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AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

Air Quality Awareness Week: How To Use The EPA’s Recommendations

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The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that Air Quality Awareness Week for 2020 will be celebrated May 4-8. This year’s theme is Better Air, Better Health.

For each day, there will be a focus on different aspects of air quality to raise awareness and encourage people to check the Air Quality Index (AQI) daily. As we head into the summer months, this is a great time to review how the air outside impacts our lives.

Below, you’ll find the highlights of each day’s topic, along with some questions you may want the answers to. For further information, check on the EPA site during Air Quality Awareness Week.

First, we wanted to include some ways in which AprilAire is thinking about Air Quality in the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic.

AprilAire’s Plan for Healthy Air Awareness

At AprilAire, our focus is on the health and wellness of your home environment. We’ve assembled a Healthy Air System to help protect you and your family from viruses and other illnesses. It’s made up of three parts:

  1. Fresh Air Ventilation – Helps dilute and remove contaminants because indoor air can be up to 5 times more polluted than the air outside
  2. Air Filtration – AprilAire MERV 16 Allergy & Asthma Filters capture 98%* of airborne viruses (*Contaminants removed based on air passing through the filtering system)
  3. Humidity Control – Keeping humidity between 40-60% minimizes virus survival rates

We will provide updates as the situation progresses, and we wish all the best for you and your family.

Air Quality Awareness Week

Monday: Wildfires and Smoke

Wildfires produce a lot of air pollution, from smoke to fine particles that can cause several health problems. Recent years have shown that extreme wildfires may become a regular occurrence that we need to learn to live with.

Questions:

  • How can I get myself and my home ready for fire season?
  • How can I protect my family and pets from smoke and ash?
  • How can I stay safe if I need to go outside?

Tuesday: Asthma and Your Health

Air quality is a major concern for individuals fighting asthma, a disease that affects the airways of your lungs. Discover more about the effects of the air we breathe on our overall health through action plans, trigger avoidance, allergen avoidance, and more.

Fitting in physical activity may be difficult for asthma and allergy sufferers as we deal with “stay-at-home” orders and a lack of available indoor workout space. Use this day to discover fun, creative ways to stay active in the indoor space you have available.

Questions:

  • How do I know if going outside will impact my asthma?
  • Are there specific questions I should ask my doctor regarding air quality?
  • How can I stay active when unable to go outside?

Wednesday: Where Is Your AQI Coming From?

According to the National Weather Service, “The Air Quality Index (AQI) is used for reporting daily air quality. It tells you how clean or polluted your air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for you.”

The AQI is calculated by the EPA for five major air pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act:

  • ground-level ozone
  • particle pollution or particulate matter
  • carbon monoxide
  • sulfur dioxide
  • nitrogen dioxide

The Air Quality Index is divided into six categories:

Green=Good

Yellow=Moderate

Orange=Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups

Red=Unhealthy

Purple=Very Unhealthy

Maroon=Hazardous

Questions:

  • Are there any steps I can take when I need to go outside on days with less-than-ideal air quality?
  • Is there anything we can do to improve the air quality in our area?
  • What’s the fastest way to check the AQI? Does it change throughout the day?

Thursday: Air Quality Around the World

The EPA reported that over one-fifth of all U.S. citizens spent significant time abroad in recent years. In order to provide those travelers with air quality data while overseas, the Department of State partnered with the EPA to install and operate state-of-the-art AirNow monitors at U.S. embassies and consulates in over fifty countries around the world.

  • When will it be safe to travel abroad?
  • What resources are there in foreign countries in case of an asthma attack or other medical issue?
  • What should I know about the air quality on airplanes and other transit options?

Friday: Air Quality Resources for Families and Teachers

Throughout Air Quality Awareness Week, the EPA will share air quality resources from lots of different organizations across the country. If you have any activities, videos, or materials for students and teachers, you can send links to lee.debra@epa.gov to be added to the Educational Resources page. You can also tag @airnow in your social media posts and include the hashtag #AQAW2020.

Questions:

    • What are some ways I can show kids the importance of air quality? (Try starting with this simple experiment.)
    • How will I know if my child is impacted by outdoor air quality issues?
    • How do I optimize the air quality inside my home?

