New Tips for Improving Energy Savings This Summer

Monday, July 14, 2014 by Aprilaire Team

Americans learn more about energy savings each year and 2014 will be no exception. While homeowners in the U.S. are doing more than ever to seal their homes and conserve power, there is always room for a new tip. The average household spends $2,000 a year on energy bills, and more than half of that goes toward heating and cooling. Furthermore, Business Insider reports that the U.S. collectively wastes nearly $146 billion a year on utilities each year by not following best practices for reducing home energy costs.

5 Easy Tips for Increased Energy Savings

What many homeowners may not realize is that opportunities to reduce their power usage are present all around their houses, and while many of the new versions of household gadgets available in 2014 are more efficient than they used to be, homeowners need to do more to save money. For families looking for ways to save some more cash this summer, the U.S. Department of Energy offers these tips:

1. Install a programmable thermostat to keep cooling at a minimum when the family is out of the house.

2. Turn off the dish washers automatic or heated drying cycle.

3. Make sure all windows and doors are closed when the air conditioning is on.

4. Plug major electronics into a power strip and turn off the power strips when not in use. Many of these items, even newer TVs and computers, still use several watts of power in stand-by mode.

5. Air dry clothes outside on nice days instead of using the dryer.

Prevent Over-Cooling in 2014

Something else for homeowners to keep in mind this summer is that energy savings do not have to come at the cost of reduced comfort. While people tend to associate personal comfort as a direct correlation to temperature, the relative humidity of the air actually plays a larger role. As humidity levels rise inside the house, family members begin to feel sticky and sweaty, the uncomfortable feeling most often attributed to summer weather.

The common reaction to this feeling is to crank up the AC. The end result is a slight reduction in humidity and a significant reduction in temperature. Family members are no longer hot and sweaty, now theyre cold and clammy. Energy savings suffer as well because the AC must run more often.

Energy Savings and Whole-Home Dehumidification

The best solution to keep a house comfortable and efficient this summer is a whole-home dehumidifier along with air conditioning. As the relative humidity inside falls, the family will be more comfortable at a higher temperature, so the air conditioner will run less often. With a dehumidifier, homeowners have a more efficient way to be comfortable on hot and humid days.

For more information on a whole-home dehumidifier and how you can improve energy savings this summer, visit http://www.aprilaire.com. Also, find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Aprilaire.

Put Dog Allergies on a Short Leash

Friday, June 6, 2014 by Aprilaire Team

No matter how loyal, obedient and friendly - man's best friend isn't always fun to be around. For animal lovers with dog allergies, the painful symptoms may be enough to keep them from owning their own pet. In other homes, visitors or select members of the family may find themselves very uncomfortable because of their dog allergies.

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140605/95026

The EPA has named poor indoor air quality (IAQ) as one of the top five environmental risks to public health. This is not surprising when you consider that Americans spend the vast majority of their time indoors. And thanks to Fido's dander and numerous other forms of particulate matter, your home's air may be up to 100 times more polluted than that outside.

The three most important methods for reducing indoor air pollution are source removal, increased ventilation and air purification. Since source removal spells bad news for the family pet, people with asthma or dog allergies should focus on ventilation and purification.

Reducing Symptoms of Dog Allergies With Whole-Home Solutions

Keeping the dog in but the dander out with ventilation and purification systems that keep the home fresh and free of pollutants is the best way to reduce the symptoms of dog allergies. Aprilaire's whole-home solutions provide one of the easiest methods for coping with dog allergies. An Aprilaire air purifier is 40 times more efficient than a furnace filter alone and ventilation systems ensure that stale, polluted air doesn't remain inside.

To learn how you can keep dog allergies under control without saying goodbye to a beloved member of the family, visit www.aprilaire.com. Also, find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Aprilaire.

Is There a Painless Way to Reduce Allergy Symptoms?

Thursday, June 5, 2014 by Aprilaire Team

For those who suffer from allergy symptoms, the severity and frequency can be hard to predict. The length of allergy flare can vary based on a number of different factors, such as the amount of precipitation, temperature and geographic location.

While many of the triggers of allergy symptoms originate outside, they quickly make their way in the home through an open window, on the fur of the family pet and by clinging to anyone who enters the house. Worse yet, some allergens build up naturally in the home and cause symptoms throughout the year.

Two members of the Cunningham family in Spokane, WA have dealt allergy symptoms their entire lives, and keeping their suffering at bay was a challenge. To improve her allergy symptoms and those of her son, Mrs. Cunningham purchased the Aprilaire Model 5000 air purifier.

“All my life, I’ve woken up every morning with congestion in my throat, I no longer have that,” Mrs. Cunningham said. “It only took two or three days to notice the symptoms were gone - this thing is amazing! We joke now, because when we start sneezing, we know it’s time to get a new filter.”

With warm weather arriving, sufferers of allergy symptoms are likely dreading a return or worsening of their agony. Many people may even be unaware how their allergy symptoms are truly affecting them. Other conditions not always thought of allergy symptoms, such as chronic dry eye or itchy skin, may occur year-round in response to dust mites and other indoor allergens.

Ensuring that the air is free of the majority of pollen, spores, grass, dust mites and other triggers of allergy symptoms is an overlooked way to mitigate symptoms inside the house. Like Mrs. Cunningham, anyone can enjoy a home that is more comfortable.

