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Improve Indoor Air Quality During Wildfires

Wildfires are currently raging in Canada and some parts of the northern U.S. While the situation is especially scary for those in the immediate vicinity, pollution from wildfires can actually carry for thousands of miles, impacting indoor air quality.

Can you see Indoor Air Quality?

If it’s bad enough –  yes, you can see poor indoor air quality as smoke or as dust floating in front of a window. However, the majority of particles that make up air pollution are too small for the human eye to see. Combustion particles, such as those from forest fires, are many times smaller than a single grain of sand.

Impact on health and comfort

Wildfires are far from the only source of pollution that impact indoor air quality. Dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, smoke and other irritants are constantly floating in a home’s indoor air. All of these things become trapped, especially during heating and cooling seasons, and wind up in our lungs.

This isn’t good news for anyone, but has a very negative impact on family members with asthma, allergies or other respiratory conditions.

What should I do?

Our infographic below has some tips for staying healthy during wildfire season. To keep the air in your home healthy year-round, follow these simple tips:

  • To reduce pollen during allergy season, remove clothes and wash immediately after being outside and shower before bed.
  • Keep windows closed during air quality alerts or when pollen counts are high.
  • Use an air purifier to help trap pollutants and improve indoor air quality.
Improve Indoor Air Quality

Tips for improving indoor air quality during wildfires.

A smarter, safer, healthier and more comfortable home

Homes have changed quite a bit since the days of dirt floors, wood stoves and even round, manual thermostats. Today’s home not only shelters people from the elements, but is a family’s most valuable asset. It’s a central location for entertainment, comfort and often work. You probably spend a lot of time in your home – and a lot of time worrying about it when you’re gone.

A Wi-Fi Wine Bottle?

Smart devices allow us to control and monitor door locks, garage doors and much more. Recently, a startup company announced its release of a Wi-Fi wine bottle – presumably so you can monitor how much wine you have left?

While some smart devices may seem a little pointless (just look at the bottle!), the ability to control temperature and indoor air quality from anywhere through a home’s Wi-Fi internet connection is anything but frivolous. With Wi-Fi control, homeowners truly have safety, comfort and health in the palm of their hands.

Reduced energy costs with Aprilaire Wi-Fi

One significant benefit of Wi-Fi Control is reduced energy costs. With a thermostat that allows you to easily set – but also easily override – heating and cooling schedules, you can avoid wasting any money cooling a vacant home this summer. Additionally, you can control your home’s Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) by adjusting humidity, ventilation and air purity. All of these aspects can affect your comfort, your health and your energy savings.

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Wi-Fi control of temperature and indoor air quality can improve energy savings and protect your family’s comfort and health.

Increase the IQ of your indoor air with smart technology

Learn more about Aprilaire Wi-Fi Thermostats with IAQ Control and how you can improve your home’s indoor air from anywhere!

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Spring Cleaning for your Indoor Air

One of the best parts of annual spring cleaning is the chance to open up and air out the house. It feels good to clean up the dust, flush out stale odors and take a breath of fresh air. However, soon enough rising temperatures will mean it’s time to turn on the air conditioner and close up the house once again. As you clean out your home this spring, start thinking about what you can do to improve your indoor air quality.

Top Tips for Spring Cleaning Infographic

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Tips and suggestions for keeping your indoor air pure and fresh!

    1. Ditch the chemicals and scents – Many household cleaners, air fresheners and even scented candles can fill your home with harmful VOCs that irritate asthma symptoms and other respiratory conditions. One solution is to opt for more traditional cleaners like vinegar, and use dried potpourri instead of aerosol fragrances. When you begin spring cleaning, properly dispose of or use up what’s left of harsh chemicals and replace your stock with alternatives.
    2. Whole-Home air purification – High-capacity air purifiers installed as part of your home’s HVAC system can drastically cut down on dust, allergens and even bacteria and viruses. Unlike room air purifiers, whole-home systems improve the air throughout the entire house on-demand and anytime the air conditioner is running. Noticeably cut down on dust for a cleaner, more comfortable home and a healthier environment for family members with asthma, allergies or breathing problems.
    3. Whole-home ventilation All homes – but especially newer construction – can build up high concentrations of volatile organic compounds along with bad odors, smoke, and excess humidity. All of these conditions can greatly impact health and comfort as well as damage your home. Whole-home ventilation solutions expel dirty air and replace it with fresh, outdoor air without negatively impacting your energy bill. Just because your AC is running doesn’t mean your home should be filled with stale unhealthy air.

Clean up your Indoor Air!

