Humidify and Go Green!

Thursday, February 13, 2014 by Aprilaire Team

Humidify and Go Green!

Whole-house humidification can be your "greener" choice for comfort. The Aprilaire Model 400 utilizes patented technology that evaporates 100% of the water that goes into it, providing soothing humidification to every room of your home with minimal water usage.

http://www.aprilaire.com/index.php?znfAction=ProductsCat&category=humid

http://www.aprilaire.com/index.php?znfAction=ProductDetails&category=5&item=400

Check out this great read on another homeowner getting comfort from an Aprilaire humidifier

Friday, February 7, 2014 by Aprilaire Team

We (Rather Square) recently upgraded our old humidifier to the Aprilaire 700A Power Humidifier, and it's been great! Read more on our blog post: http://www.rathersquare.com/2014/02/humidifier-power/

Ever get a dry mouth when you get nervous? Maybe you’re dehydrated or you’re heating the air at home.

Friday, January 17, 2014 by Aprilaire Team

Ever get a dry mouth when you get nervous? Maybe you’re dehydrated or you’re heating the air at home. Health pros have some good advice, including using a humidifier. Use one in a room, or install one in your system ductwork to work throughout your dry home….. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dry-mouth/AN02112

Many people think that cold and flu cases skyrocket in winter months because it’s cold outside but.....

Monday, December 16, 2013 by Aprilaire Team

Many people think that cold and flu cases skyrocket in winter months because it’s cold outside –It’s really because we’re cooped up inside with germs and viruses! And did you know that when we heat the air inside, the relative humidity is lower which actually creates a better environment for bacteria, viruses and other indoor contaminants to thrive?!  Learn about the benefits of whole-home humidifiers, here: http://www.sfgate.com/sponsoredarticles/lifestyle/home-improvement/article/Get-shocked-Infographic-4961101.php

Did you know it takes more than 400 gallons of water to properly humidify a home during the winter months?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 by Aprilaire Team

Did you know it takes more than 400 gallons of water to properly humidify a home during the winter months? And, the average portable humidifier holds just 1.3 gallons. You can find more interesting stats about the importance of humidity in your home in our infographic posted on the Daily Home. http://www.dailyhome.com/view/full_story/23997234/article-Get-shocked--Infographic-?instance=aracontent

Many people don’t understand relative humidity and its implications on health – but it’s definitely a topic worth exploring!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013 by Aprilaire Team

Many people don’t understand relative humidity and its implications on health – but it’s definitely a topic worth exploring! Relative humidity refers to the amount of moisture in the air at a given temperature compared to the maximum amount of moisture the air can hold at the same temperature. It’s expressed as a percentage. And if that percentage is too low-which is often the case during winter months – your home and the people who live in it are at risk. Need proof? Check out this recent study, showing that viruses are more infective in dry air than they are in properly humidified air: http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0057485

With outdoor temperatures dropping, indoor health and comfort issues arise because the relative humidity of cold, outdoor air drops significantly when brought into your home and heated.

Monday, November 4, 2013 by Aprilaire Team

With outdoor temperatures dropping, indoor health and comfort issues arise because the relative humidity of cold, outdoor air drops significantly when brought into your home and heated. Dry indoor air can increase the likelihood of colds, flu and other upper respiratory ailments. In addition, dry air can aggravate allergy and asthma symptoms. Learn more, here: http://www.chicagotribune.com/special/adsections/aranet/chi-ara-8079990202-20131011,0,6284273.story

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/

How many of you understand what relative humidity is? Come on, be honest!

Sunday, October 27, 2013 by Aprilaire Team

How many of you understand what relative humidity is? Come on, be honest! Here’s a nice article from How Stuff Works explaining relative humidity in layman’s terms: http://science.howstuffworks.com/dictionary/meteorological-terms/question651.htm

Do you take pride in keeping your home in great condition?

Saturday, October 26, 2013 by Aprilaire Team

Do you take pride in keeping your home in great condition? Who would ever think controlling your indoor humidity can help you preserve your wood floor, electronics and wallpaper? Here’s how: http://www.aprilaire.com/index.php?znfAction=IAQProblems&category=protection

Are you losing sleep because of sticky, humid nights?

Friday, August 9, 2013 by Aprilaire Team

Are you losing sleep because of sticky, humid nights? This is because of too much humidity in your home! Aprilaire whole-house dehumidifiers help make homes more comfortable. Learn more here: http://www.aprilaire.com/index.php?znfAction=ProductDetails&category=17&item=1700

 

Allergic to dust mites?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 by Aprilaire Team

Allergic to dust mites?

About 40,000 dust mites can live in one ounce of dust! Also, dust mites are a known trigger of asthma. Aprilaire air purifiers and dehumidifiers can work in tandem to eliminate dust mites. Air purifiers capture up to 98 percent of airborne contaminants down to one micron in size. Dehumidifiers can eliminate excess moisture in the air – where dust mites thrive.

Learn more about Aprilaire air purifiers and dehumidifiers at http://www.aprilaire.com/index.php?znfAction=Products.

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

Stop the spread of the flu with proper humidity control?

Friday, January 25, 2013 by Aprilaire Team

ROCHESTER, Minn. — A Mayo Clinic researcher is testing the theory that controlling indoor humidity levels can help control the influenza virus in transmission hotspots like schools, hospitals, daycare centers and churches.

The virus can spread quickly in those areas, especially in the winter time when low humidity levels help the influenza virus survive longer outside the human body.

Read more...

Save money with proper humidity control in YOUR home!

Monday, October 22, 2012 by Aprilaire Team

We are always looking for ways to save a little money without compromising our comfort, review these money saving tips from We Energies… Take special notice to the proper humidity control, it goes both with adding and removing it from our homes.

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.

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