“I credit the air filter completely for the improvement in our indoor air quality,” she said. “The air constantly moves, keeping it clean and fresh, not to mention the fact that it just makes the whole house feel comfortable. I’m so glad I did this and if I ever have to buy a new house, you can bet I will buy another air purifier!”

For more information on whole-home air purification and improving indoor air quality to reduce allergy symptoms, visit http://www.aprilaire.com. Also, find Aprilaire on Facebook at Facebook.com/Aprilaire.

 

Vietnam Vet Wages War on Asthma Symptoms - And Wins!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014 by Aprilaire Team

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 20 million people in the United States are affected by asthma symptoms. The Foundation states that while much research remains to be done on the causes, cure and prevention of this disease, with the proper management, the majority of these people can still live healthy and active lives. For most Americans, managing their respiratory disorders requires a multifaceted approach.

Asthma symptoms are aggravated by numerous different factors and many people are not aware they can do more to control their comfort and improve their breathing. Waking up in the middle of the night, limiting physical activity and even enduring respiratory-related hospital stays may seem like the norm to those who have suffered asthma symptoms for years. However, when the disease is properly controlled, the impact on daily life should be minimal.

The Ford Family Is Breathing Easier With a Whole-Home Purification System
A family from Bethlehem, PA is living a better life since they made the decision to improve their indoor air quality (IAQ) with Aprilaire. Mr. Ford is a Vietnam veteran who developed severe respiratory illness during his service and is now on numerous medications to relieve his debilitating asthma symptoms.

In order to help manage asthma symptoms, sufferers must identify and minimize contact with their triggers. Many individuals find their condition is aggravated by seasonal allergies or activities in the house, such as vacuuming. Mr. Ford suspected that pollution was one of his triggers and purchased an air purifier from Aprilaire to reduce the irritants in his family's home.

"My respiratory issues have created a great deal of discomfort for me, so the search for ways to improve the air quality in our home was a serious one," he said.

He looked at many different options and chose the Aprilaire Model 5000 air purifier, Aprilaire's most sophisticated system. The Model 5000 removes 99% of mold and pollen, 98% of dust and 94% of viruses. It is ideal for those with asthma symptoms and other severe respiratory issues.

"The Aprilaire Model 5000 air purifier has made a huge difference in my asthma symptoms and overall quality of life," Ford said. "It feels great to come home to find relief."

Learn More About Whole-Home Purification and Improve Asthma Symptoms Now!
To mitigate asthma symptoms, people must follow the instructions of their doctors, but one way to ensure greater comfort inside the home is to reduce the amount of pollen, mold and dust that can aggravate the condition.

"You should see what comes out of that filter when we replace it," Ford said. "We actually replace the filter twice a year because our air quality is so poor and I am so sensitive to it."

Mr. Ford's story of struggling to find comfort is a familiar one to thousands of families in the U.S. where a family member has asthma symptoms, and Aprilaire has multiple IAQ solutions to meet each family's unique needs. Although families cannot keep all pollution from entering their house, a whole-home purification system can trap particulates before they enter the lungs of loved ones.

For more information on whole-home air purification and how it can help mitigate severe asthma symptoms, visit www.aprilaire.com. Also, find Aprilaire on Facebook at Facebook.com/Aprilaire.

Top 5 Summer Allergens Invading The Home

Sunday, May 18, 2014 by Aprilaire Team

Start defending your home against these top 5 summer allergens:

1. Pollen: Six out of 10 people are exposed to pollen trapped indoors

2. Dust mites: An estimated 10% of the general population and 90% of people with allergic asthma are sensitive to dust mites.

3. Pet Dander Allergens: An estimated 10% of the entire population may be allergic to cat or dog dander.

4. Mold: Roughly 15 percent of Americans are allergic to mold. Moisture control is the most important strategy for reducing indoor allergens from mold growth.

5. Mildew: Scientists have identified over 1,000 types of mold and mildew inside houses in the United States.

Get some relief from summer allergens and make the home healthy again.

Prevent irritants from entering the house.

Take measures to reduce allergens by making sure dust, dirt and other pollutants are prevented from entering the house. Remove shoes before entering the household. Be sure to close and windows and doors during high pollen days. Do not allow smoking indoors.

Install a whole-home air purifier system.

Whole-home air purifier systems remove up to 98 percent of airborne allergens and contaminants down to one micron in size and are 40 times more efficient than a standard furnace filter. This system removes allergens such as dust, dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, pollen, viruses, fungi, mold and other dangerous substances from the air throughout the entire home.

Maintain humidity levels at home.

Whole-home humidifiers and dehumidifiers can help control allergens with the perfect level of moisture—one in which dust mites, mold and mildew are not likely to survive.

Prepare for Spring to Keep an Energy Efficient Home

Saturday, April 26, 2014 by Aprilaire Team

Most homeowners are tuned in to Spring and Fall as triggers. Not just allergy trigger but as triggers to remind them when to do seasonal maintenance on their homes. Spring cleaning includes cleaning gutters and downspouts, checking weatherstripping, and cleaning heating and cooling systems to keep them running safely and efficiently .

It’s critical to change your furnace and air conditioning filter as recommended by the manufacturer. If you don’t, your air conditioner compressor can freeze up and the system can collect damaging amounts of dirt and grime. If you want a sure-fire way to shorten the life of your expensive heating and cooling system, be sure to ignore changing your dirty filter.

