Here at Aprilaire, our mission is to fill your home with Healthy Air. But first, it may help to understand what’s actually in your home. While almost every home comes with standard ventilation and air filtration systems, what’s the difference between those systems and systems upgraded with Aprilaire products? We interviewed Aprilaire Healthy Air Hero and President of Luxury Heating Company Paul Samek to get the facts, share the benefits of caring for your air, and help you figure out what’s really in your home.
Thank you so much for helping answer some of our questions, Paul. Can you start by telling us about Luxury Heating Company—where in the country do you do business and what kind of services do you provide?
“My name is Paul Samek. I’m among the third generation at Luxury Heating Company. We are on the west side of Cleveland, Ohio, and next year will be our 75th year in business. We primarily offer HVAC and Indoor Air Quality solutions for residential and light commercial applications.
While we’re an old company, we’re still very much evolving as we become more diverse and bring on new services that make sense for our business. With this evolution has come this increased awareness about Indoor Air Quality systems. A portion of our business, about 35–40%, is still new construction, which is nice because we have an opportunity to actually talk to the homebuilders and the clients.”
Let’s talk about indoor air. Why is it important to have fresh air ventilation and air filtration technology in each home?
“I don’t think it’s any surprise to a customer when we bring up air filtration—so the concept of having the filtration and air purification in whatever capacity that might be is important. They understand very easily the difference in upgrading from a one-inch filter to a media air filtration system.
When it comes to ventilation, that’s a much bigger conversation. These houses are built so tight today. We have more and more builders that we are working with that are building these ENERGY STAR® homes. So, it’s an airtight house and with our cold climate, we don’t open the windows. Natural ventilation isn’t sufficient anymore because you don’t have the opportunity to open up the house like you used to.”
A lot of people are buying homes these days. What can new homeowners or those who are looking to buy new homes expect from a standard HVAC system compared to one upgraded with Aprilaire fresh air ventilation and air filtration products?
“Whether it’s a new home or even an older home, your most standard HVAC systems have that one-inch, horsehair-style filter that doesn’t really filter air properly. We will explain to customers that all a one-inch filter is really doing is protecting the equipment from big particles circulating throughout the house and throughout your duct system. Now there’s also the 3M filters: one-inch filters that are like sticking a sheet of glass in there, so those are what I would consider within the standard HVAC system. Another part of having the standard system is that the fan only runs when the system is in heating or cooling mode. Any homeowners that have allergies or asthma know that they typically are the worst in the spring or in the fall when your system is running the least.
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. You’re not only bringing that fresh air in to help make the indoor air much healthier, but you’re also filtering it. So, a standard system is just recycling. A new, modern HVAC system that we can incorporate an Aprilaire whole-house ventilation system into will help homeowners feel much better and it’s going to be a much cleaner environment inside.”
So, what are the added benefits of upgrading to Aprilaire products when dealing with ventilation and air filtration?
“We found that, throughout the pandemic, so many people were cooped up in their houses, especially during the early phases when there were lockdowns. The pandemic created these conversations and awareness of Indoor Air Quality, and we had a lot of customers—and even some of my family members—who had pets and allergies who were experiencing the effects of poor indoor air. But when we add in the ventilation and air filtration systems, the feedback we would get on that is ‘I don’t have to use my inhaler like I did’ and ‘I can tell the difference from when I go outside to when I come back in the house.’
One of our customers that I worked closely with had a premature baby, and she shared that they did not want to leave the house. When they did, her son’s breathing changed, and once they got back in the house, he was breathing much better. That was a direct result of having the appropriate amount of ventilation and filtration in place. This was a real eye-opening case of the added benefits of these systems. Yes, you’re going to have a cleaner home, people can see that, but they don’t understand that what you’re breathing, and what your children are breathing, that’s the big difference between not having the systems in place versus having them in place.
As another example, my younger sister has really bad asthma and allergies. She has a dog and a cat, and she lives in an older home. She even noticed she wasn’t using her inhaler anymore when she was inside the house because of having that ventilation. By having that controlled ventilation, when coupled with the media air cleaner, it brought the health of the home to the point where she maybe uses her inhaler every now and then, as opposed to a couple of times a day. Our team loves to see these real life and very close to home situations and the impact that our work can have. How can you not want to talk about it when you know what type of impact that it can make?”
We recently conducted a survey and found that the majority of people don’t even know if their home has a ventilation system. Is there a way people can conduct an audit of their own systems so they can see if they need to upgrade?
“For anyone that is not mechanically inclined or doesn’t have any type of trade or mechanical background, it’s hard for them to conduct their own audit. A lot of times, customers think they have a ventilation system because they have that duct that is just sitting in the basement. But to be able to identify it on your own is tricky. One of the benefits of having your system serviced is that you can have the conversation with the service technician to be able to say, ‘Do I have one? How does it work? Where is it located?’ We like to try and help our customers as much as we can, but that’s one that I think would be hard for them to truly be able to identify or help them identify over the phone because of all the ductwork.
As far as signs of needing an upgrade—on the ventilation side, moisture is probably one of the biggest things that would come to mind. When homeowners start to see condensation on the ductwork or see the ductwork sweat, they should consider upgrading it to a ventilation system that’s more controlled versus just bringing in air. Regardless of the outdoor temperature and humidity, one of the key things is to eliminate and reduce the number of unintended consequences of a ventilation system. So, I’d say moisture is one of those things that you can see that’s telling you that you need something better.”
What is one piece of advice you would give the readers about caring for the air inside their homes?
“I think that trying to research things online is such a slippery slope, and it’s hard to find really credible information that is unbiased. I think that when you talk to a NATE-certified service technician, they’re the ones who are in and out of homes more than anyone. You should find a contractor with that certification and that has an investment in Indoor Air Quality. They care for the customer and want to give them the most appropriate information versus the most convenient information. So, I think that it’s really important to get somebody certified and qualified to talk about all different homes and their equipment needs.”
Make Indoor Air Quality a Priority
Aprilaire uses practical science to bring you real, human benefits through our Indoor Air Quality solutions. Who wouldn’t want to breathe easy knowing they are breathing the best air possible? Get the facts from experts like Paul Samek, and make sure you know what’s really in your air. Take the first step. Find a certified Aprilaire Healthy Air Hero in your area today!