Dust Summary

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Old 02-20-07, 07:37 PM
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Dust Summary

Have any of the pro's/readers in this section, might have done a summation about how to end/fix/help the problem with extremely excessive dust in a home?

I couldn't handle reading all of the threads, so was hoping there might be a collective one I can be pointed too.

I am desperate.
 
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Old 02-20-07, 08:20 PM
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If you are looking for a one stop cure your not going to get it!
1. Carpet if it is old replace it! Hard surface floors are best.
2. Buy a HEPA vacuum.
3. Take shoes off at door.
4. Install a media filter in duct work.
5. Have duct work cleaned.
6. Put home in positive pressure. (infiltration is a big contributor of dust).
These are my top six I could be here all night on telling you how to stop dust. Hope this helps.
 
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Old 02-20-07, 10:01 PM
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Wink

If you dont go to a thick Air Bear filter. Then use up to a MERV 5 filter not over. There also is a Filter Coat or Filter Spray. This you take and put just a lite coat on the intake side of the filter then put it in.
 
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Old 02-21-07, 08:12 AM
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ewschott ...

In homes which have central forced air heating and air conditioning and a duct work system, dust is always going to be an ongoing problem and battle. (I hate to sound discouraging.) Most homes in the south have duct work systems. With this kind of system, no matter what you do ... you're going to have dust. The dust is drawn into your fresh air returns and is recirculated through the ducts and right back through the registers and into your living quarters all over again -- it just goes 'round and 'round through the system.

There's a lot of debate about whether having duct work professionally cleaned is effective. You can google it up and form your own opinion. If the ductwork is really old and has years of accumulation of dust, rodent and lizard carcasses, insects, etc., a professional cleaning might help, but it won't eliminate the dust, at least for very long. Fresh dust and dirt will be drawn back into the system to be recirculated all over again.

I'm not a professional handyman or anything. I have some rental houses and have some do it myself experience. Some homes are much dustier than others. Especially if the homeowner has some re-modeling work done such as drywall sanding and forgets or neglects to turn off the system, or close off the fresh air returns while the work and sanding is in progress. All that dust will be sucked into the fresh air returns only to be recirculated around and back into the house. And filters only trap a small amount of it.

Flex duct is the worst. All those spirals and ridges have a tendency to accumulate dust inside them. And not only that, but flex duct might be have an accumulation of dirt in them at the time of installation. Installers often use flex duct which has been laying outside in the elements for weeks and most of them don't even bother to rinse them out before installation.

If you have a duct system about the only thing you can do is learn to live with a dusty home. Filters and regular thorough vacuuming does help. Dust mops are good too. Don't use a feather duster for dusting off things -- feather dusters simply puff the dust around where it settles on another place to be recycled through your system all over again. Use a moist cloth to wipe up the dust. We wipe everything about every two weeks.

About the only way you can solve a dusty house problem is to have radiant (radiator heating) or radiant baseboard heating or heated floors. But then you would need ductless air conditioning, usually window units. But there will always be at least some dust. Many new homeowners are insisting on radiant heating.

Good luck!
 
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Old 02-21-07, 02:57 PM
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Thank you for all your great answers, but I must say it is depressing. Our dust problem is honestly clean one day, two days later it looks like it hasn't been cleaned for two weeks.

I have asked all the heating/air guys that have been here about the vent cleaning and they seem to think it's a waste. But since we've only been here two years and the last owners didn't seem to pay attention to the house, maybe it would be a good idea to try anyway.

We have a friend who is a builder and he suggested which filter for us to use in our forced air heating, sorry all I can tell you is it's the red one. He and a heating/air guy said the ones that are really tight are not good because they clog and make everything not work as well - or something like that.

We also have a duct booster for one vent, could that be an issue too? I think it is just going from the basement to one bedroom upstairs though.

Here's a guestion... if the forced air heat is coming through the clean air returns then going through the vents to the furnace then back again (or visa versa) - has anyone ever thought/tried/or maybe it's already done - about filtering the clean air return vents? We do have all hardwood, but to add to the problem, we also have two dogs.

