luxury

AA Homepage Articles |

What Is “Luxury Air”? Navigating Life During Wildfire Season

2 minute read

2020 has been a particularly rough wildfire season for the western United States, leaving millions of people with unhealthy air quality for days or weeks at a time. With many experts predicting that wildfires will only get worse as the consequences of climate change accelerate, there needs to be a real conversation about the safety of living in places that can’t escape the path of destruction and whether that should be considered a luxury.

Luxury Air

The Los Angeles Times recently released an article focused on the concept of “luxury air.” This reflects a trend real estate agents in southern California have seen in recent years in which luxury home buyers have added deluxe air filtration systems to their “must-haves” list.

Homebuyers realize that the dangers of wildfire aren’t going anywhere. And while some are moving out, others are sticking around for work, family, lifestyle, and the otherwise pleasant weather.

From the article:

“[Luxury] homes are equipped with ventilation systems…with constant airflow out of areas that might produce moisture or particulate matter — kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms — and into the rest of the house, passing through MERV-15 filters en route. A separate ventilation system in the garage goes into overdrive to create negative pressure when a car pulls in, ensuring that exhaust and outside air don’t leak into the house.

…also equipped with indoor and outdoor sensors…which let residents monitor air quality and allow the system to react dynamically to contaminants….[The] house’s eco-conscious features also feed into maintaining healthy air: Without the solar and battery backup, the ventilation system would be useless during the blackouts that often accompany dire fire scenarios.”

Creating a Healthy Air Environment

While elaborate systems like the ones described above certainly qualify as a luxury, at Aprilaire we believe that Healthy Air should be accessible to everyone.

We created the Aprilaire Healthy Air System™ to help homeowners learn about the aspects of the home that aren’t often seen but have a large impact on health and comfort.

Invest in greater health, virus protection, fewer
allergens, more productivity, and better sleep.

Learn More

This easy-to-follow guide includes some facts and figures you’ll want to consider when setting up your home and shows how different air purifiers and ventilation systems will change the indoor air environment.

Contact an Aprilaire Healthy Air Professional to talk about small changes that can make a big difference for the air quality of your home environment, during wildfire season and all year long.

Healthy Air Is on the Way

Find an Aprilaire professional near you.

 

black mold

AA Homepage Articles | Family |

The Dangers of Black Mold

3 minute read

We all love a good spooky story, right?

Well, as long as it’s not too scary.

And if we’ve got a calming cup of hot cocoa close by.

It also helps if the story is completely made up…

This fall, Aprilaire presents a series of bone-chilling tales of a mysterious creature that you just might find lurking in your very own home.

This is:

The Case Of The Black Mold

Tale #1 – Symptoms

Ahhh, fall has arrived. You take a step outside to greet the new day and you’re met with crisp air and a warming sun on your face. The dewy grass adds a shimmering comfort to the shifting of seasons, as the colorful leaves drift down onto your lawn.

You’re ready for a break from the summer heat. Calming visions dance through your head: hot apple cider, comfy scarves, afternoons of football, and weekends at pumpkin patches. Everything is exactly how it should be. You head back inside to continue your delightful day.

But then something changes. Something disrupts that new-season-sensation and a different, darker feeling starts to set in.

You can’t see anything that’s changed. You don’t hear anything strange. But you feel it. Deep down you know it’s there.

The feeling crawls slowly up the back of your neck. You close your eyes as you feel it get closer and closer, you know you can’t avoid whatever it is that’s ruining your perfect morning.

You sneeze. It’s a big one. You probably woke up the kids.

But what caused it? Simple fall allergies?

Or something much, much darker?

Tale #2 – Seeking Out

The kids straggle out of bed, earlier than normal on a Saturday morning. (Probably because of that echoing sneeze.)

After a quick hug and covering weekend plans, you notice little Billy is rubbing his eyes. It’d be normal to work a little tiredness out of your eyes first thing in the morning, but it only seems to be getting worse for Billy.

He just can’t stop itching his eyes.

Your mind goes into investigation mode. First the sneeze…and now the itchy eyes.

Something is in your house.

While the kids finish up their eggs and bacon, you head out on a mission, of sorts. You’re no home expert, but you know a thing or two.

You check the bedrooms…nothing. Well, the kids’ rooms desperately need cleaning, but a few piles of dirty clothes aren’t ruining your fall.

You take a peek in the attic. Probably a bat or two flying around up there, which gets you even more in the fall spirit. They can stay for now.

Nothing in the living room. Nothing in the kitchen. The bathrooms seem to be normal.

Now you know what you have to do. You have to go into the deepest, darkest place of your home. The spot where unneeded blankets go to waste away. Where half-started projects rest, frozen in time.

