home's indoor air

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Home |

COVID-19 Makes Us Confront Our Home’s Indoor Air

2 minute read

Most of us crammed our lifestyles into cramped spaces at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s taken a toll. Achy, stiff joints are one of the byproducts of repurposing our couches for office chairs and kitchen counters for desks. In this article from The Atlantic, Amanda Mull describes the mental, emotional, and physical toll that the pandemic has literally and figuratively taken on our bodies. 

What’s In My Home’s Indoor Air

There is one part of our homes that we have been forced to confront during the pandemic that has always been there and it might be a blessing in disguise. Our home’s indoor air was something most of us did not think about or consider prior to the pandemic like our lack of adequate office space or workout equipment. Indoor Air Quality is now top of mind for homeowners

Volatile Organic Compounds

The EPA estimates that the air inside our homes is up to five times more polluted than the air outdoors. One of the biggest contributors to that is volatile organic compounds. These compounds emanate from paints, candles, disinfectants, cooking, and natural oil diffusers. Most new homes are tightly built making them energy efficient, but they prevent fresh air from coming into the home that can dilute the buildup of toxic chemicals. These chemicals can make us sick or lethargic. 

Allergens

Allergens also benefit from these tightly built homes too. As mentioned in a previous article, the pet industry received a boom as we sought companionship during these isolating times. Unfortunately, there are downsides to pet ownership too. Pets shed and are odorous even if your pet is hypoallergenic. Other outdoor allergens like pollen can be brought in by our clothes or shoes when we come in from the outside.
All of this means that we are continually breathing in these trapped allergens inside our home’s indoor air resulting in watery eyes, scratchy throats, coughing, sneezing, and fatigue.

Dry Winter Air

This winter has brought another unwanted roommate into our already cramped homes—dry air. Your home’s heating system works by heating the air inside your home subsequently removing part of the air’s moisture. Dry indoor air results in dried out nasal membranes and scratchy throats, and makes us more susceptible to airborne viruses like COVID-19. We recommend keeping your home’s relative humidity between 30-60 percent as directed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). 

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Aprilaire Healthy Air System™

To remedy your home’s Indoor Air Quality issues, Aprilaire offers several whole-home products to remove airborne impurities. You can even bundle your whole-home solutions to form the Aprilaire Healthy Air System™, which combines fresh air ventilation, air filtration, and humidity control for effective virus protection and addresses your other indoor air issues.

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

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Maintaining Healthy Air can help you save energy, protect your home, and make you feel better. 

To get started, contact a local Healthy Air Pro today.

Healthy Air Is on the Way

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vaccinated

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Home |

How To Get Healthy Air Every Day Post-Vaccination

2 minute read

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For people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, here are some of the current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

You Can

  • Visit indoors without a mask with others who are fully vaccinated, regardless of age
  • Visit indoors without a mask with people from one household who are not at risk for severe illness, regardless of vaccination status
  • Travel domestically without getting tested for COVID-19 before or after your flight
  • Travel domestically without quarantining after travel

You Shouldn’t

  • Visit indoors without a mask with people at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19
  • Attend medium or large gatherings

Full details are available here.

Healthy Air Everywhere

Now that it’s safer to gather indoors for some people, it’s a good time to consider the air quality of our indoor spaces. Even when you’re vaccinated against viruses like the flu or COVID-19, your overall health can benefit greatly when you’re consistently breathing in fresh, Healthy Air.

The pandemic has made air health a focus for businesses, schools, airplanes, and other areas where large groups of people gather. These improvements in HVAC and filtration systems are a step in the right direction for these shared spaces.

But since you spend more time at home than anywhere else, it’s crucial to prioritize the quality of your own indoor air as well. Not only is Healthy Air important in preventing the transmission of viruses, it also plays a role in your quality of sleep, your mental health, and even your home’s resale value.

Optimize Your Home

The Aprilaire Healthy Air Systemprovides a blueprint for creating a Healthy Home environment in three key areas: fresh air ventilation, air filtration, and humidity control.

