air pollutants from wildfires

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Protect Yourself From Air Pollutants Created By Wildfires

2 minute read

Climate change is creating drought-like conditions and surging temperatures. These ingredients combine to create the perfect recipe for wildfires to spark. This current is pouring toxic air pollutants created by wildfires into already polluted air.

In fact, wildfires are currently spreading across southern Canada and the northern United States. This collection of wildfires is coating the skies in a visible haze creating poor outdoor air quality for 60+ million Americans across the Northwest and Midwest along with impacted areas in Canada. 

Indoor and Outdoor Air Pollutants Created by Wildfires

Wildfires create a handful of air quality issues such as PM2.5, ozone, ash, and smoke. These air pollutants are especially dangerous. They create irritations within the lungs leading to complications for vulnerable groups like the elderly, children, asthmatics, and those with pulmonary issues. Even for previously healthy people, repeated exposure to poor outdoor air quality can lead to lingering pulmonary and cardiovascular illnesses. 

Unfortunately, you cannot avoid these conditions by staying inside. These air pollutants can get inside your home through cracks in the foundation, windows, and doors and require you to take precautions. 

Taking Precautions Against Wildfires

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest sealing up windows, using a portable air purifier, installing high-efficiency air filters, avoiding adding volatile organic compounds to your air, and not stirring up particulates by vacuuming. You also want to make sure that the portable air purifier you purchase does not create ozone. Contact your doctor if you are at elevated risk due to pulmonary or cardiovascular issues. 

Even after the fire ends, smoke can stay in the air for several days so continue to take precautions until your outdoor air quality is deemed healthy. Ash will also linger and can be kicked up during the cleaning process. Continue to wear a mask when you go outside and monitor outdoor air quality with AirNow

As climate change continues to encroach on our lives, it’s important to start taking precautions to make sure that you and your family are protected against wildfire season. 

Products To Capture Air Pollutants Created by Wildfires

A whole-home air purifier and high-efficiency air filters from AprilAire are a must-have. They will capture air pollutants that float into your home from the outside and capture other indoor pollutants like odors, airborne viruses, dust, and smoke during and after wildfire season. 

For example, the Model 5000 air purifier captures 99%* of airborne viruses* and 95%* of smoke-sized particles. It’s a great addition to homes with vulnerable people. 

All AprilAire whole-home air purifiers are equipped with a 5-year warranty so you can breathe easy knowing that your American-engineered products are built to last. 

Contact a local Healthy Air Pro to make sure your family is protected from poor Indoor Air Quality. You can search by zip code or city. Turn your home into a safe haven today. 

Healthy Air Is on the Way

Find an AprilAire professional near you.

*Contaminants removed based on air passing through the filtering system.

fall allergy forecast

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Here’s Your Fall Allergy Forecast

2 minute read

Click play to listen to Fall Allergy Forecast article. 

Have your seasonal allergy symptoms lasted longer than normal? If so, you’re not alone. A recent study found that pollen levels are higher and longer lasting than normal, caused in large part by climate change.

That means that your summer allergies could linger into the fall months, as many areas of the country are experiencing higher-than-normal temperatures, leading to higher pollen counts from cone-bearing and flowering plants. The map below from the National Centers for Environmental Information shows average temperatures for September 2022, compared to historic averages.

Statewide Average Temperature Ranks

The fall season also introduces ragweed pollen and mold. These particles can travel easily through the air and cause allergy symptoms outdoors, or attach to clothes and enter through open windows to cause issues inside your home.

Mold can form when untouched piles of leaves or grass collect moisture, like leaves trapped in rain gutters. Ragweed pollen is more common in rural areas where turf grasses and other perennial plants easily become overgrown and release large amounts of pollen in late summer and early fall. Ragweed spores have been found to travel up to 400 miles, and areas east of the Rocky Mountains are especially susceptible to ragweed.

Fall Allergy Solutions

Despite higher allergen levels, you can still enjoy the fall season by taking steps to lower your exposure. Try out these solutions for your home environment.

Keep Windows and Doors Closed

The mild temperatures and lower precipitation levels of fall make it tempting to open up your windows and doors to control indoor temperatures. But that also gives allergens a clear path into your home, causing things like pollen and mold spores to settle on your furniture and floors, and then go airborne. Instead, when allergen counts are high, rely on your heating and cooling systems paired with AprilAire MERV 16 air filters to create a comfortable indoor environment.

Stay Aware of Allergen Counts

Before you head outside to enjoy the classic changing colors and mild temperatures of fall, take a look at allergen levels in your area, which are typically highest between 5:00 and 10:00 a.m. Windy days can make allergens even worse.

Allergen levels can remain high until the first freezing temperatures of the season. So if you need to be outside when levels are high, try wearing a face mask or other breathing filter.

Stay Safe During Outdoor Chores

Mowing the grass, raking the yard, and cleaning out gutters are common fall tasks. They can seem even more laborious for those with fall allergies, as leaves and grass can hold onto allergens that go airborne when disturbed by mowing or raking.

Solutions can include hiring a landscaping service, wearing a breathing filter while you handle the chores, and removing clothes in the garage to avoid bringing allergens indoors.

monitoring air quality with satellites

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Monitoring Air Quality with Satellites

2 minute read

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It’s estimated that air pollution is responsible for more than 6.5 million deaths annually. Unhealthy air causes issues in every area of the world, and one of the most important parts of fighting this trend is to accurately monitor and report air quality levels in a timely manner. Pollutants like smog and wildfire smoke are easy to see, but sometimes airborne dangers aren’t so easy to detect on the local or regional levels. In those situations, some air quality monitoring organizations are taking measurements using a higher vantage point—satellites.

How NASA Is Monitoring Air Quality with Satellites

States in the Great Lakes region are incorporating high-resolution satellite data from NASA into their efforts to measure ozone levels (more detailed information here). The enhanced information gives a more accurate reading than ground observations alone and provides states with more resources to meet federal air quality standards.

Additionally, NASA can provide information on other factors relevant to air quality and the overall environment, like wind, weather, temperature, and soil moisture levels.

One of the main benefits this measurement information provides is giving regulators a clear picture of both current air pollution levels and the results of any mitigation efforts—basically, the before and after pictures for air quality improvement.

Strategies to reduce ground ozone and other air pollutants are essential for people’s health (especially those in densely populated areas), and are relevant to large-scale climate change efforts.

Indoor Air Quality Monitors for Your Home

You can also stay down to earth with air quality monitoring. AprilAire is partnering with Airthings, a global technology company that produces award-winning, best-selling Indoor Air Quality monitors for radon and other dangerous airborne contaminants that impact overall health and wellness. Find out more about the partnership here.

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

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.

AprilAire Partners Logged In Homepages | Healthy Home |

What Causes Static Shocks in the Winter?

2 minute read

 

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.

Dry Air

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.

Clothing Materials

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.

Clothes Dryer

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.