tips for working from home

Healthy Home |

Tips for Working from Home Amidst The Great Transition

3 minute read

For many of us, the idea of working from home is a concept that many of us are unfamiliar with. Use these tips for working from home.

Tips for Working from Home

Create a Work Space 

As we transition to working from home, we will have to create a workspace. The easiest thing to do is to transition into your home office, but some of us will have to create a new space. Finding space that can function as your personal workstation can be especially challenging if you have limited space. Find a spot in your home that will provide comfort and limit distractions.

It may be difficult to use public spaces such as the library or a coffee shop due to the spread of the coronavirus but check with your local city and county governments on restrictions if you work better from home.

Dress for the Day

The transition can be hard. It can be difficult to maintain a routine when you do not have to get up at the same time or you do not have the same schedule of daily meetings or a commute. You’ll now be presented with different distractions and interruptions that you didn’t have at your office such as kids, pets, and binging your favorite shows.

To help combat these shifts, create a daily schedule where you map out your day with tasks. For example, if you usually start your day drinking coffee and checking email then continue to do that. Keep as many of your daily routines as possible to help keep you in work mode despite the shift in setting.

You’ll also want to have a schedule throughout the day to keep you focused on your work. This schedule can be a daily schedule, a weekly schedule or even a bi-weekly schedule. I work best with a series of general projects planned out over the next several weeks and several smaller tasks that may change day-to-day. You know yourself best so whether a more detailed list with specific times or a more general list of daily tasks, find the right method to keep you focused and motivated.

If you need to take a break from work, don’t be afraid to do so.

Look after yourself

Humans are social creatures. We like interacting with and being around other people. Being isolated can present a certain set of social challenges so make sure you find time to catch up with coworkers, friends, and family.

You can suggest doing a daily video chat with your coworkers to keep up with what’s going on with the company, everyone’s lives, and other updates for projects. These little check-ins will help strengthen your team’s bond and will provide an injection of social interaction.

And definitely take time to recharge with your family. If you have kids, spend time with them in the morning and throughout the day in small tasks like making lunch. Most of the time, our work lives can interrupt our family life so cherish these moments of spending time with your kids and significant other.

Recharge Physically

Find ways to also recharge physically as well like taking a short walk outside, going to the gym, or doing a mid-day yoga session at home. If you’re unable to go to a gym given the direction of community officials, find other ways to stay active like stretching or standing up every hour. We also wrote another post about exercises to do at home. You can find that post by clicking here.

Boosting your physical well-being can have an impact on your creativity and mood. Weight gain can be an unexpected side-effect of working from home where snacks and other food is more readily available. Plus, you may not be burning the same amount of calories you were while at work.

While there will be an obvious adjustment to working from home, don’t stress if the transition is difficult for the first couple of days. For most of us who do not work from home regularly, making this transition will prove to be difficult until we adjust to our new schedules. Following these simple tips above will hopefully provide a more seamless transition.

 

Healthy Home |

Holiday Savings – How to Stay Energy Efficient This Winter

3 minute read

 

Temperature forecasts around the country are trending downward as we head into the season of winter celebrations. While you can’t heat your home with the heartwarming feeling that comes from spreading holiday cheer, you can save money on energy costs this winter with a few simple changes.

Cold Wash Clothes

Check the garment care labels on your winter sweaters. Many of them likely do best when washed in cold water, and the same is true for many types of clothing. Not only will washing with cold water extend the lifespan of your clothes and prevent color fading, it will also shave money off your energy bill.

It’s estimated that around 90% of a washing machine’s energy usage goes toward heating up water. So rather than the hot water setting, opt for the warm or cold water settings to cut down on energy usage. Some laundry detergents are specifically made for use with cold water.

It’s important to note that you’ll still want to use the hot water cycle when trying to sanitize clothes, sheets, and towels—which may be a good idea after someone in the house has been sick.

Choose Efficient Lighting

Whether you wow the neighborhood each year with your front yard light display, or just use indoor lights more often due to low sunlight hours, you can save money by using efficient lighting systems.

LEDs use at least 75% less energy than standard incandescent lights, plus they’ll last years longer. Try to use them throughout your house, and especially in high usage areas like overhead lights.

For outdoor areas like in front of your house or garage, motion sensor light fixtures can give you the safety and convenience of outdoor lighting without the unnecessary energy always-on lights consume. And with lighting displays, use an automatic timer that turns them off once everyone is asleep.

