what's in your air

Healthy Clean Air | Healthy Air |

What’s In Your Air? Here’s How to Improve The Air Quality in Your Home

2 minute read

We’d all like to believe that the air quality inside our homes is clean and healthy for the whole family. According to the EPA, however, air pollutants can actually be up to five times worse indoors than outdoors. Respiratory issues and illness can easily result from the higher concentrations of pollutants. To protect your family and improve the air quality inside your home, you need to identify the factors that affect Indoor Air Quality and learn ways to reduce indoor air pollutants. Learn about what’s in your air? And how to improve your Indoor Air Quality.

What’s in Your Air?

Biggest Factors for Poor Indoor Air Quality:

Chemicals: Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) are the name for the air pollutants floating around in almost every home. The key is to ensure levels don’t become too concentrated. Acetone, Formaldehyde, and Benzene are the most common forms of VOCs.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2): Considered to be safe in small amounts, CO2 is a colorless and odorless gas that you’ve most likely been exposed to.

Dust and Allergens: Over 20 million people are allergic to dust mites and dust is one of the most common allergens in the world. Other household air pollutants include mold, pollen, pet dander, and secondhand smoke.

Humidity and Temperature: High levels of humidity contribute to mold, and temperatures that are too high allow for chemicals from outside to enter the home at a more rapid pace.

How To Improve The Air Quality In Your Home

Source control is the easiest way to prevent indoor air pollution. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to not bring any air pollutants into your home. But you can make some changes to reduce your exposure to them.

  • Open windows as much as possible, even for just a few minutes
  • Regularly clean or change all filters in your home
  • Adjust your home’s humidity level to be between 40-60%
  • Get some green plants
  • Keep your house clean and uncluttered (vacuum and change bedding regularly)
  • Use eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaning supplies
  • Avoid smoking indoors
  • Invest in an air purifier

There’s no “all in one” test for indoor air pollutants, and the multitude of tests can seem overwhelmingly expensive. If you are genuinely concerned about the air quality in your home, contact a professional.

air-quality-inside-your-car

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

Air Quality Inside Your Car This Summer

2 minute read

Click play to listen to the Air Quality Inside Your Car This Summer article. 

Millions of Americans are hitting the highways this summer for travel destinations near and far. All those miles on the road mean hours spent in the car, and that gets us at AprilAire thinking about the quality of the air you’re breathing inside your vehicle.

Sources of Air Pollution in Vehicles

The air in your car can become polluted from three primary sources: dirty air outside, off-gassing from the vehicle’s interior, and the activity of you and your passengers.

Outside air comes in through the car’s ventilation system and open windows, and can often contain pollutants like automotive exhaust from surrounding traffic, allergens, and particulate matter from industrial and farming practices.

Inside the vehicle there are hundreds of components made out of different types of plastic, metal, paint, and more. Think of that “new car smell”—this typically comes from the off-gassing of these materials and is more noticeable in newer cars and whenever your car is sitting in the sun. It’s dangerous to breathe in these volatile organic compounds (VOCs, like benzene and formaldehyde) over time.

Lastly, air can be saturated with carbon dioxide by the exhalations of the car’s occupants, especially with multiple passengers in the same cabin for multiple hours. And adding things like air fresheners, or not cleaning up food waste and debris will also impact the car’s air quality.

How to Clean Your Car’s Air

Start by making sure your cabin’s air filter is updated and effective at removing dust, allergens, and other pollutants. Some manufacturers recommend changing it every 15,000 miles.

If your car has been sitting in the sun for a long period, open up the windows when you first get in to release some of the VOCs that have been trapped. It’s tempting to let the air conditioner do all the work, but by letting out the trapped air, you’re both lowering the interior temperature and removing pollutants. After a few minutes, you can roll up the windows and enjoy the chilled air.

When you’re on the open road without much surrounding traffic or other sources of pollution, consider using open windows to control the temperature rather than the air conditioner. This allows more fresh air to enter the cabin and prevents the buildup of carbon dioxide.

Most modern vehicles have a setting on the air and temperature controls that will recirculate the air inside the vehicle, and block out air from outside. This is a good option when you’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic or driving through an area with construction, farming, or other sources of air pollution.

Recirculation mode will prevent the external pollutants from entering your car, but keep in mind that this setting can also cause carbon dioxide levels to rise if used for an extended period of time.

Keep your car’s interior clean to prevent airborne dust and the formation of mold and mildew. Clean up liquid as soon as it’s spilled, and avoid using chemical sprays or air fresheners.

clear-your-indoor-air-four-spring-cleaning-tips-for-healthy-air

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

4 Spring Cleaning Tips for Healthy Air

2 minute read

Click play to listen to the Four Spring Cleaning Tips for Healthy Air article. 

What tasks are on your spring cleaning list this year?

From light refreshes to deep, thorough cleans, it’s time to breathe new life into your home! While you and your family clean from room to room, make sure you’re breathing Healthy Air by following some simple tips.

1. Change Air Filters

Heating and cooling systems contain air filters that need to be changed regularly. Keeping them maintained helps the systems operate efficiently, and protects the air being dispersed throughout your home.

Most filters come with a recommendation for how often they should be changed. If you’re unsure, you can look at the color of the filter—it starts white and becomes darker shades of gray over time. If you see particles caked on the filter, it’s definitely time to change it out.

AprilAire air filters should typically be replaced every 6 to 12 months, which can save you time and money compared to traditional 1-inch filters, which need to be replaced every 1 to 3 months.

