Posted by Tony on May 14th, 2014
After a strenuous winter, it’s already time to think about the hot summer months ahead. Forecasters say it’s going to be a scorcher, and the last thing you want to deal with is a hot house all summer. Consider the following tips to keep your family comfortable and safe this summer—they’ll help keep your energy costs down too!
Schedule a Professional AC Tune-Up
Central ACs account for most of the electricity used during summer months, and just like your car needs regular tune-ups–so does your air conditioner. Simple maintenance will keep it running at its best and prolong its life.
A professional air conditioning tune-up will include safety inspections to make sure your system is safe and meets the cooling needs of your home.
Improve Your Air Conditioner’s Efficiency
- Change your air conditioner’s filter monthly as needed.
- Use a programmable thermostat and program it to run only when people are at home.
- Keep leaves and debris away from your air conditioner’s outside cabinet
Other Easy Tips for Staying Cool
- Ensure Proper Attic Insulation
If you’re attic isn’t properly insulated, it can reach scary-high temperatures (140 degrees F), and this heat will build up, seep into your home, and make your AC work harder.
- Install Ceiling Fans
Help your AC out by letting fans circulate cool air around your space. On cooler nights, these may help avoid using your central AC.
- Unplug Unused Electronics
Reduce energy and heat output in your house by unplugging appliances and electronics you’re not using.
- Cover Windows
You can help reduce the heat in your home by keeping your windows closed and covered by blinds or drapes to block out the sun during the day.
- Add Supplemental Cooling
If one of your rooms gets overly warm or you only need to cool certain rooms you’re in a lot, consider installing a portable air conditioner or even a window AC. For energy-smart models, look for ACs with the Energy Star seal—earned by models proven to save you money on energy/operating costs.
By taking some time now, you can make your home more comfortable and safer for your family this summer. Then, you can relax and enjoy the summer weather to come! Have additional tips? Tell us below or on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
Posted by Ivey on March 19th, 2014
Two of my favorite things in life are cooking and spending time with my pets. Unfortunately (and despite my best efforts), they both can cause pretty pungent odors in my home. For years, plug-in and aerosol air fresheners were my go-to solution. But after a while I noticed these “fresh smells” often coincided with headaches and allergy flare-ups. I dug a little deeper and didn’t like what I read—luckily I found better ways to keep my home healthy and odor-free.
Posted by Ivey on December 12th, 2013
Baby, it’s cold outside! Coast to coast in the U.S., the last month of 2013 has brought with it snow, ice, and record lows. Needless to say, most of us are searching for ways to stay warm and comfortable despite the frigid temperatures. While we often turn to traditional space heaters for our supplemental heating needs, many people (myself included!) are looking for a heater that doesn’t just warm the room, but looks good doing it. Enter electric fireplaces. These attractive heaters quickly become a focal point in foyers, offices, bedrooms, and living rooms alike.
And let’s face it, nothing defines cozy winter nights like the iconic look of a fireplace and warm fire. Of course, fewer home additions can be more aggravating than a traditional fireplace. Between purchasing (or chopping) wood, cleaning/maintenance, and carbon monoxide emissions, there’s a lot of hassle for a little ambiance. That’s why electric fireplaces are such a hit! They blend the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of a space heater with the charm of a traditional fireplace—without the hassle. Typically requiring just a standard outlet, these fireplaces can be plugged in just about anywhere. Thanks to improved technology, they offer extremely realistic flames, simple operation, and tons of safety features.
Posted by Tony on November 27th, 2013
This year’s Black Friday is shaping up to be a wild one: Thanksgiving falls late so there are fewer weeks between now and Christmas, and it’s freezing pretty much everywhere—so expect an extra slice of crazy with your traffic and lines. So what’s your strategy?
Here’s ours: Offer huge deals on our most popular products, like 20% off select space heaters and select humidifiers. We’re also offering 10% off ANY purchase more than $150 (using coupon code THANKS13). The best part? You don’t have to deal with the cold, traffic, or long lines—and we’ll ship your quality products to you for free. Oh, and our Black Friday sale runs through Cyber Monday, so visit Sylvane.com to take advantage of our discounts all weekend (from 11-28-13 to 12-2-13).
For me, that’s enough incentive to buy useful products, but here’s a look at some of our best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals: Continue reading
Posted by Tony on October 3rd, 2013
In school, I was the only kid who dreaded having class outside on a nice day. I don’t hate nature, but this usually meant sitting in the grass for at least an hour…and unfortunately, I’m allergic to both pollen and grass. It isn’t that I can’t go in my yard (although it’s a good excuse to get out of yardwork), but if I sit in the grass for long periods of time my eyes itch, get red, and have even swollen shut. It’s very glamorous.
