Aprilaire Partners Logged In Homepages | Environment |

Wildfires, Focus of Western States, Threaten Air Quality Throughout United States

4 minute read

On the heels of the American Lung Association’s (ALA) 21st annual State of the Air report, California is experiencing a rash of wildfires that threaten homes, land, and the health of its residents. The 2020 report pointed to wildfires as one of the biggest threats to healthy, clean air.

“This shows growing evidence that a changing climate is making it harder to protect human health. All three years ranked among the five hottest years in history, increasing high ozone days and widespread wildfires, putting millions more people at risk and adding challenges to the work cities are doing across the nation to clean up…Overall, cities in the western United States dominate the list, with 15 cities among the 26 most polluted (total) annual particle. California continues to claim more places on the list than any other state, with six of the 10 most polluted, including each of the worst five – and six of the nine cities that fail to achieve the national standard” – ALA, 2020 State of the Air Report

Increasing Wildfires Are Result of Climate Crisis

Dry conditions, due to rising temperatures, increase the possibility of wildfires due to a tossed cigarette, campfire, debris burning, or lightning strike destroying America’s prettiest state and national sites.

Recent wildfires have led to the closure of 200 parks in the Bay Area and 29 state parks.

Many residents of northern California are seeking refuge from the ash and smog that has overtaken their palatial outdoor setting. Unfortunately, wildfires have become commonplace for these residents. In 2018, California saw the worst wildfire outbreak in its history. The fires burned 2 million acres, destroyed more than 20,000 buildings, and caused around $3.5B in damages. In 2019, 7,860 fires burned just over 259,000 acres. This year, more than 7,000 fires have already torn through 1.6 million acres of land, is on pace to eclipse the 2018 outbreak.

Finding respite from the smog-induced air can be troublesome. Residents are forced to close their windows, which is for some, their only source of fresh air ventilation. Cracks in a home’s foundation can also be a source for air pollutants to seep into a home. Without proper care, these pollutants can cause major health issues.

Air Pollutants Can Travel Thousand of Miles Away

The EPA estimates that air pollution can have adverse health effects leading to a shortened lifespan. The World Health Organization has cited air pollution as a leading global health crisis.

Protecting yourself from these large airborne particulates is important in helping reduce the impacts of air pollution, especially PM2.5. This references fine airborne particulates that are at a maximum of 2.5 microns in diameter or smaller. For example, pet dander is about the size of these airborne irritants that can have severe impacts on human health. Wildfires have shown to increase the amount of these types of particulates in the air. Once they get into the air, they can interact with gases in the atmosphere and create ozone.

This data is especially vital and underpins an already severe airborne virus, which increasingly affects those who have underlying health conditions and face more significant health risks.

Protect Your Home’s Air

Protecting your home and health from these contaminants can be aided with the installation of a whole-home air purifier. An air purifier filters out airborne contaminants that flow through your home’s HVAC system. Capturing these particulates can reduce the risk of indoor air pollution.

Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV, a system designed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), rates air filters. The higher the MERV rating the better the filter is at capturing particles. A MERV 11 air filter captures up to 80 percent of these particles, while a MERV 13 filter captures up 90 percent, and a MERV 16 filter captures up to 99 percent.

As mentioned before, air pollution from wildfires is not limited to California. As temperatures continue to rise throughout the country due to climate change, California and its bordering states may not be the only ones susceptible to the air pollution caused by wildfires.

Interactive Map Displays Air Quality and Wildfires

This interactive map from AirNow, a collaboration between the EPA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Park Service, NASA, Centers for Disease Control, and tribal, state, and local air quality agencies determine air quality in your area and throughout the country. It also determines if any wildfires are currently active in your area.

These types of resources are important to help communicate air quality to vulnerable populations so they can avoid any detrimental effects from poor air quality.

Mechanical ventilation is a solution to help bring in fresh, clean air into the home. Mechanical ventilation helps filter out airborne contaminants from the outdoor air. Our air filtration and ventilation systems can be combined to help remove these particulates more efficiently.

Stay Current on Air Pollution

As the American Lung Association stated in its most recent report, wildfires are a major threat to clean air. For the second time in three years, California is on pace to break its worst wildfire outbreak in history. We must confront the challenges of climate change with sound solutions and positive reformations. One of those solutions is ensuring that the air inside our homes is fresh and clean.

For more information on wildfires, air quality, and air pollution, go to the AirNow website.















Environment | Healthy Home |

Rainfall from Hurricanes Increases Need for IAQ

2 minute read

Hurricanes repeatedly strike the Atlantic Ocean coastline

Twenty-seven hurricanes will hit the United States Atlantic Ocean coastline this year, which is one shy of the record 28 storms in 2005. Between now and then, hurricanes have continued to wreak havoc on the cities and towns dotted along the coastline. Homeowners have faced repeated floods from heavy rainfall leading to health issues and irreparable damage from mold.

