wildfires-threaten-air-quality-throughout-us

AprilAire Partners Logged In Homepages | Environment |

Wildfires Threaten Air Quality Throughout United States

4 minute read

On the heels of the American Lung Association’s (ALA) 21st annual State of the Air report, California is experiencing a rash of wildfires that threaten air quality, homes, land, and the health of its residents. The 2020 report pointed to wildfires as one of the biggest threats to healthy, clean air.

“This shows growing evidence that a changing climate is making it harder to protect human health. All three years ranked among the five hottest years in history, increasing high ozone days and widespread wildfires, putting millions more people at risk and adding challenges to the work cities are doing across the nation to clean up…Overall, cities in the western United States dominate the list, with 15 cities among the 26 most polluted (total) annual particle. California continues to claim more places on the list than any other state, with six of the 10 most polluted, including each of the worst five – and six of the nine cities that fail to achieve the national standard” – ALA, 2020 State of the Air Report

Increasing Wildfires Are Result of Climate Crisis

Dry conditions, due to rising temperatures, increase the possibility of wildfires due to a tossed cigarette, campfire, debris burning, or lightning strike destroying America’s prettiest state and national sites.

Recent wildfires have led to the closure of 200 parks in the Bay Area and 29 state parks.

Many residents of northern California are seeking refuge from the ash and smog that has overtaken their palatial outdoor setting. Unfortunately, wildfires have become commonplace for these residents. In 2018, California saw the worst wildfire outbreak in its history. The fires burned 2 million acres, destroyed more than 20,000 buildings, and caused around $3.5B in damages. In 2019, 7,860 fires burned just over 259,000 acres. This year, more than 7,000 fires have already torn through 1.6 million acres of land, is on pace to eclipse the 2018 outbreak.

Finding respite from the smog-induced air can be troublesome. Residents are forced to close their windows, which is for some, their only source of fresh air ventilation. Cracks in a home’s foundation can also be a source for air pollutants to seep into a home. Without proper care, these pollutants can cause major health issues.

Wildfires Threaten Air Quality; Pollutants Travel Thousand of Miles Away

The EPA estimates that air pollution can have adverse health effects leading to a shortened lifespan. The World Health Organization has cited air pollution as a leading global health crisis.

Protecting yourself from these large airborne particulates is important in helping reduce the impacts of air pollution, especially PM2.5. This references fine airborne particulates that are at a maximum of 2.5 microns in diameter or smaller. For example, pet dander is about the size of these airborne irritants that can have severe impacts on human health. Wildfires have shown to increase the amount of these types of particulates in the air. Once they get into the air, they can interact with gases in the atmosphere and create ozone.

This data is especially vital and underpins an already severe airborne virus, which increasingly affects those who have underlying health conditions and face more significant health risks.

Protect Your Home’s Air

Protecting your home and health from these contaminants can be aided with the installation of a whole-home air purifier. An air purifier filters out airborne contaminants that flow through your home’s HVAC system. Capturing these particulates can reduce the risk of indoor air pollution.

Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV, a system designed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), rates air filters. The higher the MERV rating the better the filter is at capturing particles. A MERV 11 air filter captures up to 80 percent of these particles, while a MERV 13 filter captures up 90 percent, and a MERV 16 filter captures up to 99 percent.

As mentioned before, air pollution from wildfires is not limited to California. As temperatures continue to rise throughout the country due to climate change, California and its bordering states may not be the only ones susceptible to the air pollution caused by wildfires.

Interactive Map Displays Air Quality and Wildfires

This interactive map from AirNow, a collaboration between the EPA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Park Service, NASA, Centers for Disease Control, and tribal, state, and local air quality agencies determine air quality in your area and throughout the country. It also determines if any wildfires are currently active in your area.

These types of resources are important to help communicate air quality to vulnerable populations so they can avoid any detrimental effects from poor air quality.

Mechanical ventilation is a solution to help bring in fresh, clean air into the home. Mechanical ventilation helps filter out airborne contaminants from the outdoor air. Our air filtration and ventilation systems can be combined to help remove these particulates more efficiently.

