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Healthy Home |

The Importance of Our Home’s Indoor Air When Working From Home

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. The importance of our home’s indoor air was something we did not think about or consider prior to the pandemic.

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.  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 40-60 percent as directed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). 

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Make Your Home’s Air Important with The 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

Find an AprilAire professional near you.

 

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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.

Healthy Home |

Winter Prep — How to Enjoy Healthy Air in Your Home

2 minute read

 

We’re not wishing away the mild, comfortable fall weather anytime soon. But we like to be prepared, so we’re taking a look ahead to getting the home ready for the upcoming winter season.

As cold temperatures and mixed precipitation set in across the country, the air quality in your home can be impacted by a number of factors. (So can the air outside.) Let’s review the most common sources of indoor air pollution during the winter, and see how to fix them with the AprilAire Healthy Air System®.

Tightly Sealed Homes

In wintertime, we want to shut out the cold and keep our homes insulated from whatever is going on outdoors. While keeping doors and windows shut and closing up any cold drafts are good for comfort and your heating bill, they also stop fresh outdoor air from coming into your home. This is especially true for newly constructed homes that prioritize a tight seal.

To get the best of both worlds—efficient heating and fresh air—look at installing a fresh air ventilation system and whole-house air purifier for improved Indoor Air Quality in the winter and year-round.

Mold and Mildew

A tight seal in the home can also cause moisture to become trapped, leading to the growth of mold and mildew, which negatively impact Indoor Air Quality and can cause odors or ruin woodwork and furniture.

Make sure to use the exhaust hood above your stove when cooking and in the laundry room, and keep the bathroom fan on for about 30 minutes after showering to allow steam to escape. An AprilAire whole-house dehumidifier can also help maintain a balanced humidity level of 40–60%.

Heating Sources

Do you sneeze every time the furnace kicks in? Your heating system might have an old air filter that’s recirculating dust and other allergy irritants. Plus, if you’re using a gas stove, wood stove, or fireplace for heat, be aware of high carbon dioxide levels and increased particulate matter in your air.

Install a new air filter in your furnace (AprilAire filters should be replaced every 6–12 months) and make sure smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are working properly near combustion sources. (And don’t forget about radon.)

Drop in Humidity

The process of heating your home can zap moisture from the air and lead to itchy skin, dry sinuses, and even static shocks. Low relative humidity indoors can also make you sick. Plus, dry air doesn’t hold heat as well as moist air, creating the need to heat your home even more to feel warm.

A balanced humidity level helps offset the effects of dry air. An AprilAire whole-house humidifier can keep every area of your home comfortable.

Pets

Extreme winter weather can make it unsafe for pets to be outdoors for any extended period of time. That means you get the benefit of their snuggles all winter long, but you also have to deal with more shedded hair and pet dander in the house.

If pet hair becomes an issue, increase the frequency of vacuuming and dusting in high-traffic areas. Plus, an AprilAire whole-house air purifier can reduce the amount of hair and dander circulating throughout your home. For areas your pets hang out in often, a room air purifier can be an effective supplement.

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.

How Fall Pests Get In Your Home

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Don’t Let Pests Haunt Your Home This Fall

2 minute read

Click play to listen to Don’t Let Fall Pests Haunt Your Home.

As the heat of summer gives way to chillier temperatures this fall, we’re headed inside to stay warm and comfy with family and friends.

But the coziness of the indoors can be appealing to some uninvited guests, too. Pests like insects and rodents seek the warmth and moisture of the areas inside and around your home, like the basement, attic, crawl space, garage, or even within the walls.

How Pests Infest Your Home

In addition to compromising structural aspects of your home, pest activity can impact the safety of your indoor environment by introducing infectious diseases and waste. Needless to say, a pest infestation is not something you want to deal with. Let’s take a look at the primary ways these critters can enter your home during the fall season.

Fireplace

A properly ventilated fireplace is essential in maintaining healthy Indoor Air Quality. But ventilation systems can become clogged or broken over time, eventually allowing access from the outdoors through small cracks or damaged mesh barriers. Climbers like squirrels, rats, and raccoons could gain access to the house or become stuck in the chimney.

If you’re unsure of how to clean and maintain your fireplace, have it inspected by a professional so you can enjoy it worry-free all fall and winter.

Drafty Windows and Doors

Where there’s a draft, there’s a way into your home for tiny pests. Check all exterior doors on your home, garage, or shed to ensure you’re not letting heat out or critters in. Some doors and windows may need added weather stripping or insulation to plug holes and cracks. Don’t forget about pet doors either.

Attic or Garage

Whether or not they’re heated or fully insulated, attics and garages are prone to pest activity because they provide protection from the weather. If you’re not often using those spaces, it can be hard to determine if you have a pest problem. But annual inspections of the structures should reveal any potential issues like cracks, holes, or unwanted moisture.

Foliage Piles

Some animals and insects will build nests inside piles of unkempt foliage or wood, taking advantage of the insulation provided by leaves or wood piles. Plus, there’s another pest that can thrive in these damp areas—mold. To avoid the growth of mold in your yard, properly elevate and store wood piles and dispose of leaf piles before they can turn moldy. And keep wood piles far enough away from your house so you don’t encourage any nesting critters to find their way indoors.