Set Water Heater to 120°F

By default, many water heaters are set to 140°F to prevent the development of bacteria and the buildup of minerals in your water system. But this high temperature can also pose the risk of scalding while you wash your hands or take a shower, and it also may be adding unnecessary costs to your heating bill.

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your water heater to 120°F. This is still in the safe zone for preventing most bacteria development, and can save you up to $400 annually.

Aim for Balanced Humidity

Keeping the relative humidity in your home between 40–60% during the winter can keep you healthier and lower your heating bill.

Properly humidified air holds heat better than dry air, meaning you can keep your thermostat a few degrees lower and still feel comfortable in the winter. An AprilAire whole-house humidifier makes it easy to get these benefits in every room of your home.

Plus, balanced humidity can help you stay healthy during the cold and flu season. The combination of low winter humidity and indoor heating systems can create an excessively dry environment, where viruses thrive. When properly hydrated, your sinuses and mucus membranes are better equipped to fight off the intruders that make you sick.

Turn Down the Thermostat

Adding an extra layer of clothing when indoors is a simple way to feel warm while saving on heating costs during the winter. The U.S. Department of Energy says you can save as much as 10% a year on heating by turning your thermostat down 7°–10°F from its normal setting for 8 hours a day, like when everyone is asleep. An AprilAire programmable thermostat makes the process simple.

As mentioned above, balanced humidity makes a difference for temperature, too. Moist air holds heat better and allows you to feel warmer at a lower temperature. In fact, a 4% bump in relative humidity feels like a 1°F warmer environment.

Cook Smarter

Making your favorite holiday meals is one of the best cures for the winter blues. And all that time in the kitchen doesn’t have to mean a bloated energy bill.

One way to save energy is to pick the smallest appliance that will get the job done. Things like slow cookers, microwaves, air fryers, and toaster ovens are great substitutes for a large oven or stove top.

If kitchen appliances are on your holiday wish list this year, start with a new refrigerator—models that are 15 years or older can use up to twice the amount of energy as a new fridge.

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What Causes Static Shocks in the Winter?

2 minute read

 

As soon as the temperatures drop, the snow starts falling, and the furnace kicks in, you may start noticing a lot more static shocks as you move around your home. Why are static shocks so common in the wintertime?

Let’s review some common sources of static shocks this time of year, and find out how to avoid them.

Dry Air

Humidity level is the biggest factor when it comes to static shocks. Dry air is a conduit for those painful zaps because it doesn’t allow electric charges to dissipate and find balance in the same way moist air does. This causes some items to gain a positive charge, leading to a sudden transfer when they come into contact with negatively charged items.

To offset the prevalence of static shocks during dry, cold weather, you can maintain a balanced humidity level in your home between 40–60%. This will allow electrons to harmlessly move to the moisture in the air, rather than sit on surfaces, waiting to shock you when they transfer rapidly.

As a bonus, balanced humidity can also reduce your energy costs in the winter by making your home feel warmer at lower temperatures.

Clothing Materials

Certain fabrics are more likely to have a negative charge and lead to static shocks. Wool, nylon, and polyester clothing are the most susceptible. For instance, you may notice a static shock when putting on a wool winter hat.

Additionally, rubber-soled shoes will contribute to the buildup of electricity as you move across things like carpeting. This is less of a problem with leather-soled shoes.

Clothes Dryer

Dryer sheets have anti-static properties that reduce the likelihood of clothes sticking together in the dryer, and of clothes creating a static shock when you touch and wear them. You can also rub dryer sheets on areas where you often feel a static shock, like door handles or the metal parts of your vehicle.

Around Gas Pumps

In general, static shocks aren’t dangerous even though they’re uncomfortable. The only sites where they could pose a serious problem are at the gas pump or near other flammable areas. Because of this, the American Petroleum Institute recommends touching your metal door to release any static charge before touching the gas nozzle.

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.

2021 Good Neighbor Values

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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.

Healthy Air |

AprilAire Showcases at IBS 2023

3 minute read

 

Meet AprilAire at the International Builders’ Show 2023! We offer the most complete line of Indoor Air Quality solutions, providing proven performance and reliability as well as a localized, dedicated support team (including national distribution, nationwide sales force, and in-house technical and customer support) to meet builders’ needs.

