save energy

AA Homepage Articles | Environment |

Five Ways to Beat the Heat and Save Energy

3 minute read

Work and summer activities would typically get you and your family out of the house during the day, allowing the use of programmable thermostats to lessen the load on your A/C unit and save energy.

But if you find yourself working from home this summer, and the kids can’t get outside as often as they used to, how can you keep the house cool while managing energy costs?

Here are some money-saving tips that also keep in mind environmentally friendly practices.

5 Ways to Save Energy In the Summer

 

1. Balance Light from Artificial and Natural Sources

You can find advice that says in order to reduce energy consumption, you should rely solely on natural light during your workday. But you’ll also hear that on really hot days, you should keep the shades closed to prevent the sun from heating up your house.

So, which one is it?

You can incorporate both strategies for peak efficiency–you just have to get your timing right.

Make good use of morning sunlight before it’s too hot by setting up your workspace next to a window.

Then as you near your lunch break, draw the curtains to block out the most intense hours of sunlight. Have a separate workspace in the cool basement with artificial light, or have a lamp ready to go next to that window workstation.

Bonus: If you have kids at home, the afternoon curtain draw is the perfect time for them to take a nap break. (And magically your productivity increases!)

 

2. Change Your Light Bulbs

Speaking of artificial light, take some time to look at the light bulbs in your home.

EnergyStar estimates that around 60% of bulbs in the average home are inefficient and could be replaced by LEDs. LED bulbs are 90% more efficient than traditional bulbs and well worth the upgrade in overall savings.

Plus, it’s easy to find them in a variety of color temperatures, so you can pick the mood that fits your space.

 

3. Cook Smarter

More families are cooking at home because of stay-at-home orders and reduced restaurant capacity due to social distancing practices. While this is already a money-saver in most cases, you can also conserve energy by limiting the number of times you open the fridge and/or oven while preparing your meals.

Take advantage of pressure cookers, slow cookers, and toaster ovens for smaller baking and toasting tasks. These appliances save time, keep the house cool, and save energy compared to a large conventional oven.

 

4. Clean Efficiently

With kids at home, they can be doing their share of laundry and dishes. But make sure they aren’t wasting energy in the process.

Aim for washing and drying only full loads of laundry, since running appliances at maximum capacity increase their energy efficiency. You can also avoid heating up the house with the dryer by hanging clothes outside on the line when the weather permits.

Also, make use of your dishwasher. It may give off some heat while it’s running, but it’s worth the trade-off compared to the energy consumed when handwashing dishes. Just make sure you’re only running it when it’s full to enjoy optimal efficiency.

 

5. Check Your Fans

Fans are a low-cost way to keep a space cool and comfortable. They create a “wind chill” effect inside the home, allowing you to keep the A/C at a higher temperature while you feel the same cooling effect. According to Energy.gov, with the use of a ceiling fan, you can comfortably increase the A/C by as much as 4°F.

Just make sure the fan is spinning in the optimal direction. During the heat of summer, you want the fan’s blades to spin counter-clockwise to avoid forcing hot air down into the room.

It’s also important to keep your fan clean of dust and cobwebs, both for efficiency and to prevent issues with allergies.

Healthy Air Is on the Way

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healthy air

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

Long-lasting Healthy Air – Creating A Safer Environment

2 minute read

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked an increased interest in the health of indoor environments, from clean surfaces to healthy air.

Shared spaces like restaurants and bars are taking measures like leaving more space between tables, hoping to reduce the likelihood of the virus spreading through the flow of air. (One study in China found air conditioning to be the likely culprit of transmission in a restaurant.)

Some cities are trying out unique measures to ensure social distancing outdoors in parks and other public places. In Seattle, city workers mowed circles in the grass to encourage proper distancing.

And when it comes to your home, what changes have you made during this time? Maybe you’ve installed an air purifier or increased the number of times you disinfect door handles and other high-touch surfaces.

While the exact methods of transmission for this coronavirus haven’t been confirmed, the World Health Organization recommends maintaining distance from others (even if they’re not showing symptoms) and regular handwashing.