Here’s why those factors are so important for your health:

Healthy Air

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A fresh air ventilation system removes stale, stagnant air from your home and replaces it with fresh air from the outdoors.

  • Modern building practices prioritize energy efficiency, which means there’s less natural airflow in and out of the home
  • Indoor air can be up to 5x more polluted than outdoor air
  • Everyday activities like cooking and cleaning bring harmful substances into your home

Clean Air

It’s Time to Start Fresh
Turn your home into a safe haven.

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Air filtration works with your home’s HVAC system to remove harmful particles like dust mites, pet dander, pollen, and mold spores from the air circulating in your home.

Humidity Control

Healthy Humidity Plays a Key Role in Wellness
Breathe Healthy Air no matter when or where.

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Aprilaire whole-home humidifiers and dehumidifiers keep the humidity level of your home between 40% and 60% for optimal health and comfort.

  • Uncontrolled humidity can reduce the effectiveness of other air quality systems, reducing energy efficiency and increasing the concentration of polluted air in your home
  • Viruses, bacteria, mold, and other airborne pollutants thrive in excessively dry or damp conditions
  • High humidity increases the risk of pest invasions

Contact one of our local Aprilaire Healthy Air Pros today to get started.

radon knowledge

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Home |

Test Your Radon Knowledge

4 minute read

Do you know everything you need to know about radon? While you may have checked out our previous article, you may not know everything about testing for radon. Since radon is known to be odorless and colorless, it can be difficult to tell if your home’s air contains radon just by looking or smelling for it. And, while some people report experiencing exposure-related health symptoms as a result of radon in the home (like worsening cough or hoarseness), radon can often float in your air undetected for long periods of time. With 1 in 15 homes recording high levels of radon, this is not just another concern to sweep under your rug.

Whether you’re a new homeowner or a long-time resident, it’s important to check up on the radon levels in your home every so often…but how often exactly? And how do you even test for radon? Are these tests even accurate? Find the answers to these radon-related questions and more below!

Test Your Radon Knowledge

Is Testing the Only Way to Check for Radon?

The short answer: Yes! According to the CDC, testing is the only true way to know if your home has a radon problem. If you suspect you have a radon problem, there are two types of testing routes that you can explore: Passive and active tests.

  • A passive test is one that doesn’t need power to operate. These tests can usually be found in your local hardware store but can also be ordered by phone. Passive testing devices work by being exposed to your home’s air for a specific period of time to collect data. After collection, the testing device is sent to the lab for further inspection.
  • An active test is one that does require power. With an active test, you are able to continuously measure and record the amount of radon that’s in your air.

Are Radon Tests Accurate and Reliable?

Like any test, there’s always a chance that errors can occur, like false negatives or positives. But there are many ways to ensure accuracy and reliability while testing your home for radon, including considering the duration of your test.

Both active and passive tests are available in the following testing lengths: Short-term and long-term.

  • A short-term test monitors your radon levels for about two to seven days. Because of the length, short-term tests are usually the more common choice among homeowners. However, since the level of radon in your home is known to fluctuate, experts suggest that if you choose to perform a short-term test, you should administer the test twice for increased accuracy.
  • A long-term test is one that monitors your home’s radon levels for three to 12 months. Because the levels of radon in your home are known to fluctuate, a long-term test can account for potential changes in levels due to its longer monitoring time.

While test kits are not necessarily inaccurate, it has been proven that results from a professional will always be more accurate than an at-home DIY test. Why exactly? Keep reading to find out!

Should I Call a Pro or Purchase a DIY Testing Kit?

Doing it yourself or choosing to call in a pro is completely up to you! If you suspect there’s a radon problem in your home for any reason, use a DIY test first to see what results you discover. If you know your home already has a problem (and are not sure to what extent) or are planning to buy a new home or sell an older one, calling a professional is the recommended route. Not only can a pro’s test be more accurate, as we mentioned above, but it’ll also give you the peace of mind you’re looking for.

