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Dust and Indoor Air Quality

Posted in Air Quality, on June 17, 2016

We often receive calls from clients regarding dust in the homes or offices. Many people report ‘living in a dusty home’. Common complaints are “I dust one day, two days later, dust is everywhere’! This can be quite common in most homes these days. Most clients, especially the partner that does most of the cleaning, are relieved to find out that it has little to do with cleaning. We have seen homes that are spotless where you could literally eat off the floor and they have a significant airborne dust issue affecting the indoor air quality of the home. Then on the other side of the coin, we see homes that are quite dirty and the airborne dust or particle levels are low.

So what determines if a home is dusty or not?

Here are some obvious or simple causes.We will then list some not so obvious causes.

  1. Renovations or drywall dust from renovations cause settled and airborne dust issues
  2. Dirty ducts or poorly maintained HVAC systems
  3. The wrong furnace filter can also create airborne dust issues since dust will not be trapped by the filter and will just recirculate throughout the home
  4. Pets. Dander from dogs and cats add to the dust load.
  5. People, our skin cells also add to the dust load.
  6. Fabrics. Furniture, drapery and clothing as well as carpets add to the airborne anג settled dust load in the home.

Here are some not so well known causes for a home to be dusty.

  1. Poor ventilation. If a home does not ventilate or breathe very well, then everything including dust will accumulate over time.
  2. Radiant heat homes. Lack of forced air or a furnace filtration system will also allow dust to accumulate over time.
  3. Cigarette smoke. If you smoke in the home there are obvious additions to the air from the burning cigarettes. However, even smoking outside of the home will allow combustion particles from the cigarettes to adhere to your hair and clothing. These will aerosolize as you enter the home and become part of the overall dust load of the air. Some of the worst indoor air quality is in homes that have occupants that smoke.
  4. Candles. The combustion particles from candles such as soot also adds to the dust load in the home.
  5. Proper HEPA filtration system. Most furnace filters are not efficient enough to properly filter the air. A central or even several portable HEPA filters can greatly reduce the airborne and settled dust load leading to better indoor air quality.

Before you decide to go out and buy air quality equipment such as air filters or HEPA system, you should really find out what indoor air quality issues your home or office actually has. You may need a HEPA filtration system, or you may need a ventilation system or you may have a VOC or chemical off gassing issue. In some cases you could also have a radon issue or mold growth problem. If you don’t know what the issue is then you could buy the wrong solution and waste your money. We suggest a proper indoor air quality test. We can tell you what you really need!

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