Even when the threat of coronavirus is under control, you can still employ many of these strategies to create a healthy and more comfortable home environment. Whether it’s wildfire smoke, urban pollution, or chemical fumes, there are constant issues testing the quality of the air you breathe.

It’s Time to Care About Healthy Air
Breathe a sigh of relief.

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With a focus on quality indoor air for a lifetime, here are some areas to keep in mind when creating a consistently healthy environment in your home.

Healthy Air Strategies

Cleaning For Viruses

This is top of mind during the pandemic, but it’s something you can always be aware of. Annual cold and flu seasons are caused by viruses, and some air filters are capable of removing virus-sized particles from the air. This is not a cure-all, but it can be an important piece in protecting yourself from virus-caused illnesses.

Moisture Control

A common issue in living spaces is mold growth. While it’s impossible to completely remove, it can be tightly controlled by maintaining healthy humidity throughout the home.

Managing Allergies

Whether you have seasonal allergies or find yourself sniffling with every season, a major way to take back control is to maintain an allergy-free living space. Through a combination of purification and ventilation, you can live more comfortably by managing your exposure to allergens.

Removing VOCs

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are found in a range of common household items like paints, aerosol sprays, and cooking exhaust. It’s important to have the infrastructure in place to remove these from your home and replace them with fresh air.

Replacing Water Panels for Humidifiers

Aprilaire recommends replacing your humidifier’s water panel annually. Proper humidity levels can make your home more comfortable, use less energy, and reduce the risk of becoming ill.

Detecting Radon

The EPA estimates that 1 in 15 homes has elevated radon levels, putting millions of people at higher risk of lung cancer. Start with radon detectors and then evaluate what the solutions are if your home does have an issue.

Healthy Air System

Each area fits into Aprilaire’s Healthy Air System™. We want to empower you with the knowledge and resources required to create a healthy air environment in your home. Start by talking to a pro about ongoing concerns in your home and to discover other areas you may want to be aware of.

This program helps you create a healthy environment during the current pandemic and beyond for everyday healthy air.

Healthy Air Is on the Way

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humidity control

Healthy Humidity |

Using Humidity Control for Healthy Basement Air

2 minute read

Humidity Control Reduces Pests and Airborne Viruses

It lurks beneath the surface. You cannot see it, but it’s there. It’s crawlspace and basement air. No matter how much you want to ignore it, but the air in your basement and crawlspace is the same air that you breathe in your living spaces. The importance of using humidity stretches farther than just maintaining healthy basement air. Keeping your humidity between 30-60 percent reduces a host of issues including dry skin and scratchy throats.

Every day, just through everyday activities like showering and washing the dishes, most homes put 25 pounds of moisture into the air. That moisture has to go somewhere and in homes with reduced ventilation, that moisture just sticks around and increases your risk of mold, mildew, or mite infestations.

Mites and Pests

Termites, dust mites, or any mite can wreak havoc on your home or its foundation. The termite industry alone is worth north of 6 billion dollars annually. Once termites are in your home and have created structural damage, they can be an absolute pain to get rid of them. Due to their relatively thin layer of skin, mites cannot survive in 50 percent humidity. They need hot, moist air. Humidity control makes it nearly impossible for pests to survive.

Airborne Viruses

Bacteria and airborne viruses love dry air. Maintaining humidity between 30-60 percent your basement and crawl space reduces the amount of your viable airborne viruses in your home to less than 1 percent. Take COVID-19 for example. COVID-19 is in the same family of viruses that cause the flu and the common cold. If you have different people coming over into your home or family members venturing outside of the house, maintaining proper humidity control can reduce the risk of transmission and proliferation of these airborne viruses.

Asthma and Allergies

In fact, according to the US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health, this reduction can happen in just two days. It also significantly lowers the different allergy and asthma triggers in your home such as dust mites, mold, and mildew. If you do not like getting sick, keeping your humidity between 30-60 percent significantly lowers your risk.

Polluted Indoor Air is a Risk Factor

Polluted indoor air is a risk factor. The EPA estimates that the air inside our homes is up to 5 times worse than the air inside our homes due to poor ventilation, chemicals, dust, mold, mildew, and improper humidity triggering respiratory infections, allergies, and asthma. Health problems do not end there. In fact, the EPA states that poor indoor air can increase the risk of cardiovascular issues and cancer. Without a proper system in place, the filtering system for all of these harmful particulates is your family’s lungs.

