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 thermostat

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 by Customers Sharing Stories
We've moved into a home with an Aprilaire thermostat for the furnace. How can we get an instructional booklet to learn how to work this thermostat and install a new battery.We have model 8363.

Name: Barbara Gorno
City: Trenton
State: MI

Our Aprilaire 760 runs all the time but our 550 humidifier only run with the furnace blower is on, which is correct?

Friday, May 11, 2012 by Aprilaire Team

Consumer question:

I didn't notice this until recently, but our Aprilaire 760 runs regardless of the furnace blower running, whereas our 550 model does not. Is that typical for the 760?

 

Aprilaires' response:

Thank you for contacting us with regards to your model 760 Humidifier. Both the 550 and 760 should run only when the furnace is on, or at least the blower is running. When there is no air moving through your ducts, Aprilaire humidifiers should be off, as well. If your 760 runs without the furnace, we would recommend that you contact either your original installer or current Aprilaire service technician. If you don't have a current technician, please visit us online at www.aprilaire.com and enter your ZIP code into our dealer locator. You should get contact information for several nearby companies.
 
We appreciate the opportunity to be of assistance.

 

My Aprilaire model 760 humidifier that has worked great for the last 11 years has a short

Thursday, May 10, 2012 by Aprilaire Team

Consumer question:

My Aprilaire model 760 humidifier that has worked great for the last 11 years has a short that apparently cannot be repaired. So what would it cost to get a new one that will fit my furnace exactly like my 760 did. Also the cost of a new one, or can mine be sent in for repair.

 

Aprilaires' response:

Thank you for using Aprilaire products in your home comfort system.

I am sorry to hear that your model 760 has failed after 11 years of service. I am please to let you know that you local heating and air conditioning company can assist you in obtaining a replacement for your model 760. Our current model 700 humidifier would replace the model 760 for area coverage, the dimensional size may vary slightly.

 

No water comes in to the model 500 aprilaire humidifier when running. What could be happening?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012 by Aprilaire Team
Consumer question:
 
No water comes in to the model 500 aprilaire humidifier when running. Could it be a problem with the solenoid valve??


Aprilaires' response:

Thank you for contacting us.
No water could be an indication of an issue with the solenoid valve.
If you have an Automatic Control try putting it into test mode:

A. No click at the solenoid valve indicates an electrical problem. Contact the heating and air conditioning dealer to further check the electrical components of the Aprilaire Humidifier.

B. If the solenoid valve makes a click sound and there is no water draining from the unit, this would indicate the flow of water is being obstructed.

1. To determine if water flow is being obstructed, turn the dial of the humidifier control to the off position. The first location to check for an obstruction would be at the saddle valve located on the water line supplying water to the humidifier. When checking the saddle valve, make sure it is completely open. This can be done by turning the valve all the way to the left. If anything is clogged, it can be dislodged by turning the saddle valve all the way to the right and back to the left. Once this is done, turn the humidifier control dial above the click point and water should be coming out the drain line.

2. If water is still not coming out of the drain, check the orifice and in-line strainer to make sure they are not clogged. The orifice is located in the tube on the outlet side of the solenoid valve and the in-line strainer is located on the inlet side of the solenoid valve (see attached). The orifice may be cleared by inserting a needle through the small opening. The strainer may be cleaned by running it under warm water to dislodge deposits or replace it. After clearing and re-installing the orifice and strainer (be sure to double wrench all water connections), turn the humidifier control dial above the click point and water should be coming out the drain line.

 

What is the minimum water temperature to supply an Aprilaire 350 humidifier?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012 by Aprilaire Team
Consumer question:
 
What's the minimum water temperature needed to supply this Aprilaire model 350 humidifier unit? We want to reduce the water temp for the summer so it doesn't heat the house while it runs. Here in Denver we still need the moisture all year around.

By the way, do you make a in-the wall ultrasonic unit with a humidistat, that can run from filtered water that removes minerals and chlorine?
 