2. Trap Dust

Dust is inevitable around the home, and we don’t usually notice it until it gets blown into the air and we end up sneezing. Thankfully, there are a few ways you can manage dust throughout the cleaning process.

A damp cloth is highly effective at capturing dust from surfaces big and small, including the nooks and crannies of window shades and shelving units. When dusting objects up high, like a ceiling fan, cover furniture and other items with a drop cloth that can be washed or shaken out after dusting.

Vacuuming is a great way to finish the job and capture any dust that got displaced during the cleaning process. Vacuum floors and furniture, and don’t forget about the dust that’s accumulated under tables, chairs, and couches.

3. Avoid Scents and Unnecessary Chemicals

Many household cleaners, air fresheners, and even scented candles can fill your home with harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These VOCs can irritate asthma symptoms and other respiratory conditions.

The American Lung Association recommends avoiding air fresheners and any products that contain fragrances, VOCs, and flammable ingredients. Instead, clean with products like vinegar and add fresh scents with things like dried potpourri.

4. Ventilate and Purify

Bring the renewal of spring to the air in your home with AprilAire fresh air ventilation and air purification.

Opening doors and windows is an easy option if the weather is agreeable and allergens aren’t a concern for your family. For more control over what comes into your home, you can use AprilAire whole-home ventilation solutions to expel dirty air and replace it with fresh, outdoor air.

Every home can benefit from air purification throughout the year, and especially while you clean. AprilAire whole-home air purifiers can drastically cut down on dust, allergens, bacteria, and viruses in your home. They’re helpful for members of your family with asthma, allergies, or other breathing problems.

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

AA Homepage Articles |

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.

Summer Pests

AA Homepage Articles | Environment |

Summer Pests to Be Aware Of

3 minute read

Click plays to listen to Summer Pests to Be Aware Of.

As you spend more time outdoors in the summer, you probably notice a lot of bugs and critters throughout the day. Their numbers grow and they become more active during the warmer months, and that means these creatures can quickly turn into pests whether you’re at home or out camping. Let’s review the most common summer pests and ways to avoid both indoor infestations and unwelcome guests in your camping area.

Summer Pests in the Home

Termites

Termites cause billions of dollars in damage each year, making them a real concern for homeowners across the country. In many cases, termites go undetected until they’ve caused a major issue with the woodwork of your home.

Preventative measures go into most new constructions, and there are steps you can take to retrofit an existing house.

In general, it’s important to ensure proper drainage around your home, keep firewood away from the home, and seal up any exposed woodwork.

Ants

A trail of ants in the kitchen or bathroom is something no homeowner wants to see.

They enter the home through small cracks and crevices, lured in by food and moisture sources they commonly find in the kitchen.

Removing the ones you can see is only half the battle, and to truly remove the issue you need to focus on sanitation and avoiding exposed food and water sources.

Fruit Flies

Potted plants, kitchen sinks, fruit bowls, and anything else with sugar—these pests seem to hover around everything in the summertime.

In addition to being annoying, fruit flies also have the potential to spread harmful germs from surface to surface and onto things we eat.

There are a number of ways to trap them when they become an issue. To prevent them from popping up in the first place, keep fruit in the refrigerator, clean out your sink drain often, and let the soil in potted plants dry thoroughly between waterings.

Summer Pests Outdoors

Because you’ll be outside so much during the warm summer months, let’s take a look at the most common outdoor pests that can impact your camping trip or picnic in the park.

Mosquitoes

A sure sign of summer, these little biters are most active during sunrise, sunset, and during the night.

In addition to painful bites and an annoying rash, mosquito bites can spread disease like West Nile virus.

There are various strategies you can use to avoid being bitten, and you can help prevent the prevalence of mosquitoes in your outdoor space by removing standing water, where mosquitoes lay eggs.

Ticks

Checking for ticks at the end of a day spent outdoors is a good habit to develop. These parasites carry a number of diseases that can affect humans and animals, alike, and they’re becoming more prevalent across the United States.

Ticks are most commonly found in dense grassy and wooded areas, so keep an eye on pets when outside and try preventative tips to avoid being bitten.

To prevent a large number of ticks from invading your backyard, the key is in removing things like leaf litter and any other trash where ticks can hide. You should also mow your grass regularly, and prevent wild animals that carry ticks (like deer) from entering your yard.

Wasps and Bees

Telling the difference between bees and wasps is an important skill for safely interacting with these creatures without causing unnecessary harm to the benefits they offer.

While bees produce honey and pollinate, wasps can help control garden pests that munch on your greenery, like caterpillars, grubs, grasshoppers, aphids, and flies.

Despite their benefits, a sting from these creatures is painful and can cause serious allergic reactions in some people, so hives and nests can be removed if they’re interfering with everyday activities. If you’re unsure of how to deal with it, call an exterminator who specializes in bee and wasp removal.

Other Ways to Prevent Pests

Insects are common in the summertime, but they’re not the only pests that can cause issues in the home. Rodents and birds can also find their way into your home or garage, causing damage over time. Here are some steps to consider for long-lasting pest protection.

  • Clean up food waste and remove garbage promptly
  • Ensure dry conditions in your basement or crawl space using AprilAire dehumidification systems
  • Seal up holes and gaps around your home where insects or rodents may enter
  • Inspect window screens for holes or gaps, and keep windows and doors closed when not in use
  • Keep your yard groomed and store firewood away from structures. Elevating firewood can also reduce the risk of termites and other pests