healthy air hero

Healthy Humidity |

Breathe the Fullness of Life: Tips from a Healthy Air Hero

4 minute read

You may know the air inside your home plays a key role in your overall wellness. But how much do you know about the impact of humidity and maintaining the right balance? Fortunately, Aprilaire Healthy Air Hero Scott Merritt of Fire & Ice Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. is here to shed some light. From alleviating seasonal allergies to just breathing better, he discusses the unseen benefits of Healthy Humidity.

Interview with Healthy Air Hero Scott Merritt

Thank you for speaking with us, Scott. Can you start by telling us where in the U.S. Fire & Ice Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. provides service? How long have you been in business, and how long have you been working with Aprilaire?

“Fire & Ice operates in Central Ohio, in the greater Columbus, OH area. We’ve been in business for 17 years and, in that time, we’ve grown to become one of the city’s largest HVAC contractors.

We partnered with Aprilaire a handful of years ago because we identified their products as top-notch. It’s been a beneficial partnership, and we truly believe we’re providing top-of-the-line Indoor Air Quality solutions to our customers.”

While most homeowners probably think about the temperature inside their homes, they may not be aware that humidity also plays a role in maintaining Healthy Air. How does Healthy Humidity impact a home?

“There are a number of homeowners who won’t even consider the humidity of the home when talking about heating and cooling. And it’s not their fault! There’s a lack of education in this area, and if you’re a new homeowner, you might be dealing with a system for the first time in your life. So a lot of what we do in our efforts is informational.
One of the primary functions of an air conditioner is to dehumidify the home, for example. But that’s not usually how it’s presented. So, the idea that a whole-home dehumidifier can aid your air conditioner isn’t obvious until that knowledge is there.”

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Along with allergens, pollutants, and mold, humidity levels in the air you breathe can affect your overall wellness. Can you explain how Healthy Humidity impacts your health?

“The seasonal stuff is usually what we focus on, like allergies in the spring and summer and how proper humidity levels in the winter can reduce the risk of flu infections and other diseases (including coronavirus!). Almost everyone deals with those in some form. There really are a ton of unseen benefits.

I’ll give you a very personal example: my mother has trouble breathing, particularly in the summer. I purchased a whole-home dehumidifier for her, and it’s been the difference between her struggling to breathe at times and her home being the comfortable place for her. So it really can be life changing.”

At Aprilaire, we recommend that humidity in the home should be kept between 40-60%, which is optimal for human health and comfort. In your words, what is balanced humidity and why is it important?

“Most expert sources agree on that range, and our educational materials recommend at or near 50% as the optimal level. But to maintain that requires proactive management of your home’s humidity. It won’t simply hover there most of the time unless you’re using humidity-controlling products to their maximum benefit.”

It’s important to maintain a balance when it comes to humidity. What are the causes of high humidity in one’s home?

“There are probably too many to list, but homes with a basement will have higher humidity, and where you’re located in the country also matters. Few people in Arizona may truly need a whole-home dehumidifier, for example, but everyone in Florida would benefit from one. And vice-versa for whole-home humidifiers. Here in Ohio, we get both humid and dry weather, so we usually recommend both.

Windows and insulation matter as well, of course. As HVAC experts, that’s what we always try to look for, and a good HVAC system can usually make up for deficiencies in those other areas like old windows or a basement that’s prone to moisture.”

How do Aprilaire whole-home dehumidifiers work to effectively combat high humidity?

“Here’s an example: our General Manager here at Fire & Ice has a flooded basement, and we loaned her one of the Aprilaire units we had here in the office. Twenty-four hours and dozens of gallons of collected water later, and she had a relatively dry basement again.

One of our sales representatives also installed an Aprilaire whole-home dehumidifier to manage the heat on his second floor in the summer. His kids got used to sleeping downstairs during the hottest months, but now they can stay upstairs all year.

These stories are reflected in the feedback and testimonials of hundreds of our customers because these are common problems. Good humidity control is often the right answer.”

Lastly, a homeowner may not be sure if they are maintaining the right humidity. When is the best time to address humidity in your home?

“Any HVAC company worth its salt should be willing to have that conversation with you without any charge. A lot of people bring up these questions when one of our technicians is at their home for a tune-up or other maintenance, so that’s always a convenient time to inquire.

Even if you’re not considering a new furnace, AC, or heat pump any time soon, though, there’s no bad time to fix these issues in your home.”