In addition to regularly changing your filter, you can provide better protection of your equipment and at the same time maintain cleaner and healthier indoor air. Aprilaire high efficiency air purifiers can be installed to replace your standard 1” or 2” system filter. The benefits of higher efficiency include:

  •     Trap airborne allergens at a much higher rate than standard filters
  •     Prevent more dust and grime from entering and clogging your HVAC system
  •     Reduce the amount of dust that blows throughout your home through the system ductwork
  •     Maintain long-term protection, energy efficiency and operation of expensive HVAC equipment

 

To get the most out of air cleaning, Aprilaire offers homeowners a simple-to-program thermostat featuring Event-Based ™ Air Cleaning that allows them to actively clean the air in their entire home based on personal preference and event triggers. Event-Based Air Cleaning also provides other conveniences such as indicators that air cleaning is taking place as well as maintenance reminders.

Indoor Air Quality: What You Can't See Can Hurt You

Friday, April 25, 2014 by Aprilaire Team

The Environmental Protection Agency has named indoor air quality as one of the top five environmental risks to public health – indoor air may be up to 100 times more polluted than the air outside. With Americans spending 90 percent of their time indoors, purifying indoor air is paramount to keeping families healthy – especially those with family members suffering from asthma and allergies.

"Poor indoor air quality has been linked to a host of health issues such as headaches, dry eyes, nasal congestion, nausea, fatigue, heart disease and chronic respiratory disease," says Megan Leick, spokesperson for Aprilaire. "For individuals that suffer from asthma or allergies, air particulates such as pollen, dust and dust mites are known triggers for asthma attacks and allergic reactions."

More than 25 million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma and 50 million suffer from allergies. Dust alone is comprised of dead insects, dust mites, mold spores, pollen, dander, skin flakes and other particulates that can be harmful to health. Controlling indoor air quality can provide relief for asthma and allergy sufferers and protect your family from getting sick. You can improve indoor air quality with a few simple steps:  

  1. Prevent Irritants from Entering the House. Take measures to make sure dust, dirt and other pollutants are prevented from entering the house. Simple activities like removing shoes before entering the household, closing windows during high pollen days and not allowing smoking indoors help keep dirt and other irritants from entering the household.
  2. Install a whole-home air purification system. A whole-home air purification system is installed as part of the central heating and cooling system to capture and eliminate airborne contaminants. Whole-home air purification systems remove up to 98 percent of airborne contaminants down to one micron in size and are 40 times more efficient than a standard furnace filter. Each time the air system runs, the whole-home air purification system removes dust, dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, pollen, viruses, fungi, mold and other dangerous substances from the air throughout the entire home, rather than just the air in the immediate vicinity like a portable air cleaner.

Other important considerations include maintaining humidity levels as well as proper ventilation; especially if your home is newer or has been recently updated with tighter materials for more energy efficiency.

For more information on whole-home air purification and total control of your indoor air quality, visit www.aprilaire.com. Also, find Aprilaire on Facebook at Facebook.com/Aprilaire.

Top Tips to Prepare for Allergy Season

Sunday, April 13, 2014 by Aprilaire Team

As most of the United States has had to deal with an unusually long and cold winter, it may be easy to lose sight of the fact that allergy season is just around the corner; unless of course you’re an allergy sufferer.

A few basics to prepare include seeing your allergist, of course, to start any recommended treatment early. When pollen counts are high, avoid the outdoors, keep doors and windows closed, and keep your HVAC system filter clean.

Indoor Air Quality: Controlling Your Home’s Air

“The air inside your home can be many times more polluted than the air outside,” says Megan Leick, spokesperson for Aprilaire, Madison, Wisconsin.

“According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), our homes are loaded with pollutants like pollen, pet dander, dust mites, mold spores, bacteria and viruses. Its no wonder they list indoor air quality as one of the top five environmental risks to public health today.”

What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You

“Unfortunately, most homeowners believe the standard throwaway furnace filter is doing the job and they couldn't be more wrong”, Leick says. “The typical one inch filters people use on the furnace only traps about 5-15% of airborne particulates, leaving 85% to 95% of particulate matter to blow around in their homes.”

Why Consider a “Whole-Home” Solution to Indoor Pollution?

The American Lung Association tracks indoor air quality and its impact. Consider the following facts.

  •     Polluted air causes 94% of all respiratory problems.
  •     More than 31 million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma, about 1/3 are children under 18.
  •     About 40,000 dust mites, a common household allergen, can live in one ounce of dust.
  •     An estimated 10-15% of the entire population may be allergic to cat or dog dander.

 

“When you consider what can occur without controlling your home’s air purity,” says Leick, “it’s hard to believe more people don’t take advantage of whole-home air cleaning systems for health’s sake.”

How They Work

Installed as part of your home’s central heating and cooling system, Whole-Home Air Cleaners are out-of-sight and out of your way, according to Leick. So, each time your system runs, the air in your home is filtered through state-of-the-art filtering media, so potentially harmful contaminants are removed from every room and permanently trapped in the filter.

The result is your heating and cooling system distributes cleaner, healthier air to your entire home. Better yet, the whole-home systems are easy to maintain (generally once every one to two years, unlike portable units that require monthly care or standard filters that need cleaning every 1-3 months).

