AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Clean Air | Wellness |

The Impact of Indoor Pollution – A Closer Look at the Air We Breathe

2 minute read

The air pollution conversation used to revolve almost entirely around pollutants emitted from gas-burning vehicles. But in the age of electric, hybrid, and other clean, fuel-efficient cars, and during a time when people are spending more time indoors than ever before–that conversation is starting to change toward volatile chemical products (VCPs).

“It’s time to think about the indoor environment as being a source of pollution the same way we’ve thought about cars contributing to pollution in the past.”

 This quote is from Matthew Coggon, a Research Scientist II of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and Chemical Sciences Division of the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory.

Thanks to recent studies in Los Angeles, we can see that volatile chemical products contribute as much to the abundance of urban volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as the emissions from motor vehicles.

What are Volatile Chemical Products and Volatile Organic Compounds?

VCPs are products that easily become vapors or gases and are predominantly emitted in the indoor environment, where they release VOCs. They can then be transported to the outdoors via building exhaust where they add to the pollution of the ozone layer.

VOCs are up to 10x higher indoors. They are also released from several everyday consumer products containing volatile chemicals.

Listed below are common Volatile Chemical Products:

  • Cigarettes
  • Paints and thinners
  • Air fresheners
  • Personal care products (shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, etc.)
  • Solvents found in adhesives, cosmetics, cleaners, spot removers, nail polish removers, lacquers, and dry-cleaning fluid
  • Copy machines and printers
  • Building materials and furnishings
  • Pesticides

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The top two categories of indoor air pollution and volatile chemical products are personal care products and adhesives.

The good news is that there are several ways to keep VOCs out of your home.

Control and Eliminate sources of VOCs

  • Look for fragrance-free products that don’t contain fragrance materials or masking scents.
    • Be careful not to confuse unscented for fragrance-free, as unscented typically means that chemicals have been used in the product to neutralize or mask the odor of other ingredients.
  • Choose non-toxic cleaning products that are water-based as opposed to products containing solvents.
  • Reduce the overall use of personal care products.
  • Don’t stock up on products that you only use occasionally, rather buy only what you will use right away so you’re not storing unnecessary chemicals in your home.
    • Things like paint, fuel, and chemicals should be stored far away from your living space.

Use As Directed

  • Always follow manufacturers’ instructions when it comes to storing household products that contain chemicals.
  • Never mix household cleaners or other chemicals unless the label gives specific directions.
  • Keep all products out of reach of pets and children.

Purify Your Air

  • Use an air purifier or whole home ventilation to ensure a healthy indoor environment for your family.
  • Aprilaire Air Purifiers reduce airborne pollutants, allergens, microbes, odors, and more. They can be a key piece in reducing the amount of VOCs in your home.

 

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AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air | Wellness |

Airborne Viruses and Healthy Air

3 minute read

At Aprilaire we believe healthy air is essential – especially in your home. The coronavirus pandemic has brought indoor air quality to the forefront as you and your family are spending far more time in your home.

Healthy air is all we do at Aprilaire, and as the industry leader we want to take this opportunity to share information with you on how to create healthy air in your home. More than ever we feel a responsibility to spread the word on the importance of healthy air in the home, the science behind how a home’s air system works, and proven, best-practice healthy air solutions.

Unfortunately we do not have cure for the coronavirus, but Aprilaire does offer solutions to help prevent the proliferation of airborne viruses and other air quality issues in your home

We support the findings and recommendation of ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) that the most effective way to prevent proliferation of airborne viruses is by installing a whole home Healthy Air System containing 3 essential elements: Air Filtration, Humidity Control and Fresh Air Ventilation.

These components are designed to work with your heating and air conditioning equipment to create a healthy air environment in your home by introducing healthy, fresh air into your home, maintaining a level of humidity that helps prevent the proliferation of viruses, and helping to remove airborne dust, allergens, bacteria, and viruses.