It’s Time to Care About Healthy Air
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AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

Air Quality Inside Your Car This Summer

2 minute read

Click play to listen to the Air Quality Inside Your Car This Summer article. 

Millions of Americans are hitting the highways this summer for travel destinations near and far. All those miles on the road mean hours spent in the car, and that gets us at AprilAire thinking about the quality of the air you’re breathing inside your vehicle.

Sources of Air Pollution in Vehicles

The air in your car can become polluted from three primary sources: dirty air outside, off-gassing from the vehicle’s interior, and the activity of you and your passengers.

Outside air comes in through the car’s ventilation system and open windows, and can often contain pollutants like automotive exhaust from surrounding traffic, allergens, and particulate matter from industrial and farming practices.

Inside the vehicle there are hundreds of components made out of different types of plastic, metal, paint, and more. Think of that “new car smell”—this typically comes from the off-gassing of these materials and is more noticeable in newer cars and whenever your car is sitting in the sun. It’s dangerous to breathe in these volatile organic compounds (VOCs, like benzene and formaldehyde) over time.

Lastly, air can be saturated with carbon dioxide by the exhalations of the car’s occupants, especially with multiple passengers in the same cabin for multiple hours. And adding things like air fresheners, or not cleaning up food waste and debris will also impact the car’s air quality.

How to Clean Your Car’s Air

Start by making sure your cabin’s air filter is updated and effective at removing dust, allergens, and other pollutants. Some manufacturers recommend changing it every 15,000 miles.

If your car has been sitting in the sun for a long period, open up the windows when you first get in to release some of the VOCs that have been trapped. It’s tempting to let the air conditioner do all the work, but by letting out the trapped air, you’re both lowering the interior temperature and removing pollutants. After a few minutes, you can roll up the windows and enjoy the chilled air.

When you’re on the open road without much surrounding traffic or other sources of pollution, consider using open windows to control the temperature rather than the air conditioner. This allows more fresh air to enter the cabin and prevents the buildup of carbon dioxide.

Most modern vehicles have a setting on the air and temperature controls that will recirculate the air inside the vehicle, and block out air from outside. This is a good option when you’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic or driving through an area with construction, farming, or other sources of air pollution.

Recirculation mode will prevent the external pollutants from entering your car, but keep in mind that this setting can also cause carbon dioxide levels to rise if used for an extended period of time.

Keep your car’s interior clean to prevent airborne dust and the formation of mold and mildew. Clean up liquid as soon as it’s spilled, and avoid using chemical sprays or air fresheners.

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AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

4 Spring Cleaning Tips for Healthy Air

2 minute read

Click play to listen to the Four Spring Cleaning Tips for Healthy Air article. 

What tasks are on your spring cleaning list this year?

From light refreshes to deep, thorough cleans, it’s time to breathe new life into your home! While you and your family clean from room to room, make sure you’re breathing Healthy Air by following some simple tips.

1. Change Air Filters

Heating and cooling systems contain air filters that need to be changed regularly. Keeping them maintained helps the systems operate efficiently, and protects the air being dispersed throughout your home.

Most filters come with a recommendation for how often they should be changed. If you’re unsure, you can look at the color of the filter—it starts white and becomes darker shades of gray over time. If you see particles caked on the filter, it’s definitely time to change it out.

AprilAire air filters should typically be replaced every 6 to 12 months, which can save you time and money compared to traditional 1-inch filters, which need to be replaced every 1 to 3 months.

2. Trap Dust

Dust is inevitable around the home, and we don’t usually notice it until it gets blown into the air and we end up sneezing. Thankfully, there are a few ways you can manage dust throughout the cleaning process.

A damp cloth is highly effective at capturing dust from surfaces big and small, including the nooks and crannies of window shades and shelving units. When dusting objects up high, like a ceiling fan, cover furniture and other items with a drop cloth that can be washed or shaken out after dusting.

Vacuuming is a great way to finish the job and capture any dust that got displaced during the cleaning process. Vacuum floors and furniture, and don’t forget about the dust that’s accumulated under tables, chairs, and couches.

3. Avoid Scents and Unnecessary Chemicals

Many household cleaners, air fresheners, and even scented candles can fill your home with harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These VOCs can irritate asthma symptoms and other respiratory conditions.

