how improvement leads to self improvement

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How Home Improvement Leads to Self-Improvement

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As life gets busy and messy, so can your home. And living in a space with much-needed renovations and overdue cleaning tasks can cause anxiety and frustration that boil over into other aspects of your life.

Since September is known by some as “Self-Improvement Month,” we think it’s the perfect time to look at simple ways to simultaneously improve your life and your home.

Check out our list below for home renovation and reorganization projects that can help you get back on track.

How Home Improvement Leads To Self-Improvement

Make a Habit Out of Budgeting

Some of the home projects on your dream list will require real budgeting of time and money. If you don’t normally make budgets that let you shop and save with confidence, taking on new home renovations can be the perfect time to start.

Begin with a simple cost estimator, and compare that with an overview of your current savings and credit options. That will give you an idea of what you can afford, and how long it will take to pay off. You can also extend this practice into planning vacations and major purchases like vehicles.

Spending within your limits, paying off debts, and reaching your savings goals can take away large sources of anxiety and give you a sense of freedom in the way you live your life.

Less Closet Clutter for Reduced Stress

Too many clothes (some you never wear), not enough hangers or drawers, and a pile of shoes flowing out the door you can no longer close.

A messy closet is one of the most anxiety-inducing sights in the home. And while it may seem like an overwhelming task, it’s totally worth it.

First off, you’ll likely need to get rid of some things. Consider selling or donating clothes you no longer wear, and relocate any items that would be better off in a front closet, basement, or garage.

Depending on the size of your closet, you can optimize the space with hanging rods and dressers, making sure to use as much vertical space as possible. Another stress-reducer is adding labels or dividers that will help you navigate your things quickly on busy mornings.

Breathe Easy with AprilAire Healthy Air Solutions

Deep breathing is a proven way to reduce stress and anxiety. And one way to make it even healthier for you is to ensure the air you’re breathing is fresh and purified.

Simple fixes like turning on the kitchen exhaust fan whenever you’re cooking, and opening up windows to promote ventilation can make a difference. Another solution is installing AprilAire whole-home equipment to automatically handle fresh air ventilation, air filtration, and humidity control throughout your living space.

A Kitchen You’ll Love to Cook In

Summer is a great time to grill outside and enjoy seasonal favorites at restaurants and cafes. But as you move into fall, you may be looking to cook at home more often to both save money and have a better idea of what’s going into your food.

Creating a well-stocked and organized kitchen can make it simpler to cook fast, healthy meals a few days a week, and give you enough space to meal prep large quantities for a whole week’s worth of food. Try upgrades like new cabinets, countertop organization, and a more efficient refrigerator/freezer where you can store your prepped meals.

Plant a Garden for Nourishment

This project can nourish your belly and your mind. Tending a garden and seeing it change over time will help you relax and unwind after a long day at work. And when it’s time to harvest, you’ll be able to enjoy homegrown, seasonal produce without relying on as many trips to the grocery store.

To start, you’ll want to identify the plants most likely to thrive in your region, and then choose a space around your yard that would work best for this type of project.

A Comfortable Home Office for Maximum Focus

Working from home is convenient for a lot of reasons, but it can also make it difficult to separate “work time” from “home time.”

One way around this issue is to create a dedicated workspace that has all the amenities you need to focus and efficiently complete your work before returning to family and home time.

Look around for inspiration, and get an idea of the look and feel you want: minimalist and distraction-free, or more offbeat and creative.

Paint color and wall art are important, but you’ll really want to make sure you’ve found a comfortable chair and ergonomic desk setup to ensure maximum focus.

Home Spa Upgrades for Relaxation

While you might not be able to afford weekly trips to the spa, you can find time to relax every day by reinventing your bathroom at home.

Small touches can make a big difference. Try scented soaps and bubble baths, plush towels, and warmer lighting.

You can also make larger, yet affordable changes like installing a new and improved shower head or painting with colors that create a feeling of zen.

A Guest Bedroom Visitors Will Love

Building community and prioritizing personal interactions can go a long way toward making you happier throughout the year.

Instead of relying on expensive, difficult-to-schedule vacations to meet up with friends and family, you can create an awesome guest room in your home that will make it easy to host.

Start with a comfortable bed and things like a reading light and a place to set up a suitcase. Then you can move on to larger tasks like making it quieter or changing the lighting.

Improving the space will give you the confidence to invite people to stay, and will provide a comfortable spot that your loved ones will enjoy year after year.

Break a Sweat for Nicer Landscaping

Do you like what you see when you pull into your driveway or walk up to your home every day?

If your exterior could use some work, it’s also a great opportunity to get active and improve your physical fitness.

Regular maintenance like weeding and watering can help you break a sweat a few times a week. And when you take on larger tasks like new landscaping or a stone pathway, you can count those days as intense workouts.

In addition to offering exercise, these outdoor improvements can greatly increase the value of your property and give you pride in calling that address home.

 

air-pollution-increases-risk-of-cognitive-decline

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Home |

Air Pollution Increases Risk of Cognitive Decline and Dementia

2 minute read

Recent studies have found that long-term exposure to air pollution increases risk of cognitive decline and dementia. 

Exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollutants can cause a multitude of chronic and acute health complications. While most research has focused on lung and heart health, scientists have recently focused on the impact air pollutants, especially ultrafine PM2.5 particulates, can have on your brain. These particulates are especially consequential to your brain since they can bypass your body’s natural defenses like the blood-brain barrier and damage neurons. They can also wreak havoc on the rest of your body by disrupting natural processes like cell replication, breathing, and immune system responses that also impact the brain’s functionality.