This thing…whatever it is, must be in the basement.

Tale #3 – Vanquishing

You didn’t think fall would start like this.

Here you are, slowly descending the steps into your cold, dark basement. On edge. Uncertain of what you’ll find.

But you know you have to go there.

You can sense this is where all the problems are coming from. The sneezing. Billy’s itchy eyes. That feeling of discomfort that’s slowly pervading your home, your sanctuary.

You reach the bottom of the steps and flip on the lights. You’re greeted by the familiar faces of stacked storage containers and that extra sofa for when Billy goes off to college.

But there’s another thing. Something in the air. A smell that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. And, you guessed it, this thing makes you sneeze yet again.

You walk toward it, knowing you need to take it on directly if you’re ever going to be free of the hideous stranglehold it has on your family and your home.

Then, as the smell gets stronger and stronger, you see it. You’re face to face with this horrible creature, and it’s just too much to bear.

The Black Mold seems to be dragging itself out of your crawl space, creeping closer and closer until you feel like you have to scream.

It’s just another sneeze.

But you’ve had enough. You can’t live like this.

You’re calling in backup.

You go to Aprilaire’s Find A Pro database to seek out professional help for this monster that has infiltrated your home.

Healthy Air Is on the Way

Find an Aprilaire professional near you.

You talk it out with a knowledgeable indoor air quality professional, who gives you the resources you need to rip the monstrous Black Mold out of its stronghold and return your home to a place of peace.

It’s your favorite time of year, after all. You deserve to enjoy it in a healthy, happy, unhaunted home.

mental health

AA Homepage Articles | Wellness |

Mental Health and Poor Indoor Air Quality – Tips For Staying Healthy And Happy

3 minute read

We know that the air we breathe has an impact on the health of our lungs, but what about its effect on other areas of health? A 2017 study from the University of Washington found that living in areas with poor air quality increases your risk for psychological distress impacting your mental health.

Researchers found this to be true across socioeconomic and demographic lines, which can vary greatly in cities where the air is most often polluted. (Here’s a list of the most polluted cities in the U.S.)

When you add in the stress of staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, (in which the common advice is to spend more time outdoors), it can be tough to feel at ease anywhere. And in areas with increasingly extreme wildfire seasons, the problem is compounded even more.

We know that poor air quality can lead to mental health issues, so what are some solutions that work towards better air quality and less stress?

How To Improve Air Quality Where You Live

Many cities in the western part of the United States are experiencing one of the worst wildfire seasons on record, with weeks of smoke-filled skies that can feel inescapable. And some factors indicate that the problem will only get worse in the years to come.

Poor air quality is also a common problem in places that experience smog, traffic fumes, and dust storms.

Whether you live in a house or apartment, here are some ways to improve the quality of the air inside despite what’s going on outside.

Keep The Windows Closed
This can be difficult to do as the temperatures go up, but keeping the windows closed is one of the best ones to avoid exposure to outdoor air. Most modern constructions are sealed well enough to let very little outdoor air inside, and even older builds will offer good protection.

Avoid Cooking And Cleaning
Try not to add more heat and particulates to the air in your space. Cooking and cleaning introduce humidity and VOCs, and when you can’t open the windows it can be difficult to ventilate properly during these activities. Go with takeout or delivery meals if those are options in your area, or try a recipe that doesn’t require an oven.

Use An Air Purifier
If you live in an area with recurring poor air quality, consider an Aprilaire whole-home purifier that actively filters the air in your home throughout the year. For occasional poor air quality, you can try out an Aprilaire portable air purifier that you can move to whatever area of your home you’re spending time in.

Reducing Stress When Stuck Inside

Poor air quality often makes it unsafe to leave your home. Add to that the continued threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, and staying inside day after day can be a stressful experience.

Here are some tips for relieving stress and anxiety and improving your mental health at home:

Accept that your environment is more stressful than usual and that it’s alright to not feel at your best or most productive.

Set boundaries between your work, play, and home activities. When all the areas are mixed into one, it can be difficult to ever truly “turn off” or concentrate on what’s in front of you.

If you’re in a stretch of poor air quality, take it easy until it’s safe to resume exercise and other outdoor activities. Here’s a chart showing the impact of exercising in wildfire smoke. Have a list of things you can do to pass the time safely indoors like reading, playing a game, or listening to music.

Create a routine that you can comfortably accomplish each day. This can involve wakeup time, meals, exercise (if it can be safely done), and reading or watching a favorite show.

Reach out to others for mutual support. It’s likely that your friends and family are feeling some of the same anxieties, and knowing that you’re not alone can help center your mindset.

experiments

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.

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

Learn More