you suffer from allergies
  • Weather also plays a key role. Pollen counts are lower on cool, cloudy, or damp days so check the forecast before heading outside
  • Trim your lawn often to keep it around two inches, which will inhibit seeds. Depending on how sensitive you are to pollen, you might need to ask a friend or family member to mow for you
  • Wear lightweight clothing to keep your arms and legs covered, and wear pollen masks, gardening gloves, and a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from flying pollen
  • After completing your yard work for the day, leave any shoes or gloves outside and shower as soon as possible since your clothing and hair can all carry allergens into your home
St. Vincent de Paul

AA Homepage Articles | News |

2021: Aprilaire’s Good Neighbor Values

2 minute read

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We take the importance of caring for others to heart at Aprilaire. We believe we have a purpose beyond the individual work we do and that being a successful company also means “Being a Good Neighbor.” It’s one of our core values, and something we put into action each year.

We remain committed to helping our local communities in a number of ways, including financial contributions and volunteering. In the past, we’ve raised funds to provide pack-n-plays to mothers in need, volunteered at local blood drives, and held various donation drives throughout the year.

While our partnership opportunities may look different in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re excited to continue our work with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, whose mission statement reads:

“A membership organization, the Society began working in Madison in 1925 with two parish-based groups of members serving their neighbors in need. Today, programs the Society operates in Dane County include a large customer-choice food pantry, a charitable pharmacy, storage for the goods of persons who are homeless, seven thrift stores offering direct charity, housing at Port St. Vincent de Paul and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton House, and several other forms of assistance for people struggling with poverty.”

We’ve been working with St. Vincent de Paul – Madison since 2014, giving us a number of incredible opportunities to give back and live out our mission of being Good Neighbors.

We believe the work they’re doing to provide assistance for our community is more important than ever right now, which is why it’s our honor to be a 2021 Platinum Sponsor for St. Vincent de Paul’s 6th Annual Care Café fundraising breakfast on May, 5th 2021. The theme is “Love Made Visible.”

They’re going virtual this year, which means they have unlimited capacity to reach their goal of $140,000. If you live in Dane County, we encourage you to attend the virtual event and support our neighbors in need through your contributions to the food pantry, free pharmacy, and housing programs.

 Click here for more information on St. Vincent de Paul – Madison to see how you can get involved.

Or find a charity in your area that you may be able to connect with to make an impact.

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.

flights

AA Homepage Articles | News |

Experts Say Flights Can Resume, But Bring Increased Risks

2 minute read

Air quality experts say that it is safe to resume flying, but travelers must take advanced precautions before traveling like taking shorter flights when possible, wearing masks, and social distancing. 

In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Joseph Allen, an assistant professor of exposure assessment science at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, makes the case that airplanes do not make you sick. In fact, airplanes have comparable levels of air filtration and fresh air ventilation to a health care facility

Flights May Be Less Comfortable With Recommendations

He argues that airlines should continue disinfecting high-touch areas such as armrests and tray tables, stop in-flight food service, mandate mask-wearing, and ask patrons to keep their above ventilation fan on throughout the flight. While these adjustments make flying less enjoyable, they can help reduce in-flight virus transmission. Masks are currently required on public transportation. 

Allen is not the only one saying it is safe to resume flying. 

‘Safer Than Eating At A Restaurant’

Linsey Marr, an engineering professor at Virginia Tech, in a CNN article writes, “When HEPA ventilation systems are running on a plane and everyone is masked, the risk of Covid-19 is greatly reduced and makes air travel on a big jet safer than eating at a restaurant.”

Activities Create Biggest Risks

She and Allen argue that the biggest risks in airline travel stem from activities like the pre-flight boarding process or when a flight is delayed and people are stuck on the plane. Marr, who has been wearing an air quality monitor when she travels, said CO2 levels are elevated during these aforementioned activities and are indicative of a lack of fresh air ventilation. 

Marr told CNN that “A CO2 (carbon dioxide) level of 3,000 ppm means that for every breath I take in, about 7% of the air is other people’s exhaled breath…like drinking someone else’s backwash!”

The airport also presents other problems for travelers.

Allen suggests airports create more touchless experiences, upgrade their HVAC system, and require masks. Some updates have already been implemented in some airports or will be implemented in the future. 

Other experts suggest carrying your own personal hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and sticking to shorter flights

Even though there are risks to flying, Marr and Allen say you are clear for takeoff this summer