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.

Harmful Effects of Mold

Thursday, October 18, 2012 by Aprilaire Team

Harmful effects of molds

The type and severity of health effects that result from molds exposure is widely variable among different locations, from person to person and over time.

Although difficult to predict, exposure to molds growing indoors is most often associated with the following allergy symptoms:

  • Nasal and sinus congestion
  • Cough/sore throat
  • Chest tightness
  • Dyspnea (breathing difficulty)
  • Asthma (or exacerbation of it)
  • Epistaxis (nosebleed)
  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Headache
  • Skin and eye irritation

 

Indoor molds exposure leads mostly to upper respiratory tract symptoms

Long-term exposure to indoor molds is certainly unhealthy to anyone, but some groups will develop more severe symptoms sooner than others, including:

  • Infants and children
  • Elderly people
  • Individuals with respiratory conditions, allergies and/or asthma
  • Immunocompromised patients

Some indoor molds are capable of producing extremely potent toxins (mycotoxins) that are lipid-soluble and readily absorbed by the intestinal lining, airways, and skin. These agents, usually contained in the fungal spores, have toxic effects ranging from short-term irritation to immunosuppression and cancer. (Photo: Mold growing behind wallpaper)

More severe symptoms that could result from continuous human exposure to indoor mycotoxigenic molds include:

  • Cancer (aflatoxin best characterized as potential human carcinogen)
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis/pulmonary fibrosis
  • Pulmonary injury/hemosiderosis (bleeding)
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Hematologic and immunologic disorders
  • Hepatic, endocrine and/or renal toxicities
  • Pregnancy, gastrointestinal and/or cardiac conditions

It is important to notice that the clinical relevance of mycotoxins under realistic airborne exposure levels is not fully established. Further, some or much of the supporting evidence for these other health effects is based on case studies rather than controlled studies, studies that have not yet been reproduced or involve symptoms that are subjective.
(Photo: Black mold spores micrography)

Among the indoor mycotoxin-producing species of molds are Fusarium, Trichoderma, and one that, although less commonly isolated, became notorious during the past decade, Stachybotrys atra (aka S. chartarum, black mold). Between 1993 and 1994, there was an unusual outbreak of pulmonary hemorrhage in infants in Cleveland, Ohio, where one kid died. Researchers found that the kids’ homes had previously sustained water damage that resulted in molds contamination, and the quantity of molds, including S. chartarum, was higher in the homes of infants with pulmonary hemorrhage than in those of controls. (Photo: Stachybotrys growing on Potato Dextrose Agar (PDA))

It was this Cleveland event that initiated the headline news of Stachybotrys. The American Academy of Pediatrics produced guidelines in the wake of the outbreak. Other incidents involving kids in Stachybotrys-contaminated water-damaged school buildings have captured headlines as well, with children becoming symptom-free after being removed from those environments.
Article from the Fargo Forum newspaper, North Dakota (5/1/1997)

The role of S. chartarum in pulmonary hemorrhage in the Cleveland incident and in human health in the indoor environment is not clear though. There is not enough evidence to prove a solid causal relationship between S. chartarum and these health problems. Actually, in 2000 the CDC released two reports critical of the study conducted in Cleveland and concluded that the association between S. chartarum and acute pulmonary hemorrhage was not proven.

While case studies certainly indicate the possibility or even the plausibility of an effect from molds exposure, such studies by their nature cannot address whether the effect is common or widespread among building occupants. Results from studies that have not been reproduced may be spurious or have yet to be confirmed by well-designed follow up studies. (Photo: Moldy humid walls in a closet space)

In large epidemiologic studies, general symptoms have been associated with moisture damaged and presumably moldy buildings. Many of the reported symptoms are subjective and difficult to quantify. Results are confounded by the fact that the association is general, and mold is not the only possible cause of the symptoms. Neither condition proves that mold is NOT a cause.

In any case, molds growth in the indoor environment should be considered unacceptable from the perspectives of potential adverse health effects and building performance.

Dose-response

There is almost a complete lack of information on specific human responses to well-defined exposures to molds contaminants. There is currently no proven method to measure the type or amount of mold that a person is exposed to, and common symptoms associated with molds exposure are non-specific, aggravated by the facts that molds are present everywhere in the environment and that responses to exposure vary greatly among individuals. (Photo: Heavy mold growth on the underside of spruce floorboards)

There are no accepted standards for molds sampling in indoor environments or for analyzing and interpreting the data in terms of human health. Most studies are then based primarily on baseline environmental data rather than on human dose-response data. Neither OSHA or NIOSH, nor the EPA has set a standard or PEL for molds exposure.

