Click play to listen to the How to Clean and Prep Your Air Conditioner for the Summer article.
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.
Temperature forecasts around the country are trending downward as we head into the season of winter celebrations. While you can’t heat your home with the heartwarming feeling that comes from spreading holiday cheer, you can save money on energy costs this winter with a few simple changes.
Cold Wash Clothes
Check the garment care labels on your winter sweaters. Many of them likely do best when washed in cold water, and the same is true for many types of clothing. Not only will washing with cold water extend the lifespan of your clothes and prevent color fading, it will also shave money off your energy bill.
It’s estimated that around 90% of a washing machine’s energy usage goes toward heating up water. So rather than the hot water setting, opt for the warm or cold water settings to cut down on energy usage. Some laundry detergents are specifically made for use with cold water.
It’s important to note that you’ll still want to use the hot water cycle when trying to sanitize clothes, sheets, and towels—which may be a good idea after someone in the house has been sick.
Choose Efficient Lighting
Whether you wow the neighborhood each year with your front yard light display, or just use indoor lights more often due to low sunlight hours, you can save money by using efficient lighting systems.
For outdoor areas like in front of your house or garage, motion sensor light fixtures can give you the safety and convenience of outdoor lighting without the unnecessary energy always-on lights consume. And with lighting displays, use an automatic timer that turns them off once everyone is asleep.
Set Water Heater to 120°F
By default, many water heaters are set to 140°F to prevent the development of bacteria and the buildup of minerals in your water system. But this high temperature can also pose the risk of scalding while you wash your hands or take a shower, and it also may be adding unnecessary costs to your heating bill.
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your water heater to 120°F. This is still in the safe zone for preventing most bacteria development, and can save you up to $400 annually.
Aim for Balanced Humidity
Keeping the relative humidity in your home between 40–60% during the winter can keep you healthier and lower your heating bill.
Properly humidified 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-house humidifier makes it easy to get these benefits in every room of your home.
Plus, balanced humidity can help you stay healthy during the cold and flu season. The combination of low winter humidity and indoor heating systems can create an excessively dry environment, where viruses thrive. When properly hydrated, your sinuses and mucus membranes are better equipped to fight off the intruders that make you sick.
Turn Down the Thermostat
Adding an extra layer of clothing when indoors is a simple way to feel warm while saving on heating costs during the winter. 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, like when everyone is asleep. An AprilAire programmable thermostat makes the process simple.
As mentioned above, balanced humidity makes a difference for temperature, too. Moist air holds heat better and allows you to feel warmer at a lower temperature. In fact, a 4% bump in relative humidity feels like a 1°F warmer environment.
Making your favorite holiday meals is one of the best cures for the winter blues. And all that time in the kitchen doesn’t have to mean a bloated energy bill.
One way to save energy is to pick the smallest appliance that will get the job done. Things like slow cookers, microwaves, air fryers, and toaster ovens are great substitutes for a large oven or stove top.
If kitchen appliances are on your holiday wish list this year, start with a new refrigerator—models that are 15 years or older can use up to twice the amount of energy as a new fridge.
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As soon as the temperatures drop, the snow starts falling, and the furnace kicks in, you may start noticing a lot more static shocks as you move around your home. Why are static shocks so common in the wintertime?
Let’s review some common sources of static shocks this time of year, and find out how to avoid them.
Humidity level is the biggest factor when it comes to static shocks. Dry air is a conduit for those painful zaps because it doesn’t allow electric charges to dissipate and find balance in the same way moist air does. This causes some items to gain a positive charge, leading to a sudden transfer when they come into contact with negatively charged items.
To offset the prevalence of static shocks during dry, cold weather, you can maintain a balanced humidity level in your home between 40–60%. This will allow electrons to harmlessly move to the moisture in the air, rather than sit on surfaces, waiting to shock you when they transfer rapidly.
As a bonus, balanced humidity can also reduce your energy costs in the winter by making your home feel warmer at lower temperatures.
Certain fabrics are more likely to have a negative charge and lead to static shocks. Wool, nylon, and polyester clothing are the most susceptible. For instance, you may notice a static shock when putting on a wool winter hat.
Additionally, rubber-soled shoes will contribute to the buildup of electricity as you move across things like carpeting. This is less of a problem with leather-soled shoes.
Dryer sheets have anti-static properties that reduce the likelihood of clothes sticking together in the dryer, and of clothes creating a static shock when you touch and wear them. You can also rub dryer sheets on areas where you often feel a static shock, like door handles or the metal parts of your vehicle.
Around Gas Pumps
In general, static shocks aren’t dangerous even though they’re uncomfortable. The only sites where they could pose a serious problem are at the gas pump or near other flammable areas. Because of this, the American Petroleum Institute recommends touching your metal door to release any static charge before touching the gas nozzle.
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.