Clean Air On YOUR terms

“And now, with new technology from Aprilaire, you can control the air quality in your entire home from a convenient location on your wall – your thermostat - and you can choose various cleaning modes based on your own needs, whether you have allergies or you are kicking up extra dust while cleaning or if there’s construction going on around your house. There are also options to control your ventilation or humidity from the same location. It’s the way to control air cleaning today.”

Saving Your Expensive Heating/Cooling System from Harmful Grime Build-up

According to Leick, using high-efficiency filtration also means you are doing a better job of protecting your expensive HVAC system from harmful build-up of dirt and grime. "I see it all the time. It’s amazing how dirty a system can get when only a standard filter is used," Leick continued.

“Oftentimes homeowners forget to change these filters every month or every three months as required. With a whole house system, we can change out the high efficient filter just once a year and the system is much better protected. Aprilaire even offers a guarantee on the system coil if the homeowner properly maintains the use of their filter.”

Consider taking a look at your indoor air and how you can reduce the allergens you breathe at home. At the same time, you can prolong the life of your serious investment in heating and cooling.

Do you want to improve the health of the air you breathe at home?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 by Aprilaire Team

Here’s a great read from Jerry Kelly Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. in Missouri:
Do you want to improve the health of the air you breathe at home? Find out why installing an air cleaner is one of the best ways you can do that! http://www.jerrykelly.com/blog/2013/09/why-is-an-indoor-air-cleaner-so-effective-at-protecting-your-health-and-your-air-conditioner/

What? You don’t want to buy 10 portable humidifiers and constantly refill the units with water? That’s crazy!

Monday, October 28, 2013 by Aprilaire Team

What? You don’t want to buy 10 portable humidifiers and constantly refill the units with water? That’s crazy! Check out this article from AirRite Air Conditioning about the top six reasons to get a whole-house humidifier. http://blog.airrite.com/2012/10/16/whole-house-humidifier/

Did you know plants can be used to improve indoor air quality?

Monday, August 12, 2013 by Aprilaire Team

Did you know plants can be used to improve indoor air quality? According to Mother Nature Network, several plants can filter out common volatile organic compounds. Learn more: http://www.mnn.com/health/healthy-spaces/photos/15-houseplants-for-improving-indoor-air-quality/a-breath-of-fresh-air

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, triggers that can initiate an asthma attack...

Friday, July 12, 2013 by Aprilaire Team

Stat of the Week:

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, triggers that can initiate an asthma attack include allergens such as pollen, dust, animal dander, drugs and food additives, as well as viral respiratory infections and physical exertion. Aprilaire whole-home air purification systems destroy 98 percent of airborne particulates down to one micron in size and are 40 times more efficient than a standard furnace filter. Learn more here: http://www.aprilaire.com/index.php?znfAction=ProductsCat&category=cleaner

Perform Aprilaire Humidifier Annual maintenance like a boss!

Monday, April 22, 2013 by Aprilaire Team

For best performance, we recommend you replace the Water
Panel evaporator in your Aprilaire humidifier at least annually with
the exception of Models 400 and 400M, which should be changed at
least twice per heating season.

The “Change Water Panel” indicator light (Digital Control only) will blink
when it is time to change your Water Panel. See individual model instructions
for additional maintenance.

To purchase a new Water Panel:

• Visit estore.aprilaire.com

• Call the installer of your Aprilaire humidifier.

• Call your heating and air conditioning dealer.

• Use our “Dealer Locator” at: www.aprilaire.com

• Purchase only Genuine Aprilaire Water Panels to maintain best performance.

If your humidifier is equipped with a Digital Humidifier Control with Water
Panel change indicator, after replacing the Water Panel, turn the control
knob to the “Test/Reset” position until the “Humidifier On” light blinks to
reset its timer. (Blower must be operating and HVAC calling for heat.) Be sure
to turn the control knob back to it’s original setting. If the “Humidifier On”
light continues to blink, your humidifier is in Test mode. DO NOT LEAVE THE
CONTROL IN TEST MODE OR HUMIDIFIER WILL NOT OPERATE.

Also review the periodic preventavtive maintenance in the owner's manual.

Springtime tips from the EPA

Thursday, April 4, 2013 by Aprilaire Team

Follow these tips suggested by the EPA, http://www.epa.gov/epahome/hi-spring.htm 

In your garden

A beautiful and healthy lawn is good for our environment. It can resist damage from weeds, disease, and insect pests. Pesticides can be effective, but need to be used according to the directions on the label and should not be relied on as a quick-fix to lawn problems.

Here are some tips to follow:

Develop healthy soil. Make sure your soil has the right pH balance, key nutrients, and good texture. You can buy easy-to-use soil analysis kits at hardware stores or contact your local County Cooperative Extension Service for a soil analysis.

Choose the right grass for your climate. If your area gets very little rain, don't plant a type of grass that needs a lot of water. Select grass seed that is well suited to your climate and other growing conditions such as the amount of sunlight and rain you lawn receives. Over-seed your lawn each Fall by spreading seeds on top of the lawn. A thicker lawn helps to crowd out weeds. Your local County Extension Service can advise you on which grasses grow best in your area.

Longer is Better. Make sure the lawn mower blades are sharp. Grass that is slightly long makes a strong, healthy lawn with few pest problems. Weeds have a hard time taking root and growing when grass is around 2½ to 3½ inches for most types of grass.