Mold growth on air diffuser in ceiling
Miller et al. (1988) stated that it is reasonable to assume there is a problem if a single species predominates with >50 CFU/m3, that <150 CFU/m3 is acceptable if there is a mix of benign species, and that there is no problem when up to 300 CFU/m3 of Cladosporium or other common fungi is isolated. There is no source material to support these assertions, as few inhalation studies have been conducted.

References

American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Environmental Health. 1998. Toxic effects of indoor molds. Pediatrics. 101:712-714. 11/23/03

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2002. State of the Science on Molds and Human Health. 11/15/03

US Environmental Protection Agency – Indoor Air Quality – Molds. 11/15/03

Kuhn, D. M., and M. A. Ghannoum. 2003. Indoor mold, toxigenic fungi, and Stachybotrys chartarum: infectious disease perspective. Clin Microbiol Rev. 16(1):144-172. 11/15/03

Miller, J. D., A. M. Laflamme, Y. Sobol, P. Lafontaine and R. Greenhalgh. 1988. Fungi and fungal products in some Canadian houses. Int. Biodeterior. 24:103-120.

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2000. Update: Pulmonary Hemorrhage/Hemosiderosis Among Infants --- Cleveland, Ohio, 1993-1996. 49(9):180-184. 11/17/03

Nelson, B. D. 2001. Stachybotrys chartarum: The Toxic Indoor Mold – APSnet. 11/23/03

What Types Of Mold Are Considered Toxic Mold

"Toxic mold" is a term that is used to describe types of mold that are considered deadly to humans. Most people believe that the name refers to one particular species of mold; however, it encompasses hundreds of species, a small fraction of which are not very harmful to the human body. Black mold is commonly used as a name for the most harmful mold species, which happen to be black in appearance. However, even molds of a different color can be toxic to the human body.

Any place that is dark and where there is an accumulation of moisture, is a potential breeding pool for mold. Mold can grown on almost any organic surface as long as moisture and oxygen are present. When large amounts of moisture build-up in buildings, or building materials mold growth will occur. It is virtually impossible to remove all indoor mold and mold spores, but it is possible to manage.

People are exposed to some amount of mold everyday. When mold is growing on a surface, spores can be released into the air where a person can then inhale them. A person who is subject to inhaling a large amount of these spores may be subject to some medical damage.

There are five categories of toxic mold. They are Cladosporium, Penicilium, Fusarium, Aspergillus, and Stachybotrys. Some of the species included in these categories may only cause hay fever-like allergic reactions, while others can cause potentially deadly illnesses. All five of these mold families can be found lurking indoors, in damp spaces. Each has its own particular characteristics that can greatly affect whatever organism or material it contacts. Indoor mold is not always obvious. Mold can manifest on hidden surfaces, such as wallpaper, paneling, the top of ceiling tiles, and underneath carpet.

Stachbotrys

The toxin produced by Stachybotrys chartarum is the most deadly. It has been tied to diseases as minor as hay fever, to those as serious as liver damage, pulmonary edema, and in the most severe cases, brain or nerve damage and even death. It has also been linked to severe illness in infants. Those with compromised immune systems, small children, and the elderly are highly susceptible to illness when they come in contact with this species of mold. Some symptoms associated with exposure to Stachbotrys include:
respiratory issues
nasal and sinus congestion
eye irritation
sore throat
hacking cough
chronic fatigue
central nervous system issues
aches and pains

Cladosporium, Fusarium, and Penicillium

These mold families have been connected to illnesses such as nail fungus, asthma, and also infections of the lungs, liver, and kidneys. Additionally, Fusarium may cause gastrointestinal illnesses, and even illness which affect the female reproductive system. Chronic cases of Cladosporium may produce pulmonary edema and emphysema.

Aspergillus

The least serious of the toxic mold groups, the Aspergillus mold family consists of over 160 species. Only 16 of those cause illness in humans, none of which are fatal if treated.

Toxic molds produce chemicals during their natural growth that are classified as toxins or poisons. The types that have been found to have profound effects on human health, are given the label of "toxic mold."