The American Lung Association recommends avoiding air fresheners and any products that contain fragrances, VOCs, and flammable ingredients. Instead, clean with products like vinegar and add fresh scents with things like dried potpourri.

4. Ventilate and Purify

Bring the renewal of spring to the air in your home with AprilAire fresh air ventilation and air purification.

Opening doors and windows is an easy option if the weather is agreeable and allergens aren’t a concern for your family. For more control over what comes into your home, you can use AprilAire whole-home ventilation solutions to expel dirty air and replace it with fresh, outdoor air.

Every home can benefit from air purification throughout the year, and especially while you clean. AprilAire whole-home air purifiers can drastically cut down on dust, allergens, bacteria, and viruses in your home. They’re helpful for members of your family with asthma, allergies, or other breathing problems.

Interview with the American Lung Association

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Breathing Healthy Air: Interview with the American Lung Association

4 minute read

At AprilAire, we encourage breathing Healthy Air because we know it benefits your overall health. The American Lung Association knows it too. That’s why AprilAire air filters are the National Proud Partner of the American Lung Association*, playing a key role in the fight to improve lung health and prevent lung disease.

We got to interview National Senior Vice President of Development Sally Draper about the importance of Healthy Air and how both AprilAire and the American Lung Association are working together to help you Breathe the Fullness of Life.

Could you introduce yourself for the readers and tell us about why you chose a career with the American Lung Association?

“I joined the Lung Association in 2014 because I was attracted to its comprehensive mission—to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Every day we help Americans breathe easier through our efforts to fund innovative research, advocate for policies that protect our lungs, and educate patients, caregivers, providers, and the public with science-backed information. We were founded more than 115 years ago, and the needs are greater today than ever before, including the youth vaping epidemic, climate change, and COVID-19!”

Can you tell us about the American Lung Association’s mission?

“The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Our work is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; champion clean air for all; improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and create a tobacco-free future. Whether it’s searching for cures to lung diseases, keeping kids off tobacco, or advocating for laws that protect the air we breathe, the work of the American Lung Association helps to save lives every day.”

How did AprilAire and the American Lung Association come to work together in the first place? What does that relationship look like presently?

“AprilAire and the American Lung Association forged a new relationship in 2018. We quickly realized how much we had in common. Our partnership was developed as we saw an opportunity to educate and help more consumers improve the air in their homes to create a healthier environment.

Since 2020, AprilAire has been a Proud Partner of the Lung Association with its 4” residential air filters. Additionally, AprilAire joined the Lung Association as our FY20 National Fight For Air Climb Partner For Healthy Air. The company has also supported the Lung Association’s “Stand Up For Clean Air” campaign. As part of this initiative, we are driving conversations around air quality, climate, and health. The Lung Association invited people to share their #MyCleanAirStory—knowing that when people realize climate and air quality are impacting the health of their neighbors, friends, and loved ones—they are more willing to act. AprilAire provided prizes for the #MyCleanAirStory contest, including one grand prize of a whole-home Indoor Air Quality upgrade (the AprilAire Healthy Air System™) and nine AprilAire Room Air Purifiers. This year, the company stepped up once again to sponsor the Wisconsin Fight For Air Climb in Milwaukee. Also in 2021, the Lung Association welcomed Dale Philippi, President and CEO of Research Products Corporation, AprilAire’s parent company, to the Lung Association’s Wisconsin Leadership Board of Directors.”

Tell us about the Fight For Air Climb.

“The American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb is the nation’s premier stair climbing challenge. At 38 events nationwide, children and adults of all ages participate in this celebratory stair-climbing adventure. Pre-pandemic, the Fight For Air Climb was held in several of our country’s most iconic skyscrapers. This year, the Lung Association invited participants outdoors for a one-of-a-kind adventure to support healthy lungs and clean air. In fact, Dale was among the company’s team of more than 50 employees that climbed the stairs at Milwaukee’s American Family Field on May 22nd, proving he puts his feet, time, and talent behind causes he supports.

AprilAire has been a stalwart partner in the Fight For Air Climb, promoting the event to employees, customers, trade partners, family, and friends. Through this unique vehicle, the company is engaging individuals of all ages to understand and celebrate the importance of Healthy Air.”

AprilAire’s air filters are a National Proud Partner of the American Lung Association. How do you feel our mission aligns with yours?

