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
Clean air is Healthy Air, pure and simple.

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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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green space

AA Homepage Articles |

Dining Out: Cities Expand Green Space During COVID-19

4 minute read

During the lockdown, some of us have had to confront our demons. Well, at least our cooking ones. Some of us have used this time to up our cooking skills and make our friends jealous on Instagram. Others have eaten a rotation of ramen, delivery, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. For those in the latter, I have good news for you. Cities across the country are reopening. As they start opening, restaurants and cities are finding creative ways – including expanding green space – to help you dine in while also dining out.

Cities Use Green Space to Expand Dining Space

Many cities are shutting down streets to increase the green space and expand dining spaces across the country. Restaurants, unfortunately, lend themselves to coronavirus transmission. Dining rooms can be filled to the brim with patrons looking for a relaxing experience. These close quarters is exactly what coronavirus feasts on. Aerosols from sneezing, talking, and coughing can spread beyond the social distancing limits when these aerosols are caught up in the air stream of a restaurant’s air conditioner.

COVID-19 Spread Through Aerosols

This type of situation is exactly what happened in a Wuhan restaurant. One infected diner spread the disease to people at different tables. A University of Oregon study did a 3-D model of this scenario. They then added ventilation to the scenario to show just how different the situation could have been if just a bit of fresh air was added to the equation. The droplets fell to surfaces much quicker and the infected air was diluted, reducing transmission.

Restaurants Use Multiple Methods to Combat COVID-19

The reason so many cities and restaurants are focusing on increasing outdoor dining are that the chance of viral transmission outdoors is more limited. Researchers are still studying COVID-19 so the data is still presenting itself but as the United States pushes through the first wave, researchers are finding evidence that being outdoors is an effective strategy against COVID-19.

Other restaurant owners have turned to more unique options to combat COVID-19. A restaurant owner in the Wisconsin Dells area has turned to technology that uses a combined attack of UV light and anti-microbial spray. Another restaurant owner has turned to shower curtains to help stop the spread. To fully prevent the spread, different sanitation techniques, and a Healthy Air SystemTM – comprised of ventilation, humidity control, and air filtration –  present the best options. Currently, though, restaurants and shop owners are eager to get back to business and will happily try different options to make sure customers both feel and are safer.

The new normal of COVID-19 is presenting itself in these restaurants, dining out to dine in looks like it might be enough to squelch the hunger of so many of us who want the taste of a great meal outside of our homes. Or even a respite from the old PB&J routine.

Outdoor Air Quality Increased from Limited Travel

The bigger question though is how long these fixes might last and how many of them become permanent fixtures. The New York Times released an interactive article detailing the reduction in air pollution from people not traveling to work every day. Some companies are choosing to keep their employees at home indefinitely or until a vaccine is released.

These reductions in travel will have an impact on the environment. As some cities close streets for larger outdoor dining spaces, people may eschew driving for public transportation or walking. As cities, businesses, and residents all walk the tight rope of deciding how to safely reopen, there’s no doubt that our climate is reaping benefits. Plenty of videos have circulated online of animals walking down the streets of once-bustling town’s main streets. As climate change becomes an even greater focus, these small changes could result in more permanent fixtures as people adjust to the unusual circumstances presented by a worldwide pandemic.

Cholera Resulted in Expansion of Green Space

This would not be the first time that a pandemic has resulted in more green space in cities worldwide. During the cholera outbreak of the mid -19th century, New York City was a breeding ground for disease.

“Nineteenth-century cities were crowded, filthy places that provided the perfect breeding ground for diseases such as cholera. While garbage, animal manure, and human waste flowed freely into drinking water sources, it was the pungent cocktail of odors they produced that many medical professionals blamed for spreading disease.”

Public health officials concluded that change was needed resulting in wider streets, pigs being expunged to rural areas, and clean water ducted in through pipes and aqueducts. Parks were built for fresh air and clean spaces so residents could relax and perform recreational activities.

Cholera also transformed Paris into a facsimile of beauty. Napoleon III saw the benefit of London’s efforts to clean up their city after their cholera outbreak. He admired the beauty too and ordered Paris to do the same.  Many of these plans helped provide a respite from cholera. It also provided a picturesque landscape amidst a sprawling scene of factories and homes.

The New Normal

Everyone is going to have to adjust their normal until an effective vaccine is released.  During these warmer months, we will likely enjoy most of our favorite activities in outdoor spaces.

During the fall and winter, customers will have to eat, drink, and shop inside. The health of a businesses’ indoor air is an important step that many companies will eventually have to take. The warmer temperatures do offer us some time until, but healthy indoor air is a year-round solution. Currently, the new normal makes sense, but ventilation is the key to suppressing airborne diseases.

unexpected asthma triggers

AA Homepage Articles |

Unexpected Asthma Triggers – How To Stay Healthy During Allergy Season

2 minute read

Nearly 8% of all adults in the U.S. currently have asthma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Of those approximately 20 million people, many are unaware of how to avoid asthma triggers. While most asthma sufferers can feel when they’re having an asthma attack– characterized by wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath–the CDC reports that many of them are unaware of how to avoid what’s causing the attack.

Common triggers include things like tobacco smoke, mold, outdoor air pollution, and colds and flu. But even when minimizing contact with those common irritants, asthma sufferers may find that their symptoms persist at odd times and in unexpected places.

Awareness is crucial in preventing asthma attacks, so let’s look at some unexpected triggers to keep an eye on. For any questions on your asthma diagnosis and general health, be sure to consult your doctor.

5 Unexpected Asthma Triggers

1. Acid Reflux and GERD

Research has revealed that GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is more common in people with asthma than in the general population. This could be for a couple of reasons:

  • Acid reflux damages the esophagus, causing heartburn and general pain in the chest area. This can potentially lead to or exacerbate asthma attacks.
  • Conversely, asthma attacks can lead to GERD because the motion and force of severe coughing and wheezing may cause stomach acid to enter the esophagus.

In either case, if you have asthma, be aware of GERD and heartburn. Treating acid reflux can lead to increased general well-being and help lessen the severity of asthma attacks.

2. Food Additives

Common food additives and preservatives may irritate your immune system and airways. Sulfites are a preservative often added to things like wine, dried fruit, baked goods, and other processed foods. If you notice a certain type of food irritates your asthma, look at the ingredients list to see if anything raises a red flag. There are typically alternatives you can eat that don’t include additives.

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

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3. Food Allergies

Beyond the additives mentioned above, whole foods can irritate asthma if you have an unknown allergy or intolerance. Food allergies don’t always present as a closed airway or hives. Sometimes symptoms can be as simple as an upset stomach or fatigue. To see if any common foods are causing allergy symptoms, you can talk to your doctor about trying an elimination diet.

4. Air Fresheners and Scented Candles

It’s tempting to mask household odors with air fresheners or scented candles. But be aware that these often introduce harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds) to your home. Added fragrances or the smoke from candles can cause allergy symptoms that lead to asthma attacks. Try to increase the ventilation to your living space for better odor control and to prevent contaminated air.

5. Aspirin

In the medical field, there’s a well-known correlation between asthma attacks and aspirin or other pain relievers known as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). But if you’re unaware of your asthma or the severity of the symptoms, you may want to be mindful of how often you’re taking common pain relievers. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions.

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