Toxic molds are all very dangerous if allowed to grow inside the home. Proper precautions should be taken to prevent and eliminate their growth. These measures should include eliminating every material that nourishes the molds, such as old remodeling materials left in a basement. Also, never try to determine the type of mold in your home. Contact a professional to test any mold colony you may find, and consult with your family physician.

Scary Facts About Termites!

Thursday, October 18, 2012 by Aprilaire Team

Can you imagine resting your arm on your wall talking to a friend at a house party just to watch bedroom wall cave in. This interesting information was posted by ABC news the other day and I thought I re-share. I have had one case of this in Northeast Ohio that was a nightmare and a lesson for the owner. Forget about killer bees and voracious fire ants. Aggressive termites that can destroy a new house almost before the paint dries and may be heading for a home near you.

Formosan termites cause about $300 million in damage in New Orleans each year, and now they are moving north, east and west. They've already been found in at least 11 states, and scientists say they can attack with such vengeance that they make domestic termites seem almost tame.

East Asian Immigrants

These fierce little critters arrived in southern ports from East Asia at the end of World War II and lay low for decades, gradually increasing their numbers until they were strong enough to attack with gusto. For years now they have plagued New Orleans, which seems to have been built for their specific needs, and scientists have all but given up hope of ever eliminating them from that area.

They've already eaten through scores of structures in the city's famed French Quarter, and when they are finally flushed from a building they take up residence in living trees. Thousands of trees have been killed by the termites, many of which have fallen on structures, causing even more damage.

Ed Bordes, director of the New Orleans Mosquito and Termite Control Board, estimates that 30 percent of the city's live oaks and cypress trees are now infested.

Until fairly recently, scientists had thought the termites were pretty well isolated in the Deep South, but that clearly has changed. Damage estimates across several states now range between $1 billion and $2 billion per year, about the same as caused by all the domestic species combined.

Power in Numbers

Formosan termites have established strongholds from Florida to California, and although scientists first thought the termites would restrict their habitat to warm areas, that may not be the case. Those damp basements in northern regions may be very much to their liking.

According to the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is heading up a New Orleans-based Formosan termite project called Operation Full Stop, these hungry little devils are the most voracious termites in the world. Here are a few reasons why:

Their colonies are huge, thus enabling them to do great damage in a very short period of time while fighting off nearly all efforts to bring them under control. A colony of domestic termites usually ranges in the thousands; Formosan colonies number in the millions.

Domestic colonies will eat about 7 pounds of wood per year. A Formosan colony will eat about 1,000 pounds per year.

They don't just eat wood. When they get thirsty, Bordes says, they can eat the seals out of high-pressure water lines to get at the moisture inside. And they can penetrate cement, brick, plastic and other materials to get to food and water.

A queen termite can lay 2,000 to 3,000 eggs a day, ensuring the survival of colonies that can last for decades.

Come springtime, New Orleans residents can look forward to something locals describe as nothing short of terrifying. Colonies will send out winged "soldiers" by the millions, forming flying armadas that can almost turn the sky dark as they seek out new areas for harvesting.

They're not particularly discriminating. They like new houses as well as old. And it doesn't take them long to do a lot of damage.

Eradication Impossible

By the time they were discovered in one 2-year-old house, they had already eaten out one wall from the basement to the roof, according to scientists who are working desperately to come up with a means of controlling the termites. That doesn't mean eliminating them, at least not for New Orleans.

"Eradication is not a likely scenario," according to one report from the Agricultural Research Service.

But at least the scientists know where to start. New Orleans has become a working laboratory, with residents setting out traps to capture enough of the little beasts for scientists to study. Formosan termites are there in great numbers because they couldn't have designed it better themselves, at least from a termite's perspective.

The city has just the right climate, humid and hot. And many of those wonderful old buildings that dot the city's historical areas are sitting directly on the ground, giving the subterranean termites easy access. Many of the buildings share common walls, allowing the termites to move right on down the street without even venturing outside.

They also build underground tunnels extending hundreds of feet in various directions, thus expanding their options.

According to researchers, sometimes nobody knows there's a problem until a wall falls down.

Fighting Back

The best defense appears to be an offense, according to the scientists. Once the termites establish themselves with huge colonies, it's probably too late to do much about it. So the goal is to nip it early, identifying the termites as they move outward and wiping out colonies before they get too large.

Unfortunately, the critters are pretty clever. Other termites are routinely treated by injecting poison into the ground, but Formosan termites can just move their nests above ground, thus avoiding the toxins.