Water Early. It is time to water if footprint impressions stay in the lawn and do not spring back. Water early in the morning and only for short periods for time so the soil may absorb the water. Longer grass has stronger roots and retains water better.

Correct thatch buildup. Thatch is a layer of dead plant materials between the grass blades and the soil. When thatch gets too thick, deeper than 3/4 of an inch, water and nutrients are prevented from getting into the soil and reaching the roots of the grass. Overusing synthetic fertilizer can create heavy layer of thatch, and some kinds of grass are prone to thatch buildup.

Recycle grass. Don't pick up the grass clippings after you mow. Clippings will return nutrients and moisture to the soil. Consider buying a mulching lawn mower. This will cut the grass clippings finer and blow them into the lawn.

Let your lawn breathe. Once a year, remove small plugs of earth to allow air and water to aerate the grass roots.

Invite a few weeds and insects into you garden. Think of you lawn as a small piece of nature where pests have their place. Often, nature provides its own pest control in the form of birds or other insects that feed on the insects we consider nuisances.

Use manual tools. Tools that don't require electric or gasoline engines are especially handy for small yards or small jobs. There are hand tools available that will meet a wide variety of lawn and garden needs, like lightweight, quiet, easy-to-use reel push mowers that generate no emissions.


Using pesticides safely

If you decide that the best solution to your pest problem is a pesticide, follow these tips when selecting and using a garden product:

    Identify the pest problem
    Find the product that solves the problem
    Buy the right amount for your needs
    Read the label carefully and use the product the right way
    Pay attention to warnings
    Prevent harm to the environment - never pour lawn and garden products down a drain

Spring Cleaning


If you are going to be doing some spring cleaning, take a look around your house for items that present environmental hazards when they are improperly disposed of. Leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients are considered to be "household hazardous waste" or "HHW." Products, such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, and pesticides, that contain potentially hazardous ingredients require special care when you dispose of them.

Heating and cooling


Is your home's cooling equipment more than 10 years old? If so, EPA encourages you to have your current system inspected for energy performance by a professional contractor before their busy summer season hits.

If it's time for a replacement, be sure to choose equipment that has earned the ENERGY STAR for high efficiency.
If it's not yet time to replace, have your contractor perform routine annual maintenance on your system to make sure it will efficiently and comfortably carry you through the hot summer months without costing you more than necessary.
 

Blower Motor Cycling Issue

Monday, February 18, 2013 by Customers Sharing Stories

Consumer feedback:

I have the Model 700 with the Model 58 humidistat. The problem I'm having is that the humidistat is callingtne furnace to start the blower motor I guess because the humidity has fallen below what it needs to be. However, the blower motor comes on for like 10 seconds and the shuts off. It will repeat this cycle 100 times a day so I have to turn the humidistat off. It generally only does this during the day because the thermostat is set to a temp that generally doesn't require heat. The HVAC guy has replaced the humidistat already with no success. My furnace is an Amana prane model. What's going on with this? Thanks

Name: Ken
City: Middletown
State: MD

 

Aprilaires' reponse:

Dear Ken,

Thank you for contacting us with regards to your model 700 Humidifier. Based on the information provided, it’s not clear how this humidistat has been wired. Normally, the model 58 humidistat does not have the ability to operate your furnace fan without an additional relay. It’s possible that this relay has not been wired properly. We would recommend that you have your HVAC guy contact us when he’s next on-site. We can provide troubleshooting assistance by phone.

We look forward to assisting you with this issue.

1-800-334-6011 Ext.6172
Call Center hours are M-F, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST
Visit www.aprilaire.com

Keep your Humidifier Running at Peak Performance by following these Annual Maintenance Tips

Thursday, October 18, 2012 by Aprilaire Team

For best performance, we recommend that you replace the Water
Panel evaporator in your Aprilaire humidifier at least annually with
the exception of Models 400 and 400M which should be changed at
least twice per heating season.

The “Change Water Panel” indicator light (Digital Control only) will blink
when it is time to change yourWater Panel. See individual model instructions
for additional maintenance.

To purchase a new Water Panel:

• Visit estore.aprilaire.com
• Call the installer of your Aprilaire humidifier.
This information is often found on your equipment.
• Call your heating and air conditioning dealer.
• Use our “Dealer Locator” at: www.aprilaire.com
• Purchase only Genuine Aprilaire Water Panels to maintain performance.

If your humidifier is equipped with a Digital Humidifier Control with Water
Panel change indicator, after replacing the Water Panel, turn the control
knob to the “Test/Reset” position until the “Humidifier On” light blinks to
reset its timer. (Blower must be operating and HVAC calling for heat.) Be sure
to turn the control knob back to it’s original setting. If the “Humidifier On”
light continues to blink, your humidifier is in Test mode. DO NOT LEAVE THE
CONTROL IN TEST MODE OR HUMIDIFIER WILL NOT OPERATE.

Also review the periodic preventavtive maintenance in the owners manual.

Remodeling Your Home? Have You Considered Indoor Air Quality?

Thursday, October 18, 2012 by Aprilaire Team

Remodeling Your Home? Have You Considered Indoor Air Quality?

Ventilation for Homes

In general, you should address the following issues when remodeling your home.