Learn more about how Aprilaire can help you with your spring cleaning goals by visiting our website or using our dealer locator!

Need some new date night ideas? Try hiking and star gazing!

date, datenight, dating, date ideas

If your traditional date night is becoming a little boring, try these date ideas that get you up and moving!

Summer tends to fill up fast with family trips to water parks, sporting events and even yard work. Before school is out and things get busy, don’t miss the chance for a romantic night out.

Is Date Night Dull?

However, if your date night has gotten a little stale or routine, try something a little more adventurous. In a world of smart phones and streaming TV, who wants to use date night to go stare at another screen? Here are some getaway ideas that take you out of your comfort zone for a night you won’t forget.

Hit the dusty trail: Whether on foot, bike or even a horse, a trip into the woods for a day can help you escape the minutia of daily life and rediscover your passion and romance! Chances are you’re not too far from a forest preserve or nature center that would be a great getaway. America’s State Parks website even has state-by-state search function!

Look up: If your hike runs late (provided the park is open passed dusk) don’t miss the chance to see the stars. While we have plenty to keep us entertained at ground level nowadays, for centuries, watching the heavens was the only show in town. If you’re not sure what to look for, there are a number of mobile apps that can help point your eyes in the right direction – just stay off the work email and social media!

Be young at heart: Walk to the ice cream shop, go for a swing at the playground, even ding-dong-ditch the neighbors if you’re up to it! Well, maybe not the last one… but don’t be afraid to act like kids, even when you leave them at home. Studies show that health and relationships improve when we take on the positive, curious attitudes associated with youth.

Healthy Date Night

As the seasons change, the days lengthen and the air warms – revitalize your date night plans as well. Not only is it fun – but it may even reduce stress, improve health and lead to some exciting adventures.

You can also improve your family’s health and comfort with whole-home air purification! Visit Aprilaire for more information.

Spring Storms Bring Musty Smell Inside

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When people think about protecting their homes from spring storms, they usually give more consideration to their roofs than their basements. However, heavy rain falls also mean there is a greater chance for flooding in crawlspaces and basements. While flooding is an obvious problem in a finished space; it’s just as important to keep crawlspaces and unfinished areas dry to avoid a musty smell.

Don’t Dismiss the Dangers of a Damp Basement

Even small amounts of water can cause foundation damage, mold growth, musty smells and damage to tools and furniture. Whether from a flood, a small leak or a just excess humidity, a wet basement creates some serious issues:

  1. Mold and mildew: The growth of mold and mildew is what causes the familiar musty smell in basements and crawlspaces. However, mold also releases spores which can aggravate asthma and allergy conditions. In rare cases, exposure has even led to life threatening compilations in those with severe allergies or weakened immune systems.
  2. Bugs, rodents and pests: A damp crawlspace or basement provides a welcoming environment for pests. Bugs and rodents appreciate the sheltered space with access to water – perfect for breeding. Some critters will even feed or gnaw on the exposed wood structure of a home, causing severe damage.
  3. Oxidation: High relative humidity in a basement can lead to rust on tools and other metal objects; damaging their appearance and performance. Excessive moisture in the air can also cause electronics to fail. If homeowners get a whiff of a musty smell, many items in the basement may be at risk.

What You Can Do to keep it Dry

Earlier in the year, the South, plains and Midwest all experienced their share of storms, according to MSN News. More recently, Houston saw wide spread flooding after record rain fall in the month of May. Even when spring weather events don’t cause rivers to break their banks, they still cause increased saturation of the ground around houses. Humidity levels also rise in the spring, which can create moisture problems and musty smells, even in homes with well-sealed foundations. Protecting a basement or crawlspace requires defending against both types of moisture infiltration.

  • Patch and seal: If the source of a leak is obvious and fairly small, homeowners can perform some patching and repairs on their own to prevent leaks. However, if cracks are widespread or there are signs that foundation damage has already occurred, it’s best to call a professional.
  • Clear drains and install a sump pump: If a home has a clogged French drain or no sump pump, then there is nowhere for the water to go. Even if a small amount of water sits on the floor for a period of time, the situation can create a musty smell.
  • Dehumidify the air: While pumps and drains can remove water from the floor, the only successful way to reduce moisture in the air is with a dehumidifier. Basements and crawlspaces usually have the highest RH levels in the home, which is why a musty smell is so common. Purchasing a high-capacity dehumidifier that can meet the demand is essential.

While it’s great to see that spring has arrived and summer is on its way, the muggy days ahead can cause serious problems in basements and crawlspaces. Homeowners should act now to protect their homes from musty smells, insect infestations and structural damage.