efficient home heating

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Efficient Home Heating — Answering Your Winter Heating Questions

3 minute read

Click play to listen to the Efficient Home Heating—Answering Your Home Heating Questions article.

Cooler temperatures are setting in all across the United States. As your thermostat kicks in to combat the winter chill, how can you balance the efficiency of your home’s heating system and the comfort of you and your family?

Aprilaire is here to answer some of the most common questions about heating your home in winter and optimizing your Indoor Air Quality.

What should I know before turning on my heating systems this winter?

If you haven’t serviced your heating system since last year, you’ll want to tackle a few tasks before turning on the heat.

Start with the air filters. Traditional 1” filters should be replaced every 1–3 months, while Aprilaire air filters should be replaced every 6–12 months.

If you have a wood or pellet stove that requires a chimney, make sure to check the vent and clean out any debris from the previous year. When using a fireplace, consider the type of fuel you’re burning and how well the area is ventilated. Consult your instruction manual for more information on cleaning and maintenance.

Additionally, make sure to check that your carbon monoxide detectors are working.

What’s the optimal indoor temperature during the winter?

This is largely a matter of your own personal preferences for temperature, but a common winter setting is 68°F. If you’re comfortable wearing more layers while you’re relaxing in your home, you can keep the thermostat a few degrees lower to save on energy costs.

If you have an Aprilaire programmable thermostat, set it to the lowest comfortable temperature in the winter and lower the setpoint when you’re sleeping or away from home. 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.

How can I check the insulation of my home and ensure I’m not losing heat?

For a thorough inspection of your home’s insulation, you’ll want a trained technician to take a look. Generally, older homes will be more likely to need improvements. The U.S. Department of Energy has some tips for the process.

One area where you may be losing heat is through drafty windows and doors. On chilly days, feel around your exterior windows and doors for a draft to see if added weather stripping could be useful. Don’t forget about doors to unheated garages and pet doors.

Two easy options for sealing non-moving areas like window frames are silicone caulking and foam sealant.

How does relative humidity (RH) impact comfort levels in the winter?

Keeping the relative humidity in your home between 40–60 percent during the winter has several benefits.

First, it helps you stay healthy during the cold and flu season, as viruses thrive in excessively dry conditions. Plus, your sinuses and mucus membranes are better equipped to fight off intruders when they’re properly hydrated and not dried out by the combination of low winter humidity and indoor heating systems.

Next, controlling humidity can protect the woodwork and paint in your home. Dry conditions can cause wood to split and paint to chip, but a consistent RH will help preserve these features year after year.

The third major benefit is that a healthy RH can ease the burden on your heating system. Moist 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-home humidifier makes it easy to get these benefits in every room of your home.

Is the heated air in my home filtered to remove contaminants and allergens?

Aprilaire Healthy Air Hero Paul Samek of Luxury Heating Company has some perspective on filtering the air in your home while your heating systems are engaged:

Within the standard HVAC system, the fan only runs when the system is in heating or cooling mode. With a new HVAC system, whether it’s a gas furnace or an electric air handler, most have a true ECM motor that is going to continuously be filtering the air, regardless of whether it’s heating or cooling or not. Coupling that with a ventilation system and an Aprilaire media air cleaner, it’s going to not only continuously be moving the air throughout the house and throughout the system, but it’s also going to be cleaning it—not just recycling it.

Find more tips from Paul here.

TR Miller Heating

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.”

Healthy Air Is on the Way

Find an Aprilaire professional near you.

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.

Learn More
Dave Jones Inc.

Healthy Humidity | Aprilaire Partners Logged In Homepages |

Real Talk: Tips from Healthy Air Hero Brandon Engen of Dave Jones, Inc.

4 minute read

As we transition into the late months of summer, the air outside continues to have an impact on the air we breathe inside. You want to keep your house nice and cool for your family and pets, but you may not be paying enough attention to the humidity in your home. That’s why we interviewed Aprilaire Healthy Air Hero Brandon Engen, the Director of Service and Remodel for Madison, Wisconsin’s very own Dave Jones, Inc. Brandon is eager to share his tips on Healthy Humidity and why it’s important to keep balanced air in your home, including improved wellness, the ability to lower energy costs, and even protect your home.

Thank you very much for helping answer some of our questions, Brandon. Can you start by telling us about your work with Dave Jones, Inc.—how long have you been with the company and what kinds of services do you provide?