Humidity Control with an Aprilaire Dehumidifier

Although a myriad of problems can be caused by improper humidity, solving them only requires one – an Aprilaire Dehumidifier. You can easily monitor relative humidity, reduce musty smells and odors, and keep your basement dry.

Maintain 30-60 percent humidity to keep your home and family healthy.

termite inspection gap

Healthy Humidity |

Why You Need A Termite Inspection Gap

2 minute read

The only reason most people want pests in their homes is if they are part of a collection. Getting rid of a termite infestation can be difficult because they are small and subsequently hard to find, but despite their flimsy stature pests can be quite destructive and resilient. They can chew away at your home’s structure and be a nuisance to contain once they have entered your home. Termites alone are a five billion dollar industry annually and a nominal termite inspection combined with typical structural damage can cost around $8,000.

Preventing Termite Infestation

The best way to prevent an infestation is to maintain humidity control. Not only is humidity control important for your health and your home’s health, but it is also an important tool to utilize against pests. Both ants and termites love good sources of moisture and coagulate around areas of high humidity. This is why you’ll find many pests in your bathroom, kitchens, and basements. Daily activities like laundry and showering add moisture to our homes. Fortunately for us, pests have thin layers of skin and are unable to survive in areas with low humidity making it harder for them to reproduce and populate to create another infestation.

Using An Aprilaire Dehumidifier Against Pests

An Aprilaire Dehumidifier makes it easy to maintain the perfect humidity in your house, basement, and/or crawlspace.  Depending on your needs, an Aprilaire Dehumidifier can remove from 70-130 pints or pounds of water from your home per day helping dry out the air to help create a more comfortable environment for the inhabitants. This also will help dry out the air making an environment nearly impossible for pests to survive. Our dehumidifiers have a five-year warranty, do not come with any messy water trays to empty, and are designed and manufactured in the United States. They also can be accessed through our external control to help you maintain the best relative humidity.

Along with installing an Aprilaire Dehumidifier, our crawlspace and basement team offer several other options to help. Our dealers can waterproof your basement. This reduces moisture from the ground moving into your house and causing damage to your floors or furnishings.  We can do the same with your crawlspace to make sure it stays moisture-free to prevent pests and protects your home.

Termite Inspection Gap

A termite inspection gap is important for you to make sure that there is no infestation or structural damage. Termite inspections are an integral part of the home buying and selling process. An inspection gap makes those inspections simpler. The Department of Veteran Affairs or Federal Housing Authority loan requires a termite inspection gap.

To set-up an appointment with our contractors to moisture and pest-proof your basement. Stop pests before they take a bite out of your home.

AA Homepage Articles | Wellness |

5 Healthy Air Fryer Recipes For Summer

3 minute read

As the weather heats up, we’re all looking for ways to keep our homes and apartments as cool as possible. The kitchen can be a major source of overheating and overtaxing your air conditioner, which is why you’re not alone if you turn to fresh salads and ice cold drinks during the summer. But there’s something so satisfying about a hot, fresh meal that just can’t be replaced. Check out these healthy air fryer recipes. They deliver piping hot, crispy sides and mains without the need to heat up a large oven or to brave the temperatures for grilling outdoors.

Healthy Air Fryer Recipes

Plus, cooking with an air fryer is one of our favorite ways to lighten up meals. You can recreate delicious fried foods while cutting down on grease and oil.