Who knew reading Men’s Health magazine could have potentially saved me a lot of trouble? They recently published an article offering one of the coolest ways to fight allergy symptoms: wearing sunglasses. That’s right, rocking sunglasses (the larger the better!) can help ward off allergy symptoms.
As strange as it may sound, wearing shades physically blocks out pollen, UV rays (which can stimulate symptoms), and other allergens. And it turns out this is pretty well known.
Participants in the study mentioned in Men’s Health wore large, wrap-around sunglasses, but doctors and other experts seem to agree that any type of sunglasses may help—if only slightly.
Sunglasses help by decreasing the amount of air that circulates over your eyes—which helps keep allergens from directly touching them. Since light exposure can increase allergy symptoms in your eyes, standard UV-blocking shades may even help control symptoms. Your eyes and nose are directly connected, so blocking your eyes will help keep your nose clear as well.
It makes sense if you think about it: The less allergens that touch your eyes, the better. So wear those big aviators all the time—they’re more than just a fashion statement. And if you’re an allergy-sufferer like me, you’ll take any bit of help you can get.
Have you noticed sunglasses providing any other useful purpose? Know another strange way to help fight off allergy symptoms? Tell us in the comments below or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
Posted by Ivey on September 24th, 2013
While a lot of attention is given to solutions and proactive steps for dealing with allergies, asthma, and other problems related to environmental issues, we often neglect the social aspects of living with these health issues. For children with allergies, asthma, or similar symptoms, these daily struggles can be even more frustrating. On top of avoiding environmental triggers and keeping an epi pen or inhaler handy, many young allergy- and asthma-sufferers are also tasked with explaining these flare-ups to friends, teachers, and even other parents.
Luckily, there are resources to help you talk to your children about allergies and asthma in fun, creative ways, as well as how to be considerate of those dealing with these issues. For example, Taking Asthma to School by Kim Gosselin is actually written for children without asthma to help them understand asthmatic students and what happens when they get occasional shortness of breath. This illustrated book also contains “Ten Tips for Teachers” and a fun quiz.
Posted by Tony on September 13th, 2013
It’s been a rough week for Gree Electric Appliances—more than 2 million of their dehumidifiers have been recalled for overheating and catching fire. This massive dehumidifier recall has people scrambling for information and replacement dehumidifiers.
If you need information about the recall or want a full dehumidifier recall list, check out the recall information and products included in it.
If you’re looking for a dehumidifier that HASN’T been recalled, you’ve come to the right place. Sylvane offers plenty of replacement dehumidifiers that can be sent to you in no time—so don’t let the recall get you down…and don’t let your indoor air suffer because of it.
NONE of the dehumidifiers currently being sold on our website have been recalled. Remember, only certain models from specific manufacturers were affected. All affected models have been permanently removed from the marketplace.
Posted by Tony on August 26th, 2013
Labor Day is an interesting time of year—in some areas it still feels like summer, while in others fall and even winter is clearly on the horizon. At Sylvane, we’re here to make sure your indoor air feels fresh regardless of the weather in your area.
To celebrate Labor Day and the end of our rainy summer here at Sylvane HQ, we’re having a huge Labor Day sale from August 27-Sepemteber 2. The sale offers 20% off select brands of dehumidifiers, air conditioners, and swamp coolers, and also features deals on some of our most popular products like Alen air purifiers and Dyson fans and vacuums.
With deals on so many top products and brands, now may be the best time to buy. Keep reading to see some of our featured products: Continue reading
Posted by Ivey on July 22nd, 2013
With morning temperatures registering at nearly 76 degrees F, there is no doubt that summer is officially here. While I am happy for the sunny, outdoor weather, I also live in a renovated bungalow that was originally built in the 1950s. Needless to say, uneven cooling throughout my otherwise-adorable home is a well-known problem, along with electric bills that rival the thermometer in terms of scary heights.
Like many who choose the charm of an older home, I’ve had to get creative with my cooling decisions to keep power bills within reason while, of course, maintaining a cool environment. Using fans to supplement my air conditioning has become my starting point for creating a comfortable home during the dog days of summer. In fact, Bob Vila points out that air conditioners not only account for roughly 25% of a home’s electricity costs, they also cost as much as 36 cents per hour to operate. Fans, on the other hand, only cost about a penny for the same operating time (when used on medium speed.)