Radon

Lead

Moisture Control

Ventilation

Asbestos

Combustion Appliances

Air Ducts

Energy Efficient Improvements

Pest Control

Painting

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

If too little outdoor air enters a home, pollutants can sometimes accumulate to levels that can pose health and comfort problems. Likewise, one approach to lowering the concentrations of indoor air pollutants in your home is to increase the amount of outdoor air coming in.

Outdoor air enters and leaves a house by: infiltration, natural ventilation, and mechanical ventilation. In a process known as infiltration, outdoor air flows into the house through openings, joints, and cracks in walls, floors, and ceilings, and around windows and doors (air may also move out of the house in this manner — this is called exfiltration). In natural ventilation, air moves through opened windows and doors. Air movement associated with infiltration and natural ventilation is caused by air temperature differences between indoors and outdoors and by wind. Finally, there are a number of mechanical ventilation devices, from exhaust (vented outdoors) fans that intermittently remove air from a single room, such as bathrooms and the kitchen, to air handling systems that use fans and duct work to continuously remove indoor air and distribute filtered and conditioned outdoor air to strategic points throughout the house. The rate at which outdoor air replaces indoor air is described as the air exchange rate. When there is little infiltration, natural ventilation, or mechanical ventilation, the air exchange rate is low and pollutant levels can increase.

Unless they are built with means of mechanical ventilation, homes that are designed and constructed to minimize the amount of outdoor air that can "leak" into and out of the home may have higher pollutant levels than other homes. However, because some weather conditions can drastically reduce the amount of outdoor air that enters a home, pollutants can build up even in homes that are normally considered "leaky."

Most home heating and cooling systems, including forced air heating systems, do not mechanically bring fresh air into the house. Opening windows and doors, operating window or attic fans, when the weather permits, or running a window air-conditioner with the vent control open increases the ventilation rate. Local bathroom or kitchen fans that exhaust outdoors remove contaminants, including moisture, directly from the room where the fan is located and also increase the outdoor air ventilation rate.

Ideally, new homes will be built to minimize leakage to control energy loss, improve comfort, and minimize the transport of moisture and pollutants through the building shell. These homes should then also have mechanical ventilation to remove pollutants generated in the home and provide outdoor air in a controlled manner. Whether a mechanical ventilation system makes sense in your existing homes depends on the house, your existing heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system, and the changes you have planned. You should discuss this with your HVAC contractor. A local Weatherization office, or building performance contractor, might also be able to help you with this decision or point you to local experts.

How much ventilation do I need?

The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineering, or ASHRAE at www.ashrae.org provides procedures for determining whole-house ventilation rates in its Standard 62.2, "Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality in Low-Rise Residential Buildings". The standard also provides requirements for exhaust ventilation for kitchens, bathrooms, and other point sources, such as clothes dryers and venting for fuel-burning appliances.

Mechanical Ventilation

Thursday, October 18, 2012 by Aprilaire Team

The Need for Mechanical Ventilation

History of Ventilation in Houses
Houses need to have an indoor/outdoor exchange of air to replenish oxygen used by the occupants and to remove pollutants generated by breathing, household activities and emissions from building materials and furnishings. For many years, houses were constructed without mechanical ventilation systems and relied on air leakage through the building envelope to provide this indoor/ outdoor air exchange during the winter months.

In the past, this natural form of ventilation worked fairly well. Houses built before the 1960s tended to be quite leaky and pressure differences between the inside and outside, caused by wind or temperature difference, were sufficient to provide a significant amount of air exchange most of the time. However, a leaky building envelope does not always guarantee adequate air exchange. The movement of air requires both a pathway (e.g., a leak) and a pressure difference, and even a leaky house will experience periods when there is no indoor/outdoor air exchange. These periods are most likely to occur during the spring or fall, when winds are light and there is little or no indoor/outdoor temperature difference that can create a stack effect. The leakier the house, however, the less frequent the periods of inadequate air exchange.

Since most fuel-fired systems consume air from the house, and this air must then be replaced by leakage from outdoors, the operation of fuel-fired systems promotes some indoor/outdoor air exchange. The chimneys associated with these systems also provide a major leakage point, thus promoting air exchange even when the heating system is not operating. As well, a chimney tends to raise the level of the neutral pressure plane, thus reducing the outward pressure difference across the building envelope and, with it, the potential for interstitial condensation (i.e., condensation that occurs within the building envelope) caused by air leaking out of the house.

In houses built prior to the 1960s, the amount of air exchange provided by leakage was generally regarded as sufficient. But in the '60s, a number of factors changed this picture, including the increased use of electric heating in houses. Unlike fuel-fired systems, electric heating systems do not require the replacement of air, nor do they require chimneys. Consequently, electrically heated houses have a greater tendency to experience high humidity levels, interior surface moulds and interstitial condensation.

In the early 1970s, in response to these problems associated with electrically heated houses, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) took the step of requiring all NHA-financed electrically heated houses to incorporate exhaust fans, a requirement that was eventually incorporated into the National Building Code. By the mid-70s, these problems had became so apparent that CMHC contemplated not allowing electric heating in houses financed under its National Housing Act mortgage insurance program.

In addition to the increase in the use of electric heating, the 1960s brought the construction of houses that were much more airtight as a result of new products and practices, which included the substitution of panel sheathings, such as plywood and waferboard, for board sheathing; the replacement of paper-backed insulation batts by friction-fit batts and polyethylene film; improved caulking materials; tighter windows and doors; and more efficient heating systems.

