Click play to listen to Hazy Days in Summer—What’s the Cause?
You may hear meteorologists refer to “visibility” during the weather forecast. At a basic level, this describes how far away you can be from something outside and still see it. This is often measured from airports and weather stations, and can impact travel safety and the ability to predict weather patterns. In the summertime, it’s not uncommon to have reduced visibility during certain times of the day due to haziness nearby or that you can see in the distance.
So, what’s causing those hazy skies in the summer?
Factors Impacting Visibility
Summertime sees an increase in travel both by airplane and automobile. These modes of transportation produce large amounts of airborne pollution, which you can especially notice around large population centers. This particulate matter combines with other sources of air pollution to scatter the sun’s light and create haziness and lower visibility. Outdoor air quality can also impact the quality of the air inside your home, making proper air quality management essential.
On hot, humid days in summer, particulate matter is more likely to stay in the air longer and cause reduced visibility. Paired with winds that stir up pollution, the increased moisture in the air may hold particulate matter aloft for several days at a time and cause a hazy appearance in the sky. Generally, haziness decreases on days with more moderate temperatures, humidity, and wind.
Wildfire season is here, adding large amounts of smoke to the air both in areas directly in the path of wildfires and in places hundreds of miles away where wind can carry the smoke. This can significantly reduce visibility, and cause the sky to take on strange colors or have a general, gray haze. When the air is saturated enough, you may even smell smoke when you walk outside.
Lack of Precipitation
Most areas of the United States see less precipitation during the summer. Rainfall typically clears particulate matter from the air, which can increase visibility. With long stretches of hot, humid days and more direct sunlight during the summer, the sky can hold onto particulate matter and remain hazy.
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Click play to listen to Fall Allergy Forecast article.
Have your seasonal allergy symptoms lasted longer than normal? If so, you’re not alone. A recent study found that pollen levels are higher and longer lasting than normal, caused in large part by climate change.
That means that your summer allergies could linger into the fall months, as many areas of the country are experiencing higher-than-normal temperatures, leading to higher pollen counts from cone-bearing and flowering plants. The map below from the National Centers for Environmental Information shows average temperatures for September 2022, compared to historic averages.
The fall season also introduces ragweed pollen and mold. These particles can travel easily through the air and cause allergy symptoms outdoors, or attach to clothes and enter through open windows to cause issues inside your home.
Mold can form when untouched piles of leaves or grass collect moisture, like leaves trapped in rain gutters. Ragweed pollen is more common in rural areas where turf grasses and other perennial plants easily become overgrown and release large amounts of pollen in late summer and early fall. Ragweed spores have been found to travel up to 400 miles, and areas east of the Rocky Mountains are especially susceptible to ragweed.
Fall Allergy Solutions
Despite higher allergen levels, you can still enjoy the fall season by taking steps to lower your exposure. Try out these solutions for your home environment.
Keep Windows and Doors Closed
The mild temperatures and lower precipitation levels of fall make it tempting to open up your windows and doors to control indoor temperatures. But that also gives allergens a clear path into your home, causing things like pollen and mold spores to settle on your furniture and floors, and then go airborne. Instead, when allergen counts are high, rely on your heating and cooling systems paired with AprilAire MERV 16 air filters to create a comfortable indoor environment.
Stay Aware of Allergen Counts
Before you head outside to enjoy the classic changing colors and mild temperatures of fall, take a look at allergen levels in your area, which are typically highest between 5:00 and 10:00 a.m. Windy days can make allergens even worse.
Allergen levels can remain high until the first freezing temperatures of the season. So if you need to be outside when levels are high, try wearing a face mask or other breathing filter.
Stay Safe During Outdoor Chores
Mowing the grass, raking the yard, and cleaning out gutters are common fall tasks. They can seem even more laborious for those with fall allergies, as leaves and grass can hold onto allergens that go airborne when disturbed by mowing or raking.
Solutions can include hiring a landscaping service, wearing a breathing filter while you handle the chores, and removing clothes in the garage to avoid bringing allergens indoors.
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Click play to listen to the Monitoring Air Quality with Satellites article.
It’s estimated that air pollution is responsible for more than 6.5 million deaths annually. Unhealthy air causes issues in every area of the world, and one of the most important parts of fighting this trend is to accurately monitor and report air quality levels in a timely manner. Pollutants like smog and wildfire smoke are easy to see, but sometimes airborne dangers aren’t so easy to detect on the local or regional levels. In those situations, some air quality monitoring organizations are taking measurements using a higher vantage point—satellites.
How NASA Is Monitoring Air Quality with Satellites
States in the Great Lakes region are incorporating high-resolution satellite data from NASA into their efforts to measure ozone levels (more detailed information here). The enhanced information gives a more accurate reading than ground observations alone and provides states with more resources to meet federal air quality standards.
Additionally, NASA can provide information on other factors relevant to air quality and the overall environment, like wind, weather, temperature, and soil moisture levels.
One of the main benefits this measurement information provides is giving regulators a clear picture of both current air pollution levels and the results of any mitigation efforts—basically, the before and after pictures for air quality improvement.
Strategies to reduce ground ozone and other air pollutants are essential for people’s health (especially those in densely populated areas), and are relevant to large-scale climate change efforts.
Indoor Air Quality Monitors for Your Home
You can also stay down to earth with air quality monitoring. AprilAire is partnering with Airthings, a global technology company that produces award-winning, best-selling Indoor Air Quality monitors for radon and other dangerous airborne contaminants that impact overall health and wellness. Find out more about the partnership here.
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.
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.
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.
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.