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Old 03-22-2015, 08:14 PM   #1
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Joint Compound Dust Clean Up and Negative Air Pressure System

I recently joint compounded/skim coated all of my bumpy walls in my new condo and shortly after clean up was done I was in the clear because there was no problems with the air and breathing problems. It wasn't until about 2 months after sanding that I started to get lung pain/asthma when I would visit the condo. I do not live in the condo and do not spend more than a few hours there at a time. I would like to move in, but my move has been put on hold because every time I visit to take care of things I have to wear a respirator mask so my lungs won't hurt. In my current living situation, I do not have lung problems, it's only when I visit the condo, so we can rule out it being me and having an illness. I believe that the joint compound dust is still suspended in the air. The walls were bumpy from years of bad paint jobs from previous owners and me being anal about smooth walls, I had to fix the look of them.

For clean up, I used my shop vac fitted with a hepa filter and bag to collect the joint compound dust, moped the walls, ceilings, hard wood floors with soapy water, used fans pointed outside to push dust out, but still having lung pain. Again, I currently do not live in the condo, but whenever I go there the lung pain asthma feelings start, which tells me there is something in the air. And, other people that visit also have had some breathing issues too.

Since it is a condo, there is only a row of windows and doors on the east side, so there isn't a lot of natural air circulation that comes in. And, the hvac is outdated, which I plan to get a new furnace, a.c condenser and new ducts since the old ones are ancient. Perhaps better air circulation would help too?

Does anyone have any suggestion on what else can be done? I'm not too familiar with the process of negative air pressure systems, but would this help if I got a commercial post cleaning company that used a negative air pressure system to suspend particles for cleanup or do I have this process wrong?


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Old 03-23-2015, 07:33 AM   #2
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I am suspecting that your problem is not necessarily the drywall dust. Is anyone living in the condo now? It could just be stale air.

Sadly my first thought is you may have a mold issue. Is there a plumbing or drain leak? Leaking roof,windows? Possibly mold in the AC or duct work? From the filter on your heating system?

Do you have carpets? Perhaps there is or was water under them at some time. Or perhaps they are in a need of cleaning or replacement.

These aer just my first thoughts, I'm sure others will be along with better ideas.


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Old 03-23-2015, 07:53 AM   #3
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When you did all the sanding, did you cover all of the heating inlets and outlets? If you did not, all that dust likely fell into the ducts and is continually being pushed up into the air every time the furnace cycles on. Some people are more susceptible to breathing issues when it comes to drywall dust. I myself don't usually have issues with it, but many people do even if it's a slight amount in the air.
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Old 03-23-2015, 07:45 PM   #4
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daveb1, There was a leak from the upstairs neighbor's plumbing before I purchased the condo, but the neighbors already fixed the leak and when we remodeled we tore out the ceiling and walls near the leak and saw no mold, but one can never be too certain. I think it is a good idea though to get testing done for mold anyways.

I'm guessing it could be the case that there is stale air though. I'm getting new hvac and ducts so hopefully running just the fan setting with a hepa filter will do the job. And, yes my boyfriend lives in the condo and has no breathing issues at all.

Thanks for the suggestions,
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Old 03-23-2015, 07:52 PM   #5
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When we sanded the walls we covered the vents with plastic and tape, but I'm sure some dust seeped in there. We haven't used the hvac at all and the vents remained covered with plastic and tape. The previous owners were dummies and decide to get the ducts cleaned and stripped the protective barrier exposing fiber glass in the flex ducts, so we'll be changing ducts and the whole cha bang.

And, you got that right some people are more sensitive. I have allergies and am affected easily whereas my boyfriend who actually lives in the condo doesn't feel a thing breathing wise.

Thanks for commenting!
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Old 03-30-2015, 01:58 PM   #6
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I had a similar problem, but only in one room in the house. I couldn't understand it; it was so weird. Every time I'd go in the room to work (it was my office), after 15 minutes or so, I'd start to feel sick. Didn't bother my wife at all. It kept happening over and over. I thought the room was haunted or something. I'd get all these flu-like symptoms.

I wasn't working from home much, so I didn't use the room all that frequently. So the door would remain shut. After a while, I got so fed up with it, I decided to get some bright lights and start an exploratory.

What I found was totally jaw dropping! I moved furniture and in one corner of the room black mold had bubbled the drywall and was creeping along the carpet. I was stunned! It all stemmed from a downspout extension that came undone outside. All the runoff was running down the corner of the foundation and through the concrete block (it was below grade).

I then spent a few months literally gutting and rebuilding that room. Stripped it right down to block and concrete. We quarantined the space off, blocked off the vents/returns, and did NOT run the furnace! The source of the mold was remediated and I rebuilt things such that it wouldn't return. That was four years ago and all is well. And I have an awesomely beautiful office now.

Like others have said, I'd be on the lookout for mold someplace. It can hide in the most inconspicuous places. If there is mold, it can have a bad effect on your health. Also, it can affect you, but not your significant other. My wife isn't allergic to mold--I am, very much so!

Let us know how it works out.



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joint compound dust , negative air pressure , remodeling cleanup

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