Make Healthy Humidity a Priority

Healthy Humidity plays a key role in overall air quality and personal wellness. Take it from the experts and get the facts. Are you ready to take the next step and learn more about the benefits of Healthy Humidity in your home? One of Aprilaire’s Healthy Air Heroes can help! Find a certified Aprilaire Healthy Air Professional in your area today!

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Healthy Humidity by the Numbers

2 minute read

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When the humidity level in your home is between 40–60%, you’re creating an environment that’s both healthy for you and unwelcoming for things like bacteria growth, virus prevalence, respiratory infections, and allergy and asthma symptoms.

And with other benefits like optimized sleep, better indoor workouts, and lower stress levels, Healthy Humidity can ensure overall wellness and comfort throughout the year.

If you’re not yet convinced about the necessity of Healthy Humidity in your home, wait till you see the last big benefit: cost savings.

The Environmental Protection Agency analyzes the efficiency of energy systems, and has released information on the cost benefits of optimal humidity levels in the home. To accurately measure the humidity levels in your home, you’ll need a versatile Aprilaire thermostat or other monitoring system that makes it simple to see temperature, humidity, and other factors.

Healthy Humidity By the Numbers

By changing the relative humidity in your home, you can make the indoor environment feel colder or warmer without overtaxing your air conditioning or heating units, helping you feel comfortable while reducing costs.

Healthy Humidity by the numbers

Moist air holds heat better than dry air. So in the wintertime, by keeping the humidity in the 40–60% range, you can feel warm and cozy without cranking up the thermostat.

Healthy Humidity by the numbers

Do the math on your savings! Winter heating costs can be more manageable when you prioritize Healthy Humidity.

Healthy Humidity by the Numbers

In the summertime, forcing your air conditioner to keep the humidity in check can really run up your energy bill. That’s when a dehumidifier can help. The Aprilaire e-series Dehumidifiers are designed to remove more moisture per day using less power. Models E080, E100, and E130 are all recognized as ENERGY STAR® Most Efficient 2021, delivering 23% annual energy savings above conventional products.

 

Get the Facts: Talking Humidity and Maintenance with a Healthy Air Hero

4 minute read

We all know how harsh winter air can be. While you may think your indoor air is ready to keep you safe in the coming season, do you know if your humidity is properly taken care of? We talked to Brian Sloan, president of TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, to get the facts and shed some light on the benefits of Healthy Humidity with Aprilaire whole-house humidifiers for your home and your overall wellness.

Thank you for talking to us, Brian. Can you start by telling us about TR Miller? Where in the U.S. do you provide service? How long have you been in business, and when did you start working with Aprilaire?

“We are a family-owned and operated company located in the southwest suburbs of Chicago in Plainfield, IL. TR Miller focuses on home services in heating, cooling, and plumbing. I’m the president here at TR Miller and we’ve been partnered with Aprilaire since 2009 when my dad founded the company.

We really focus on getting to know our customers and their needs. Once we have a good understanding of what our customers are looking for, we provide solutions customized for them.”

Winter is quickly approaching. While many homeowners want to prepare by keeping their homes warm and comfortable, they may not think so much about humidity. Can you explain the importance of balanced humidity in the home?

“Keeping year-round balanced humidity in your home is key to both your health and your home’s health. As the season transitions to winter, our customers start to run their furnaces. As they do this, it starts to dry the house out. This is why we love the Aprilaire whole-house humidifier. The automatic control allows the homeowner to ‘set it and forget it.’ Once it’s set to the desired relative humidity, the humidifier keeps both the customer and the home healthy.”

At Aprilaire, we recommend that humidity in the home is kept between 40–60% year-round. How would you define Healthy Humidity and why is it important for human health and home protection?

“From a measurable sense, Healthy Humidity is between 40% and 60%. If your humidity is too low, you’ll be more prone to sickness, your skin will be dry, and your house’s wood flooring and furniture will be more likely to crack from drying out. On the other hand, if your home has too much humidity you might start to see bacteria grow and condensation build up on your windows.”

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Lots of customers have questions about maintaining their HVAC systems. Can you talk about what proper upkeep should look like and how customers can get ahead of it?

“Proper upkeep really starts at the installation. You want to make sure your furnace, air conditioner, and Indoor Air Quality products are installed correctly. After that, manufacturers recommend having your HVAC system checked annually. At TR Miller, we actually offer a membership plan where we come out twice a year and maintain our customers’ furnace and air conditioning system. We call our maintenance plan members to schedule their appointments to make sure they’re never forgotten.