  1. Lemon Pepper Shrimp

Simple healthy air fryer recipes go a long way, and just a few spices and seasonings take shrimp to the next level. These flavorful bites are a great addition to a salad, or for making your own wraps and sandwiches.

healthy air fryer recipes shrimp

Photo from: Life Is Sweeter By Design

  1. Fried Chicken Sandwiches

The air fryer delivers that crispy, crunchy exterior and juicy, delicious interior without all the added fat of the deep-frying process. Pair your air fried chicken breasts or tenders with a fresh slaw or sliced pickles for the perfect combination.

healthy air fryer recipes chicken sandwiches

Photo from: Plated Cravings

  1. Stuffed Peppers

This versatile dish is a great way to get one more delicious meal out of leftovers. Whatever combination of meat, vegetables, rice, and cheese you come up with–it’s going to be awesome.

healthy air fryer recipes peppers

Photo from: Mommy Hates Cooking

  1. Cauliflower Crouton Salad

Liven up a cold salad with some crunch from air-fried cauliflower. The air frying process adds a nice texture so you can substitute these cruciferous veggies for regular croutons. This healthy air fryer recipe also air fries beets for a unique combination. Feel free to experiment with your favorite fresh salad ingredients and top with the crunchy cauliflower.

healthy air fryer recipes cauliflower

Photo from: Living Lou

  1. Cajun Shrimp Dinner

This one-dish wonder combines delicious veggies with shrimp and sausage for a completely satisfying main dish. Use whatever fresh produce you have on hand for a unique, colorful final product.

healthy air fryer recipes shrimp cajun

Photo from: Prime Tweets

museum exhibits blog

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

Museum Exhibits and Healthy Air

4 minute read

Museum exhibits house a collection of unique and priceless artifacts, whether it’s articles, artwork, tools, or other important pieces. Their goal is to preserve these artifacts indefinitely. Using a combination of humidity control, light control, and air filtration, museums help preserve these pieces for successive generations to enjoy.

Preserving Artwork and Artifacts in Museum Exhibits

Preserving these different media is a tricky job. You’re sort of learning as you go. The modern system of artwork conservation is rooted in World War II. Citizens and museum workers placed the artwork in makeshift underground mines and subway tunnels to protect them from bombings. They found out that the pieces were well maintained and concluded that cool, dry, and stable environments were the ideal environments for preservation.

In the decade following World War II, art museums used a combination of humidifiers, thermostats, and central air to balance human comfort with the best environment for the different artwork gallery museum exhibits. This was a temperature of around 70 degrees and relative humidity hovering between 45-55%. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers in their own studies has found this the ideal range to reduce dust, pests, and other corrosive materials that can damage artifacts such as mold and mildew.

Managing Corrosive Materials

Airborne pollutants react poorly with the different dyes, pigments, and other materials. A proper HVAC system is about the only line of defense these artifacts have.

Reactions are usually small and can be easily managed by conservationists. Any strong and quick reaction leaves the artwork permanently damaged or destroyed. Dust is one of the biggest irritants for conservationists. Proper humidification is integral to limiting dust. It’s a highly corrosive material that can wreak havoc on all mediums. Outside of dust, proper humidification keeps wood from rotting and splitting, and leather from stiffening.

Archivists placed more unstable materials such as minerals and metals in their own microclimates. Humidity, temperature, and air filtration are more closely monitored by conservationists in these separate areas.

Edvard Munch’s The Scream: A Case-Study

An Oslo, Norway art museum also quickly learned a lesson recently about proper humidification. They noticed deterioration on Norwegian painter Edvard Munch’s The Scream. A team of scientists decided to figure out what was causing this issue. Thieves stole the painting in 2004. Police recovered the painting in 2006. The museum’s gallery has rarely displayed the painting in public since the recovery.

The scientists determined that the cadmium sulfide pigments when exposed to a relative humidity of 95% they turned to cadmium sulfate. Scientists were able to conclude that high levels of moisture, not light, was the biggest culprit.  This knowledge will help preserve other pieces completed around the same timeframe. Since the study, The Scream has returned to the museum.

Constanza Miliani, the study’s author, said, “This kind of work shows that art and science are intrinsically linked and that science can help preserve pieces of art so that the world can continue admiring them for years to come.”

Helping Museums with Humidity Control

Aprilaire

In Kansas City, MO sits the Piano Technicians Guild building. This 14,000 square foot building includes a museum. This exhibit includes a collection of historical pianos and early tuning instruments. An Aprilaire dehumidifier was installed in 2007 to help preserve the museum’s collection of important music artifacts, including the grand piano that was on stage the night President Lincoln was assassinated in Ford Theatre. Preserving this and other pianos in the area will help the museum.