I could by "Swiffer" (sp?) cloths by the case - they are expensive!

Thanks again!
 
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Old 02-21-07, 03:02 PM
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Wink

If you are useing a good filter on the furnace . Are you sure all air goes through the filter and not around it??? Do you put in a new filter every 30 days???? What kind a humidifier do you have on the furnace????
 

Last edited by Ed Imeduc; 02-21-07 at 03:16 PM.
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Old 02-21-07, 07:54 PM
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I'll have to check these things tomorrow Ed and get back to you.

Thanks for your concern.
 
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Old 02-22-07, 10:00 AM
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ewschott ...

I'm not sure what you mean by using filters on the clean air return vents. Whenever home owners talk about vents, grilles, registers, etc. there's always some confusion. Even contractors often refer to "registers" as "vents." In simple, layman's terms the "registers" are those usually about 8" x 12" "vents" located at floor-level in various rooms in the house. The treated air (heated or cooled) comes out into your house from those vents.

The "fresh air intake or return" is usually that grille (also sometimes referred to as a "vent") which is located (oftentimes) on the wall a few inches above the baseboard in a hallway. This grille is often about 20" x 20" with a filter of the same size and configuration of the grille, mounted directly behind the grille. This grille is where the air inside your living quarters is sucked or drawn back into the heating and air conditioning unit to be warmed or cooled and forced through the ductwork system to the floor registers where it comes billowing out into your house again. Then the cycle repeats itself.

If you're talking about putting filters on your registers, well, it doesn't do much good. Any filter will help to trap and stop some dust, but some dust particulates are almost microscopic in size and will pass through anykind of filter. You can buy pre-cut filters for floor registers at Wal-Mart but they don't do much good. Too much filtering can impede the air flow of your system and put a strain on your heating/cooling system.

I think the best overall filter for the intake at the grille is simply a good pleated filter. A pleated filter has more surface to trap dust. Some of these filters don't really fit very snug or tight behind the grille. When I replace them (every month) I use masking tape to seal gaps around the edges.

I don't know how old your house is, but if it's pretty old and many of the previous owners had lots of pets and children it might be a good idea to have the duct work professionally cleaned -- or just replace the duct work.

When I had new gas pack installed one of my old rental houses, they also replaced the old metal duct system with flex duct. I don't like flex duct but that's what they are using nowadays because it's a lot cheaper than metal ducts. I was astonished at the accumulation of junk in the old duct work. There were small children's toys, candy, etc. that had fallen through the floor registers. Also various and assorted dried up insect and lizard carcasses, not to mention mold and mildew. Inhaling air that has been flowing through the duct work and across all that debris and back into your living quarters cannot possibly be healthy.

I apologize for my poor and simply-worded, non-technical writing style but maybe my comments plus those of others will be of some help to you and provide some tips to ponder.
 
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Old 02-22-07, 11:38 AM
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Ah-ha! You have dogs. Dogs = fur and dust, even the "non shedders". All the fun dirt they play in just gets airborne the second they "shake off" in the house. I have seen it with mine own eyes and YUCK, makes my eyes sting just thinking about it!

Our house is eternally dusty due to 1) the remodel 2) the pets (two cats and two dogs - one of each sheds like mad) 3) pine pollen (everything goes yellow when the pine trees are doing their thing in spring 4) wearing shoes in the house (this will end when the mudroom is finished) 5) hubby is a construction worker 6) non-tight joints in the log exterior 6) carpet (these go away with the remodel) 7) upholstered furniture (much being replaced with leather in the remodel) 8) wood stove - nuf said ... my point is there are so many things it's not even funny. Even the cobwebs on the cathedral ceiling are dusty!

*However* I had a glimmer of hope when a very pet allergic friend recently visited and he commented his allergies were not so bad, did we spring clean? No, but we DID get rid of the upholstered couch and chair. If the dander is less, the dust must be less too!
 
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Old 03-11-07, 02:55 PM
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Logcabincook,

Wow it does sound like you have alot of issues to deal with, and are really attacking them.