When the energy crisis developed in the early 1970s, considerable emphasis was placed on reducing air leakage in order to conserve energy. The use of electric heating systems was encouraged and higher efficiency furnaces were developed further reducing airchange rates in buildings. This trend towards greater airtightness and higher efficiency furnaces gave rise to concerns that the exchange of air in houses by natural means might be insufficient in some instances to provide adequate air quality thus increasing the risk of health problems among the occupants. Condensation problems resulting from higher humidity levels were also a concern.

How Much Indoor/Outdoor Air Exchange Is Necessary?
The air-change needs of houses are not uniform. Not only do they vary from house to house according to the number of occupants, and the presence and strength of various pollutant sources, but, for any given house, they also vary with time as occupants come and go, and pollutant sources wax and wane. Nevertheless, ASHRAE Standard 62, Canadian Standards Association Standard CAN/CSA-F326 and the National Building Code of Canada (NBC) have all established levels of air change that can be expected to meet the peak or near-peak needs of a majority of normal households. (The latter two are based to some extent on ASHRAE Standard 62.)

All three approaches suggest an air change rate of about 0.3 air changes per hour (ach). This is the level of air change used internationally as the norm in terms of analyzing the success of various ventilation schemes. Again, it is recognized that few, if any, houses require constant air change at the rate of 0.3 ach. However, if a house is so tight that leakage fails to provide this level of air change for significant periods of time, it is likely that many such periods of shortfall will coincide with periods when this level of air change is required. When this happens, poor indoor air quality, high humidity, surface moulds and interstitial condensation can result.

How Airtight Are Recently Built Houses?
In 1989, a study to determine the airtightness of recently constructed houses in various regions of Canada was conducted. Airtightness was measured by carrying out fan-depressurization tests on nearly 200 houses throughout the country. The test results were analyzed to estimate the indoor/outdoor air change rate that could be attributed solely to the air leakage likely to be experienced by each house over a typical heating season. The results of the study allowed the researchers to make the following predictions:

  • More than 70% of the surveyed houses would have an average air-leakage rate of less than 0.3 ach over the entire heating season.
  • Almost 90% of the surveyed houses would have at least one month during the heating season when the average air-leakage rate was less than 0.3 ach.
  • Virtually all of the surveyed houses (99%) would have at least one 24-hour period over the heating season in which the average air-leakage rate was less than 0.3 ach.

These results seem to indicate that a majority of houses being built in Canada using normal construction practices are close enough to being airtight that air leakage through the envelope cannot be relied on to provide the rate of air change deemed necessary to maintain adequate indoor air quality in a typical household. While the rate of air change through the building envelope may be adequate most of the time, it may not be all of the time. Therefore, to ensure that a satisfactory rate of air change is attainable at all times throughout the heating season, these houses must be provided with mechanical ventilation systems.

Characteristics of an Ideal Mechanical Ventilation System

Currently available technology is not able to provide an ideal mechanical ventilation system for houses. But before looking at the methods of mechanically ventilating houses that are available today, it is helpful to identify the characteristics of an ideal system:

Operate when needed
The system would operate whenever additional indoor/outdoor air exchange is needed and would do so without the need for occupant intervention.

Operate only when needed
This is important since a mechanical ventilation system has costs associated with it — the cost of the electricity to run it and the cost of heating the outdoor air that the system brings in. (The latter can be reduced by incorporating heat-recovery capabilities in the system, but cannot be eliminated altogether.) Therefore, the system should not operate during those periods when no indoor/ outdoor air exchange is required. The length, timing and frequency of such periods vary from household to household. Air exchange is not required when:

  • there are no occupants in the house
  • there are no activities or processes underway that generate pollutants
  • there is sufficient air exchange due to wind or stack effect to meet the household's needs.

Provide needed amount of air exchange
The system would be able to deliver enough outdoor air to meet the probable maximum needs of the household. It would also be capable of modulating delivery so that it did not deliver more outdoor air than required at times of reduced need. A system that does not have this capability is likely to provide too much outdoor air most of the time it is in operation, resulting in excess energy costs and low humidity. As well, a system that is unresponsive can annoy the occupants, possibly to the point that they simply turn it off altogether.

Distribute outdoor air where needed
It is not enough that the mechanical ventilation system change the air in the house as a whole to meet the standard of 0.3 ach. The system must also be able to deliver the outdoor air to those parts of the house where the occupants are likely to spend most of their time — the living room, the kitchen and the bedrooms.

Be quiet
The system would be quiet enough so that the occupants would not be tempted to turn it off to reduce noise.

Not interfere with other systems
There is significant potential for mechanical ventilation systems to interfere with the operation of other systems, such as certain types of fuel-fired heating systems. Under these circumstances, if the ventilation system creates a high negative pressure in the house, the products of combustion (which can be harmful to the occupants) can spill into the house rather than flowing up the chimney to the outdoors.

Not interfere with the building envelope
The system would not create significant positive pressure in the house since this could drive humid air from the house through the building envelope, resulting in interstitial condensation.

Demand-Controlled Ventilation

The first two characteristics of the ideal mechanical ventilation system described above are related to the issue of control. A system that embodies these characteristics is known as a "demand-controlled ventilation system." Such a system would ideally be controlled by an array of sensors — one for humidity and one for every possible pollutant that the ventilation system would have to respond to, including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds, etc. The system would bring in outdoor air and/or extract indoor air until all of these sensors determined that specific pollutants were at, or below, predetermined safe levels. Whenever a sensor detected a pollutant above its safe level, the ventilation system would operate.