Air Filtration

Proper filtration of both the air in your home and incoming ventilation air is key to removing particulates from the air.

According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine (NIH/NLM)the coronavirus nominally has a particle size of 0.13 microns and most airborne viruses range from 0.03 to 0.3 microns.

Aprilaire MERV 16 Allergy & Asthma Filters provide the highest rate of effectiveness. They can capture up to 96%* of airborne particles the size of viruses.

Our whole-home Aprilaire 5000 Electronic Air Cleaner is an effective product to capture airborne viruses. It is up to 90%* efficient at trapping airborne virus-size particles.

Healthy Humidity Solutions

Proper Humidity reduces the transmission of viruses. ASHRAE promotes keeping humidity between 30-60% to minimize virus survival rates.

Aprilaire provides humidifier products such as the 600, 700, and 800 and the 1850 dehumidifier to help keep the home between this optimal range.

Fresh Air Ventilation

Having a properly functioning whole-home ventilation system is critical to maintaining a healthy home environment. Fresh air is not only clean and refreshing but ventilation also helps dilute and remove contaminants.

Homeowners should use a ventilation system to bring in fresh air from the outside to dilute stagnant indoor air. The air inside the home can be up to 5 times more polluted than the air outside. Products such as the Aprilaire Model 8126X Ventilation System or Model 8140 Fresh Air Ventilator bring in the recommended amount of fresh air. They also have patented control logic to minimize energy usage. Coupling these systems with our IAQ thermostats allows homeowners to easily adjust the amount of fresh air being brought (into) your home.

Whole-Home Product Control

The Aprilaire whole-home products work with our IAQ thermostats to provide easy user experience and control through the thermostat and Aprilaire app.

Professional

Help combat airborne viruses and particulates in the home with Aprilaire Products. Our products are not only manufactured in the United States, but our engineers and manufacturers maintain the highest standards in design and assembly.

Aprilaire products are professionally installed and serviced by Healthy Air Partners. To help find the perfect Healthy Air product for your home, go to our Find A Pro page to locate a dealer in your area.

Please note:

Aprilaire products are not intended to cure or treat any known airborne viruses but can help in the reduction of airborne viruses in your home.

*Contaminates removed based on air passing through the filtering system.

 

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.

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:

Healthy Home |

Professionals Needed: Here Are The Home Projects You Should Never DIY

2 minute read

So you bought your first house and can’t wait to rip up that crummy carpet. Go for it! But if you hit dirt, you might need to call in backup. As more millennials take the plunge into home ownership, it’s becoming more and more common to see DIY projects big and small. Things like carpet removal are doable. But no matter how many tips and tricks you’ve picked up from HGTV, Pinterest, or YouTube, there are some projects that simply aren’t worth the money, time, or risk to do yourself.

Setting Limits on DIY Home Projects

Skill Level for DIY Home Projects:

For some people, DIY is a way of life. For the rest of us, we need to be honest about our skills and level of experience. Sometimes a “simple” job can actually be a lot more complex than it appears. Hire a professional for these projects before you try it yourself and make a mistake that costs way more to fix.

  • Paving your driveway
  • Custom kitchen and bathroom jobs – backsplashes, flooring, countertops
  • Pest removal
  • Window Installation

Time Commitment for DIY Home Projects:

Some home improvement jobs can take weeks to complete when you try to do them yourself. For big projects, hiring a professional will mean a quicker and more efficient job done well so you can get back to enjoying your home without interruptions.

  • Large landscaping projects
  • Flooring
  • Demolition

Permission for DIY Home Projects:

Some home improvement projects require permits due to building codes. Save yourself the headache, and possible code violation, by hiring a professional who’s familiar with the process when it comes to these types of jobs.

  • Additions and remodels
  • Deck or patio addition
  • Major electrical/plumbing work
  • Pool installation and repairs

Safety Risk for DIY Home Projects:

If there’s any question of your ability to do something without injury or structural damage to your home, it’s most definitely a job for a professional.

