Dust is a recurring problem in a lot of homes, and many people ask the question: How do I get rid of dust? The issue is, dust isn’t the problem – it is a symptom of a problem. We spoke about this at length on this past week’s episode of The Home Improvement Show, and we thought it would be great to follow-up with a blog post on dust prevention tips for your home.
As we stated above, dust is not the problem, it is merely a symptom of a a larger issue – or more accurately, several combinations of issues. To understand how to deal with recurring dust in the home, we first have to understand what causes dust infiltration.
What is Dust and What Causes It
There are several types of dust in the universe, but when we speak about dust, we think of the domestic variety, which is made up of mostly pollen, hair from humans and animals, soil particles, skin cells, paper and textile fibers (think clothing), and even meteorite particles.
Many things can cause a build-up of dust in your home, including the in and out of human traffic, animals and so forth. The two most common causes of dust build-up, however, are air leaks and duct leaks.
Air leaks can occur wherever there is a crack or hole that allows air to escape into a room. This includes walls, ceilings, windows, attics and doors. Other popular areas include electrical outlets, light fixtures, recessed lighting, ceiling fans, and trim.
One way you can tell if you have duct leaks is to look at your air supply grills or vents. If you see dust or streaks accumulating around the vent, you know you have a problem. The same method works for ceilings fans and outlets.
Below are some tips on how to prevent dust problems before they start, or stop them if they are an ongoing problem.
Seal Air Leaks and Duct Leaks
The number one method you can use to resolve dust issues is to seal any air and duct leaks. The first step of that is to consult with an HVAC or home improvement contractor and ask for an energy audit. The HVAC technician performing the audit will be able to detect any leaks in your home and take the appropriate measures to seal them properly.
Not only will getting an energy audit help reduce the dust in your home dramatically, it will also help reduce drafts in your home, leading to a reduction in your monthly utility bills. A true win-win scenario!
Changing your air filters on a monthly basis and making sure you use high quality, pleated filters can also help. Make sure the filter you get is rated properly for your blower capacity. Filters with a high MERV rating (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) can help remove dust particles better than lower rated ones, but can also restrict the air-flow to your HVAC system. Consult your HVAC specialist to determine what MERV rating is ideal for your home.
Also, consider upgrading to a a whole house air cleaner. This will help as well, but keep in mind that this will mainly treat the symptom, and not resolve the problem.
Removing clutter in your home (excessive knick-knacks, books, and so forth), and purchasing non-textile furniture (wood, leather, etc) will also help ease the amount of dust build-up, as can vacuuming often.
At the end of the day though, an energy audit is probably the best step you can take to actually stop the problem and not just put a bandage on it.
How Do I know If I Need an Energy Audit
I get asked this question from time to time, and the answer is fairly simple. If any of these issues apply to you, then you could benefit from an energy audit:
- You have hot or cold spots in your home
- You have drafts
- You have high utility bills
- You have a dust issue
There are some great HVAC and home remodeling contractors in the Gainesville, Georgia, and North Georgia area that can provide you with more information, or better yet, call Tracy Tesmer Design/Remodeling for a referral. We will be more than happy to steer you in the right direction!