Our house is 33 years old and is a "contemporary", meaning it's all open with the exception of the upstairs which has 2.5 story windows with about the size of a room as the foyer (wasted space) that has the steps.

We have one room that sits off and is the only carpeted floor besides upstairs. Their are just two larger upholstered chairs and a leather couch, although I must be honest, we almost sit on the floor and the dogs get the furniture! Ha!. We do live in the woods.


notsohandy

I have a good idea that your name doesn't really reflect your talents! I am going to try and answer your thoughts below quotes by you.

"In simple, layman's terms the "registers" are those usually about 8" x 12" "vents" located at floor-level in various rooms in the house. The treated air (heated or cooled) comes out into your house from those vents."

All of these except one are actually part of the wood floors.

"The "fresh air intake or return" is usually that grille (also sometimes referred to as a "vent") which is located (oftentimes) on the wall a few inches above the baseboard in a hallway."

These are about 6" from the ceiling and are the ones I was wondering about filtering.

"I think the best overall filter for the intake at the grille is simply a good pleated filter."

I think this is what I was talking about.

"it might be a good idea to have the duct work professionally cleaned -- or just replace the duct work."

I think I am going to have this done. I know there was one HUGE remodel and a smaller one before we moved in. Not many kids and I am not sure about animals. But our German Shephards are the long hair type and one sheds like a fur coat in a week. I also know that in addition to their shedding and dander they track a ton of dirt into the house and run around in a circle (The four walls on our first floor are in the middle around the bathroom).

I heard a great tip and did make use of this, especially on nasty weather days - that is too put the large crate for the dogs with the opening on the side (short side) right up to the doggie door. This way I can lock it when they come in, or if it's nice I just open the long side (front) of the crate for them to go in and out as needed.

I have also put down a series of covers as they walk in - from a drop cloth to sleeping bags and towels. I miss my Boston Terrier - but one thing I do know is the house was just as dusty when he was our only pet.


"I apologize for my poor and simply-worded, non-technical writing style but maybe my comments plus those of others will be of some help to you and provide some tips to ponder."


Please don't apologize for this, it's the only way to talk to those of us who have no idea about what we are doing!

I am so sorry it took me so long to respond.

Thank you all again, I am sure this topic is helping many more people than just myself!
 
  #11  
Old 07-22-07, 02:11 PM
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I have two dogs and lots of dust in the house. I recommend using Wal-Mart baby-wipes instead of Swiffer wipes. They cost less than a dollar a package and pick up the dirt and dust without harming the furniture finish.

Best of Luck!
 
  #12  
Old 07-24-07, 09:42 AM
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Well I don't know if the responses on this topic will be of much actual help, but it does identify most of the sources of dust. Unfortunately there may not be too much you can do about it. Like I said the main source of dust is the duct work itself which accumulates dust and recirculates it into your home. Having the duct work cleaned might be a good idea if the duct work is really old and has an accumulation of of dust and other unsavory things. Probably the best thing to do would be to have it replaced with new and fresh duct work if you can afford to do it. If you have it replaced make sure the contractor installs new and CLEAN ducts. Sometimes these contractors will install duct work they pick up from an unsheltered storage place and the new duct work will have more dirt in it than what they replace. Make them rinse it out with a garden hose before installing. (I found a bird's nest in a length of duct they were preparing to install in one of my rental houses.)

Some other things which I don't know if I mentioned: Don't use a feather duster -- they just move the dust from one place to another in your home. Use a damp cloth, such as a handkerchief.

Another huge source of dust in many homes is surprisingly the ATTIC. Especially if it's an old house and has that blown, fluffy-looking insulation in the attic. Over time that stuff traps dust and dirt and the attic turns into a big, open dust bag up there. And when your heating or air conditioning system is running and starts drawing fresh air into the intake vent, the air pressure inside the house is lowered a little, and kind of like the effect of a vacuum cleaner, dust is sucked from the attic and enters the house via electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, gaps around pipes, etc. It helps to keep them sealed, if you can.

