dangers of residential wood smoke

Healthy Home |

Take Safety Precautions Against Residential Wood Smoke

2 minute read

It’s beginning to smell a lot like the holidays! The cool, crisp smell of winter air paired with a fresh-cut pine tree on top of your car; the sweet and spicy aroma of gingerbread cookies and cinnamon-spiced mulled wine; and the warm, smoky scent of a roaring fireplace. To keep those good times and great smells going all winter long, keep in mind that the smoke from your crackling wood fire may smell good, but it’s not good for you. Wood smoke is made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine particles also referred to as particle pollution. It may contain toxic and carcinogenic air pollutants including benzene, formaldehyde, acrolein, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

Sounding a little less cozy already, isn’t it?

CDC Warns About Residential Wood Smoke

Well, according to information reported on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, you may be at increased risk of serious health effects from wood smoke exposure if you are recovering from COVID-19 due to your compromised heart and/or lung function.

It also works in the other direction, and exposure to wood smoke can irritate your lungs, cause inflammation, weaken your immune system, and leave you more susceptible to respiratory infections including COVID-19.

Residential Wood Smoke Safety Measures

To protect you and your family this winter from the adverse effects of both indoor and outdoor residential wood smoke, follow these safety measures:

  • Educate yourself on the short- and long-term effects of wood smoke exposure
    • Short-term: irritated eyes, throat, sinuses, and lungs; headaches; reduced lung function, particularly for children; inflammation or swelling of the lungs; risk of heart attack or stroke; worsened symptoms from existing lung diseases (such as asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, and bronchitis)
    • Long-term: chronic lung disease (bronchitis or emphysema); chemical and structural lung changes; cancer
  • Know the difference between symptoms of exposure to wood smoke and COVID-19
  • Invest in a more efficient and cleaner device to keep warm. Choose from this list put together by the Environmental Protection Agency
  • Always have your wood burning appliance, chimney, and vent professionally inspected at the start of each heating season to keep them in safe and working order
  • Winterize your home to make sure it’s comfortable and safe for the winter months
  • Follow best burn practices, including maintaining a hot fire, and burning only dry, seasoned firewood
  • Reduce indoor airborne contaminants including viruses and the fine particles in wood smoke by installing an air purifier or HVAC filter as part of the AprilAire Healthy Air System™.
    It’s important to remember that air cleaning and filtration do not provide exclusive protection from exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. However, when used in conjunction with the CDC’s recommendations and guidelines for protecting yourself and others, filtration can help to reduce the possibility of indoor airborne transmission of COVID-19.
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

2 minute read

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.

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

Click the play button to listen to the post

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.

Capture Back to School Germs

AprilAire Partners Logged In Homepages | Healthy Air |

AprilAire MERV 16 Air Filters Capture Back-to-School Germs

2 minute read

Tens of millions of students are heading back to school and will start sharing the same air with many different people for several hours a day. In what is known as the “back-to-school plague,” these first few weeks provide a fertile breeding ground for both students (and their families) to get ill due to the swapping and recirculating of aerosols. Luckily, there is a solution.

Use AprilAire MERV 16 Air Filters with AprilAire Whole-House Air Purifiers

Coughing and Sneezing Facts

Use AprilAire MERV 16 Air Filters to capture back-to-school germs from coughing and sneezing.

Using an AprilAire whole-house air purifier with an AprilAire MERV 16 Air Filter can help protect you and other family members at home from the common cold, influenza, and other airborne viruses that crop up throughout the school year.

Capture Infected Aerosols

AprilAire MERV 16 air filters capture 98% of airborne viruses that flow through the filtering system reducing the number of infected aerosols that are in your home’s air. These highly efficient filters add an extra layer of protection against poor handwashing and respiratory etiquette.

Sneezing and coughing expel aerosols into the air at speeds of 50–100 miles per hour propelling them 3– 6 feet from their host. Without a proper air filter, some of these aerosols may linger in the air for several hours, get picked up by your HVAC system’s ducts, and infect people in completely different rooms.

Reduce In-Home Respiratory Irritants

AprilAire MERV 16 air filters also protect your home’s air from other respiratory irritants like dust, dander, and pollen which can trigger health problems like asthma attacks or allergies and can settle on your home’s furniture. AprilAire MERV 16 filters capture 99% of asthma and allergy triggers that flow through the filtering system offering superior HVAC system protection and up to a 6-month filter life.

Upgrading your home’s air filters to MERV 16 can help keep you and your family healthy.

Choose Your AprilAire Air Filter

Use AprilAire MERV 16 Air Filters for superior protection.

Purchase MERV 16 Air Filters

Contact your local AprilAire Healthy Air Professional to get started with MERV 16 filtration today. You can also purchase AprilAire MERV 16 filters directly from the AprilAire website where they will be shipped directly to your home. You can install the filters yourself or contact your local professional or the AprilAire support team for assistance.

Upgrading Whole-House Healthy Air Solutions

Upgrading air filters from MERV 13 to MERV 16 in your whole-house air purifiers can help capture germs to better protect your student and your family throughout the school year.

For complete and effective whole-house virus protection, contact your local Healthy Air Professional about the AprilAire Healthy Air System®. This unique, all-in-one system provides whole-house filtration, humidity control, fresh air ventilation, zoning control, and radon mitigation for Healthy Air throughout