 
Aprilaires' response:

Thank you for your email regarding your model 350 Aprilaire humidifier. The minimum water temperature for our self contained humidifiers is 140F. This is required in order for the evaporation process to take place. When the hot water flows over the water panel, the water evaporates off the water panel and into the room temperature air moving through the water panel. Lowering the water temperature will reduce the amount of humidification produced. The water to the humidifier can be hard or softened but should not be from a reverse osmosis system. We do not manufacture ultrasonic humidifiers.

 

How can I tell the difference between the old aprilaire 400 series humidifiers?

Monday, May 7, 2012 by Aprilaire Team
Consumer question:
 
How can I tell what model I have? (please add this question/answer to your FAS's).

My unit is probably at least 25 years old. I am having a problem with it (leaking water coming from unit's housing), and would like to understand which model I am dealing with.

I have a unit that is installed on ductwork associated with the furnace. The unit is drained by a flexible tube that goes into a pump (on the floor) that evacuates the excess water to a nearby sink. The unit uses warm water.

The rheostat/control is installed on ductwork as well, about 3-4 feet away from the unit. The Rheostat is a dark brown/black control knob, in the middle of a rectangular panel that is also dark brown/black. All the printing on the rheostat's panel (that was once a faint gold perhaps) is worn away, except the '25' at the top/middle of the dial, and - in the upper right- the lettering 'aire.'

Some pages from the original manual were pasted on the inside of a cabinet door in the basement by a previous owner (until today I had not known what they were for.). The instructions say that the Summer Shut-off instructions are to turn the dial to 25. I was unable to find a manual on your website that contains those instructions.

However, from the pictures in http://www.aprilaire.com/themes/aa/en/manuals/Humidifiers_Owners_Manual.pdf, it appears like the models shown on pages 13 and 14 (Models 440, 445-448).

How can I tell which model it is? thank you.
 
 
Aprilaires' response:

Thank you for your email regarding your Aprilaire humidifier.
The following is the best way to tell the difference between the model 440 and the model 445-448. The 445-448 will have a thumb screw on the bottom of the Humidifier to hold on the reservoir. The 440 does not have a thumb screw because it does not have a reservoir.
Turn your Humidistat knob clockwise until it stops (to the off position) to turn your Humidifier off. You will have to set it to the desired percent when your humidity levels begin to decrease.

 

Help

Monday, May 7, 2012 by Customers Sharing Stories
Hi there, I live in South Africa and in winter the humidity levels can drop to 9%. The only humidifiers we can get are the cheap ones from the pharmasy that dont work or create white dust on all your furniture. I have a 300m2 home and I would love to humidify the whole home. I dont have any ducting, we have airconditioning which are split units. Can I install ducting for your product? I would like to have a controlled unit in each room. Also please let me know if your products are available in South Africa, if not can we purchase online and ship to SA.

Name: Colin
City: JHB
State: South Africa

I need humidity in the Summer, what should I do?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 by Aprilaire Team
Consumer question:
 
My heating/air cool unit is now controlled by a new thermostat that allows fan circulation about 35% of the time whether the heat or cooling is running or not. Will the humidifier work when the fan is on whether it is on heating or cooling? I live in an area which humidity averages about 12% during the summer. I need to add humidity during those times.
 
 
Aprilaires' response:

Thank you for that very good question regarding the Aprilaire humidifier operation.

The answer to your question depends on the type of humidity control that was installed with the humidifier. In the event that the humidity control was the type that used an outdoor temperature sensor to regulate the humidity, then the humidifier would not add humidity in the summer months. this type of control would disable the humidifier when the outdoor temperature would go above 60 degrees. If the humidity control does not use the outdoor temperature sensor, then you may be able to humidify during the summer months. Just be aware that the air conditioning system will remove some humidity during its normal operation; which would take longer to bring the humidity level up.

 

Summer time use of my Aprilaire Humidifier Model 700?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 by Aprilaire Team
Consumer question:
 
I recently moved into home that has Aprilaire Automatic Humidifier Model number 700. My question is during the Summer time when I switch the heat off and turn on the A/C at the thermostat. Will the Humidifier stay off or do I need to somehow turn the unit off?
 