Maintenance is about inspecting the equipment to make sure it’s working correctly, performing preventative repairs and cleanings, and most importantly making sure the filters are changed. A lot of our customers upgrade to the Aprilaire 1210 Air Filter which is great because it’s low maintenance and has a longer life span than a 1” filter. The investment in your equipment and the air you breathe is significant, which is why it’s important to stay on top of it.”

Ignoring your HVAC system can have consequences on the home and the wallet. What is the true cost of not upgrading to a reliable system and maintaining Healthy Air indoors?

“Most customers try to get 20+ years out of their equipment. Is it possible? Sometimes. However, it’s all the hidden costs they’re missing. Heating, cooling, and air quality products have come a long way in the last 10 years. By not upgrading your equipment you start to see recurring high repair bills, increase in energy consumption, and a lack of proper Indoor Air Quality.

Nowadays, when you upgrade, you are both dodging increasing repair bills and saving money on monthly energy costs. Also, there are some amazing add-on products out there to make your home more comfortable. You have everything from ultra-violet systems for bacteria and mold, humidification products, and air filtration solutions. There are a lot of great new innovations to make your home cozier.”

Lastly, do you have any tips for new homeowners who may not know how to care for their indoor air?

“One tip I have for new homeowners would be to focus on getting comfortable in your home. I’d first have the furnace and air conditioner inspected and make sure you’re all set for the hot summers and the cold winters in the first year or two. You want to make sure there are no unexpected repairs. Not every home inspector specializes in furnaces and air conditioners and can miss something that a trained technician would notice.

The second thing I would do is wait 6–12 months after the inspection and start to write down things you notice in your home. Are there hot or cold spots? Is it too dry in the winter, or too humid in the summer? After about 6 months, if you notice anything you want to address, talk to the technician at your next scheduled inspection. See what solutions their company offers, and if you see a solution that makes sense, proceed with it.”

Make Healthy Humidity a Priority

Healthy Humidity plays a key role in overall air quality, personal wellness, and the protection of your home. Making sure your HVAC system is in good shape is the first step in maintaining a healthy indoor environment. Take it from the experts and get the facts. Are you ready to take the next step and learn more about the benefits of Healthy Humidity with Aprilaire humidifiers in your home this winter? One of Aprilaire’s Healthy Air Heroes can help! Find a certified Aprilaire Healthy Air Professional in your area today!

Breathe the Fullness of Life.
Don't lose sleep over dry air this winter.

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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.

flights

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Experts Say Flights Can Resume, But Bring Increased Risks

2 minute read

Air quality experts say that it is safe to resume flying, but travelers must take advanced precautions before traveling like taking shorter flights when possible, wearing masks, and social distancing. 

In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Joseph Allen, an assistant professor of exposure assessment science at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, makes the case that airplanes do not make you sick. In fact, airplanes have comparable levels of air filtration and fresh air ventilation to a health care facility

Flights May Be Less Comfortable With Recommendations

He argues that airlines should continue disinfecting high-touch areas such as armrests and tray tables, stop in-flight food service, mandate mask-wearing, and ask patrons to keep their above ventilation fan on throughout the flight. While these adjustments make flying less enjoyable, they can help reduce in-flight virus transmission. Masks are currently required on public transportation. 

Allen is not the only one saying it is safe to resume flying. 

‘Safer Than Eating At A Restaurant’

Linsey Marr, an engineering professor at Virginia Tech, in a CNN article writes, “When HEPA ventilation systems are running on a plane and everyone is masked, the risk of Covid-19 is greatly reduced and makes air travel on a big jet safer than eating at a restaurant.”

Activities Create Biggest Risks

She and Allen argue that the biggest risks in airline travel stem from activities like the pre-flight boarding process or when a flight is delayed and people are stuck on the plane. Marr, who has been wearing an air quality monitor when she travels, said CO2 levels are elevated during these aforementioned activities and are indicative of a lack of fresh air ventilation. 

Marr told CNN that “A CO2 (carbon dioxide) level of 3,000 ppm means that for every breath I take in, about 7% of the air is other people’s exhaled breath…like drinking someone else’s backwash!”

The airport also presents other problems for travelers.

Allen suggests airports create more touchless experiences, upgrade their HVAC system, and require masks. Some updates have already been implemented in some airports or will be implemented in the future. 

Other experts suggest carrying your own personal hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and sticking to shorter flights

Even though there are risks to flying, Marr and Allen say you are clear for takeoff this summer

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.