“I started my career with Dave Jones, Inc. over 25 years ago as a plumbing laborer. I quickly earned an apprenticeship, and the rest is history. I’ve been in my current role as Director of Service and Remodel for the past eight years, which has been an incredibly rewarding experience.

Dave Jones, Inc. is one of Dane County’s largest employers with over 500 employees, but we’ve found that our real strength is the team that we’ve carefully cultivated since we began in 1977, creating an organization our team can be proud of. Our team can perform any plumbing, HVAC, fire protection, or electrical installation or service in both residential or commercial projects.”

Congratulations on winning three Best of Madison awards—including Best Plumber, Best Heating & Cooling, and Best Electrician! Tell us why the work you do for your community helps the people in it thrive and live healthy lives and why that’s important.

“Our work in plumbing, heating and cooling, and electrical helps our customers make their homes and businesses safe, healthy, and efficient. All communities need access to the essential services of clean water, Healthy Air, and safe electricity. It’s important for us to provide dependable and honest services, products, and expert advice for customers’ physical benefits and peace of mind.

Being ‘healthy’ isn’t just one thing, it’s a combination of many things. Healthy Air is no exception. Our job is to identify where improvements can be made, recommend industry-leading and efficient products, and properly install them so they work optimally and last as long as possible.”

Let’s talk about indoor air. Many homeowners are concerned about the temperature and various airborne particles in their homes. How does humidity factor in?

“Germs, viruses, and mold all thrive when there’s too much humidity, or not enough. In Wisconsin, we have dramatic temperature and moisture fluctuations, so controlling humidity in the house with whole-home dehumidifiers and humidifiers is key in Healthy Home air. Maintaining optimal humidity not only helps to prevent an ideal environment for the things which can make us sick, it allows us to enjoy the benefits from our humidity-controlled indoor environment.”

 

Maintaining optimal humidity not only helps to prevent an ideal environment for the things which can make us sick, it allows us to enjoy the benefits from our humidity-controlled indoor environment.

 

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

Learn More

How else can Healthy Humidity impact the way your home functions in everyday life?

“Have you ever had a door in your home that’s harder or easier to close at a certain time of the year? That’s one example of the effect of humidity can have on the woodwork in your home. We’ve all heard the old saying: ‘it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.’ Well, it’s true! The reason why weather forecasters use terms like ‘real feel’ and ‘heat index’ is because humidity has a drastic impact on how we perceive the actual temperature and how comfortable we are.

I’ve never heard anyone say they can’t wait for it to be hot and humid this summer or cold and clammy in the spring or fall. When it’s hot, your air conditioning system will be working at its maximum capacity to cool your home. The higher the humidity, the harder your machine needs to work to maintain that preferred ‘real feel’ temperature. When the humidity is high inside like it is outside in the summer, running your AC for days or weeks on end costs ‘real money.’ Lower the humidity and you’ll lower your operating costs.”

At Aprilaire, we recommend that humidity in the home should be kept between 40–60%, which is optimal for human health and comfort. What do you feel is the best way to ensure this balance is easy to maintain in humid climates?

“Dave Jones, Inc. installs Aprilaire products to solve humidity problems because they’re experts at Indoor Air Quality and offer a wide-range of products to fit specific needs. The e-series and 1800 series whole-house dehumidifiers are installed into your existing HVAC system and reduce humidity throughout the home and not just your basement. These products provide a conditioned home throughout, without the need to empty buckets of water.”

Lastly, what advice would you give to a homeowner about protecting their air, and how can Aprilaire help them?

“If you’re a homeowner looking for optimal air quality in your home, there are three main areas to focus on: ventilation, humidity, and filtration. According to the EPA, indoor air is approximately 90% more polluted than outdoors. Ventilation allows the circulation of fresh outdoor air in, and polluted indoor air out. Humidity control helps to reduce the growth of viruses, bacteria, and other nasties as well as protect the woodwork and other parts of your home. Filtration stops particles from circulating. These three areas will make the biggest difference in your Indoor Air Quality.”

 

Humidity control helps to reduce the growth of viruses, bacteria, and other nasties as well as protect the woodwork and other parts of 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, like Brandon Engen, 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!

Healthy Air Is on the Way

Find an Aprilaire professional near you.

American Lung Association

Aprilaire Partners Logged In Homepages | News |

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

AA Homepage Articles | News |

2021: Aprilaire’s Good Neighbor Values

2 minute read

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

flights

AA Homepage Articles | News |

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