And not a lot of toxins are effective. The most potent treatment, chlordane, was outlawed in 1988 because it remains active in the soil for 25 years, thus threatening human health as well as other animals. Scientists are now experimenting with growth regulators that will keep the termites from maturing, and they are looking for biological ways to inhibit procreation and even communication within the colony.

They've made some progress, but for now the Formosan termite still has the upper hand. It will take a persistent, expensive, grass-roots effort across many states to bring the problem under control.

 

Stanley Stepak Jr. M.A.

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

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.

 

What is the replacement for the 2120/2140?

Monday, May 7, 2012 by Aprilaire Team
Consumer question:

We had our A/C system replaced last year. We had an Aprilaire filter system installed at the recommendation of the contractor. He said that the filters were Aprilaire 2120/2140 and a Humidifier Panel 400. What is your current replacement for these. I do not see them on any site selling your product.

Aprilaires' response:

Thank you for contacting us regarding replacement media for your Aprilaire products. The models 2120 and 2140 are two different air cleaners and would take different filter media. Please follow the links below for more information on the filter media for the two air cleaners:

http://estore.aprilaire.com/catalog/air-cleaners/model-2120-parts
and
http://estore.aprilaire.com/catalog/air-cleaners/model-2140-parts

Furthermore, please follow the link or navigate through the estore for information on the replacement water panels for the model 400 humidifier:

http://estore.aprilaire.com/catalog/humidifiers/model-400-series-parts/254

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.

 

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 Recommended Annual Air Cleaner Maintenance

Thursday, April 19, 2012 by Aprilaire Team

Aprilaire 2000 Series

 

Aprilaire 3000 Series

 

Aprilaire 4000 Series

 

Aprilaire Model 5000

 

Aprilaire One-Touch Control

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. 

Summer Aprilaire Humidifier Shutdown

Monday, April 2, 2012 by Aprilaire Team

Annual summer shutdown for bypass models 400 series, 500 series and 600 series close the bypass damper, which is a part of the humidifier, with the small damper handle.

Humidifier Contol:

Digital Humidifier Control in Automatic Mode (See Figure A):

No adjustment is necessary.

 

Digital Humidifier Control in Manual Mode (See Figure B):

Set the knob to the "OFF" position.

Manual Humidifier Control (See Figure C):

Set the knob to the "OFF" position.

I Love Craigslist

Monday, April 2, 2012 by Tom Ruse

I have to admit I'm kind of a Craigslist junkie. Buying, selling, always looking for deals.

I came across this ad over the weekend and thought it was pretty cool. In case it's too hard to read in the picture, it says:

Room humidifier - $10

I'm selling a room humifier that comes with several fragrances. You can run it with just water or with water and a fragrance. It has been used a total of about five hours, but now that we have an AprilAire system, we don't need it. It's still in great shape.

Thanks for looking."


 

 

 

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.

 

Hard or soft water, any concerns?

Monday, March 26, 2012 by Aprilaire Team

Consumer question:
 
 I have a model 600 Aprilaire humidifier and I didn't see it listed in the FAQ's. Will operation of the humidifier while the water softener is going through it's cycle (backflushing,rinsing, brining) cause problems with either?
 
Aprilaires' response:

Thank you for your email regarding your model 600M Aprilaire humidifier. All of our Aprilaire humidifiers will function with hot, cold, soft or hard water. The water softener going through it's cycle (backflushing,rinsing, brining) will no affect on the operation of the model 600. The two can operate together or independent of each other.
 

Aprilaire model 1700 Dehumidifier, new drain line?

Monday, March 26, 2012 by Aprilaire Team
Consumer question:
 
Our drain line is leaking and a replacement line is to be installed. I have purchased a braided vinyl hose thinking it would be more durable in an attic. Internal diameter of hose is 1/2 inch, and out diameter is 3/4 inch. Will this fit the Aprilaire 1700? Thank you for the information.

Aprilaires' respone:

Thank you for your question regarding the Aprilaire model 1700 dehumidifier.

You dehumidifier should have a fitting attache to the end of the PVC drain pipe to allow for connecting your 1/2 inch braided drain hose. We recommend that a consistent downward slope to the drain be ensured to prevent water from remaining in the hose, once the unit has shut off. The drain hose should be inspected for cracking every year to prevent leaks and associated water damage.

Thank you for choosing Aprilaire in your home comfort system.