what is dust

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Air |

What Is Dust Made Of? And How To Manage It For A Clean Home

2 minute read


Click the play button to listen to the article.

Anywhere you look around your home, you’re bound to see dust. From the coffee table in the living room to the shelves in your bedroom, all home surfaces require some regular cleaning to get rid of dust and the allergies often associated with it.

But beyond being unsightly, what is dust exactly? And what are the risks of an unmanaged dust problem in your home?

What Is Dust?

Dust is commonly made up of the following (skip this section if you’re a bit squeamish):

  • Dead skin cells
  • Hair from humans and pets
  • Clothing fibers
  • Dust mites
  • Soil particles
  • Pollen
  • Microscopic specks of plastic

Additionally, all of these particles can also serve as hosts for other harmful things like air pollutants, bacteria, chemicals, and metals. These substances attach themselves to dust particles, which can make it easier for them to be inhaled.

Dangers Of Dust Inhalation

It’s not just an eyesore—dust can also be harmful to your health in large quantities. Here’s why:

Airways can filter out many of the harmful substances from the air we breathe, and lungs are self-cleaning organs that can heal once they’re no longer exposed to pollutants.

But if the body is constantly breathing in dust, it can add up to serious problems down the road. That problem has been seen for years in workers who are consistently exposed to dust. Pneumoconiosis is a lung disease that affects millions of people who work in dusty conditions that aren’t properly ventilated. It’s typically caused by inhaling asbestos fibers, silica dust, or coal mine dust.

But you can be impacted by dust even if you don’t work around it every day. Signs of excessive short-term dust inhalation include shortness of breath, coughing more than usual, and excess mucus. Over the long term, this can lead to inflammation, scarring, and one of several lung diseases. Dust inhalation can also exacerbate existing conditions like COPD and asthma.

How To Reduce Dust In Your Home

Now that many people are spending more time at home than ever before, it’s important to ensure the air you breathe there is as healthy as possible. Here are some strategies to consider:

House Rules

Dust accumulates faster when more particles are brought in from the outdoors. Try removing shoes before coming in the house, or have a rug for people to brush off their shoes with. You can also make sure windows and doors are sealed properly, to avoid small holes where dust can enter.

Vacuum Regularly

A good rule of thumb is to vacuum all floors once a week. You can increase the frequency in high-traffic areas like the entryway and living room. Some homes could benefit from a robotic vacuum that automatically takes care of cleaning on a regular schedule.

Air Filtration

In addition to removing things like viruses and pollen, air filtration systems will make a huge difference in dust accumulation in your home. By filtering the air that’s entering and removing stale air, an AprilAire ventilation system with air filters can noticeably reduce the amount of dust and help prevent allergy triggers. Use an AprilAire MERV 16 filter for maximum performance in your home.

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.

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

AprilAire Partners Logged In Homepages |

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

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.

stay-healthy-during-summer-fun

AprilAire Partners Logged In Homepages | Wellness |

Stay Healthy During Summer Fun

3 minute read

Click play to listen to the Stay Healthy During Summer Fun article. 

Longer days, warmer weather, outdoor festivals, beach time, barbecues, and so much more. Sounds like our kind of summer! All of it can’t come soon enough, and we want to make sure you’re prepared to enjoy a summer full of your favorite activities while staying healthy and active. Keep these tips in mind, and have your best summer yet.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

One of the quickest ways to feel ill or burned out during the summer (or any time of year!) is through dehydration. Long hours in the sun paired with a high level of activity and sweating can dry you out quickly. On a related note, keep in mind that things like alcohol and caffeine dehydrate you. So enjoy them in moderation during the summer, and try to balance out your drinking by keeping a bottle of water close by.

Eat with the Season

The summer harvest brings fresh fruits and vegetables to many areas of the country, and we all have our regional favorites. But summer also offers plenty of opportunities to indulge at barbecues, ball games, and ice cream trucks. Of course, it’s ok to enjoy your favorite foods, but stay aware of how often you’re eating things like fried foods and fatty meats, and balance them out with lighter fare. Another benefit of fruits and veggies is that they contain a lot of water, so they can help to keep you hydrated during the summer.

Watch the Heat Index

After being inside for the winter, we’re all ready to get out and about as much as possible. When you have a day of outdoor activities planned, keep an eye on the heat index in your area to avoid the risk of heat exhaustion. And remember that the morning and evening offer some reprieve from the intense heat. When exercising, stick to shaded areas when possible or find a gym or other air-conditioned building where you can walk around or climb stairs when it’s dangerously hot outside.

Know Your Sun Exposure

There are few better feelings than the summer sun on your skin. But, like everything, it’s best in moderation.

Wear sunscreen when you go outside, and make sure to reapply more often if you’re sweating or out in the water. Other sun tips include wearing breathable clothing that keeps you cool while blocking excess sunlight, and being extra careful around bodies of water, which reflect and enhance UV rays.

And don’t forget about your eyes. Keep sunglasses handy whenever you’re outside or driving on a sunny day.

Stay Active!

While limiting heat and sun exposure are crucial to staying healthy, it’s just as important to get outside and move your body this summer. Exercise is good for your mental and physical health, and it will help balance out those barbecues and ice cream treats. Find an activity you enjoy, like running, biking, or swimming, and make a plan to do it with friends or family. That will keep you accountable and provide the added benefit of social connection.

Should You Wear a Mask?

Most sporting events and large music festivals are fully back after a couple years of postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many areas have relaxed masking and distancing requirements, and the hospitalization rate for those infected has steadily dropped since January 2022. Yet, some experts are concerned about the potential for new variants of the virus and the stalled rate of vaccinations in the United States.

For you and your family, decide what you’re comfortable with and go from there. The summer will offer plenty of opportunities for events and travel, so plan ahead and understand the risks before you go.