Stay Current on Air Pollution

As the American Lung Association stated in its most recent report, wildfires are a major threat to clean air. For the second time in three years, California is on pace to break its worst wildfire outbreak in history. We must confront the challenges of climate change with sound solutions and positive reformations. One of those solutions is ensuring that the air inside our homes is fresh and clean.

For more information on wildfires, air quality, and air pollution, go to the AirNow website.

Celebrate-Earth-Day-2022

AA Homepage Articles | Environment |

Celebrate Earth Day with Energy Saving Tips

2 minute read

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Earth Day is celebrated every April 22nd. This year, that falls on a Friday—so let’s celebrate!

The official Earth Day website has some excellent ways to get involved in this year’s events, and they include this description of the mission for 2022:

This is the moment to change it all — the business climate, the political climate, and how we take action on climate. Now is the time for the unstoppable courage to preserve and protect our health, our families, and our livelihoods.

For Earth Day 2022, we need to act (boldly), innovate (broadly), and implement (equitably). It’s going to take all of us. All in. Businesses, governments, and citizens — everyone accounted for, and everyone accountable. A partnership for the planet.

Do your part by participating in events like garbage cleanup, tree planting, or climate change activism and awareness. If you’re unable to get outside that day, you can spread the word about Earth Day and the importance of caring for the planet on social media with the official hashtag #InvestInOurPlanet.

Reducing Energy Consumption

Earth Day brings renewed awareness around preservation and sustainability. It’s a great chance to start new habits that will reduce our energy consumption and have a positive impact on the planet.

Here are some everyday ways you can use less energy, especially during the upcoming summer months:

  • Lay Off the A/C
    Air conditioning accounts for 17% of the average American household’s annual energy usage. That’s understandable with extreme summer temperatures becoming more common, but most of us can stay comfortable at slightly higher indoor temperatures.
    The S. Energy Department recommends setting your thermostat to 78°F when you’re home, and 85°F when you’re away to save up to 10% on your energy bill.
  • Wash Cold and Hang Dry
    Washing clothes uses large amounts of water and electricity, and can add heat to your home. Hot water washing machine cycles require a lot of energy, so save them for killing germs on soiled towels or clothes, especially when there’s someone sick at home and you don’t want the germs to spread. When it comes time to dry, hang clothes on an outdoor clothesline or indoor drying rack when possible. Again, the heat of the dryer can be useful for killing germs, so use it when needed.
  • Use Light Sparingly
    Depending on the amount and location of the windows in your home, extended sunlight hours can keep you from using indoor lighting for much of the day. You can also employ what’s called “task lighting,” which trades energy-hungry diffuse lighting like ceiling lights for efficient, focused lights like LED table lamps and track lighting.
  • Install Efficient Appliances
    Check for the ENERGY STAR® certification on large appliances like your air conditioner, refrigerator, washing machine, and dishwasher. AprilAire whole-home e-series dehumidifiers (Models E080, E100, and E130) were awarded the ENERGY STAR® certification in 2022, showing they deliver 23% energy savings compared to uncertified units. Plus, using a dehumidifier helps reduce the burden on your air conditioner.
  • Cook Smart
    Take advantage of pressure cookers, slow cookers, and toaster ovens for smaller baking and toasting tasks. These appliances save time, keep the house cool, and consume less energy compared to a large conventional oven.
    Plus, there are lots of summer-friendly, no-bake recipes that the whole family can prepare and enjoy.
drought-indoor-air-quality

Environment |

How Drought Impacts Your Air Quality

2 minute read

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Is drought a concern in your region of the country?

About half of the contiguous United States is currently experiencing moderate to severe drought, and studies are showing that conditions for the past two decades are worse than they’ve been in 1,200 years.

While precipitation levels play a role in the severity of droughts, the factor that has an even bigger impact is the temperature of a given region. This is because hotter air pulls more moisture from the ground level. And as our climate continues to change and temperatures generally rise, increased evaporation can lead to droughts of higher severity.

According to the National Centers for Environmental Data, droughts have the second-highest economic impact of any weather-related phenomena (behind hurricanes). And the negative effects of drought don’t end there.

Dry Air

Drought conditions can impact everything from water levels to soil hydration to air moisture.

Relative humidity (RH) is a measure of the amount of water vapor in the air relative to how much moisture the air can hold. One study showed that RH can plummet by as much as 25% during a “dry year” as compared to a “wet year.”