Aprilaire response:
 
Thank you for contacting Aprilaire.

To live in Indiana, the humidifier would typically not bother to come on during summer, as nature gives us more humidity than we need. Any time the level of humidity is higher than the selected level, (or max of 45%) the humidifier will not come on.

Some people, just to make sure, will go ahead and turn down the humidistat to 'off' or at least the lowest setting. Then, for the same reasons as listed above, the humidifier will not come on.

Please let us know if you have any further questions.


 
 

 

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.

How to program an Aprilaire 8463 Thermostat.

Friday, April 13, 2012 by Aprilaire Team

Consumer question:

My 8463 Aprilaire Thermostat was installed with a new furnace and A.C. The thermostat was programmed to 5-2 by the installer. I want it to 5-1-1. The installer did not know how to do it and the companies techs are stumped. How can I change this thermostat from a 5-2 to a 5-1-1? Or can I? I would like the settings for Saturday and Sunday to be different.

 

Aprilaires' response:

Thank you for your email regarding your model 8463 Aprilaire Thermostat.

Yes you can change your 8463 Aprilaire Thermostat to 5/1/1 program. Here are the steps.

1) Make sure the MODE is set to OFF.

2) Hold down MODE and the UP ARROW at the exact same time for about 3-5 seconds until 00 shows in the middle of the screen in bold.

3) Press the MODE button repeatedly until you get to the number 19. If you pass it, just keep going the numbers will cycle back around.

4) Use the UP and DOWN arrows to choose the number 1 in the upper right hand side of the screen.

5) Let the screen return to normal or press the MODE button repeatedly until you get to DONE.

Now you are all set to reprogram your 8463 Aprilaire Thermostat.
Please feel free to contact us by email or by the phone number provided.
 

 

Summer's High Humidity Affects Indoor Air Quality

Monday, April 2, 2012 by Aprilaire Team

Summer is almost here and with it we welcome the long-awaited warm weather but not the sticky, high levels of humidity that often come with it.  High humidity affects the quality of indoor air and can affect the health of you and your family in a variety of ways.

High humidity levels can cause mold, encourage dust mites which are a major cause of allergies, and cause a hot of problems in the home that can affect your physical health.  Visible signs of high humidity levels include condensation on windows, peeling wallpaper, damp patches on walls and ceilings, a musty smell and dampness.  But there are also numerous problems that go undetected because you can not see or smell them. 

A few of the most common health effects of too much moisture in the home include the following:

Dust mites:  At least 10 percent of the population suffers from a dust mite allergy.  Half of American homes have enough bedding with enough dust mite allergen to cause allergies.. Of these homes, 24 percent had levels that were five times greater than the threshold to cause allergic reactions.

To control dust mites, experts recommend regular cleaning to reduce dust, as well as encasing mattresses, box springs and pillows in allergy-free cases.  The more dust-free the home, the less likely it will be able to support significant populations of allergen0causing dust mites.  Some of the symptoms associated with it include sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, nasal stuffiness, runny nose, stuffy ears, respiratory problems, atopic dermatitis and asthma.

Bacteria: you can't see or feel bacteria but they live on countertops, table surfaces, carpet, pillows, mattresses and just about anywhere people are.  Bacteria also grow profusely when there is plenty of moisture present.

Formaldehyde: When humidity levels are high, products such as furniture, cabinets, building materials and even some latex paints then to release formaldehyde into the air at a faster rate.  Studies have suggested that people exposed to formaldehyde levels ranging from 50 to 100 parts per billion for long periods of time are more likely to experience asthma-related respiratory symptoms, such as coughing and wheezing.

If you suspect that the air in your home is too moist, be sure to vent the areas that create moisture, like the show or bathroom.  You may also consider a whole home dehumidifier like the Aprilaire Model 1710A, 1730A,1750A or the 1770A.  The Aprilaire dehumidifiers can work independently or in tandem with the heating and cooling systems to remove extra moisture from your home.  A system like this will allow homeowners to achieve the EPA recommended humidity levels in the house of 30-50 percent.

