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

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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!

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air pollution and adhd

Aprilaire Partners Logged In Homepages | Family |

Air Pollution and ADHD—Is There a Relationship?

2 minute read

Click play to listen to the Air Pollution and ADHD—Is There a Relationship? article.

There are 6.1 million American children aged 2-17 that have been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This represents about 9.4% of that population, according to the latest analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This number has steadily increased in recent decades, leading researchers to seek out potential causes. In a 2014 study, the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health found that children exposed to high levels of air pollution during pregnancy were five times more likely to have ADHD by age 9.

This study analyzed the prevalence of ADHD in children born in New York City, and measured their exposure to chemicals that occur naturally in coal, crude oil, and gasoline. Densely populated areas like New York City are extremely prone to air pollution from automobiles, industrial exhaust, and poor ventilation indoors (where air can be 5x more polluted than outdoor air.)

Not every child is born or grows up in major metro areas, but every region of the country has its own concerns around air pollution. Use the Aprilaire State of Your Air tool to see what factors most impact your area of the country.

While the direct link between air pollution and the development of ADHD isn’t fully understood, researchers list several possibilities, including disruption of the endocrine system, DNA damage, oxidative stress, and interference with placental growth factors resulting in decreased exchange of oxygen and nutrients.

Protecting children and other vulnerable populations from the impacts of polluted air is one of the goals of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recently updated air quality guidelines.

The WHO points to research that shows an association between prenatal exposure to high levels of air pollution and developmental delay at age three, as well as psychological and behavioral problems later on.

Healthy Air in Your Home

Protecting your family’s health begins with the health of your home. That’s why the Aprilaire Healthy Air Systemempowers you with the knowledge and resources required to create a Healthy Air environment for everyone in your home.

This comprehensive, all-in-one solution includes:

Fresh Air Ventilation

Fresh air is essential in clearing out the polluted, stagnant air that can build up indoors. Let in fresh air through windows if the outdoor air is safe, or you can use an Aprilaire whole-house ventilation system to mechanically bring in air. Also, make sure to use the ventilation fans in your kitchen when you cook or clean, and in your bathroom when you bathe or use cleaning products.

Air Filtration

Bringing outdoor air into your home requires filtration to remove allergens and other pollutants. Make sure to regularly change the filters in your Aprilaire whole-house air purifier to ensure maximum protection. You can also make use of an Aprilaire room air purifier, which is useful in small dwellings like dorm rooms or apartments, and in areas of your home that could use extra filtration.

Humidity Control

Too much humidity can lead to mold and pests. Too little humidity can make your home uncomfortable. With Aprilaire humidity control, you can keep your home in the sweet spot of 40–60% humidity to prevent the spread of unhealthy air and avoid overtaxing your heating and cooling systems.

WHO new air quality guidelines

Aprilaire Partners Logged In Homepages | Healthy Air |

The WHO’s New Air Quality Guidelines: By the Numbers

2 minute read

Click play to listen to The WHO’s New Air Quality Guidelines: By the Numbers article. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) released new air quality guidelines in 2021, with the aim of providing people and governments with a better understanding of the impact of air pollution.

The last time these guidelines were updated was in 2005. Since then, there have been large changes in how scientists measure and understand air pollution and its impact on human lives.

Here’s a look at the updated guidelines in six areas of air quality, with the numbers indicating what the WHO views as an acceptable level of exposure:

Air Quality Parameter Common Sources 2021 Guidelines 2005 Guidelines % Change
 

PM2.5, µg/m3 (particulate matter,  diameter equal to or less than 2.5 μm)

Annual exposure

Exhaust from automobiles; burning wood and coal; tobacco smoke; cooking 5 10 -50%
 

PM10, µg/m3 (particulate matter,  diameter equal to or less than 10 μm)

Annual exposure

Dust; fire smoke; sea salt; industrial exhaust 15 20 -40%
 

O3, µg/m3 (ozone)

Peak season exposure (warm weather)

Harmful at ground level; present in smog; exhaust reacting with sunlight 60 N/A New parameter
 

NO2, µg/m3 (nitrogen dioxide)

Annual exposure

Exhaust from automobiles; burning wood and coal; tobacco smoke; cooking 10 40 -75%
 

SO2, µg/m3 (sulfur dioxide)

24-hr exposure

Fossil fuel combustion at power plants, refineries, and other industrial facilities 40 20 +100%
 

CO, mg/m3 (carbon monoxide)

24-hr exposure

Exhaust from automobiles; stoves; grills; lanterns; other heat sources 4 4 Unchanged

 

Global Impact of Air Pollution

These health-based air quality guidelines are meant to help governments create laws and regulations that will reduce the exposure of their citizens to the adverse effects of air pollution.

A 2018 study found that air pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels was responsible for 8.7 million deaths that year around the world. And part of the WHO findings show that while air quality has mostly gotten better in high-income countries, it has generally gotten worse in low- and middle-income countries.

As you’ll notice, most of the parameters have become more strict since the last guidelines were released. This indicates a better understanding of the large impact air pollution can have on health and wellness, and should push laws and regulations toward lowering the levels of these pollutants globally.

In addition to improving life expectancy for people, reducing the main producers of these pollutants (like burning fossil fuels) could also slow the impact of climate change.

Air Quality in Your Home

Voting and purchasing decisions are two areas where you can have a say in lowering air pollution. More directly, you can take steps in your home to ensure you and your family have access to Healthy Air.

The Aprilaire Healthy Air System is a comprehensive, all-in-one solution that provides a blueprint for creating a Healthy Home environment in three key areas: fresh air ventilation, air filtration, and humidity control.

1. Fresh air ventilation: Fresh air ventilation removes stale, stagnant air from your home and replaces it with fresh air from the outdoors.

2. Air filtration: Air filtration works with your home’s HVAC system to remove harmful particles like dust mites, pet dander, pollen, and mold spores from the air circulating in your home.

3. Humidity control: Aprilaire whole-house humidifiers and dehumidifiers keep the humidity level of your home between 40% and 60% for optimal health and comfort.

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