Hurricanes lead to an increase in excess moisture

While mold is not a death sentence for normally healthy adults, it can lead to common symptoms of a respiratory infection including but not limited to headaches, coughing, and sneezing. For those who already have other health complications, mold can present a major challenge to an already depressed immune system.

For children, complications are more serious. Children exposed to mold are more likely to develop asthma, which is a serious health condition that does not have a cure and can be fatal in some circumstances.

In addition, mold removal can be costly. In fact, mold has been linked to sick building syndrome, which is a term related to buildings that make people sick.

Coastal towns serve as a warning for the rest of the country

 The mold outbreaks in these coastal towns serve as an example of what can happen without proper planning. Homes need to be waterproofed to help prevent mold outbreaks and to have proper indoor air quality products like a dehumidifier installed.

Waterproofing and IAQ Products Help

This threat of flooding and excess moisture is not just limited to coastal regions and is currently threatening inland states including Iowa, which has seen record-setting floods recently.

Climate change has accelerated the need for products to provide healthy air solutions as homeowners and regions continue to grapple with indoor air quality issues from natural disasters like hurricanes.  For more information about the state of the air in your region, check out our newest site to see if you’re at risk for flooding and the steps you can take to prevent excess moisture from damaging your home.







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

Find an Aprilaire professional near you.


AA Homepage Articles | Family |

Family Learning: Child Friendly Experiments For Staying Healthy

2 minute read

There has never been a more critical time to teach children the importance of keeping their germs to themselves. But more than simply telling children they need to wash their hands and wear a mask, you can have a real impact by showing them in enjoyable experiments what germs are and how they spread.

Staying Healthy Experiments For Kids

Glitter, Glitter, Everywhere

In this experiment, glitter is used to represent our germs and how they spread from one thing to another throughout our day if we don’t wash our hands.

Most parents already know that glitter is difficult to get off, which reinforces the importance of washing hands for at least 20 seconds to thoroughly remove harmful germs.

Make A Wish

Typically you want to blow out all the candles on your birthday cake or it means your wish won’t come true. But with this experiment, the more candles left burning, the better!

Everyone’s favorite science guy, Bill Nye, showed how this experiment works in a short video. By trying to blow out the candles through various types of materials, kids can see how some are more effective than others. And it serves as a reminder that masks are an important part of reducing the spread of germs when we cough, sneeze, spit or breathe too close to someone else.

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

It can be a hard concept for young children to understand: There are things in the air that we can’t see that can make us sneeze, cause food to go bad, or make us very sick.

With a few simple household items in this experiment, you can help shed some light on the mystery and reinforce the lessons you’re trying to teach kids about staying healthy. This particular experiment focuses on air quality, which is important to keep in mind at home, in school, and wherever kids venture off to.

Goals For Kids

All these experiments share common learning objectives.

The goals are for kids to:

  • Understand what germs are
  • Know that germs are everywhere (the air, our hands, surfaces we touch), but are too small to see with our eyes
  • Understand that everyone has germs and some germs make people sick
  • Understand that washing hands, wearing masks, and keeping our hands out of our mouths, eyes, and noses will help reduce the spread of germs



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.

Healthy Air | News |

Aprilaire Partner Contractor Joins Fight For Air Climb

2 minute read

“What can you do or say when your family is suffering such losses? It’s devastating,” said Christopher Ciongoli, HVAC salesman/estimator with Aprilaire partner Whalen & Ives.

Chris is participating in the NYC American Lung Association Fight For Air Climb on April 4, 2020. When he heard that Aprilaire was the national Healthy Air sponsor of the event he signed on to the Aprilaire team.

“An opportunity to make difference just appeared to me on Jan 10th in an email from Aprilaire informing me about the Fight for Air Climb. This was it. This is how I would help make a difference and support my wife as well as so many others that are impacted by lung disease”.

Lung disease became an all too familiar fixture in Chris’s life last year when his brother-in-law, mother-in-law, and father-in-law all died from lung disease.

As of February 7, he’s raised 90 percent of his fundraising goal. Not only is Chris excited to help raise funds and awareness, he told us he’s already reaping the benefits of training for the 849-step climb.

“My blood pressure has dropped, my pants are getting loose, and my dog Crosby is getting back in shape too!”

Every morning he goes out with dog Crosby and strengthens his legs and increases his stamina to make sure he can make it to the 44th floor of the 1290 Avenue of Americas building in New York City.

Read more of Chris’s incredible journey by going to his page. Thank you for your efforts, Chris and we cannot wait to hear more.

For more information about the Fight For Air Climb and to find an event in your area, go to https://www.lung.org/aprilaire. To learn how to train for your own climb, head to our page where we share training tips to help you prepare for your own Fight For Air Climb.

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