Aprilaire Periodic Preventative Humidifier Maintenance

Monday, April 2, 2012 by Aprilaire Team

Periodic Preventative Maintenance

  • NOTE: Periodic inspection and preventive maintenance of your total heating system is important for efficient and safe operation. Your heating contractor should include humidifier service at the same time. All models are equipped with an in-line water strainer and orifice as shown below. These parts should be inspected and cleaned periodically to assure continued proper unit performance.

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. 

Aprilaire Model 5000 EAC Air Cleaner is humming?

Thursday, March 29, 2012 by Aprilaire Team

Consumer question:

Why I started to hear humming noise when I turn on the Aprilaire Air Cleaner model 5000? The technician from Sears helped me to replace the filter in December 2011, but shortly after that, I start to hear this annoying noise and worry about the possible health risk it prsents to my family.

Does this electric humming/hissing really matter to human health? If so, whom should I contact?

 

Aprilaires' response:

Thank you for your email regarding your model Aprilaire Electronic air cleaner.
Under normal operation there is electricity passing through the door of the model 5000 into the cabinet just like a plug into an outlet. This can sometimes be audible but it does not pose any health risks.

If you are feeling that the noise is coming from the HVAC equipment call your HVAC specialist and have them give us a call when they are looking over the equipment.

 

What humidifier is right for my 1500 sq ft house in Alaska?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 by Aprilaire Team
Consumer questioni:
 
I have a 1500 sq. ft. house in Alaska. Very dry in the winter. We have a forced air furnace and a HRV system. Also have hard wood floors that currently are shrinking due to RH in the home of 32%. What humidifier do you recommend to meet our needs?
 
Aprilaires' response:
 
Thank you for contacting us with regards to our Aprilaire Humidifiers. Based on the information provided, we could recommend any of our units. Other factors to consider are the age of the home and its relative tightness. The presence of an HRV system must also be taken into consideration. These systems typically provide a constant stream of fresh (and dry) air to your home. HRVs can actually work against your humidification needs by removing humidity already inside the home. You may want to weigh the benefits of the HRV operating during your humidifying season versus meeting your humidifying needs. We would recommend that you contact your local HVAC installer to have them visit your site and provide you with an assessment of your humidity needs and what Aprilaire humidifier would best meet them.

 

The Aprilaire 8463 thermostat has Auto, Off, Heat, Cool, and Em-Heat system modes

Monday, March 12, 2012 by Aprilaire Team
Consumer question:
 
The Aprilaire 8463 thermostat has Auto, Off, Heat, Cool, and Em-Heat system modes. How do you select Auto. On my thermostat it does not present me with the Auto option.
 
Aprilaires' response:

Thank you for your email regarding your model 8463 Aprilaire Thermostat.

To select your Auto Mode on the 8463 first push the mode button and select OFF. Next press the MODE button and UP arrow at the same time, holding them both down (3-5 sec) until 00 comes up on the screen. Then press the MODE button to select 04. At this point you will see a small 0 in the top right hand corner of the screen. Using the UP and DOWN arrows you can select 1 to enable the AUTO feature. After that last selection let the screen return to normal by not touching the buttons. You can now select the AUTO mode.

 

What Aprilaire unit should I use to replace my old 110 humidiifer?

Thursday, March 8, 2012 by Aprilaire Team
Consumer question:
 
The 110 does not seem to perform as it should any longer and may need to replace it. What is a replacement that will fit the 110 opening on the furnace
 
Aprilaires' response:

Thank you for contacting us regarding the replacement for your model 110. From an operational standpoint the model 700 would be the replacement for your 110. However, due to size differences there would be some resizing of the opening on your duct work.

Additionally, we recommend the installation be done by a licensed HVAC contractor. When installed by a licensed contractor, the units come with a 5 year warranty beginning on the date of installation. If you choose not to use a licensed contractor you risk voiding the 5 year warranty.

If you have any further questions regarding this or any of our products, please feel free to contact our customer service department at your earliest convenience.