Posted by Ivey on July 9th, 2013
Parents have a lot to worry about these days, and a recent study shows you may need to start thinking about the air your baby breathes even before you give birth. The study, conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), reveals that in-utero exposure to air pollution may contribute to higher risks for autism.
For some time, we’ve been keenly aware of the link between air pollution and asthma, heart disease, chronic respiratory illnesses, allergies, and more. The HSPH findings, along with previous studies, indicate that autism may need to be added to this list.
Posted by Tony on June 19th, 2013
Miele vacuums took home the JD Power and Associates top prize for “Highest Customer Satisfaction” for both upright and canister vacuum categories. In the annual survey, consumers ranked Miele vacuums highest in performance, styling and features. It’s the second win in a row for Miele’s upright vacuums as they continue to impress everyone who uses one.
HEPA filtration, a sealed bagged system, and powerful suction makes for years of healthy living. Its HEPA filtration is big part of why customers, particularly allergy-sufferers, appreciate Miele vacuums. Their HEPA filters capture up to 99.99% of airborne particles down to .3 microns and are part of Miele’s sealed 12-step air filtration system.
Posted by Ivey on May 14th, 2013
With the average American working at least eight hours a day, your office may seem like a second home. That’s why for those of us with allergies and asthma, it’s just as important to keep our offices clean and allergen-free as it is our own homes. In honor of May being Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month, here are some tips to help employees and employers maintain a comfortable working environment for everyone, ensuring the best productivity possible.
- Clear the clutter: While stacks of paper may seem like the mark of a busy employee, they’re also a great way to collect dust and other particle irritants on your desk. Take some time each week to tidy up your desk area by removing or recycling unnecessary paperwork. Also, view and save documents on your computer and/or company’s shared space to reduce waste.
- Wash your dishes: Busy days are just a part of work life. Regardless of the length of your to-do list, remove dishes and food containers from your desk and wash them as soon as possible. Dirty dishes (especially your coffee cup!) and used food wrappers can be a breeding ground for mold and other allergens.
- Encourage a fragrance-free work environment: Fragrances from perfumes, hand lotions, cleaning products, and more can cause reactions like headaches, nausea, or even asthma attacks.
Posted by Tony on March 12th, 2013
A cleaning revolution may sound a bit dramatic, but it’s exactly what Miele has created. Their new S8 line of canister vacuums are packed with extras and leading the charge in changing how we clean our homes.
I was lucky enough to chat with a Miele rep about these “next generation” vacuums. I really only had 2 questions: What makes one S8 model different from the others? And who should buy each one? I’ll share what I learned, but let’s run through the premium features they all share first. These vacuums filter air better than most canister vacuums, and they’re the lightest and quietest vacuums Miele has ever created. All Miele S8 vacuums include:
- Parquet Twister Floor Tool: All S8 models come with this floor tool, which is air-driven and perfect for smooth floors.
- AirClean Sealed System: It’s one thing to vacuum up dust, allergens, and other particles, but this sealed system ensures it stays in the vacuum’s bag and out of your indoor environment.
- One-Touch Controls: No wrapping a cord, holding down a button, or even bending over. Simply touch a button with your foot to rewind the cord automatically or turn the vacuum on and off.
- 6 Suction Settings: Different surfaces have various heights and textures; these settings let you control how much suction you use. For example, you’d use much more suction on high-pile carpet than when cleaning upholstery.
- Onboard Accessories: Easy to find and store, use these for cleaning furniture, upholstery, and various other areas of your home. Continue reading
Posted by Tony on March 7th, 2013
February may be a short month, but there was no shortage of intriguing air quality posts! A wide-range of articles from around the world made this month’s Air Quality Evangelists list—and they’re some of our most diverse choices ever. Check out our favorite blog posts and learn a few tips to keep you healthy indoors and out: Continue reading
Posted by Ivey on March 5th, 2013
Let’s face it: When most people think of plants, they often think of allergies. As a result, many people choose to keep plants outside to reduce the likelihood of suffering from the sneezing, itching, and coughing that may occur in the presence of certain plants. However, a study published by NASA revealed that some common household plants can actually improve indoor air quality.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), levels of pollutants inside the home are often two to five times higher than outdoor pollutant levels. You’re probably thinking, “How is that possible? I clean my floors and counter tops regularly.” Well, don’t be too hard on yourself because these excessive levels aren’t necessarily the result of poor housekeeping. Continue reading