“Our CEO, Harold Wimmer, has said, ‘Breathing should not be an uphill battle, but for many it is… no one should have to fight for air on a daily basis.’ Similarly, Dale has declared, ‘We believe everyone deserves to breathe Healthy Air.’ As a National Proud Partner, AprilAire’s mission to enhance everyone’s health by improving the air in their homes aligns very closely with that of the American Lung Association, champion of clean air for all.”

What are the benefits of breathing Healthy Air and what are everyday things that people can do to Breathe the Fullness of Life?

“Clean air is essential for healthy lungs. The American Lung Association works to ensure that the air we breathe is clean and safe from harmful pollution. In fact, every year we publish our State of the Air Report, which looks at two of the most widespread and dangerous air pollutants, ozone and fine particulate matter. Our 2021 State of the Air Report found that more than 4 in 10 Americans—over 135 million people—are living in places with unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution.

One of the most important things you can do to Breathe the Fullness of Life is to keep sources of pollution out of your home. Check out these commonsense tips on Lung.org. Additionally, ventilation helps reduce indoor air pollution, but it works best if paired with keeping known sources of air pollution out of the building. For tips on how to use ventilation to protect your lung health, check out our section on Ventilation: How Buildings Breathe.”

Fight for Healthy Air

At AprilAire, we believe everyone deserves to Breathe the Fullness of Life, and we’re not the only ones that feel this way. Through our Proud Partnership with the American Lung Association, we aim to fill every home with Healthy Air. Both AprilAire and the Lung Association believe that breathing Healthy Air should be available to everyone, and maintaining healthy Indoor Air Quality is an important step for your lung health. Read more about our partnership and the efforts of the American Lung Association on their website.

*Disclaimer: The American Lung Association does not endorse any product, device, or service.

St. Vincent de Paul

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2021: AprilAire’s Good Neighbor Values

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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.

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AA Homepage Articles | Wellness |

How to Create a Healthy Exercise Space at Home

2 minute read

Click play to listen to How to Create Healthy Exercise Space at Home article. 

Summertime offers endless opportunities to get active in the great outdoors. But sometimes things like extreme heat and high allergen levels will keep you indoors. On those days, you may not be able to run through a park or jump in the water, but you can still get the benefits of exercise with an indoor workout. Let’s make sure your home environment is optimized for safe and healthy indoor exercise.

Healthy Home Gym

Whether you’ve converted your entire garage into a gym or have just enough space for a stationary bike in the corner of your home office, a few key measures will ensure you’re getting the most out of your workout space.

Regular Cleaning

Don’t forget about your workout space when dusting, mopping, and vacuuming around the home. Keeping dust and grime at bay will help with odors and make it easier for you to breathe fresh air for all your workouts.

Start a habit of wiping down your equipment with a wet cloth and disinfectant spray after each exercise session. If you sweat onto a yoga mat or exercise pad, wipe them down and let them air out before rolling them up.

Air Purification

While regular cleaning is an essential step, it can also add chemicals to your space and kick dust up into the air. Air purification systems can remove those pollutants and work around the clock to make sure you and your family are breathing clean air.

An AprilAire whole-house air purifier works all through the home to remove pollutants and return fresh air.

If you want a boost to air quality in your exercise space, try out an AprilAire room air purifier, which uses a 4-stage filtration system to remove pollutants, allergens, and odors.

Balanced Humidity

Breathing and sweating add moisture to the air, which can exacerbate the high humidity levels of the summer months and increase the chances of mold and mildew growth.

An AprilAire whole-house dehumidifier delivers humidity control to your workout area and throughout your home, keeping moisture levels at a safe and comfortable level. Humidity between 40–60% is ideal for overall health and wellness.

Plus, a dehumidifier can reduce the burden on your air conditioning system, saving you money on energy and maintenance costs.

Deodorizing

Some gyms are easy to locate by smell—don’t let yours be one of them.

The battle against odors starts with fresh air ventilation, and because opening a window isn’t a great option in the summer, mechanical ventilation is a must-have in your space.

AprilAire whole-house fresh air ventilators remove stagnant air and bring in fresh, purified air. They reduce the concentration of indoor pollutants, and help kick out lingering smells. You can also use products that naturally absorb odors without disrupting your air quality, like baking soda or activated charcoal.