“Keeping the humidity level around your piano as constant as possible will help it stay in tune longer as well as slow such damage as soundboard cracks, loose tuning pins, and glue joint failures.”

Dristeem

Aprilaire’s sister company, DriSteem, manufacturer of commercial dehumidifiers has used their humidification expertise to help two museums preserve historical pieces. The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, NY is an aviation museum that houses many early aviation artifacts. The building’s relative humidity fluctuated between 3-10 percent. A DriSteem Humidifier helped eliminate those concerns to preserve history for fans of early flight collections.

The company also did a case study for the National Museum of Music in Calgary, Canada. Due to the museum’s location, the area is fairly dry. These conditions could lead to major issues in preserving those artifacts. DriSteem’s recommendations will help Canada and the world enjoy important pieces of Canadian cultural history.

Housed in the Smithsonian’s National Archives is a book about humidity control. The author, Bernard Morton, worked for DriSteem and received a patent for his work on the steam humidification cabinet.

Conservationism and HVAC

As we push into the second decade of the 21st century, the scientific advancements in HVAC engineering have provided conservationists a better opportunity to provide the perfect micro-climate for each museum exhibit.

Although museum exhibits can appear stuffy due to the plethora of no touching signs and security guards monitoring you, that is not their intention. In fact, it’s for the sake of the different artifacts. Due to the volatility of pieces, conservationists are simply trying to help slow the rate of degradation.

Increasing scientific advancements will help museums better conserve important artifacts for successive generations. Healthy air will play an integral role in both the preservation of these collections and your family’s health.

Let’s Clear the Air
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Much of the information for this article was provided by Gregory Dale Smith, a Senior Conservation Scientist at Newfields. Smith helps preserve many of the Indianapolis Art Museum Exhibits. Newfields comprises the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Fairbanks Park, The Garden, Lilly House, and the Elder Greenhouse.

 

 

 

 

 

best places to live with asthma

AA Homepage Articles | Environment |

Best And Worst Places To Live With Asthma

2 minute read

Best and Worst Places to Live With Asthma

The prevalence and severity of asthma vary widely across the United States. These factors often change based on the air quality, awareness, and medical care available in each state. If you live in an area with high rates of asthma, it’s important to get a proper diagnosis and to be aware of the ways asthma may affect you or your children. Check out the latest data on asthma prevalence for adults and children, and the number of asthma-related hospitalizations by region to see the best places to live with asthma.

 Highest Asthma Percentage – Adults

  1. West Virginia; Maine 12.3%
  2. Vermont 12.0%
  3. Rhode Island 11.9%
  4. New Hampshire 11.8%
  5. Oregon; District of Columbia 11.6%

 Lowest Asthma Percentage – Adults

  1. Texas 7.4%
  2. Iowa; South Dakota 7.9%
  3. Nevada 8.0%
  4. North Dakota 8.2%
  5. Minnesota 8.3%

 Highest Asthma Percentage – Children

  1. District of Columbia 10.9%
  2. Hawaii 10.2%
  3. Pennsylvania; Connecticut 9.7%
  4. Vermont 8.8%
  5. Indiana 8.7%

 Lowest Asthma Percentage – Children

  1. Nebraska 5.0%
  2. Minnesota; Montana 5.3%
  3. Utah 5.5%
  4. Kentucky 5.8%
  5. Illinois 6.0%

Asthma Hospital Visits by Region

Rate of physician office visits with asthma as first-listed diagnosis (per 10,000)

  1. West 438.3
  2. Northeast 313.4
  3. South 290.4
  4. Midwest 172.0

Healthy Air Environment For Your Home

If you or your children are living with asthma, you can use the statistics above to make an informed decision about the best area for you to live. But no matter where you’re living, there are some steps you can take to ensure a healthy environment for your family.

Begin by looking out for unexpected asthma triggers that may be in your home, school, or workplace.

Then you can use these Healthy Air tips to turn your home into a sanctuary from the outdoor air that may exacerbate asthma symptoms and attacks. We hope you can use these tools to take control of your environment to make a safe, healthy home for you and your family.

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

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