A less-than-ideal demand-controlled ventilation system would have at least one sensor. For example, many ventilation systems are controlled by dehumidistats: the system operates until the dehumidistat has determined that the humidity in the house is at a safe level. Excess humidity is one of the main reasons that ventilation is required, but not the only one. The amount of ventilation required to control humidity may not be sufficient to control other pollutants since this depends on the activities of the occupants, on the relative strengths of other pollutants and on the level of humidity.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) sensors are sometimes used to control ventilation systems in large buildings, and this technology is just now becoming available for residential use. Increasing CO2 concentration is usually a good indicator of decreasing air quality but it may not be adequate in cases where there are unusual pollutants, such as those generated by certain hobbies.

The ideal system requires the full array of sensors mentioned above. However, at present this ideal is not attainable because:

- there is insufficient knowledge and information to determine

- which pollutants should be monitored, and

- what the acceptable levels for a particular pollutant

- practical, reliable and economical detectors for all pollutants of concern are not available.

While research and development is underway in many countries to try to address these issues, breakthroughs are not expected in the near future.

For a discussion of current approaches to mechanical ventilation systems for houses, please see Construction Technology Update No. 15.

References

1. ASHRAE 62-1989, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality. American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Atlanta, GA.

2. Standard CAN/CSA-F326-M91, Residential Mechanical Ventilation Systems. Canadian Standards Association, Etobicoke, ON.

3. National Building Code of Canada, 1995. Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa.

4. 1989 Survey of Airtightness of New, Merchant Builder Houses. Haysom, J.C., Reardon, J.T., and R. Monsour. Indoor Air '90: The Fifth International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate, v. 4, Toronto, 1990.

5. Residential Air System Design. Heating Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI), Islington, ON, 1986.

6. Complying with Residential Ventilation Requirements in the 1995 National Building Code. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Ottawa, 1996.

7. Airtightness and Energy Efficiency of New Conventional and R-2000 Housing in Canada, 1997. Canada Centre for Mineral and Energy Technology, Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa

Aprilaire 10 Year Clean Coil Commitment

Friday, April 20, 2012 by Aprilaire Team

Aprilaire Air Cleaners are so effective at removing particles and contaminants that are harmful to your family and your HVAC equipment, we offer this guarantee.  Should your new indoor air conditioning coil require professional cleaning in the next 10 years while properly using an Aprilaire Air Cleaner, we will pay $100 toward the cost of having the indoor coil cleaned by a licensed contractor.

This commitment applies to new HVAC equipment with a new indoor air conditioner coil (less than six months old) installed with an Aprilaire Air Cleaner.  The Aprilaire Air Cleaner must be installed by a licensed HVAC contractor.  The Aprilaire Air Cleaner must be properly maintained as per directions in the owner's manual including use of only Aprilaire brand media replacement.   Click to view Aprilaire's Clean Coil Commitment.

Aprilaire Humidifier Recommended Annual Maintenance

Monday, April 2, 2012 by Aprilaire Team

Recommended Annual Maintenance

  • The water panel should be changed once a year, with a few exceptions.
    • The model 400 has a panel that should be changed twice a season
    • If extremely hard water is used in any Aprilaire humidifier, the panel should be changed more frequently than once a season. 
    • The water panel cannot be cleaned because it has a special coating that helps the water adhere to the panel while the air is passing through it.  Without the coating, more water will go down the drain and less will be converted into a vapor.
  • Drain line
    • Detach the drain line from the drain spud at the bottom of the unit. 
    • Bend it at the various points to loosen calcium deposits which may have formed on the inside of the line, and flush it with pressurized water. 
    • You can also pour bleach through it prior to the water.  This will kill any micro-organisms that happen to be living in the drain line. 
    • The drain line can be replaced should it prove difficult to clean. 
  • Feed tube
    • Detach the tube from the nozzle at the top of the unit, and unscrew the end of the solenoid valve at the other end of the feed tube. 
    • Run high pressure water through the tube and replace. 
    • When reconnecting the feed tube, remember to double wrench the connections to prevent leaking.
  • Inside of unit
    • Look for any mineral deposits on the Scale Control Insert after removing the water panel, and get rid of them by wiping the insert with a damp towel or rag.  They should come right off. 
    • If there are deposits on the inside of the cover, or in the case of a 700, on the fan blade, it may be indicative of a larger problem known as entrainment.  ()
    • Do not remove granulated coating on the distribution tray – not an issue with the new ones. 
      • The granular coating is there to break up the surface tension of the water.  This allows water to flow evenly through all of the openings in the water distribution tray. 
      • The newer trays have a fabric along the bottom of the tray which does the same thing as the granular coating.  The difference is the customer doesn’t have to worry about scraping off the fabric.
  • Hard or Soft Water
    • Aprilaire offers total flexibility in the installation of our humidifiers in that they will operate properly with either hard or soft water. Connecting to hard water may leave mineral deposits on the water panel that are scaly and hard in nature. Connecting to soft water may leave mineral deposits that are fluffier in nature. The bottom line is the water panel will typically last a full heating season using either type of water.  When extremely hard water is used in the humidifier, maintenance should be performed approximately every six months.