From January 31st–February 2nd, tens of thousands of professionals in the building and construction industry will descend on Las Vegas for the International Builders’ Show (IBS), which will feature over 1,300 exhibitors and hundreds of educational sessions.

AprilAire is proud to be an exhibitor at this year’s show. We’ll be showcasing several innovative additions to the AprilAire Healthy Air System®, which is our all-in-one solution that provides fresh air ventilation, air filtration, humidity control, zoning control, radon mitigation, and more to address all aspects of Indoor Air Quality.

We’ll also have information on our established, nationwide network of distributors and our reliable in-house technical and customer support.

If you’re a professional in the residential or light commercial construction industry and are planning to attend IBS 2023, stop by and say hello to our knowledgeable team members at Booth C7908.

Below is a short preview of what AprilAire has in store, with much more to see in person. If you’re a homeowner and not attending the show but want to learn how you can improve the air in your home, read on below for the latest in Indoor Air Quality solutions from AprilAire.

AprilAire Ventilating Dehumidifier

AprilAire dehumidifiers balance your home’s humidity by reducing mold- and mildew-causing moisture, keeping you protected against the harmful effects of allergy and asthma symptoms, as well as airborne viruses.

The Ventilating Dehumidifier (Models E100V + 8190FF) brings in fresh air to meet ventilation needs while removing excess humidity from the incoming outdoor air. This solution combines our ENERGY STAR® Most Efficient 2022 dehumidifier with best-in-class ventilation. Fresh air is brought in whenever the HVAC system or dehumidifier is running to meet that need. If the required time is not met through these run cycles, the AprilAire Ventilating Dehumidifier will bring in fresh air and remove any excess humidity.

AprilAire Model 8145 and 8144NC Fresh Air Ventilators

AprilAire ventilation systems help create Healthy Air in the home by bringing in fresh air from the outside to dilute trapped airborne contaminants like allergens, chemicals, viruses, and bacteria. They also push out trapped, humid air to help improve indoor comfort and health.

Beyond the benefits to the health of your environment, these fresh air ventilators are also optimized for energy efficiency. Both units were awarded ENERGY STAR® Most Efficient 2022.

AprilAire Sensors and Monitoring

Knowing the performance of your Healthy Air solutions gives you confidence in the health of your home environment. AprilAire products have sensors for temperature, relative humidity, radon, and the operational health of your systems.

Our recent partnership with Airthings for radon detection is just one example of innovations in monitoring for homeowner peace of mind.

Plus, our wireless sensors easily pair with the new AprilAire S86 Series Wi-Fi Thermostat to improve installation time, whole-home comfort, and personal health.

AprilAire Zone Control

When you choose AprilAire zone control, you’re choosing Healthy Air throughout your home. Our zoning systems let you control the temperature in every area of your home, delivering optimal comfort and reduced energy usage. You can even manage these controls from outside your home using the AprilAire Healthy Air App on your mobile phone.

NEW AprilAire Next-Generation Thermostats

The AprilAire S86 Series Thermostats are our latest innovation. They launched in Q4 2022 and are easy to install with real language menus, basic and advanced HVAC installer settings, programmable and non-programmable options, and home automation capabilities.

AprilAire UVC Coil Cleaner

The new AprilAire UVC Coil Cleaner operates with a proprietary innovation using a sub-band of ultraviolet light. The AprilAire UVC product kills up to 99.9%* of mold on the surface of the coils of an air conditioning system, preventing the coil from becoming a source of bad air quality.

*Testing performed on Aspergillus niger mold spores in a sheet metal duct with a new bulb placed 18 inches from the surface.

AprilAire’s Partnership with the American Lung Association

AprilAire 4-inch Air Filters are a part of the American Lung Association’s National Proud Partner program*, which allows responsible brands, after careful internal and external vetting, to use the non-profit organization’s Proud Partner logo on product packaging and approved promotional materials. These 4-inch filters feature MERV 11, MERV 13, MERV 13CBN, and MERV 16 ratings and improved performance from the patented AprilAire Self-Seal Technology which minimizes the amount of air bypassing the filter.

Using AprilAire Air Filters allows homeowners to vacuum and dust less often because the filter catches airborne particles, like dust, pollen, mold spores, bacteria, and pet dander, and prevents them from settling on furniture and flooring.

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