PM2.5 Particulate Pollution Increases Risk of Cognitive Decline

PM2.5 particulates can be found inside and outside your home. Common sources are gas stoves, automobile exhaust, wood burning, and tobacco. These toxic particulates are extremely dangerous when they are inhaled. The World Health Organization estimates that 7 million people die annually from indoor air pollution.

Fortunately, there are ways to limit exposure to these pollutants inside your home with whole-house Healthy Air solutions from AprilAire. 

To manage all aspects of your home’s Indoor Air Quality, invest in an AprilAire Healthy Air System installed by your local professional. This whole-house system will keep your home’s air healthy and clean by capturing harmful particulates like airborne viruses, managing humidity control, and by bringing in fresh air. 

PM2.5 particulates that flow through your home’s filtration system are trapped by the air filter which reduces the number of harmful airborne pollutants. Our Healthy Air MERV 16 air filter captures 99% of airborne particulates that trigger asthma and allergy flare-ups. Additionally, the filter captures 98% of airborne viruses, tobacco smoke, and smog particulates passing through the filtering system. The Healthy Air MERV 13 + Carbon air filter brings in all the same benefits of our Healthy Air MERV 13 air filter with the added benefit of a carbon filter to reduce pet and cooking odors, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds).

Prevent outdoor air pollutants from coming inside by keeping your windows closed and by sealing up any cracks around your home. If they do get in, an AprilAire whole-house air purifier can help capture those toxic particulates.

Get Healthy Air 

Replacement air filters can be purchased at the preceding link. They will be delivered to your home and can be simply and easily installed by the homeowner. Or for complete Indoor Air Quality management, ask your local Healthy Air Pro about the AprilAire Healthy Air System

how-to-clean-and-prep-your-air-conditioner-for-summer

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Home |

How to Clean and Prep Your Air Conditioner for Summer

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Don’t wait until the first hot day of the year to check on your air conditioner! A few simple steps can make sure your home’s cooling system is clean and in good working order so it’s ready to go for anything summer has in store.

1. Clean the Exterior

Your central air conditioning unit uses an outdoor condenser and compressor, which remove hot air and return cooled air. Because it’s located outside, leaves, dirt, and other debris can impact the unit whether it was covered or not during the off months.

Take care to remove any accumulated debris, and inspect the exterior coils to ensure they’re clean and not bent.

2. Check the Filter

Replacing air filters on your central air conditioning unit at least once a year is essential in protecting both the air you’re breathing and the performance of your AC unit.

Filters are often located in the indoor air handler unit, and may also be in the vents throughout your home. Inspect them to check for dust and debris, and replace them when necessary. A clogged filter can introduce allergens into the home and make your air conditioner work harder to blow air.

3. Test Functionality

Do a short test run with your air conditioner in the spring before you’ll need it to work throughout the summer. Power on the unit and check to see that it’s cooling the necessary parts of your home.

If something seems to be faulty, contact a local HVAC technician to inspect and diagnose the issue. When that first heat wave rolls around, you’ll be glad you did!

4. Add a Dehumidifier

Part of getting the most performance and life out of your air conditioning system is not overtaxing it. High humidity conditions in certain regions of the country make your air conditioner work harder to cool the air. Using an AprilAire whole-house dehumidifier helps your air conditioner achieve the set temperature faster, while saving energy in the short term and avoiding the cost of replacements in the long term.

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

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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.

Total Home Performance Consultation

AA Homepage Articles |

Total Home Performance Provides Solutions Based on Building Science

2 minute read

Total Home Performance, located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, utilizes a science-based, top-down approach in creating healthy homes for its clients. They see their customers as their neighbors, utilizing a no-pressure sales technique to provide the best solution, not just the one that’s going to make the biggest impact on the bottom line. They provide an informative and visual-based process that walks the homeowner through any issues they’ve spotted and how they can be addressed based on the latest building science principles.

Total Home Performance Grows Steadily

Over the last 13 years, Total Home has steadily grown from an energy audit service to a full-service home performance contractor. While its growth has led to expanded expertise, more employees, and more infrastructure, the company has remained true to its humble roots to make a positive impact on the lives of homeowners they service. Many of the company’s employees have been with them since the beginning, creating a unique family atmosphere that leaves owner Matthew Hargrove proud.

“We are a true family here. We have committed our lives to this business…We feel very fortunate and proud to not only be supporting this amount of people but providing this type of work that is of such great benefit to our customers.”

Like many other home performance contractors, Total Home Performance has seen increased demand for its services since the COVID-19 pandemic. More homeowners are concerned about their home’s indoor air quality and if their home is making them sick.

Healthy Home Assessments Help Homeowners

As a result, Total Home Performance began offering healthy home assessments to evaluate the health and safety issues that could be negatively impacting homeowners. This begins with a visual inspection of the property to identify things like moisture, mold, pest intrusion, or other potential contaminants. Based on this inspection, they can perform specific tests for things like volatile organic compounds (VOCs), mold, and moisture to pinpoint the root cause and lay out a plan to eradicate these issues.

Humidity control is especially vital for many homeowners along the eastern shore since they butt up against the Chesapeake Bay and other inlets leaving them vulnerable to the impacts of excess humidity like mold, mildew, discomfort, and structural damage.

The Big Three

The Total Home team also shores up any poorly insulated areas ensuring the home is energy-efficient and protected from whatever mother nature may throw its way. Sealing up the house also helps create a perfect structure for Total Home Performance to apply, what Hargrove calls “The Big Three”—ventilation, filtration, and moisture management strategy—which helps eliminate household viruses, VOCs, and other health issues within the home.

Contact Total Home Performance

If you want to feel the difference in your home, see an improvement in your health and save on your energy bills, contact Total Home Performance today.