  • Mold, asbestos, lead removal
  • Tree removal
  • Roof and foundation repairs
  • HVAC system installation and repair

When you’ve decided you need a pro, try to keep the process simple to save you time and headaches. Start by reaching out to a few trusted contractors in your area to get estimates on the work, (recommendations from friends are a great place to start) and then consider price and professionalism before making your decision.

When it comes to HVAC work, we make it easy to find a pro. Along with plumbing and electrical work, HVAC is an area where it’s crucial to get the job done right the first time.

Sources:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/millennials-take-on-diy-projects-with-more-confidence-and-budgeting-discipline-than-previous-generations-300813538.html

https://www.familyhandyman.com/smart-homeowner/10-home-projects-you-should-always-hire-a-pro-for/

https://www.ahs.com/home-matters/quick-tips/8-household-projects-to-leave-to-professionals/

https://www.rd.com/home/improvement/diy-home-improvement-projects/

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/projects-you-should-not-diy_n_3923456

https://www.hallerent.com/blog/when-to-call-professional-for-home-improvement-repairs/

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AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

Back To Work? 5 Ways to Promote A Healthy Office Environment

3 minute read

As the COVID-19 pandemic persists in the United States, every area of the country is grappling with the decision to “reopen” parts of society. One area of consideration is office life. While some companies have announced prolonged work-from-home policies, (July 2021 for Google employees), others are already back to normal or are planning to resume in-office activity in the fall.

What does that mean for employees who are concerned about returning to that environment in the midst of a pandemic?

It is largely the responsibility of your employer to create and maintain a safe work environment. And if you feel uncomfortable being in the office, it’s worth talking with your boss or co-workers about continuing to work from home.

If you are set to return to the office soon, here are some ways you can find safety and peace of mind by focusing on your health and the health of your environment.

5 Tips For A Healthy Office

1. Stay Home When You Need To

The mentality of toughing it out when you aren’t feeling well needs to be rewired. If you are at all concerned that you are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, the safest thing you can do is not go to work.

This is the compassionate and responsible thing to do for yourself, your co-workers, and your family.

2. Keep Your Distance

Avoid congregating in common areas, break rooms, cafeterias, etc. While it may be a hard habit to break, it’s necessary to maintain as much distance between you and your coworkers as possible to keep everyone healthy.

3. Wear A Mask

Social distancing doesn’t negate the need for masks in the same way masks don’t negate the need for social distancing. Unless you work in a private office with your own entrance, you should be wearing a mask while working in any kind of shared air space.

4. Sanitize

Keep hand sanitizer on your desk and use it often. Any time you have to touch something that someone else has used, you should be washing or sanitizing your hands.

5. Don’t Touch

Find ways to open doors, push buttons, flip switches, etc. that don’t involve using your hands. If your workplace doesn’t have automatic faucets for example, consider using a paper towel to turn the faucet on and off, limiting your direct exposure to the germs living there.

Office Air Purifier

For another safety measure, consider a portable room air purifier for your office. The included filter in this Aprilaire Air Purifier removes dust, pollen, mold spores, germs and other pollutants that are 0.3 microns and larger.

Of course, you’ll have to leave your office from time to time, so be aware of the condition of the hallways, meeting rooms, and lounge spaces. Consider bringing up the topic of air filtration at your office if there aren’t currently any measures in place to address air quality. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have put together a safety checklist for employers who are welcoming employees back to the office.

As part of  Aprilaire’s Healthy Air System™, a whole-home air filtration unit can help you breathe a little easier when you come home from work, too.

This is an important piece of the multi-pronged approach that includes increased fresh air ventilation, humidity control, and air filtration to help reduce the proliferation of airborne viruses and other contaminants.

Let’s Clear the Air
Clean air is Healthy Air, pure and simple.

Learn More

Please note:
Aprilaire products are not intended to cure or treat any known airborne viruses but can help in the reduction of airborne viruses in your home and office.