During the dry conditions of a drought, it’s important to ensure you have ideal, balanced humidity inside your home. Ensure your humidity level is between 40–60% to keep your home environment healthy during inclement outdoor conditions. An AprilAire whole-house humidifier makes it simple to control humidity throughout your living space.

Dust Storms

Soil and cropland can lose moisture during a drought, making them more likely to blow away in severe winds to form dust storms. These conditions can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks, and vary by geographical region.

Breathing in dust over an extended period of time can lead to coughing, wheezing, runny nose, chronic breathing problems, and lung issues. When dust storms make it unsafe to go outdoors, they can also impact your indoor air environment. During these times, it can be unsafe to ventilate your home by opening windows or using mechanical ventilation, meaning you should rely on indoor air purification. An AprilAire whole-house air purifier paired with a MERV 16 filter can keep your HVAC system running efficiently and maintain Healthy Air in your home.

Wildfire Smoke

Wildfires are another likely side effect of drought, especially in the western United States. Wildfires create a handful of air quality issues like fine particulate matter, ozone, and ash, and need to be treated similarly to dust storm conditions.

When wildfire smoke impacts your area, it’s important to turn off in-home ventilation systems to protect your Indoor Air Quality and rely on AprilAire whole-house air purifiers with MERV 16 filters to remove fine particles. Also, open or drafty windows and foundation cracks can allow airborne contaminants to enter your home, making an air purification system essential in both areas near wildfires and in faraway areas where smoke and ash can end up.

To support your whole-house air purifier, you can employ an AprilAire room air purifier in bedrooms, living rooms, or other areas for a supplemental boost of Healthy Air.

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

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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.

Healthy-Exercise-Space-at-Home

AA Homepage Articles | Wellness |

How to Create a Healthy Exercise Space at Home

2 minute read

Click play to listen to How to Create Healthy Exercise Space at Home article. 

Summertime offers endless opportunities to get active in the great outdoors. But sometimes things like extreme heat and high allergen levels will keep you indoors. On those days, you may not be able to run through a park or jump in the water, but you can still get the benefits of exercise with an indoor workout. Let’s make sure your home environment is optimized for safe and healthy indoor exercise.

Healthy Home Gym

Whether you’ve converted your entire garage into a gym or have just enough space for a stationary bike in the corner of your home office, a few key measures will ensure you’re getting the most out of your workout space.

Regular Cleaning

Don’t forget about your workout space when dusting, mopping, and vacuuming around the home. Keeping dust and grime at bay will help with odors and make it easier for you to breathe fresh air for all your workouts.

Start a habit of wiping down your equipment with a wet cloth and disinfectant spray after each exercise session. If you sweat onto a yoga mat or exercise pad, wipe them down and let them air out before rolling them up.

Air Purification

While regular cleaning is an essential step, it can also add chemicals to your space and kick dust up into the air. Air purification systems can remove those pollutants and work around the clock to make sure you and your family are breathing clean air.

An AprilAire whole-house air purifier works all through the home to remove pollutants and return fresh air.

If you want a boost to air quality in your exercise space, try out an AprilAire room air purifier, which uses a 4-stage filtration system to remove pollutants, allergens, and odors.

Balanced Humidity

Breathing and sweating add moisture to the air, which can exacerbate the high humidity levels of the summer months and increase the chances of mold and mildew growth.

An AprilAire whole-house dehumidifier delivers humidity control to your workout area and throughout your home, keeping moisture levels at a safe and comfortable level. Humidity between 40–60% is ideal for overall health and wellness.

Plus, a dehumidifier can reduce the burden on your air conditioning system, saving you money on energy and maintenance costs.

Deodorizing

Some gyms are easy to locate by smell—don’t let yours be one of them.

The battle against odors starts with fresh air ventilation, and because opening a window isn’t a great option in the summer, mechanical ventilation is a must-have in your space.

AprilAire whole-house fresh air ventilators remove stagnant air and bring in fresh, purified air. They reduce the concentration of indoor pollutants, and help kick out lingering smells. You can also use products that naturally absorb odors without disrupting your air quality, like baking soda or activated charcoal.