Essential appliances to dry out your home after a flood

Cleaning up your home after a flood can quickly become overwhelming. In addition to property damage, flooding increases the possibility of mold and mildew and can bring other contaminants into the home. You can speed up the drying process by lowering the humidity with dehumidifiers, fans and room air conditioners.

Note: Only use appliances that have not been damaged by flood waters. Appliances may look normal after a flood, but using any that have been immersed in water creates the risk for electric shock and fire.

Follow these tips to reduce humidity in your home during flood recovery:

  • Use a dehumidifier: Dehumidifiers remove excess moisture from the air. Position it in a dry area of the house at least six inches from any wall. Make sure the dehumidifier is protected by a ground-fault circuit interrupter and avoid using extension cords, as spilled water creates a shock hazard. Set the humidistat to extra dry to remove moisture from room furnishings.
  • Open the house: Open windows when weather permits, if there’s lower humidity outside than inside.
  • Turn on the AC: A room air conditioner can help reduce humidity in the home. Avoid using central air conditioning. If systems are contaminated by dirt, silt or other materials, they’ll spread it around your home.
  • Use fans: Fans will help move humid air outside your home.

How Appliances Can Help You Manage Your Child’s Allergies

If your child is one of the millions who suffers from allergies in the U.S., you know that it can be hard to control their symptoms.  Reducing contact with airborne allergens like dust and pollen can help prevent the onset of symptoms in children. Allergy symptoms can be especially troublesome during back-to-school season, when a combination of illnesses and fall allergies can increase the chances for absences early in the year.

This is where your appliances come in. Air cleaners, vacuums, humidifiers and dehumidifiers can all play a role in reducing allergens and easing allergy symptoms.

Here are a few steps you can take with your appliances that may help ease your child’s fall allergy symptoms:

  • Use a room air cleaner with a HEPA filter. Air cleaners trap many common allergens, including dust and pollen, and can even remove microbiological pollutants like viruses, bacteria and mold.
  • Keep your room air cleaner running, and operate it in the space where your child spends most of their time. Change the filter as needed.
  • Vacuum the carpet and floors throughout the home on a regular basis and consider using a vacuum with a HEPA filter. If you have a central vacuum, take advantage of its unique abilities. Dirt and pollutants that central vacuums capture are carried through a home’s exhaust system to a central container and don’t require a HEPA filter to remove allergens.
  • Dust mites tend to live on the floor, bedding and furniture. Wash all of them regularly in hot water.
  • Do not hang laundry outside to dry where it may collect pollen and other allergens.  Use a dryer or hang the clothes inside instead.
  • Use a portable room air cleaner in your child’s bedroom to filter airborne particles and help them breathe—and sleep—easier.  A portable room air cleaner that’s received a Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) seal may reduce the level of airborne pollutants. CADR is evolving to encompass virus, bacteria and mold as well as the traditional dust, pollen and smoke.
  • If you have an allergy to dust mites or mold, use a dehumidifier. Dust mites tend to thrive in a humid environment. Dehumidifiers can also reduce the humidity that promotes mold growth.
  • Keep windows closed in the car and at home and limit outdoor activities, especially when the pollen count is high.
  • Using a humidifier can help with symptoms like chronic congestion or postnasal drip.
  • Give kids a bath or shower before bed to help remove the allergens that may have collected on them throughout the day. Wash their clothes in hot water, as many allergens can cling to clothing.

Search for and compare models using the AHAM Verifide online directory. You can search by room size to find the models that are most appropriate for your child’s bedroom. Look at the CADR ratings for tobacco smoke, dust and pollen and find the models that have the highest ratings since they will clean your room the fastest.  You can then weigh the importance of product features, such as design and Wi-FI connectivity, to find an air cleaner that fits your needs.

Respiratory Illnesses, Fall Allergies Put Indoor Air Quality in Focus

If indoor air quality had a season, fall might be it. With millions of children across the U.S. and Canada now back in school, multiple indoor air quality concerns are on the minds of parents, educators and others. Those include new COVID variants, fall allergies, and the spread of illnesses like colds and the flu.

While there’s no way to completely avoid illness-causing viruses and bacteria, there are ways to reduce the risk of indoor transmission. Portable room air cleaners represent the quickest, most accessible option for consumers who want to improve the indoor air quality in their home or classroom. Testing has shown that room air cleaners with HEPA filters have the ability to reduce the level of viruses, bacteria and mold in indoor air. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said that, when used properly, air cleaners can help reduce airborne pollutants, including viruses.

