How to Eliminate Dust in My Home
Everyone has it, and nobody wants it. Dust. What exactly is it? According to an article in Time magazine, “dust consists of some combination of shed bits of human skin, animal fur, decomposing insects, food debris, lint and organic fibers from clothes, bedding and other fabrics, tracked-in soil, soot, particulate matter from smoking and cooking, and, disturbingly, lead, arsenic and even DDT.”
This definitely does not paint a pretty picture. It’s easy to see how it can affect your home’s indoor air quality (IAQ), leading to allergens. At Robben and Sons Heating, we know how important clean indoor air quality is for your home.
With indoor air quality typically being dirtier than your outdoor air, you need to take measures to reduce factors contributing to the indoor pollution––both for your health and your home’s. Keep in mind, completely eliminating or eradicating dust from your home is an impossible task. By its mere definition above, you can understand why it will always exist in your home. However, you can substantially reduce your home’s dust levels by following some of the recommendations below.
Take Care of Your Filters
The purpose of your HVAC system’s air filter is to trap dust and debris flowing through the system’s air. Your home’s air is vented through your HVAC system and forced through its filter. Using the best filter you can afford and recommended by your system’s manufacturer can trap a lot of the dust traveling through the air. Pay attention to your filter’s MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value), a measurement system created by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to rate how effective filters are. Be sure to purchase filters with the appropriate MERV rating for your system.
You also want to change your filter on a regular basis, depending on how dirty it becomes. Optimally, we recommend changing it every month but at least every two to three months. A good rule of thumb is to check your filter monthly. If it’s dirty, change it. When your filter is filled, besides hurting your HVAC system, it cannot do its job of reducing the dust in your home.
Check Your Air Ducts
If you have a forced-air HVAC system, you have air ducts carrying your home’s air to and from your heating-and-cooling system. If your ducts are not sealed well or have leaks, unfiltered air will be sneaking out into your home. It is estimated you could have as much as 30 percent air leakage due to poor sealing and leaks. That means this air has not yet made it to your filter and will be spreading dust throughout your home.
It can be worse if your air ducts are dirty. The air passing through the ducts will pick up additional dust and dirt and deposit them throughout your home. If you notice a continual high level of dust in your home, call in a professional to check your ducts’ seals and inspect for leaks. Also consider getting your ducts cleaned, especially if you have never cleaned them.
Use an Air Purifier
Though diminishing or eliminating the sources for your home’s dust is best, utilizing an air purifier can help. A whole-home air purifier works with your home’s HVAC system to purify the air of dust and other particles and allergens––the dust never makes it your home’s air. A large benefit of a whole-home purifier, compared with small portable units, is it purifies all the air in your home at once. Portable units typically can only purify the air in one room. You would need a separate purifier in every room in your home to get a similar result.
Check Your Humidity
Be sure your home has the appropriate level of humidity. Too high, it encourages dust mites. Too low, dust accumulates more. Try to keep it between 40 to 50 percent here in Clackamas, OR and below 40 percent in the winter to avoid condensation.
Clean Your House
In addition to the HVAC steps you can take to reduce dust, there are some things you can do while cleaning your house to help:
• Eliminate clutter, as it collects dust.
• Vacuum one to two times a week, using a vacuum with a HEPA filter if possible.
• Dust with a microfiber or damp cloth to catch dust, dusting from top to bottom.
• Wash bedding regularly––sheets and pillowcases once a week, blankets, duvets, and pillows every three to four weeks.
• Avoid wall-to-wall carpeting, as its a habitat for dust.
At Robben and Sons Heating, we know dust can be a nuisance as well as an allergen. If you notice more-than-normal dust levels in your home, call us at 503-233-5841 to visit your home and get to the bottom of the issue.