If you’re planning to use a DIY test, review this checklist from the EPA prior to testing. Some key steps the EPA recommends taking prior to using an at-home, short-term radon test include:

  • Ensuring all windows and outside doors are closed at least 12 hours prior to testing
  • Placing the device at least 20 inches above the floor, away from drafts, heat, humidity, and exterior walls and on the lowest livable level of your home
  • Avoiding testing during any major weather events or storms

If you’re planning to hire a professional to come test for radon, the EPA has a checklist for you too! Hiring a pro can be beneficial since they can provide an independent testing result. Plus, they can further educate you on the best ways to perform a radon test—just in case you plan to use a DIY test in the future.

What Level of Radon is Considered Hazardous?

The results of your radon test can help you conclude whether or not the radon level in your home is hazardous. Radon levels are typically measured by pCi/L or picocuries per liter of air. A ‘picocurie’ is a measure of the rate of radioactive decay of radon, with the suffix ‘curie’ meaning unit of radioactivity. For scaling purposes, a picocurie is measured as one trillionth of a curie, making a picocurie almost six times smaller than the thickness of human hair!

Having a radon reading of 4 pCi/L or higher is considered hazardous. Even if your test reads less than 4, it can still pose a health risk to those living in your home. Reducing your level of radon below 4 pCi/L is not only necessary, but it’s easy, too. Most remediation options promise to reduce your home’s level to 2 pCi/L or lower, although it isn’t too common to get below 2. Regardless, remediation can help reduce your home’s radon levels and help you create a Healthy Home environment once more.

How Often Should You Test for Radon?

Since we know that radon levels can continue to fluctuate, the EPA recommends homeowners test their home’s radon levels every two years.

Radon can be hazardous to your home and health. Luckily, discovering you have a problem—as well as fixing it—is easy! No matter where you live, it’s important to prioritize the health of your home and family. Even if your home doesn’t have a radon problem, there could still be other pollutants lingering inside your home and in turn, impacting your Indoor Air Quality.

With Healthy Air solutions from Aprilaire, you can keep your family breathing easy and protect them from other common airborne contaminants, like dust, viruses, and more, which can be dirtying the air in your home. Find a Healthy Air Professional in your area to learn about how the air in your home could be impacting your health and learn more about what you can do to fight back.

It’s Time to Care About Healthy Air
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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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St. Vincent de Paul

AA Homepage Articles | News |

2021: Aprilaire’s Good Neighbor Values

2 minute read

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We take the importance of caring for others to heart at Aprilaire. We believe we have a purpose beyond the individual work we do and that being a successful company also means “Being a Good Neighbor.” It’s one of our core values, and something we put into action each year.

We remain committed to helping our local communities in a number of ways, including financial contributions and volunteering. In the past, we’ve raised funds to provide pack-n-plays to mothers in need, volunteered at local blood drives, and held various donation drives throughout the year.

While our partnership opportunities may look different in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re excited to continue our work with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, whose mission statement reads:

“A membership organization, the Society began working in Madison in 1925 with two parish-based groups of members serving their neighbors in need. Today, programs the Society operates in Dane County include a large customer-choice food pantry, a charitable pharmacy, storage for the goods of persons who are homeless, seven thrift stores offering direct charity, housing at Port St. Vincent de Paul and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton House, and several other forms of assistance for people struggling with poverty.”

We’ve been working with St. Vincent de Paul – Madison since 2014, giving us a number of incredible opportunities to give back and live out our mission of being Good Neighbors.

We believe the work they’re doing to provide assistance for our community is more important than ever right now, which is why it’s our honor to be a 2021 Platinum Sponsor for St. Vincent de Paul’s 6th Annual Care Café fundraising breakfast on May, 5th 2021. The theme is “Love Made Visible.”

They’re going virtual this year, which means they have unlimited capacity to reach their goal of $140,000. If you live in Dane County, we encourage you to attend the virtual event and support our neighbors in need through your contributions to the food pantry, free pharmacy, and housing programs.

 Click here for more information on St. Vincent de Paul – Madison to see how you can get involved.

Or find a charity in your area that you may be able to connect with to make an impact.