Indoor air quality gained prominence as a public health issue during the  the COVID-19 pandemic, and many have made room air cleaners an important part of their plan to reduce the chance of transmission. Almost half (46%) who responded to an AHAM survey conducted in late 2020 said they had taken steps to improve their home’s indoor air quality during the pandemic. Another 16% reported having purchased an air cleaner during the pandemic. Among those who owned a portable air cleaner, 42% reported using it more than they had prior to the pandemic.

In addition to viruses and illness, many consumers also reported being concerned about pollutants like dust, mold and pollen.

There will soon be an easy way to compare the ability of different air cleaner models to remove viruses, bacteria and mold. AHAM has developed a room air cleaner standard that measures removal of microbiological pollutants like viruses, bacteria and mold. The standard, AHAM-AC-5-2022, is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and will ultimately be added to AHAM’s Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR), which assigns numerical ratings based on an air cleaner’s tested performance in a given room size.

AHAM AC-5 was developed over 18 months by a team of public health professionals, engineers and academic researchers.

Room air cleaner use tips

  • Air cleaners should be positioned as close as possible to the center of the room to maximize airflow.
  • Change the air cleaner filter regularly, according to the model’s use and care manual.
  • Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter regularly to remove pollutants that could potentially be put back into the air.

What to do if your appliances are flooded

If you are anticipating flooding in your area, it is important to know how to safely handle appliances that have been in a flooded home.

Flooding can cause serious damage to appliances and make them hazardous to operate, even if they look normal. If your home has been flooded or you are expecting flooding, follow these appliance safety tips, which include information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Red Cross.

  • If the storm requires you to evacuate, unplug appliances except for refrigerators or freezers before leaving. Turn off gas and electricity if your home is damaged or if you are instructed to do so.
  • Do not turn on or plug in any appliances after a flood, as doing so could cause an electric shock or fire.
  • Flooding may cause gas appliances to move or break. Leave immediately if you smell gas or suspect a gas leak. Turn off the gas and leave the door open.
  • Clean and sanitize all hard surfaces, including countertops, concrete, plumbing fixtures and major and portable appliances. This is critical to remove and to prevent mold. Use hot water and dish detergent to clean, and a capful of bleach in a gallon of water to sanitize. Wash your hands with boiled and cooled or sanitized water after cleaning.
  • Wash any contaminated clothes in a laundromat or machine in a location that hasn’t been flooded if yours hasn’t been inspected, serviced and cleared for use.
  • If you use a wet-dry vacuum during cleanup, follow all manufacturers’ directions to avoid electric shock.Be prepared to replace your appliances after the flood. While it’s possible that some may be recovered, don’t use them until they have been thoroughly inspected by an electrician or qualified technician who can assess whether they are safe to use.

Tips to Maximize Air Conditioner Performance During Summer Heat

A well-maintained, properly functioning air conditioner can be your home’s most important appliance during the summer.

If you are relying on a portable or room air conditioner to make the summer heat more manageable, follow these use and maintenance tips to help maximize its cooling ability.

Don’t set your air conditioner too low: Your air conditioner doesn’t need to be set at a high level if nobody is going to be in the room for a while. Set it at 75-80 degrees if you’re going out. You’ll keep the room cooler and cut power consumption.

Keep the AC level steady: While oppressive heat will make you want to crank up the AC, it’s inefficient to try to cool the room all at once by setting your AC to the maximum level. Start earlier in the day when the temperature outside is lower and allow the room to cool slowly.

Block out the sun: Give your AC unit some help by drawing the shades or blinds to keep the sun—and the heat—out of the room.

Cleaner equals cooler: Check your air filter twice a month and clean it when necessary. Excess dirt and debris can reduce the efficiency of your air conditioner. Filters can be cleaned with lukewarm water and mild dish detergent. Accessible parts can be carefully cleaned with a vacuum and brush attachment.

Avoid household tasks that generate heat: Make it easier for your AC unit to do its job, and avoid activities that heat up the house, like cooking or laundry, during the hottest hours.

Let nature do some of the work: Has the temperature outside dropped? Take advantage of the break in the heat, turn off your air conditioner and open the windows. Use the unit fan and portable fans to bring the cooler outside air inside.

If your air conditioner still doesn’t seem to be keeping the room cool, it’s possible that your AC unit may be too small for the size of the room.

If you are looking for a new air conditioner, learn the differences between room and portable air conditioners.

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