Sounds like you have a serious dust problem. Maybe you should have new ductwork installed and the heating and air conditioning unit thoroughly cleaned also. I did that in one of my rental houses and it solved the dust problem for several years but eventually dust started to come back, but never as awful as it used to be.

The only other solution is to go ductless -- baseboard, radiator heating, etc.
 

Last edited by twelvepole; 10-09-07 at 12:11 PM. Reason: Quote deleted. No need to quote entire post in order to reply.
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Old 10-09-07, 12:00 PM
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Now to the vacuum cleaning...

I promise this is the last time I drag this dust post out of the archives... it's like the dust that won't go away! lol

I saw that someone mentioned a HEPA (?) vacuum.

My qustion is: What vacuums has everyone tried and have you had luck with one over the other? I would love an unbias review... I might need to post this in a more obvious place too.

My poor Oreck has finally died, and I should qualify that I am a shop vac junkie, I like tons of power in my home cleaner too!

The first floor of my house is all hardwood with a long dog hair area rugs in corners and under furniture. The second floor is carpet without the dog hair.

Thanks tons!
Beth
 
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Old 10-09-07, 12:25 PM
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Most recommend a vacuum with a HEPA filter. It appears that everyone provided good suggestions for helping to contol dust in the home. I might add that if you live where there is heavy traffic such as in town that you will have more dust than someone in the country. Too, if you live near an industry or rail road track, you will have more dust. At my mountain cabin I have little dust. At my city rental there is lots of dust primarily from the cheap carpet and the nearby coal trains that run day and night.
 
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Old 10-09-07, 12:33 PM
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Thanks Twelvepole, (people come up with the most interesting names here )

Unfortuantly I live on 2 1/2 acres, not near any of the mentioned vices.

I checked out some of the HEPA Vacuums and Whoa! are they expensive! I found an:

Electrolux Oxygen3 Hepa Upright Vacuum Cleaner

On sale for 389.00 whew. The rating by the Allergy Club was "very good".

This may be a stupid question, but does it have to do with the type of bag you put in the vacuum or the "baggy area" that the throw away bags go into?
 
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Old 10-09-07, 01:10 PM
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The HEPA filter is separate from the bag. You can get replacement filters just as you can bags. You can also get washable filters for that particular vacuum. You might want to Google some more for that particular model. This site had it for $277: http://www.nextag.com/Eureka-EL5035A...CA2366C809F357
 
  #17  
Old 11-29-07, 02:46 PM
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My wife's allergist suggested we do this after we did a lot of remodeling work:

buy a cheap box fan for every room. Duck tape a pleated filter of at least 1250 (I don't know what the number measures) to the fan on the supply side and run it on high 24/7. Cost is about $20 at Home Depot- electrostatics just were not lasting. HD now is carrying a "1750" rated pleated filter- I put one of those on the HVAC return.

Seems to catch a lot of dust- turns dark after a couple of weeks.
 
  #18  
Old 12-31-07, 05:05 AM
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Excess Dust On Furnace Filter Please Respond Soon!

I too am having a problem with the excessive dust on my furnace filters. I bought the 3M (3 mo.) filter and am amazed after only a week or 2 of just how black they have gotten. I had the ducts professionally cleaned last year. I also replaced all the plastic sheeting in the crawl space where my ducts are run, sealed all openings, etc. Any suggestions? I was thinking about wrapping the duct-work with tyvek since they run with the floor joists. At least until I can get a contractor under there to do it , finances are poor right now do to a layoff, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I also have one of the electrostatic filters, but was told they just really aren't very good, is that true or false?
 
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Old 01-04-08, 05:22 AM
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:alarm:Help Needed Please!!!

I posted the question earlier about the excessive dust in my furnace earlier, but I haven't heard anything yet. My friend mentioned that the reason for the excessive amount of dirt/debris on my filter the past 2 mos. may be due to the amount of fires that I have built since our cold snap last month. Is it true that because my largest cold air return is in the living room (along with my fireplace), I could be sucking up the soot or dirt from the fireplace? This had never crossed my mind, so I am not building any fires to see if this may be the culprit. Could someone please reply to let me know that someone is out there! Thanks in advance.
 
 

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