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AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

Museum Conservation: Healthy Humidity & Indoor Air Quality

4 minute read

Museum conservations help preserve a collection of unique and priceless artifacts, whether it’s articles, artwork, tools, or other important pieces. Their goal is to keep these artifacts intact indefinitely. Using a combination of humidity control, light control, and air filtration, museums help preserve these pieces for successive generations to enjoy.

Museum Conservation: Preserving Artwork and Artifacts 

Preserving these different media is a tricky job. You’re sort of learning as you go. The modern system of museum conservation is rooted in World War II. Citizens and museum workers placed the artwork in makeshift underground mines and subway tunnels to protect them from bombings. They found out that the pieces were well maintained and concluded that cool, dry, and stable environments were the ideal environments for preservation.

In the decade following World War II, art museums used a combination of humidifiers, thermostats, and central air to balance human comfort with the best environment for the different artwork gallery museum exhibits. This was a temperature of around 70 degrees and relative humidity hovering between 45-55%. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers in their own studies has found this the ideal range to reduce dust, pests, and other corrosive materials that can damage artifacts such as mold and mildew.

Managing Corrosive Materials

Airborne pollutants react poorly with the different dyes, pigments, and other materials. A proper HVAC system is about the only line of defense these artifacts have.

Reactions are usually small and can be easily managed by conservationists. Any strong and quick reaction leaves the artwork permanently damaged or destroyed. Dust is one of the biggest irritants for conservationists. Proper humidification is integral to limiting dust. It’s a highly corrosive material that can wreak havoc on all mediums. Outside of dust, proper humidification keeps wood from rotting and splitting, and leather from stiffening.

Archivists placed more unstable materials such as minerals and metals in their own microclimates. Humidity, temperature, and air filtration are more closely monitored by conservationists in these separate areas.

Edvard Munch’s The Scream: A Case-Study in Museum Conservation

An Oslo, Norway art museum also quickly learned a lesson recently about proper humidification. They noticed deterioration on Norwegian painter Edvard Munch’s The Scream. A team of scientists decided to figure out what was causing this issue. Thieves stole the painting in 2004. Police recovered the painting in 2006. The museum’s gallery has rarely displayed the painting in public since the recovery.

The scientists determined that the cadmium sulfide pigments when exposed to a relative humidity of 95% they turned to cadmium sulfate. Scientists were able to conclude that high levels of moisture, not light, was the biggest culprit.  This knowledge will help preserve other pieces completed around the same timeframe. Since the study, The Scream has returned to the museum.

Constanza Miliani, the study’s author, said, “This kind of work shows that art and science are intrinsically linked and that science can help preserve pieces of art so that the world can continue admiring them for years to come.”

Museum Conservation & Humidity Control

AprilAire

In Kansas City, MO sits the Piano Technicians Guild building. This 14,000 square foot building includes a museum. This exhibit includes a collection of historical pianos and early tuning instruments. An AprilAire dehumidifier was installed in 2007 to help preserve the museum’s collection of important music artifacts, including the grand piano that was on stage the night President Lincoln was assassinated in Ford Theatre. Preserving this and other pianos in the area will help the museum.

“Keeping the humidity level around your piano as constant as possible will help it stay in tune longer as well as slow such damage as soundboard cracks, loose tuning pins, and glue joint failures.”

Dristeem

AprilAire’s sister company, DriSteem, manufacturer of commercial dehumidifiers has used their humidification expertise to help two museums preserve historical pieces. The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, NY is an aviation museum that houses many early aviation artifacts. The building’s relative humidity fluctuated between 3-10 percent. A DriSteem Humidifier helped eliminate those concerns to preserve history for fans of early flight collections.

The company also did a case study for the National Museum of Music in Calgary, Canada. Due to the museum’s location, the area is fairly dry. These conditions could lead to major issues in preserving those artifacts. DriSteem’s recommendations will help Canada and the world enjoy important pieces of Canadian cultural history.

Housed in the Smithsonian’s National Archives is a book about humidity control. The author, Bernard Morton, worked for DriSteem and received a patent for his work on the steam humidification cabinet.

Museum Conservation and HVAC

As we push into the second decade of the 21st century, the scientific advancements in HVAC engineering have provided conservationists a better opportunity to provide the perfect micro-climate for each museum exhibit.

Although museum exhibits can appear stuffy due to the plethora of no touching signs and security guards monitoring you, that is not their intention. In fact, it’s for the sake of the different artifacts. Due to the volatility of pieces, conservationists are simply trying to help slow the rate of degradation.

Increasing scientific advancements will help museums better conserve important artifacts for successive generations. Healthy air will play an integral role in both the preservation of these collections and your family’s health.

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Much of the information for this article was provided by Gregory Dale Smith, a Senior Conservation Scientist at Newfields. Smith helps preserve many of the Indianapolis Art Museum Exhibits. Newfields comprises the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Fairbanks Park, The Garden, Lilly House, and the Elder Greenhouse.

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AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

Air Quality Inside Your Car This Summer

2 minute read

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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.

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AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

4 Spring Cleaning Tips for Healthy Air

2 minute read

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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.

St. Vincent de Paul

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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.

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AA Homepage Articles | Wellness |

Healthy Recipes for No-Cook Summer Meals

< 1 minute read

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Fuel your summertime adventures with these no-cook, delicious meals and snacks! Keeping the oven and stove off during the hot, humid summer months helps cut down on energy costs and prevents the buildup of harmful substances in your indoor air.

There are so many ways to get creative with fresh, seasonal ingredients this summer. And to get you started, we’ve got five easy recipes that can satisfy everyone’s appetites without heating up the house.

Caprese Salad

Fresh, simple, and incredibly tasty. This salad works as an appetizer, snack, or one piece of a tapas-style dinner.

Chicken Salad Sandwich

Pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store to get a head start on this filling sandwich option.

Air Fryer Radishes

Cooking with an air fryer is a great way to enjoy a hot meal or snack without adding unnecessary heat to your home. These radishes transform from fresh out of the garden into a crispy, flavorful side dish or salad topper.

Cowboy Caviar

This dip can easily turn into a main course because of how hard it is to stop eating! The perfect combination of hearty and spicy, all this crowd pleaser needs is a bag of tortilla chips.

Watermelon Sorbet

Chill out with this quick and easy dessert using a classic summertime fruit and your freezer. (We won’t blame you if you linger in the cool freezer air while making this one.)